The Biden administration has put oil talks with Venezuela’s strongman, Nicolas Maduro, on hold after receiving blowback from bipartisan lawmakers and the Latin American country’s democratic opposition. But the prospect of a deal is still on the table, U.S. sources said, as gas prices soar and the administration seeks alternative sources of crude in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two sources in Venezuela’s opposition told The Miami Herald on Friday that the administration was already moving last weekend toward a deal with Maduro on oil imports, and, during a controversial visit to Carac...
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George Conway asks followers for Trump 2024 campaign slogan ideas -- here are the funniest suggestions
Attorney George Conway on Thursday reached out to his followers to come up with potential slogans for former President Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign -- and he was inundated with comical replies.
Conway got the ball rolling with his own suggestion, which was, "Take the Fifth 440 Times and Fight," a reference to the fact that Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination more than 400 times during a civil lawsuit deposition on Wednesday.
One of Conway's followers quickly chimed in with a play on former President Ronald Regan's winning 1984 campaign message: "It's Suborning Again in America."
Another follower, meanwhile suggested a play on one of Trump's own campaign refrains while incorporating the FBI investigation into the former president illegally taking classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago: "Promises Made, Classified Documents Kept."
Follower Greg Joslyn, staying with the theme of Trump's handling of classified material, suggested, "A Torn Up Document in Every Pot."
Follower Linda Williams pitched a slogan that incorporated a potential prison sentence for the former president: "Trump... 20 to 24 years."
And Berkeley law professor Orin Kerr thought that Trump's 2024 run could be accurately summed up as, "Return to Abnormalcy."
A British man accused of being part of an Islamic State (IS) kidnap-and-murder cell known as the "Beatles" appeared in court in London on Thursday on terrorism charges after returning to the UK.
The Metropolitan Police said Thursday that 38-year-old Aine Davis had "been charged with various terrorism offenses following an investigation by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command".
Davis appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London on Thursday morning flanked by two suited police officers.
Sporting a short beard and wearing a grey T-shirt, Davis spoke only to confirm his full name and that he was of no fixed abode.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring remanded him in custody, saying that there would be no bail application due to the likelihood that he might abscond and his "propensity to travel on forged documents".
He faces three counts under terrorism laws, two related to terrorism fundraising and one related to possessing a firearm.
Davis was allegedly a member of the IS cell that held dozens of foreign hostages in Syria between 2012 and 2015 and was known to their captives as the "Beatles" because of their British accents.
He converted to Islam and adopted the name Hamza, the Criminal Prosecution Service said in a statement. It said he had been deported to the UK by Turkish authorities.
The Met, which leads anti-terror investigations in the UK, said they arrested Davis after he landed at Luton airport on a flight from Turkey.
Goldspring said in court that if Davis is convicted, he will face "years, not months" in prison.
The case was referred to the Crown Court, with the next pre-trial hearing set for September 2 at the Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey.
The four members of the "Beatles" are accused of abducting at least 27 journalists and relief workers from the United States, Britain, Europe, New Zealand, Russia and Japan.
Two have already been brought to justice and one was killed.
They were all allegedly involved in the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.
The quartet allegedly tortured and killed the four American victims, including by beheading, and IS released videos of the murders for propaganda purposes.
Alexanda Kotey, a 38-year-old former British national extradited from the UK to the US in 2020 to face charges there, pleaded guilty to his role in the deaths last September and was sentenced to life in prison in April.
El Shafee Elsheikh, 34, another former British national also extradited to the US at the same time, was found guilty of all charges in April, and will be sentenced next week.
The other "Beatles" executioner, Mohamed Emwazi, was killed by a US drone in Syria in 2015.
Elsheikh and Kotey were captured in January 2018 by a Kurdish militia in Syria and turned over to US forces in Iraq before being sent to Britain.
They were eventually flown to Virginia in 2020 to face charges of hostage-taking, conspiracy to murder US citizens and supporting a foreign terrorist organisation.
Davis served a seven-and-a-half-year sentence in Turkey for membership in the terrorist group, according to reports.
In 2014, his wife Amal El-Wahabi became the first person in Britain to be convicted of funding IS jihadists after trying to send 20,000 euros -- worth $25,000 at the time -- to him in Syria.
She was jailed for 28 months and seven days following a trial in which Davis was described as a drug dealer before he went to Syria to fight with IS.
A warrant was issued in 2015 at Westminster Magistrates' Court for Davis's arrest over possession of a firearm for suspected terrorist purposes between 2013 and 2014, the CPS said.
The arrest warrant also referred to requesting and passing on money while knowing or suspecting it would be used for "the purposes of terrorism", the CPS said.
Pharmacy giant Walgreens "substantially contributed" to San Francisco's opioid crisis by shipping hundreds of thousands of "suspicious orders" of highly addictive prescription drugs as part of a profit-driven "fill, fill, fill culture," a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
"Walgreens pharmacies in San Francisco dispensed hundreds of thousands of red-flag opioid prescriptions without performing adequate due diligence."
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in the non-jury trial means that Walgreens can be held liable for much of the California city's opioid epidemic. Breyer said he will hold another trial to determine Walgreens' liability, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
"Walgreens pharmacies in San Francisco dispensed hundreds of thousands of red-flag opioid prescriptions without performing adequate due diligence," Breyer wrote in his ruling, which stems from the City and County of San Francisco v. Purdue Pharma case—popularly known as the Opioid Trial—which is classified as a "bellwether case" by federal courts due to its potential nationwide implications. Walgreens was the only company that did not reach a settlement with the city.
"The evidence showed that Walgreens did not provide its pharmacists with sufficient time, staffing, or resources to perform due diligence on these prescriptions," wrote Breyer.
Peter Mougey, an attorney representing San Francisco and other municipalities in opioid lawsuits, told The Washington Post that "Walgreens has hidden, covered up, and run from the truth throughout the entirety of this five-year litigation."
"Walgreens knew its system to detect and stop suspicious orders was nonexistent but continued to ship opioids at an alarming pace to increase profits," added Mougey. "San Francisco is now one step closer to starting the healing process."
As the Post notes:
Opioid overdoses, including heroin and fentanyl, have skyrocketed in San Francisco, where there was a 478% increase in those deaths between 2015 and 2020, climbing to 584, according to data from the city. Opioid-related emergency room visits tripled at the same time, at nearly 3,000 in 2020...
During the trial, city officials testified about the extent that the crisis infiltrated everyday life. Needles were removed from the city's parks "like changing out the toilet paper in the restrooms," a park ranger said. When paramedics respond to someone who has no pulse and is not breathing, they assume it's an opioid overdose.
According to the Chronicle:
Between 2006 and 2020, Walgreens distributed more than 100 million prescription opioid pills to pharmacies in San Francisco while failing to take actions to identify suspicious prescriptions or prevent their illegal and harmful use... San Francisco also sued seven drug manufacturers and distributors but settled its claims against them for $120 million. The companies are Allergan, Teva, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson and its three distributors, McKesson, Cardinal, and AmerisourceBergen.
The San Francisco City Attorney's Office hailed Breyer's ruling as "a major victory." San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu, a Democrat, said during a Wednesday press conference that "there is no amount of money that will bring back the lives lost. There's nothing that we're going to be able to do to reverse that tragedy, but our city continues to need resources to adequately address suffering on our streets and the tragedies that continue with that."
In an interview with The San Francisco Standard, Chiu noted that "this is the first bench trial that has found against Walgreens, and I think it's reflective [of] the fact that we put in the significant evidence that demonstrates their liability for creating the incredible public nuisance and tragedy that we're seeing on our city streets, as well as across America when it comes to the opioid crisis."
Paul Geller, who also represented San Francisco in the case, told the Post he hopes Breyer's ruling "is distributed as required reading in Big Pharma boardrooms throughout the country" because it "ought to be a wake-up call for companies [to] help ensure this never happens again."
Walgreens spokesperson Fraser Engerman told the Post the company will appeal the ruling, arguing that "we never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor did we distribute them to the 'pill mills' and internet pharmacies that fueled this crisis."
Wednesday's decision follows a $683 million opioid-related settlement between Walgreens and the state of Florida in May, as well as an Ohio jury's November 2021 conclusion that the nation's three largest pharmacy chains—CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart—recklessly distributed a deluge of pills in two of the state's counties.