An audacious drone strike by the U.S. has killed top Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. The President has said the assassination was to prevent a plot against America. President Trump described Soleimani as “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world.”
Mr Trump said: “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London. His reign of terror is over.
“He was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and and personnel but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”
The attack happened whilst Soleimani, the head of the elite Quads Force, was in Baghdad. U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Soleimani was moving around the Middle East planning imminent attacks on U.S. diplomats and military personnel.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has issued a statement vowing to retaliate:
“America should know that its criminal attack on General Soleimani has been the country’s biggest mistake in west Asia, and America will not avoid the consequences of this wrong calculation easily,” it said.
“These criminals will face severe vengeance… in the right place and time,”
The Conservative Party has won the general election with a historic majority in parliament. The election was on the backdrop of political deadlock over Brexit. The Labour party, lead by far left Jeremy Corbyn lost badly to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Nobody can question my faith, my devotion to Christ, my devotion to the church,” Pastor Nicole Garcia said. “Being trans is secondary.”
Before coming out as transgender, Nicole Garcia prayed daily that God would “fix” her. When her prayers weren’t answered and the feeling in her gut didn’t go away, she gave up on religion.
Now, nearly four decades later, Garcia stands behind the pulpit at Westview Lutheran Church in Boulder, Colorado, and delivers weekly sermons to a congregation of more than 100 faithful as their ordained pastor.
“Nobody can question my faith, my devotion to Christ, my devotion to the church. That’s why I’m the pastor here,” Garcia,who turned 60 Thursday, told NBC News. “Being trans is secondary.”
Garcia, who delivered her first sermon at Westview earlier this month, is the first known transgender Latina to serve as a pastor within the 4 million-strong Evangelical Lutheran Church in America — an unanticipated position for someone who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church and left religion entirely for nearly 20 years.
‘I had never felt comfortable in my own skin’
One of Garcia’s earliest memories is of her grandmother kneeling on the cold kitchen floor of her Colorado farm, praying the rosary in Spanish while the voice of Francisco “Paco” Sanchez buzzed through the radio. She still has the worn black rosary that her grandmother gave her when Garcia was just five years old.
Growing up in the ‘60s, Garcia said she had a traditionally paramount role as the “oldest son” in a devoutly Roman Catholic Latino family. She went to church two to three times each weekend and played guitar in the choir. But she said something about her life was off-kilter.
As she got older, an uncomfortable feeling loomed over her, though she struggled to put a finger on exactly what it was. As a teenager, Garcia recalled, she loved to dress up in women’s clothing. She’d even stash outfits in hidden spots around her house to make sure that side of her stayed secret.
“I had never felt comfortable in my own skin. I had always been chastised for doing the wrong thing,” Garcia said. “Everything just felt wrong. I did everything my male cousins would do, but it was just awkward and it didn’t come naturally.”
She said she prayed every day that God could take those uncomfortable feelings away, but her prayers continued to go unanswered. In 1982, in her early 20s, Garcia left the church.
For the next few years, Garcia descended into a spiral of alcohol abuse and partying, which she said became her excuse for “dressing up” and dating men. But after years of heavy drinking and hopping between low-paying retail jobs, she found herself living in a cousin’s trailer in Boulder and going through alcohol withdrawals.
“I realized something had gone terribly wrong,” she said. “I decided it was time to change my life.”
‘I had my come-to-Jesus moment’
Garcia moved out of the trailer and into an apartment in nearby Longmont, where she met a woman at karaoke night. The two dated for a year before they married at a Catholic church in 1994. They eventually bought a house in downtown Denver, and Garcia found a new career as a corrections officer.
From the outside, it looked like Garcia had turned her life around. However, she still felt like she didn’t belong in her body. Every morning before work, Garcia said, she wanted to put on women’s clothes, and when it came time to put on her corrections uniform, it felt like a costume.
“As soon as I got home and I took off the uniform, I was exhausted. All my energy was used just to perform that day,” she said. “I’d drink a pint of Jack Daniels and three or four beers just to be able to calm down and relax.”
Garcia’s marriage crumbled after 8 years, and her wife asked for a divorce in 2002. After they separated, Garcia was sitting at her kitchen table, wondering why she had thrown away what seemed like an ideal life.
“I had my come-to-Jesus moment. It wasn’t one of those, “Oh please, oh please, help me,’” she explained. “It was more, “Alright you son of a b—h, if I’m going to come back, you better step it up this time.’”
‘I’ve always been Nicole’
In a fortuitous turn of events, just two days after her “come-to-Jesus moment,” Garcia received a message offering free therapy sessions for corrections officers. After only a few appointments, Garcia unearthed the uneasy feeling she had struggled with her whole life.
“Within a month or so, I told her my deepest, darkest secret: That for my entire life, as long as I can remember, I have always loved wearing women’s clothing,” she said. “I realized in that moment that I’ve always been Nicole; I’ve always been a woman.”
“I knew at that point I had to transition,” Garcia added. “I could finally put a name on what I was going through.”
Garcia’s therapist recommended she visit the Gender Identity Center of Colorado. It was there that she met another transitioning law enforcement officer who encouraged her to attend a service at the Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Denver.
“I was sure I would walk in and they’d say, “Look at that man in a dress,” but they didn’t,” Garcia recalled. “They were lovely; they embraced me. I just felt at home.”
In 2003, shortly after she started her transition, she became a Lutheran, and soon after began working with an organization called Reconciling in Christ, which works toward full acceptance of the LGBTQ community within the Lutheran denomination. Five years later, Garcia was elected to the group’s national board of directors as their transgender representative, and in that position she continued to campaign for the advancement of LGBTQ people into pastoral positions.
While Garcia immediately felt accepted by the Lutheran congregation early in her transition process, she said her mother had a harder time accepting that the “oldest son” in their Roman Catholic family wanted to transition to a woman. For the first few months, she said her mother stopped speaking to her entirely. When they finally reconciled, it was under the pretense that Garcia had to present as male in their home, combing her long hair back into a ponytail and wearing her corrections officer uniform.
During her yearslong transitioning process, Garcia helped take care of her stepfather, Joe Mayes, who had terminal bone cancer. Garcia said Mayes, who died of cancer in 2005, immediately accepted her as Nicole.
“I would ask him, ‘Papa, why were you so accepting and loving?’” she recalled. “He said, ‘Because I finally saw you happy. For so many years you were morose, you were drunk, you were angry, and now you look happy.’”
Though it took nearly a year for Garcia’s mother to accept her as Nicole, her mother was happy to see her child had returned to the church.In 2013, a decade after she started her transition and found her way back to Christianity, Garcia left her position as a corrections officer to attend seminary school.
During her years at seminary, Garcia became the director of congregational care at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder, and her presence in the community became even more formidable. At her ordination in November of this year, over 200 people came to celebrate her trailblazing service as an advocate and leader among Lutherans.
Garcia was then asked to step in at the newly formed Westview Lutheran Church in Boulder as their pastor. The church’s first service was Dec. 1, and Garcia stood before the congregation, a vibrant red stole draped over her shoulders.
Garcia said she hopes her presence behind the pulpit encourages other LGBTQ people and people of color to step forward through faith.
“As a transgender Latina, I bring a breath of fresh air into all the places I walk into,” she said.
The Ridgecrest earthquake back in July has shown how a relatively small quake can trigger faults over a wider area. The Ridgecrest quake has seen over 24 faults rupture.
Ridgecrest started with three separate quakes, which released enough energy to trigger a 6.4 sized quake. The following day there were 4 additional quakes which then triggered a 7.1 sized quake.
“The geometry of this fault network is just incredibly complicated,” said Zachary Ross, Caltech assistant professor of geophysics. “These faults are unmapped … many of them are at right angles to each other; they’re cross-cutting each other. In the central portion of it, they are spaced a few kilometers apart, like dominoes. There’s 20 of them in a row. This 7.1 ripped through all of these.”
He came of age in Queens, built Trump Tower, starred in “The Apprentice,” bankrupted his businesses six times, and drew cheering crowds and angry protesters to Fifth Avenue after his election. Through it all, President Trump — rich, bombastic and to many Americans the epitome of a New Yorker — was intertwined with the city he called his lifelong home.
In late September, Mr. Trump changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla., according to documents filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Melania Trump, the first lady, also changed her residence to Palm Beach in an identical document.
Each of the Trumps filed a “declaration of domicile” saying that the Mar-a-Lago Club, Mr. Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, will be their permanent residence.
The president confirmed the decision on Twitter after The New York Times reported on the move, saying that he would “be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence.”
“I cherish New York, and the people of New York,” he added, “and always will.”
But he didn’t have much nice to say about the public officials of New York.
“I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse,” he said, describing his decision as the “best for all concerned.”
Some New York leaders shared the sentiment. “Good riddance,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo tweeted. “It’s not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He’s all yours, Florida.”
In the documents, Mr. Trump said he “formerly resided at 721 Fifth Avenue,” referring to Trump Tower. That has been his primary residence since he moved into the skyscraper off 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan in 1983.
An attachment lists his “other places of abode” as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the address for the White House, and his private golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he spends warm-weather weekends and a few weeks every summer.
Since becoming president, Mr. Trump has spent 99 days at Mar-a-Lago compared with 20 days at Trump Tower, according to NBC News. Although Mr. Trump ran his presidential transition from Trump Tower and some aides had expected him to spend many weekends there in his Louis XIV-style triplex on the 58th floor, his presence created traffic headaches for New Yorkers and logistical and security challenges for the Secret Service.
White House officials declined to say why Mr. Trump changed his primary residence, but a person close to the president said the reasons were primarily for tax purposes.
In his Twitter posts on Thursday night, the president claimed that he paid “millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year.” There is no way to fact-check his assertion; he has never released his tax returns.
Mr. Trump, who is deeply unpopular in New York, was infuriated by a subpoena filed by Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, seeking the tax returns, the person close to the president said. Changing his residence to Florida is not expected to have any effect on Mr. Vance’s case, which Mr. Trump has sought to thwart with a federal lawsuit.
It was unclear how much time he would spend in New York in the future or if he would keep his triplex at the top of Trump Tower. Under New York law, if he spends more than 184 days a year there, he will have to pay state income taxes.
Florida, which does not have a state income tax or inheritance tax, has long been a place for the wealthy to escape the higher taxes of the Northeast.
Changing his primary residence could carry significant tax implications for Mr. Trump, although how much is unclear without seeing his returns. But in changing his residence to Florida, he would most likely be avoiding New York State’s top tax rate of nearly 9 percent and New York City’s top rate of nearly 4 percent.
Leaving New York could also save money for Mr. Trump’s heirs at the time of his death. New York imposes a top estate tax rate of 16 percent for estates larger than $10.1 million.
In an article in the Florida Bar Journal in January 2019, three lawyers with Proskauer Rose wrote about the recent wave of people moving from New York to Florida in “large part” because of the repeal of the state and local tax deduction that was a byproduct of the tax bill that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2017.
“While it may be easy enough for an individual to buy a home in Florida and move, the act of physically moving to Florida is only part of the battle,” the three wrote.
“The real challenge is proving by clear and convincing evidence that the individual is no longer a New York domiciliary and does not qualify as a New York statutory resident for New York State income tax purposes,” they said.
Beyond taxes, Mr. Trump has repeatedly signaled the importance of Florida to his 2020 re-election effort and kicked off his campaign with a rally in Orlando. And he has often mentioned Mar-a-Lago when promoting his ties to the state.
In the longer term, the change could speak to Mr. Trump’s plans after his presidency ends. It has been an open question whether he would ever return full time to New York City.
In addition, Secret Service protection for Mr. Trump after his presidency ends would continue to snarl traffic in Midtown Manhattan — as would tourists and potential protests in front of Trump Tower — particularly if Mr. Trump chose to live there full time.
David Pratt, a partner at Proskauer Rose and one of the authors of the Florida Bar Journal piece, said Mr. Trump had probably changed his primary residence for the same reason other people have left New York.
“What he’s doing is not any different than what a lot of individuals from New York are doing, and they’re becoming Florida residents,” Mr. Pratt said.
Mr. Trump is due to travel to New York City this weekend for an event at Madison Square Garden, the rare instance of him visiting when he has no fund-raiser or official event scheduled. He is due to spend Saturday night at Trump Tower.
Since he became president, Mar-a-Lago remains Mr. Trump’s favored retreat. He has a residence on the grounds, enjoys easy access to one of his nearby golf clubs, entertains foreign visitors like Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and also plays host to a regular cast of visitors and members.
Still, Manhattan has been like Oz to him.
“I believed, perhaps to an irrational degree, that Manhattan was always going to be the best place to live — the center of the world,” Mr. Trump wrote in his book “The Art of the Deal.”
Jim Tankersley contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
Joe Biden may not be the only one facing scrutiny over their son’s links to Ukraine. It has immersed that the son of Nancy Pelosi also has business links to the Ukraine, and people are beginning to ask if his mother’s position helped him in doing business there.
A 2013 promotional video has resurfaced which Nancy Pelosi talking about her work to promote clean energy, then the video cuts to a promotional segment with Paul Pelosi Jr, who was a board member of Viscoil and an executive at its related company NRGLab. Both of which are energy companies. The companies did business with Ukraine.
In the video he says: “My name is Paul Pelosi…and Viscoil is here today to talk about accelerating the future,” said Pelosi Jr. “That’s what Viscoil does — it uses technology to maximize the use of natural resources, like oil and other resources.”
Then in 2017 Paul Pelosi travelled to the Ukraine for Corporate Governance Initiative, where he now serves as executive director. Reportedly the trip was to discuss a youth soccer partnership, however clips from the visit have now been removed from online.
“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me Fredo,” Cuomo told the man, who claimed he thought the CNN anchor was named Fredo. “My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from The Godfather.”
“They use it as an Italian aspersion. Any of you Italian?” Cuomo continued. “It’s an insult to your fucking people. It’s like the N-word for us.”
They went back and forth, and at one point Cuomo said, “I’ll fucking ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs like a fucking punk.”
A CNN spokesperson told Mediaite in a statement, “Chris Cuomo defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him.”
Cuomo is receiving support from outside CNN as well. His 9 p.m. rival at Fox News, Sean Hannity, tweeted “good for [Cuomo]” in response to the video. “He’s out with his 9 year old daughter, and his wife, and this guy is being a jackass in front of his family,” Hannity wrote. “Imho Chris Cuomo has zero to apologize for. He deserves the apology.”
Cuomo is off air this week, but he will return on Monday. CNN told Mediaite his vacation was pre-planned.