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Chinese spy balloons reportedly flew near U.S. military bases while Donald Trump was president, but the balloons were categorized at the time as “unidentified aerial phenomena” — commonly referred to as unidentified flying objects or UFOs.
Bloomberg first reported that the balloons had been spotted near bases in Guam, Norfolk, Virginia, and Coronado, California, according to "people who requested anonymity to discuss intelligence matters."
Balloons were said to have also been seen near Texas, Florida, and Hawaii during Trump's presidency, the people said.
The balloons that overflew Guam and Norfolk were thought to have radar-jamming capabilities, while the flights near Norfolk, where the US stations aircraft carriers, came around the time China was launching its own such vessel.
The balloons near Norfolk and Coronado both flew at a lower altitude over the ocean, but within US air space, according to the officials who served during the Trump administration.
The report said that balloons found during Trump's presidency were smaller in size and miscategorized as “unidentified aerial phenomena” by officials at the time.
Bloomberg's sources said the balloons were discovered after Trump left office because intelligence gathering on the aircraft improved in response to China's continued use of the spy vehicles.
Trump told Fox News on Sunday night that the incidents during his administration "never happened."
GOP lawmakers push for the state to take control of Disney’s special tax district; DeSantis would pick the board members
A legislative proposal introduced Monday in the Florida Legislature would rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District that has been controlled by Disney World in Central Florida for more than 55 years and replace it with a new board selected exclusively by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The 189-page proposal (HB 9B) is being sponsored in the Florida House by Representative Fred Hawkins, who represents parts of Orange and Osceola counties in the Legislature.
The measure would rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District to the “Central Florida Tourism Oversight District” and would consist of five members, all appointed by DeSantis upon confirmation of the Florida Senate.
Each of the five board members would serve for a term of four years and could not serve more than three consecutive terms. The measure bans anyone who has been a theme park employee, officer or director in the past three years from serving on the board, along with their relatives.
The legislation says that “consideration” should be given for members to come from a broad range of fields including, but not limited to, experience in accounting, business management, construction, cybersecurity or data privacy, engineering and environmental sciences.
The bill says that for a transitional period of no longer than two years, the district may continue doing business using “Reedy Creek Improvement District” as a fictitious name to provide sufficient time to make the necessary changes.
The Walt Disney corporation weighed in on the proposal on Monday afternoon.
“We are monitoring the progression of the draft legislation, which is complex given the long history of the Reedy Creek Improvement District,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year.”
The bill will come up for its first hearing in the House State Affairs Committee, which has not yet scheduled its next meeting.
Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani, of Orlando, responded quickly to the legislation:
“They should rename the district to ‘Disney is the Governor’s Political Prisoner’ since that’s pretty much what this bill does; it’s a power grab by DeSantis and allows him to appoint more of his friends into positions of power and potentially push contracts towards his friends too. All the while censoring Disney and their ability to express First Amendment rights and defend LGBTQ+ people. It’s a gross farce at corporate accountability.”
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In a post to Truth Social this Monday, former President Donald Trump announced that he'll be suing the panel that awarded Pulitzer Prizes to to The New York Times and The Washington Post.
"The Pulitzer Board should have long ago rescinded awards given to the Washington Compost (known to some as the Washington Post) & the Failing NY Times for their fake stories on the Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax," Trump wrote. "However, Pulitzer refuses to do the right thing! The Hoax has now been further exposed by the devastating, irrefutable piece in the Columbia Journalism Review, and Pulitzer has no comment. I am suing the Pulitzer Board to set the record straight and continue fighting for TRUTH in America!"
Towards the end of his presidency, Trump sued The Times, The Post, and CNN for running stories alleging that his 2016 campaign "colluded" with Russia. As of this Friday, all those cases have been dismissed.
As Newsweek points out, Trump's Monday Truth Social post was likely sparked by a recent harsh critique in the Columbia Journalism Review that slammed the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting in the two outlets, saying it "wound up being significantly flawed or based on uncorroborated or debunked information."
Last year, the Pulitzer panel said it was standing by the awards after an independent review determined "no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes."
Federal court records searched by Newsweek show that Trump hasn't yet followed through with this threat to sue the panel.