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Oct
09

After a 2005 video of Donald Trump making salacious comments about women surfaced on Friday, some prominent Republicans are calling on their nominee to drop out of the race.

That would launch a series of events unprecedented in a presidential race.

And it wasn’t the first time conservatives have suggested Trump’s resignation.

In August, the right-leaning Wall Street Journal editorial board published a scathing op-ed calling on Trump to mature his campaign style or hand the nomination to his running mate, Mike Pence.

But the scandals have continued. In the new, vulgar video, published by The Washington Post on Friday, Trump discussed trying to “f—” a married woman and wanting to kiss an actress he was about to appear with on “Days of Our Lives.”

“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump continued. “You can do anything. … Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.”

Republicans all the way up to the chairman of the National Committee, Reince Priebus, condemned Trump for his comments. And then some started asking him to step aside. Top GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois said Trump “should drop out,” and the RNC “should engage rules for emergency replacement.”

“In a campaign cycle that has been nothing but a race to the bottom — at such a critical moment for our nation — and with so many who have tried to be respectful of a record primary vote, the time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket,” former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune a week after finally endorsing Trump.

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Three-term Republican Governor of New York George Pataki tweeted: “[Trump’s] campaign is a poisonous mix of bigotry and ignorance. Enough! He needs to step down.”

A.J. Spiker, a former Iowa GOP chair and adviser to Sen. Rand Paul’s PAC, said Trump was “unfit for public office.” “Donald Trump should resign as the Republican nominee for president,” he tweeted.

So what would happen in the extremely unlikely scenario that Trump quit the race? We took a look.

Can Trump give Pence the nomination?

mike pence donald trump

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Whether Trump was hypothetically forced out or decided to drop out, a messy transition would ensue.

“I don’t think he’s going to step aside,” Alex Keyssar, a political historian at Harvard University, told Business Insider in August.

But the fact that people are even suggesting that Trump should, Keyssar said, has never happened before at the presidential level.

“This is the first time any such discussion has really occurred,” he said.

If Trump did decide to quit, Pence would not automatically receive the Republican nomination, Ballotpedia’s Charles Aull, an expert on the presidential race and its many rules, told Business Insider in August.

The GOP would have to go through a formal process.

How could the GOP replace Trump?

The Republican National Committee’s rules say it can fill any candidate vacancies that occur because of “death, declination, or otherwise” by either reconvening all 2,472 delegates to vote at another convention, or by letting its 168-member body decide via majority vote.

In the latter scenario, each member would get a certain number of votes based on the population of the state they represent.

Aull said this is much more likely, because reconvening another convention would be a logistical nightmare. And at this point, we’ve probably run out of time for another one, anyway.

Who would replace him?

If this happened, Aull said, choosing Pence would be the least controversial option (as opposed to former presidential nominees Gov. John Kasich or Sen. Ted Cruz), because he was already approved by Trump and chosen at the convention.

This choice could give some Republicans a sense of relief, Keyssar said, encouraging some voters who don’t want to vote for the candidates from either party a reason to cast their ballots on Election Day instead of staying home.

Could the RNC say, ‘You’re Fired’?

Republican National Convention Texas

© Provided by Business Insider Inc Republican National Convention Texas

A small subset of people have called for the RNC to use an extreme interpretation of the phrase “or otherwise” in the rules for replacing a candidate as a way to forcibly remove Trump from the nomination.

The RNC could also rewrite its rules to force him out, which would take even more time. That’s pretty unlikely.

It could be the only way to get Trump off the ticket, though, since most presidential nominees don’t simply drop out, Keyssar said.

“I think it’s usually the case that you can assume that people who run for an office actually want to hold the office,” he said. “They would not step aside, especially with the presidency. It’s fulfilling their lifetime ambition.”

If Trump didn’t go willingly, he would probably sue the RNC if they use this “otherwise” clause and take the nomination away from him. Then it would be up to the courts to decide whom the nominee should be.

Since we’re getting into serious hypotheticals here: If Trump, or any candidate, committed a major crime, he or she could still legally run for president. There’snothing in the US Constitution banning alleged felons from running for office. Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs even received one-million votes from behind bars in 1920.

If Trump, or whoever, were then convicted, the vice president might have to take over (if the new Republican nominee won the White House, that is). Or maybe he could pardon himself — we really don’t have precedent for that ludicrous scenario.

Is it too late to get rid of Trump?

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A formal re-selection process would take at least a couple weeks, and time is ticking down to Election Day on November 8.

Most states have their own ballot deadlines for presidential elections so people casting absentee ballots can vote for the correct candidates. We’ve flown past those.

Not only are the ballots locked in with Trump’s name on the ticket, but early absentee voting has already started in several states, and several more will join in the coming days. The election is 31 days from Friday.

That means that if the RNC does replace Trump, his name would still appear on absentee ballots, and likely on the ballots voters cast in person on Election Day — not the new nominee selected by the party.

This could be incredibly confusing for voters who would want to vote for Pence, but would have to select Trump on the ballot, political scientist Josh Putnam told The Washington Post.

Several ballot deadlines have already passed, and more are coming up this week.

Another state-specific hurdle would come up after the election.

When voters select a candidate, they are really telling members of the Electoral College in their state to vote for that candidate. In some states, the electors can choose whomever they want for president. Others require they vote for a party based on popular vote. And in a third set, electors are legally bound to vote for the name on the ballot.

It’s this third category where the Republican Party would have to go to court to transfer the votes for Trump to the replacement. That would be even more time consuming and “messy.”

What if Trump steps aside the day after the election?

We have a Constitution for that one.

The 20th Amendment says: “If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified.”

In that case, Trump could effectively “choose” Pence to take over if the voters vote him into office and he then decides to step aside.

If any of that happens, could Pence win?

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© Provided by Business Insider Inc pence for prez trending hard

During the vice presidential debate on Tuesday, Google traffic soared for people searching “Pence for president.” And a poll Friday pegged him as the way-too-early frontrunner for the nomination.

Polls and pundits agreed the Republican vice presidential nominee won the debate, and cast Trump’s ticket in a softer, more reasonable light. A poll on Wednesday even showed he was the 2020 frontrunner for president.

For some voters, Keyssar said, replacing Trump could be a bad idea. Most of his supporters are loyal to him and could feel betrayed by the RNC if it attempted to replace him with someone else.

But for others, Pence may be seen as their savior — particularly after a day like Trump had Friday.

“If there was a replacement nominee, it’s still possible that that replacement nominee could win the election,” Aull said in August. “Because so many of the issues that the GOP has been having have sort of centered on Trump himself … it would probably generate some excitement. People are bound to be excited if somebody like Pence stepped in.”

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Sep
29

The new deployment is the third such boost in U.S. troop levels in Iraq since April, underscoring the difficulties President Barack Obama has had in extracting the U.S. military from the country.

A convoy of armored coalition vehicles passes through a camp for displaced civilians on the road outside Qayara airbase south of Mosul on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. The base where the coalition plans to house a build a logistics center ahead of the Mosul operation. The pentagon announced earlier this month that about 400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq as part of that effort.(AP Photo/Susannah George)

A convoy of armored coalition vehicles passes through a camp for displaced civilians on the road outside Qayara airbase south of Mosul on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. The base where the coalition plans to house a build a logistics center ahead of the Mosul operation. The pentagon announced earlier this month that about 400 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division will deploy to Iraq as part of that effort.(AP Photo/Susannah George)

The United States will send around 600 new troops to Iraq to assist local forces in the battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State that is expected later this year, U.S. and Iraqi officials said on Wednesday.

The new deployment is the third such boost in U.S. troop levels in Iraq since April, underscoring the difficulties President Barack Obama has had in extracting the U.S. military from the country. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement that his government asked for more U.S. military trainers and advisers. Obama called it a “somber decision.”

“I’ve always been very mindful that when I send any of our outstanding men and women in uniform into a war theater, they’re taking a risk that they might not come back,” Obama said during a town hall event at a military base in Fort Lee, Virginia, televised on CNN.

The new troops will train and advise Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces, primarily in the Mosul fight, but also serve “to protect and expand Iraqi security forces’ gains elsewhere in Iraq,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.

“We’ve said all along – whenever we see opportunities to accelerate the campaign, we want to seize them,” Carter said. Though Iraqi forces will be in the combat role, “American forces combating ISIL in Iraq are in harm’s way,” Carter said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Some of the 615 new service members will be based at Qayara air base, about 40 miles (60 km) from Mosul, Carter said. Iraqi forces recaptured the base from Islamic State militants in July and have been building it into a logistics hub to support their offensive into the northern city.

Other U.S. troops will go to Ain al Asad air base in western Iraq, where hundreds of U.S. personnel have been training Iraqi army forces. Carter, who spoke to reporters while traveling in New Mexico, declined to name other locations where the new U.S. forces will be based. However, he said some of the forces would help enhance intelligence gathering efforts, particularly related to Islamic State’s plans to conduct attacks outside its own territory.

“We are prepared to continue to help the Iraqi security forces consolidate their control over the country,” Carter said. “Mosul will be the last of the very large cities that needs to be recaptured, but they’ll need to continue to consolidate control over the whole city,” he added, leaving the door open for U.S. forces to remain in Iraq after the fall of Mosul.

Mosul is Islamic State’s de facto Iraqi capital.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the troops would be deployed to Iraq in the coming weeks. Three U.S. service members have been killed in direct combat since the launch of the U.S. campaign against Islamic State.

Abadi met with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden last week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, though it was not clear whether the agreement was sealed there. The United States currently has 4,565 troops in Iraq as part of a U.S.-led coalition providing extensive air support, training and advice to the Iraqi military, which collapsed in 2014 in the face of Islamic State’s territorial gains and lightning advance toward Baghdad.

Iraqi forces, including Kurdish peshmerga forces and mostly Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, have retaken around half of that territory over the past two years, but Mosul, the largest city under the ultra-hardline group’s control anywhere across its self-proclaimed caliphate, is likely to be the biggest battle yet.

The United States has gradually increased the number of U.S. troops in Iraq this year, and moved them closer to the front lines of battle. Obama approved sending 560 more troops to Iraq in July, three months after the United States said it would dispatch about 200 more troops there.

To send the new troops, the White House will raise its cap on U.S. forces in Iraq from 4,647, to 5,262 troops, a senior U.S. defense official said. U.S. and Iraqi commanders say the push on Mosul could begin by the second half of October. Carter said the campaign to expel Islamic State from Mosul would intensify “in the coming weeks.”

The recapture of Mosul would be a major boost for plans by Abadi and the United States to weaken the militant group. Current U.S. troop levels in Iraq are still a fraction of the 170,000 deployed at the height of the nine-year occupation that toppled Saddam Hussain in 2003, sparking an al Qaeda-backed insurgency and throwing the country into a sectarian civil war.

Loath to become mired in another conflict overseas, the White House has insisted there would be no American “boots on the ground.” While coalition troops were initially confined to a few military bases, Americans have inched closer to the action as the campaign progresses.

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Sep
28

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A student who fell asleep at the wheel of a car following a night of partying has been jailed for three years after he admitted killing another driver.

Alisdair Grant, 21, from Kilmarnock, crashed his brother’s Fiat Punto into Gerry Lewis’s Suzuki Jimny on the A719, near Waterside in East Ayrshire, on 2 March 2014.

The 54-year-old, who was travelling with his wife Sarah, died at the scene.

Grant admitted causing his death by dangerous driving.

He had previously served a 12-month drink driving ban which finished in December 2013.

‘Cavalier attitude’

At the High Court in Glasgow, Grant’s lawyer asked for him not to be jailed but judge Lord Boyd ruled that out and told him “a life had been taken” by what he had done that day.

The judge added he had displayed “a cavalier attitude”, when he got behind the wheel, having recently been convicted of drink-driving.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Mark McGuire told the court: “Text messages recovered from his mobile phone sent that day indicate he had been partying heavily the night before.

“Around two hours before the collision – in response to someone asking if he was fit to drive – he replied he thought he would be soon.

“The texts made it clear that Grant was tired.”

Mr Lewis had been travelling with his wife to see his widowed mother in Glasgow.

The court was told that as the two vehicles approached, Grant’s Fiat drifted “without warning” into the path of Mr Lewis’s car.

‘Significant damage’

The advocate depute went on: “From what Mrs Lewis could see, there was no attempt to brake by Grant. He had fallen asleep at the wheel.”

The smash caused “significant damage” to both cars.

Mrs Lewis looked at her husband and immediately saw he had been badly hurt.

The lawyer continued: “She shouted for help, pleading for people to assist her husband.”

Other drivers came to their aid before police and ambulance crews arrived.

The couple were initially trapped in the car. Mr Lewis had to be cut free from the wreckage, but he never recovered.

Mr Lewis, who had worked for North Lanarkshire Council for 20 years, died due to chest and abdominal injuries.

The court heard his loss had been “profound” for Mrs Lewis.

The prosecutor added: “Gerry Lewis was a much-loved husband and family man. His wife and and wider family miss him dearly.”

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Sep
27

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Growing evidence indicates the British government will invoke Article 50 to trigger Brexit early next year, despite Prime Minister Theresa May refusing to comment on a timetable.

May reportedly told Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, she would get the ball rolling “early next year,” it emerged on Tuesday.

Speaking at an event at the Labour Party annual conference in Liverpool, Sinn Fein’s McGuinness said: “I asked her about when she will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty [and she said] that she was going to do it not this year but very early next year.

“So we are working on the basis that early next year, the article will be triggered,” he said, Politics Home reports.

May is believed to have made similar comments to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, when the pair held talks at 10 Downing Street earlier this month.

“Prime Minister May was very open and honest with me,” Tusk said at a summit in Slovakia, according to Bloomberg.

“She declared that it’s almost impossible to trigger Article 50 this year but it’s quite likely that they will be ready maybe in January, maybe in February next year.”

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was publicly admonished by the UK government last week for saying Article 50 would be invoked between January and May 2017.

Speaking to the BBC, he said it would seem odd if British citizens ended up voting in the European Parliament elections in May 2019, indicating he thought the government should trigger the two-year process by May 2017.

“If you think about it there are obviously Euro elections coming down the track. I think people will be wondering whether we want to send a fresh batch of UK Euro MPs to an institution which we are, after all, going to be leaving.”

He made similar comments to Sky News, saying: “We are talking to our European friends and partners in the expectation that by the early part of next year we will see an Article 50 letter.”

However, Johnson’s comments were shot down by a government spokesperson, who said: “The government’s position is clear.

“The prime minister has said she will not trigger Article 50 before the end of the year. Ultimately it’s her decision.”

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Sep
11

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Spencer Platt | Getty Images
A soaring beacon of hope: The Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center.

Lower Manhattan, the neighborhood that was home to the Twin Towers and which endured the brunt of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has spent the last decade and a half in a state of healing and recovery. Today that process appears to be paying off.

It hasn’t been easy. According to data provided by the Alliance for Downtown New York , 90 percent of Lower Manhattan stores saw revenues decline for a full year after the attacks, and 47 percent of the neighborhood’s retailers, services and restaurants reported layoffs.

It was also hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis. At the time of the 2001 attacks, it boasted almost 237,000 private-sector jobs. In 2009 it could account for less than 200,000. Anyone could have been forgiven for wondering if the area could recover from two disasters in a single decade.

By the end of 2015, the picture had changed considerably. More than 232,000 people were employed in Lower Manhattan, and the number continues to grow. It’s nothing less than a rebirth, which is a by-product of the grit and resilience of neighborhood residents and small-business owners who were determined to stick it out.

One such business owner and neighborhood denizen is Todd A. Spodek, managing partner at Spodek Law Group P.C. The firm was founded in 1976 by his father and has always operated out of Lower Manhattan, even when business took a big hit in the wake of 9/11.

“After 9/11, new business stopped for a considerable amount of time,” Spodek told CNBC.com. “The entire city was in shock, and certainly people were not running downtown to relive this nightmare every day.”

Against all odds: Todd Spodek survived 9/11 and grew his law firm despite all the challenges.

Source: Alex Zhik
Against all odds: Todd Spodek survived 9/11 and grew his law firm despite all the challenges.

The firm’s business didn’t dry up completely — its ongoing caseload kept its doors open in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. But Spodek conceded that it was two or three years before the firm experienced any significant uptick in new business. Today, however, he believes that both his firm and the neighborhood it calls home have returned to full strength. Spodek Law Firm currently houses six lawyers, four support staff and pulls in $3 million in annual revenue.

“At this point the neighborhood is booming,” he said. “We have since moved directly next to the World Trade Center, and it’s a fantastic neighborhood. There’s a tremendous amount of new restaurants, bars and businesses. … I think that the neighborhood has bounced back completely.”

Another small-business owner who stayed in Lower Manhattan after 9/11 is Mary White, founder and CEO of BnBFinder.com, an online guide to bed & breakfasts and inns. She started it as a home business in 1998, and she was working and living directly across the street from the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Her building was forced to close for two months to recover from the damage, and she considered shutting down. However, the programmers who hosted her site out of Dallas wouldn’t hear of it, and offered to run the business for free until she could come back. She rented a temporary apartment to work from with her single employee, and she kept going. She had to, anyway, because work never let up.

“What stands out to me is the number of inquiries we got from brides and others scrambling to make plans for weddings, honeymoons, family reunions and other trips that they could drive to, because of the general fear of flying,” she told CNBC.com. “That holiday season we sold what was then a record number of gift certificates, because a number of articles were written about giving time, something not material, being with loved ones, and our gift certificates made this possible.”

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BnBFinder.com survived 9/11 and grew right along with the internet, with the gift certificate business in particular seeing great success. In November 2008 it relocated to Broad Street, in the Financial District, where it remains to this day. The company has 2,000 clients and pulls in $800,000 in annual revenue.

Lower Manhattan’s recovery is likely to see a further boost, courtesy of the Westfield World Trade Center, a shopping mall within the World Trade Center complex that opened in August. Occupying 365,000 square feet, it serves as home to approximately 60 businesses, including an Apple store and Kate Spade, with Crabtree & Evelyn and Victoria’s Secret still to come. It’s all part of the long rebirth that the neighborhood has undergone in the last 15 years.

Business aside, the rebirth of Lower Manhattan would never have happened without people like Spodek and White, who never lost faith in it. White has since moved out of her old apartment, but her new one is on Fulton Street, with the Freedom Tower in plain view. From the sound of it, she seems to be a Lower Manhattan lifer.

“I am committed to downtown and love living and working here,” she said. “I’m just glad we’re no longer calling it Ground Zero.”

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Aug
13

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The City is braced for the Bank of England to cut interest rates to a new record low after Threadneedle Street was provided with fresh evidence of the hit taken by the economy in the immediate post-Brexit-vote period.

The Bank’s nine-strong monetary policy team is expected to cut borrowing costs from 0.5% – where they have been pegged since March 2009 – in response to signs that all parts of the economy Continue Reading…

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Aug
12

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The UK’s construction industry has slipped back into recession for the first time in four years, according to official figures that show the sector was struggling even before the vote to leave the EU.

Experts say the drop in business and consumer confidence since the referendum will further dent construction activity in the months ahead. The Office for National Statistics said output dipped Continue Reading…

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