Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls impeachment hearings ‘global Watergate’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Minnesota Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar on Monday likened the impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill to “a global Watergate.”

Klobuchar, who was a guest on The View, said President Trump’s alleged request for political dirt on Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden may have threatened national security.

When asked if she believed the president committed a crime, Klobuchar maintained that she wants to hear all the evidence during a potential Senate proceeding before making a decision.

“I want to look at all the evidence,” Klobuchar said. “I am the one that said this is impeachable conduct. You have to look at each count, but I think this is very serious what happened here, and it will come over to the Senate, and remember, this isn’t a criminal proceeding. It is actually a decision under the constitution about whether or not he should be removed from office.”

Klobuchar told ABC News’ chief anchor George Stephanopoulos last week that “what’s really important to the nation is that we hear the evidence and that it’s a fair trial,” a sentiment she echoed on the debate stage in Atlanta, Ga., last month.

Asked by The View co-hosts if a Senate proceeding would affect her presidential campaign, Klobuchar said she has no choice but to do her job.

“What else am I going to do?” Klobuchar said. “I have a constitutional duty and I have to fulfill that duty.”

She also opened up about former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entry into the crowded Democratic presidential contest.

“My issue is you can’t simply allow wealthy people to come in and buy elections. That is not what this country is about,” Klobuchar said. “My hope is that the people will look at the candidates and they’ll make a decision based on who is best to govern and who is actually best to lead the ticket.”

Bloomberg’s bid comes as former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick went public with his own presidential campaign, pitching himself as a moderate choice and contrast to progressive front-runners Sen. Bernie Sanders and Warren.

But Klobuchar said her health care plan will help her win over voters.

“I’ll bring those health care costs down, but I’m not going to kick 149 million Americans off their current health insurance in four years,” she said.

She also touched on the challenges of running as one of the few female candidates in the presidential race.

“I’m proud to be a woman candidate, but I’m not running to be the first woman. I’m actually running to have your backs and to get things done,” Klobuchar said. “My point is, yeah, it’s a higher standard, but give me that standard like so many women out there working today and I will meet it.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Dozens killed after bus plunges off cliff in Tunisia

omersukrugoksu/iStock(LONDON) — At least 24 people were killed when their tour bus crashed in Tunisia on Sunday, officials said.

The bus had left the capital, Tunis, that morning with 43 people on board and was headed to the northern mountain town of Ain Draham, a popular destination for Tunisian tourists, according to a statement from Tunisia’s Ministry of Interior.

The vehicle, which was operated by a private travel agency, was driving through the Ain Snoussi region when it apparently careened off a twisty road during a sharp turn, smashing through an iron barrier and plunging off a cliff into a ravine near the northern town of Amdoun, about 75 miles west of Tunis, the interior ministry said.

In addition to those who died, another 18 people were injured and rushed to local hospitals, according to a statement from Tunisia’s Ministry of Public Health.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. It’s believed to be one of the worst road accidents on record in the North African nation.

Tunisian President Kais Saied and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed both visited the crash site Sunday. The president pledged to improve the region’s roads and said anyone who was responsible for the poor conditions would be held accountable, according to state-run news agency TAP news.

Tunisia’s rundown roads and infrastructure have been blamed for the high number of traffic accidents in recent years. A 2015 report released by the World Health Organization showed that Tunisia had one of the worst traffic death rates per capita in North Africa, second only to Libya.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Duchess Kate wears festive red dress for Christmas TV special

GraceHenley/iStock(LONDON) — Duchess Kate was recently spotted in a Christmas television special wearing the perfect holiday dress.

She wore a flowing long-sleeve, polka-dot dress that included a fun pussycat bow collar.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have joined forces with cookery legend Mary Berry to prepare festive food to thank all those working and volunteering over the Christmas period,” Kensington Palace wrote in an Instagram post where we get a good look at her festive frock.

Duchess Kate’s dress has already been identified as Alessandra Rich’s Polka-Dot Silk Dress which happens to currently be on sale for $952.

Her dress is originally $1588, and it’s from the designer label’s AW19 lookbook.

 

The #DuchessofCambridge is wearing a modified version of a Alessandra Rich dress and the @hellomag style team have a look for less here: https://t.co/yhlvf2t74T

— Danielle Stacey (@daniellestacey1) November 30, 2019

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appeared in another photo on Twitter wearing aprons alongside Berry who is a former judge on The Great British Bake Off.

The Christmas special is slated to air on Dec. 16 at 8:30 p.m. on BBC One.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Spacewalking astronauts perform complex repairs on $2 billion cosmic ray detector

NASA(NEW YORK) — Astronauts worked to painstakingly repair a $2 billion cosmic ray detector during a space walk Monday outside the International Space Station.

It’s the third in a series of repairs on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which analyzes cosmic rays for evidence of dark matter and antimatter.

Astronauts Andrew Morgan of NASA, and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, are replacing the cosmic ray detector’s cooling pump, which is considered the most complex repair job since upgrades were made on the Hubble Space Telescope.

Parmitano is the crew member wearing the spacesuit with red stripes and helmet camera no. 11. Morgan is wearing a plain spacesuit and has camera no. 18.

It’s the astronauts’ third spacewalk in nearly three weeks. During their first and second spacewalks, Morgan and Parmitano prepped and positioned materials for their upcoming repairs. During the pair’s fourth spacewalk, they’ll check their work for leaks.

The spacewalk, which began at 6:31 ET, is expected to last for 7.5 hours. You can follow along on NASA TV.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Sperm whale found dead on Scotland beach with 220 pounds of trash in stomach

Courtesy SMASS(New York) — A sperm whale found stranded on a beach in northeast Scotland had more than 220 pounds of trash in its stomach when it died, according to the organization that found it.

The whale was found on Luskentyre beach on Saturday and had been dead for 48 hours by the time workers from the Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme (SMASS) got there.

The debris found inside the whale included “a whole range of plastic,” including plastic cups, gloves, packing straps and tubing as well as bundles of rope and sections of netting, Scottish Marine Animal Strandings Scheme said in a Facebook post.

The material was packed into the whale’s stomach “in a huge ball” and some of it had likely been ingested some time ago, according SMASS.

Overall, the whale was not in poor condition, and it is unclear whether the trash contributed to its death.

“This amount of plastic in the stomach is nonetheless horrific, must have compromised digestion, and serves to demonstrate, yet again, the hazards that marine litter and lost or discarded fishing gear can cause to marine life,” the organization said, describing the issue as being caused “by a whole host of human activities.”

The organization believes the whale swallowed debris from both land and fishing sectors at some point between Norway and the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal in the mid-Atlantic.

The necropsy for the whale was done on the beach because it was impossible to transport the 20-ton marine animal. The marine veterinarians buried the animal once the necropsy was complete.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Critics call China’s mandatory facial recognition tech in cellphones a ‘wake up call’

iStock(NEW YORK) — China’s requirement that all new mobile phone users submit a facial scan went into effect, as international critics wary of the new tech called the move a “wake up call to people everywhere.”

The new regulations were announced by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as a way to protect citizens’ interests and rights in cyberspace, as well as to protect against fraud, in a statement. The new facial scan requirement took effect on Sunday.

Critics of facial recognition technology, especially when implemented by government agencies, argue it is an invasive form of surveillance, and say the controversial tech is creeping its way into law enforcement uses in the U.S. as well.

“Facial recognition is a uniquely dangerous form of surveillance. It enables governments to engage in invasive and ubiquitous monitoring of an entire population,” Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight for the Future, a nonprofit digital rights advocacy group, told ABC News.

“There’s no evidence that this type of technology improves public safety, but it’s ideal for authoritarian control,” Greer said.

Greer said that while it is “tempting” and can be convenient for Westerners to “point fingers at China” for their use of biometric surveillance technology, “the reality is that face surveillance programs are spreading quickly in the US and Europe as well.”

A Washington Post investigation in July said that the U.S.’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials used facial recognition technology to go through state driver’s license databases.

Also in July, a UK-based report found that 80% of facial recognition suspects flagged by London’s Metropolitan Police were innocent.

Greer and Fight for the Future are advocating for an outright ban on facial recognition technology for surveillance purposes.

“China’s implementation of this technology should be a wake-up call to people everywhere who care about basic human liberty,” she said.

In October, California passed a bill making it the largest state in the nation to ban facial recognition software in police body cameras.

“Face-scanning police body cameras have no place on our streets, where they can be used for dragnet surveillance of Californians, our locations, and our personal associations,” Matt Cagle, the technology and civil liberties attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said in a statement when the bill was signed by the governor.

Cagle argued that the bill “helps ensure Californians don’t become test subjects for an invasive and dangerous tracking technology that undermines our most fundamental civil liberties and human rights.”

The city of San Francisco took it a step further in May, becoming the first U.S. city to block the use of facial recognition tech by all police and city agencies.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By

Climate change forces 1 person from their home every 2 seconds, report finds

iStock(NEW YORK) — Climate-fueled disasters have forced 20 million people — or one person every two seconds — from their homes every year for the last decade, according to a new global report.

Thanks to the rapidly warming global climate, people are now seven times more likely to be displaced by floods, cyclones and wildfires than volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, and three times more likely than by conflict, according to a report released Monday by Oxfam International.

“Our governments are fueling a crisis that is driving millions of women, men and children from their homes and the poorest people in the poorest countries are paying the heaviest price,” Chema Vera, acting executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement.

“People are taking to the streets across the globe to demand urgent climate action. If politicians ignore their pleas, more people will die, more people will go hungry and more people will be forced from their homes.”

The report comes as political leaders and climate experts gather in Madrid for a two-week summit to address the world’s growing climate crisis.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25, which kicked off Monday, was originally scheduled to be held in Chile, but government officials there cancelled the event due to ongoing civil disturbances. The conference is expected to attract 29,000 attendees over the next two weeks.

“Governments can and must make Madrid matter,” Vera said. “They must commit to faster, deeper emissions cuts and they must establish a new ‘Loss and Damage’ fund to help poor communities recover from climate disasters.”

The Oxfam report found that the world’s poorest societies were most vulnerable to climate-fueled displacement. Cuba, Dominica, Tuvalu, Philippines and Saint Maarten were identified as the countries where residents are at the highest risk of being displaced due to extreme weather events.

Economic losses from extreme weather disasters over the last decade have averaged out to about 2% of the affected countries’ national income and as much as 20% for small island developing states, according to the report. Rich donor countries have largely left it to poorer countries to cover their own rising costs of extreme weather disasters despite their smaller contributions to the word’s carbon pollution, according to the report.

About 80% of those displaced over the last decade were in Asia, home to over a third of the world’s poorest people, according to Oxfam, which is comprised of 19 independent charitable organizations.

“Despite this, the international community has made little progress towards the provision of new funds to help poor countries recover from loss and damage resulting from the climate emergency,” researchers said in a statement. “As the 2019 UN Climate Summit opens, Oxfam is calling for more urgent and ambitious emissions reductions to minimize the impact of the crisis on people’s lives, and the establishment of a new ‘Loss and Damage’ finance facility to help communities recover and rebuild.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More

Posted On 02 Dec 2019
, By