Basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s helicopter pilot was given approval to fly in weather conditions considered dangerous enough for Los Angeles Police to ground its own fleet, it has emerged.
Bryant, 41, was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others when his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed into the rugged hillside outside Los Angeles on Sunday.
The cause of the crash is still being investigated, but audio of a radio conversation between the pilot, identified as Ara Zobayan, and an air traffic control tower has revealed the helicopter requested to fly under “special visual flight rules” (SVFR).
The special clearance allows a pilot to fly in weather conditions worse than those allowed for standard flights. In chilling audio of the conversation, the control tower can be heard warning the pilot that he is flying “too low for flight following” shortly before the fatal crash.
Conditions at the time were such that the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff’s department decided to grounded their own helicopters, with LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein telling the Los Angeles Times that the weather “did not meet our minimum standards for flying”.
Prince Andrew has not responded to FBI following its requests for an interview about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, it was claimed on Monday night.
Geoffrey Berman, a US attorney, said federal prosecutors and the FBI had asked to interview the Duke about the late paedophile billionaire, but had been met with a wall of silence despite the Duke previously saying he would talk to investigators if required.
“The Southern District of New York and the FBI have contacted Prince Andrew’s attorneys and requested to interview him, and to date he has provided zero co-operation,” he said.
It was reported that the FBI had been trying to speak to the Duke since last November.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
A source said the issue was being dealt with by the Duke’s legal team.
The law says window frames on Capitol Hill must be wooden, or something that looks very much like wood. If a front door has two parts and opens down the middle, it cannot be replaced by a single door that swings open from the side. If the house was built two stories tall, it must remain two stories tall — unless the addition can’t be seen from the street.
Humans don’t like change, so it’s not surprising that historic preservation laws have become quite popular. There are now more than 2,300 local historic districts across the United States, and I know many people who would like to have their own neighborhood frozen in time.
But historic preservation comes at a cost: It obstructs change for the better. And while that price is generally invisible, it is now on public display because of the city’s efforts to prevent Washington homeowners in historic neighborhoods from installing visible rooftop solar panels.
As you may have heard, Earth is getting hotter because we’re burning too much carbon, and one small way people can reduce their use of carbon is to tap the sun for electricity.
I haven’t taken a poll, but I’m prepared to wager most residents of Washington’s historic districts agree that climate change is caused by humans and that we really ought to do something about it. But the mandarins of historic preservation — and a good many of my neighbors — regard allowing people to install rooftop solar panels with the kind of horror they usually reserve for, say, anachronistic window frames. (The Capitol Hill Restoration Society helpfully advises homeowners: “In the Historic District you should not even consider using vinyl windows.” That’s right — please stop thinking about vinyl, immediately.)
“I applaud your greenness, and your desire to save the planet. And I realize that we are in crisis, politically as well as sustainably,” Chris Landis, an architect who sat on one of the boards that pass judgment on proposed changes to Washington homes, told a homeowner in October who had the temerity to request permission to install 12 front-facing solar panels on his own roof. “But I just have this vision of a row of houses with solar panels on the front of them and it just — it upsets me, as somebody who’s supposed to protect the architectural fabric of a neighborhood.” (The quote is from a Washington Post article, with plenty more like it.)
Mr. Landis and I apparently don’t share a sense of the sacrifices that may be required in a crisis. As the petitioner, Steven Preister, put the matter to Mr. Landis and his colleagues: “If we do not change and loosen these standards, will the district be habitable in 100 years?”
The board, however, decided it was more important to keep Mr. Preister’s roof looking as it did 100 years ago.
I am well aware that installing solar panels on every house in Washington — or even in the United States — would not suffice to make a significant dent in the pace of global warming.
And it should be noted that after Mr. Preister’s failure caused an uproar, the city announced changes that make it a little easier to win permission to put solar panels on historic homes. Mr. Preister finally won permission after promising to spend some $1,300 on camouflage.
But the fact that Washington continues to impose any aesthetic restrictions on rooftop solar panels is still a problem — and it is emblematic of the broader problems with preservation.
There are buildings that should be preserved because of their historic, cultural or aesthetic significance. But there aren’t many. The list certainly doesn’t include all 8,000 buildings in the Capitol Hill Historic District.
Historic preservation, in practice, is not about preserving history. It is about preserving the lifestyle of an affluent urban elite.
We are placing large chunks of our cities under glass, preventing what should be some of our most vibrant neighborhoods from growing and changing as the country grows and changes.
The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has shrewdly observed that “preservation is not the enemy of modernity but actually one of its inventions…. The whole idea of modernization raises, whether latently or overtly, the issue of what to keep.”
If people were interested in preserving history, he said, they should preserve everything: The pretty and ugly houses; grande olde theatres and strip malls. He suggested, tongue in cheek, that cities should be sliced into strips, with everything in one strip preserved and everything in the next open for development.
That’s not how we do it, of course.
Homes in Washington’s historic districts are modern on the inside. Cable lines run between houses, cars are parked on the streets, and the government has set aside the deed restrictions that in some neighborhoods once barred ownership by blacks, Jews and other minorities. What is being preserved are the facades of the houses — and the scale of development.
Those limits on renovation and construction are directly connected to the fact that people live in tents under the highway at the edge of my neighborhood. Our cities, as Mr. Koolhaas put it, have become “suffocatingly stable” in the center and “alarmingly unstable at the periphery.”
The necessary corrective is not to demolish existing buildings, but to allow most existing buildings to be changed over time, and to allow new buildings to grow up alongside.
American cities should borrow a page from Britain, where protected buildings are placed in categories, from most to least important. In my neighborhood, the Capitol is an obvious example of a building that deserves full protection. Perhaps the local Carnegie library belongs in an intermediate category. But houses, with rare exceptions, are not historically significant. Residential historic districts mostly serve to protect property values, and the government should stop privileging that goal over other values like access to affordable housing. Or the value of trying something new. Or, say, the value of doing something to slow global warming and preserve a habitable planet.
One of the important March for Life event and the first one is the President’s speech on anti-abortion demonstration on Friday in Washington.
Mr. Trump’s surprise announcement, made on Twitter on Wednesday as the Senate began hearing opening arguments in his impeachment trial, is his latest gesture of support for a cause dear to evangelical Christians who are a core part of his conservative base.
No president has personally attended the march in its 47-year history. Past Republican presidents might have been inclined to attend, but either on the advice of staff or their own instincts saw it as a step too far and instead showed their support in less visible ways, like through remote messages or by meeting with activists.
Mr. Trump, who once called himself “very pro-choice,” has until now addressed the group only remotely and welcomed some marchers at the White House.
But as he has battled for political survival in the face of multiple investigations and a re-election campaign, he has made increasingly warm overtures to evangelicals and sought to cast himself as the most firmly anti-abortion president in at least a generation.
His administration has already embraced the march, which draws thousands of attendees, in unprecedented ways. In 2017, Mike Pence became the first sitting vice president to attend the event, and the next year, Mr. Trump became the first president to address the rally by video. In his speech, the president vowed that his administration would “always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life.”
Many of the evangelical Christians who most strongly oppose abortion find Mr. Trump’s two divorces, penchant for profanity and lack of demonstrated interest in religion before he entered politics to be unsettling. But as a political bloc, they have stood by him loyally as he hands them long-sought judicial appointments and policy changes.
In a statement, Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life, praised the president for appointing anti-abortion judges, cutting taxpayer funding for abortions in the United States and abroad, and outspokenly opposing late-term abortions.
“President Trump and his administration have been consistent champions for life,” she said, “and their support for the March for Life has been unwavering.”
Mr. Trump’s announcement comes a few days after the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political action group, announced that it would spend $52 million to support the president and other Republican candidates in the 2020 election cycle, a sum the group called a record.
The group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, a former chairwoman of the 2016 Trump campaign’s Pro-Life Coalition, said in a statement that Mr. Trump’s attendance at the March for Life “signals a watershed moment for the pro-life movement.”
The March for Life, which has its headquarters in downtown Washington, says its mission is to “promote the beauty and dignity of every human life by working to end abortion — uniting, educating, and mobilizing pro-life people in the public square.”
On Twitter, Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the president’s announcement “a desperate attempt to divert attention from his criminal presidency and fire up his radical base.”
Writing in the conservative news outlet The Daily Wire on Wednesday, Russell T. Vought, Mr. Trump’s acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, called him “the most pro-life president in history” and celebrated what he called “a golden chapter for our movement.”
President Trump on Monday pushed back on a firsthand account from his former national security adviser, John R. Bolton, about tying military aid for a foreign ally to his own personal agenda, as senators consider the president’s future in the Oval Office.
“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens,” Mr. Trump wrote just after midnight, referring to a widely debunked theory that the president had pursued about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.
In an unpublished manuscript of his upcoming book, Mr. Bolton described the White House decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine until he left the White House in September. As national security adviser, Mr. Bolton would have been involved in many of the high-level discussions about Ukraine.
I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book. With that being said, the…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2020
Mr. Bolton’s account directly undercuts one of Mr. Trump’s defense arguments, that the frozen funding was not connected to his petitioning of Ukraine’s leader, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to help him in the 2020 presidential election by announcing an anticorruption investigation into the Bidens.
The new details come at a time when senators approach making a final decision — possibly by the end of the week — on whether to allow new evidence and new witnesses, like Mr. Bolton, to be introduced in Mr. Trump’s trial in the Senate. Mr. Trump’s defense team started presenting his defense on Saturday and has through Tuesday to argue against his removal from office.
Hours after his midnight posts, Mr. Trump falsely stated that the Democrats never asked Mr. Bolton to testify during the House impeachment inquiry last year. Republicans and Mr. Trump’s defense team have argued that to call witnesses at this stage in the impeachment proceedings amounts to Democrats telling the Senate to do the work the House did not.
Mr. Trump also falsely claimed that his White House released the critical military aid to Ukraine ahead of schedule.
Democrats have been pushing the Republican-led Senate to allow new witnesses, and others could include Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff who played a key role in the Ukraine pressure campaign. A handful of Republican senators had indicated they would be open to hearing new witnesses, but by the end of last week, there were few signs that they would vote with Democrats on the matter.
“There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the president’s defense,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, said in a joint statement on Sunday after The New York Times’s article about Mr. Bolton’s account was published.
Mr. Bolton’s potentially explosive details about Mr. Trump’s motivations for freezing the military aid could provide the impetus that could potentially sway some Republican senators to reconsider hearing new testimony.
Mr. Bolton’s lawyer blamed the White House for the disclosure of the book’s contents, which Mr. Bolton submitted for a standard security review 12 days after the House impeached Mr. Trump. It is possible that the submission of Mr. Bolton’s book to the White House deepened desires to keep Mr. Bolton from testifying.
In his manuscript, Mr. Bolton describes an effort, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, to push Mr. Trump to release the aid. Mr. Bolton said he also spoke with Attorney General William P. Barr about his concerns over the parallel diplomacy with Ukraine led by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani. Mr. Barr, whom Mr. Trump mentioned in his July phone call with Mr. Zelensky, has tried to distance himself from Mr. Giuliani and the Ukraine matter.
Mr. Bolton, who has said he would testify at the Senate trial if he was subpoenaed, wrote in the manuscript that Mr. Pompeo told him privately that there was no basis to criticize the American ambassador to Ukraine at the time, Marie L. Yovanovitch. Career diplomats have testified that there was no justification to fire Ms. Yovanovitch. Mr. Giuliani and two of his associates had been pushing Mr. Trump to fire her since the spring of 2018.
US Census Bureau figures show that in 2018, UK exports to New York, California, Texas and Georgia were worth more than $5bn (£3.8bn) per state in 2018.
Paul Grossman, director of US trade at OCO Global, a Belfast-based trade and investment consultancy firm that works with DIT, said billions more dollars worth of trade with these states could be added through enhanced diplomacy targeted at the state level, for example to create opportunities for government procurement and remove non-tariff barriers.
In March, OCO Global is managing a trade mission of 10 states – including Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and Oregon – to London to meet officials from DIT.
“The states recognise that it’s a time in history when they can recoup the benefit of building strong relationships with the businesses that the UK Government helps to export,” Mr Grossman said. “If you want to get the work done – the doors opened and the deals closed – that’s done at the state level.”
The former trade secretary Liam Fox proposed last week that Boris Johnson should negotiate agreements with individual US states as a backstop while he tries to strike a post-Brexit free-trade agreement with America, which it is hoped would focus minds in Brussels to seal an EU-UK deal by the end of this year so that the Brexit transition period does not need to be extended.
US basketball ace one of nine killed in disaster
He was one of the greatest players in the history of basketball. The worlds of sport and showbusiness are today mourning Kobe Bryant, who has been killed in a helicopter crash in California. The ex-Los Angeles Lakers star, 41, died alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. As US Correspondent David Millward reports, witnesses said that visibility was poor and the hills enveloped in fog before the aircraft plummeted to the ground in Calabasas and burst into flames. Bryant called Gianna “Mambacita” after his own court nickname “Black Mamba”, confident she would follow in his footsteps. He had enjoyed a 20-year career with the Lakers, making the all-star NBA team 18 times, and was also an Olympic gold medal winner. Oliver Brown writes that Bryant was a force of nature who transcended his sport.
Health chiefs accused of coronavirus errors
Potential British carriers of the coronavirus may have been wrongly told they only need to be tested if they have “the sniffles”. UK public health bosses are accused of leaving the door open to the deadly outbreak after official advice was thrown into doubt. China said that, unlike the SARS outbreak, infected people can spread the virus for up to two weeks before showing signs of the disease. But Public Health England has so far advised that people should only be offered tests if they display flu-like symptoms. Read an exclusive interview with a potential British “super-spreader”, revealing he had not been offered screening since returning to the UK – despite visiting a fish market at the centre of the epidemic.
Three people are being monitored at hospitals after they showed signs of the novel coronavirus infection, the Virginia Department of Health says. Four cases of the illness have been confirmed in the United States, and several possible cases are being investigated across the country.
The death toll in China from the virus has risen to 56. As of Sunday afternoon, four U.S. cases have been confirmed in Chicago, Washington state and two in southern California.
Two of the Virginia patients under investigation for the new virus — called 2019-nCoV by disease experts — are in the central part of the state, and one is is northern Virginia, according to the department’s website.
Beginning Jan. 27, the Virginia Department of Health will post the number of patients under investigation who meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria for 2019-nCoV testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the VDH novel coronavirus webpage. To protect patient confidentiality, specific details about these patients will not be provided.
“Public health is working closely with these patients and anyone who was in close contact to prevent the spread of illness,” the agency said.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and trouble breathing, and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.
The patients in Los Angeles and Orange counties are both returning travelers from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, according to health officials. The Orange County patient is in isolation at a hospital and in “good condition,” according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. The Los Angeles County patient, confirmed Sunday, sought medical treatment after not feeling well, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Closer to home, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigated a possible case of coronavirus infection in the state which turned out not to be the new disease, the department confirmed Sunday. The patient had mild respiratory symptoms and is at Duke University Hospital. Officials said the patient recently passed through Wuhan, China, before returning to North Carolina via Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jan. 23.
According to the CDC, coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that cause illnesses both in humans and animals. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect people. The new virus is officially referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”
While there is currently no vaccine for this novel coronavirus, you can take preventative actions every day to help stop the spread of this and other respiratory viruses, including:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Stay home when you are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Clinicians in Virginia who see a patient who shows signs of the coronavirus should Obtain a detailed travel history for patients with fever and acute respiratory illness.
If a patient meets the criteria of a patient under investigation in association with the outbreak of the coronavirus:
Ask the patient to wear a surgical mask.Evaluate the patient in a private room with the door closed, ideally in an airborne infectionisolation room if available.Use standard, contact and airborne precautions, and eye protection (e.g., goggles or faceshield).Immediately notify infection control personnel and your local health department.
At this time, only the CDC laboratories in Atlanta have the capabilities to test for the coronavirus, though it is expected that state public health laboratories will be able to test soon.
Researchers around the globe are still determining precisely how the virus spreads. Many patients in the Wuhan outbreak had visited a large seafood and animal market, but a growing number of patients have no connection.
Last Sunday on Fox News’ Chris Wallace showed to Alan Dershowitz (Donald Trump’s impeachment defense attorney) a 1998 video wherein he argued “exactly the opposite of what you’re arguing today” on impeachment.
Wallace first challenged Dershowitz on his constitutional basis for fighting Trump’s impeachment.
“I want to talk about the framers, because you keep bringing them up,” Wallace began. “In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton argues that a criminal offense is not essential to impeachment.”
Explaining that founder George Mason was concerned by the conduct of a “former British official in India who had been accused of mismanagement,” Wallace told Dershowitz, “Neither of these cases is there any mention of breaking a specific criminal statute.”
“Let’s start with mismanagement,” Dershowitz replied. “Yes, that was a criteria in England and that was rejected by the United States. That was one of the elements that was introduced by the framers and it was rejected.”
“That’s not true,” Wallace shot back. “George Mason was one of the people who came up with ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ and he meant to include things like misconduct and abuse of power.”
Later, Wallace resurfaced the 1998 clip of Dershowitz discussing former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
“I do want to point out that, we want to listen to a couple of people who — you bring up the impeachment trial — who argued exactly the opposite of what you’re arguing today,” Wallace said, rolling footage vintage Dershowitz insisting there “certainly doesn’t have to be a crime” for a president to be impeached.
“Professor Dershowitz, let me ask about this, because when you argue that case … I find it very hard to believe that you had not studied the only other presidential impeachment in history, which was the [Andrew] Johnson impeachment,” Wallace said. “So suddenly discovering that the key issue is what Justice] Curtis argued in 1860, you’re too good a lawyer not to have studied that back in 1998.”
Dershowitz attempted to argue that in 1998, Clinton was charged with a crime, but Wallace zeroed in on the recorded argument. “We just put the sound up … you said it doesn’t have to be a crime.”
“I did say that then,” Dershowitz replied. “And then I’ve done all the extensive research, I’ve been immersing myself in dusty old books and I’ve concluded that no, it has to be a crime. It doesn’t have to be a technical crime.”
The lawyer went on to list other people who’ve changed their views since the Clinton impeachment.
“That’s what scholars do,” Dershowitz claimed.
“It’s also what lawyers do,” Wallace retorted. “Which is depending on the facts of the case and the side they’re arguing, they find an argument to make.”
While public focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as a novel virus source, a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.
The paper, written by a large group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The earliest case became ill on 1 December and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace either. “That’s a big number, 13, with no link,” says Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Georgetown
Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December—and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January.
Lucey says if the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November—if not earlier—because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan and perhaps elsewhere before the cluster of cases from the city’s now infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. “The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace,” Lucey asserts.
The Lancet paper’s data also raises questions about the accuracy of the initial information China provided, says Lucey. At the beginning of the outbreak, the main official source of public information was notices from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. Its notices on 11 January started to refer to the 41 patients as the only confirmed cases and the count remained the same until 18 January. The notices did not state that the seafood market was the source, but repeatedly noted that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission and that most cases linked to the market. Because the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission noted that diagnostic tests had confirmed these 41 cases by January 10 and officials presumably knew the case histories of each patient, “China must have realized the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market,” Lucey tells ScienceInsider. (Lucey also spoke about his concerns in an interview published online yesterday by Science Speaks, a project of the Infectious Disease Society of America.)
Kristian Anderson, an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego who has analyzed sequences of 2019-nCoV to try to clarify its origin, says the 1 December timing of the first confirmed case was “an interesting tidbit” in The Lancet paper. “The scenario of somebody being infected outside the market and then later bringing it to the market is one of the three scenarios we have considered that is still consistent with the data, he says. “It’s entirely plausible given our current data and knowledge.” The other two scenarios are that the origin was a group of infected animals or a single animal that came into that marketplace.
Anderson on 25 January posted on a virology research website his analysis of 27 available genomes of 2019-nCoV. It suggests they had a “most recent common ancestor”—meaning a common source—as early as 1 October.
Bin Cao of Capital Medical University in Beijing, the corresponding author of the Lancet article and a pulmonary specialist, wrote Science in an e-mail that he and his co-authors “appreciate the criticism” from Lucey.. “Now It seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,” he wrote in an e-mail to ScienceInsider. “But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now.”
Lucey notes that the discovery of the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a sometimes fatal disease that occurs sporadically, came from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June 2012 but later studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April of that year. Stored samples from two people who died in Jordan confirmed that they had been infected with the virus. Retrospective analyses of blood samples in China from people and animals—including vendors from other animal markets–may reveal a clear picture of where the 2019-nCoV originated, he suggests. “There might be a clear signal among the noise,” he says.