Lima Charlie News U.S./Washington End-of-Week Briefing – AUG5
With the US Presidential Primary Season officially complete, the first presidential debate is scheduled for September 26. Stay tuned for Lima Charlie’s coverage of the 2016 Presidential #GeneralElection.
On AUG5, the #Trump campaign announced it has raised 80 million dollars in July for the #GOP candidate’s presidential bid and the #Republican Party. This places Trump in an almost dead heat with his #Democratic rival, almost erasing the huge financial disadvantage between the two camps in the span of just 2 months.
The figures released by Donald Trump’s campaign suggest that Mr. Trump has the potential to be the first GOP nominee whose campaign could be financed primarily by grass-roots supporters pitching in 25 or 10 dollars per person. The symbolism of this event echoes the success of former Democratic presidential hopeful, #BernieSanders.
On AUG5, GOP Presidential Nominee Donald Trump announced his new team of financiers and businessmen as his core economic advisers. The decisions will bring high-profile names to his inner circle, including self-made oil billionaire Harold Hamm, former chief executive of steelmaker Nucor Dan #DiMicco, founder of Vornado Realty Trust #SteveRoth, and real estate investor #TomBarrack. Also among the names is Peter Navarro of the University of #California at Irvine, who holds a doctorate in economics.
Mr. Trump released a statement on the decision, announcing: “I am pleased that we have such a formidable group of experienced and talented individuals that will work with me to implement real solutions for the economic issues facing our country. For too long we have watched as #PresidentObama and #HillaryClinton have ruined our economy and decimated the middle class. I am going to be the greatest jobs President our country has ever seen. We will do more for the hardworking people of our country and Make America Great Again.”
On AUG5, #GOP Nominee #DonaldTrump endorsed House Speaker #PaulRyan, at a Green Bay #Wisconsin rally at 8 PM on Friday. The backing comes just days ahead of Ryan’s Tuesday primary head-to-head with challenger #PaulNehlen. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Trump had said, “I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country. We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.” Former Presidential primary rival, #BenCarson, however, has noted that Trump will likely “come on board.” Ryan had endorsed Trump back in June, after much public deliberation over the decision.
On AUG3, Democratic Nominee Hillary #Clinton held a rally in #Colorado, beginning her speech with a dig at her GOP rival. “I want to say hello to the overflow crowd who couldn’t get in,” she said, referring to the 1,000 people in a different auditorium watching via closed-circuit television. “We’re going to have to look for some bigger spaces when we come here.” She continued, “I actually really like fire marshals,” alluding to Trump’s previous comments on the city’s fire marshal’s refusal to allow his event to exceed capacity.
Clinton went on to make her case for improving public works systems, including roads, bridges, and streets. She discussed her commitment to work to reduce student debt loads and to push for common sense gun control.
Colorado has been considered a “purple” battleground state in the past handful of elections, but recently, the state suggests a more reliable Democratic-leaning. Clinton has also pulled back on her campaign’s advertising there. #Trump, however, has declared Colorado his must-win state.
On AUG5, Democratic Presidential Nominee #HillaryClinton spoke at a five-day conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The event marked the first formal news conference the Democratic nominee has held in more than 200 days. The Former Secretary of State joins a list of acclaimed speakers who have attended the convention focused on increasing minority presence and diversity presence in the media and press fields. These include Bob Dole, former President #BillClinton, #PresidentObama and former President #GeorgeWBush.
Clinton also discussed her recent email investigation, noting that she took “seriously” the problem of winning over voters’ trust. She corrected her mischaracterization of the FBI investigation and took shots at her #GOP rival, calling him dangerous for the country.
“We have to recognize that of course some of the appeal is xenophobic and racist and misogynistic and offensive…We have to acknowledge that — but let’s not lose sight of the real pain that many of Americans are feeling because the economy has left them behind.”
On AUG5, the local Detroit press announced plans for the #Democratic presidential candidate to appear at a fundraising event in #Birmingham next week, just two days after her GOP rival visits #Detroit. While the campaign has yet to confirm this, the event will mark Clinton’s first Michigan visit since dropping the #Michigan Democratic primary to Bernie Sanders. Trump won the state’s primary by as 12% margin, a state which a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won since George W. Bush’s victory over Michael Dukakis.
On AUG3, Billionaire tycoon #WarrenBuffett and Dallas Mavericks owner and tech entrepreneur #MarkCuban endorsed Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. While Trump has his own billionaire backers, such as Bakken oil developer Harold Hamm and investor #CarlIcahn, Wednesday’s endorsements mark another instance in the Clinton campaign’s efforts to undermine the entrepreneurial credentials of her GOP rival.
As of AUG5, #Libertarian Party presidential hopeful, #GaryJohnson, is 5 percentage points away from qualifying for the presidential debate stage. Currently, Johnson is at 7.4%, up from 4.5 %, by a realclearpolitics.com poll. As popular discontent for both parties’ nominees grows, he may have a real chance at shaking up the debates. To date, he has collected 1.4 million dollars and has just under 500,000 on hand, with his biggest donor being GTCR LLC. Johnson’s stance would seem to align more with that of Clinton, especially on social issues. He describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, adding “we don’t care what you are socially as long as you don’t force it on others.” However, his views coincide more with Trump, regarding “military interventions…that have made things worse, not better.”
While it is too early to definitively predict Johnson’s effect on this race, he is nearing the magic 15% threshold necessary to take his place next to the former Secretary of State and real estate mogul come September.
On AUG5, Gold Star father Khizr Khan issued a statement announcing, “I will do [this week] one million times, I will do it louder, I will do it forcefully. Now is the time for the rest of the world to see the true America, the decent America, the good America.”
Khan entered the spotlight following a speech he gave at the #DNC, in which he spoke of his son, Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, and criticized Donald Trump’s policies on immigration and a ban on Muslims entering the US.
This week, Khan noted that, although he has received hate mail and threats, the support he has garnered from strangers—amongst them college students, cabdrivers, and fellow Gold Star parents—has kept him going.
Khan responded to critics who say he shouldn’t have introduced his son’s death in the midst of a political event. He noted that attacking Trump was “worth the price” he had to pay. “Someday, and I’m a strong believer, that when we appear in front of our God,” he said, “I will have one thing to say about myself. That regardless of this, I preferred to comfort a scared heart.”
On AUG5, The #USStateDepartment announced that the Government of #Tunisia has successfully issued a 500 million dollar bond guaranteed by the United States of America. The loan guarantee, according to the Department’s statement, follows earlier guarantees in 2012 and 2014 underscoring the US’ enduring commitment to assist Tunisia in advancing its democratic transition.
The five-year sovereign bond on international markets is backed by a 100 percent guarantee by the US government and was priced at a coupon rate of 1.416%.
On AUG4, #USSecretaryofState #JohnKerry and Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra launched a High-Level Dialogue in #BuenosAires to continue a bilateral partnership between both nations. During the discussion, Argentina and the US agreed on the crucial necessity to address the humanitarian tragedy and global refugee crisis, in which Secretary Kerry lauded President Macri’s effort to receive 3,000 Syrian refugees in Argentina. Both parties agreed on implementing 1.2 million dollars in US assistance, in order to bolster Argentina’s contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations.
On AUG2, #US and #European officials confirmed that the #Obama administration secretly arranged a plane delivery of $400 million in cash on the same day that Iran released 4 American prisoners and formally implemented the nuclear agreement. The currency was obtained from central banks in the #Netherlands and #Switzerland and an unmarked cargo plane was loaded with Swiss francs, euros and other currencies. President Obama, however, insists that the payment was not ransom and no quid pro quo was in place for the money. “It’s against the policy of the US to pay ransom for hostages,” said White House spokesman #JoshEarnest. The 400 million was part of a trust fund, in place since the 70’s, as the money was placed into a US-based fund to aid American military equipment purchases almost four decades ago. When the Shah was ousted from power, thereby creating the Islamic Republic, the United States froze the trust fund and #Iran has been fighting for a return of the money ever since. According to President Obama, the 400 million, with 1.3 billion in interest, is saving the American taxpayers billions of dollars. The Iranians, he said, requested more than 10 billion dollars in arbitration.
The controversy arose because no mention of the secret transfer of 400 million in cash to Iran was made widely public until now. A group of Republicans have now called for an inquiry on the transfer of cash, with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton criticizing, “This break with long-standing U.S. policy put a price on the heads of Americans, and has led Iran to continue its illegal seizures.”
On AUG4, Saeed Abedini, one of the four hostages released in January, described the night he was let go. He commented to Fox Business Network, “I just remember the night that we’d been in an airport, just take hours and hours there. And I asked one of the…police that was with us, that, why are you not letting us to go to the…plane? And he told me we are waiting for another plane, and if that plane takes off, then we’re going to let you go…They didn’t talk about money. They just told us about the — they told me about the plane.”
The money is just the first installment of a 1.7 billion dollar settlement with Iran to resolve this decades-old conflict over a failed arms deal signed just before the 1979 revolution. The settlement was heard before #TheHague tribunal. Iranian press releases, however, have quoted Iranian defense officials as describing the cash as a ransom payment. Their leadership has not responded to questions regarding this allegation, however.
#Republicans in #Congress are also seeking to pass legislation restricting the Obama administration from making further payments to the Iranians. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford said, “Subsidizing Iran’s military is perhaps the worst use of taxpayer dollars ever by an American president.”
On AUG2, at the invitation of #PresidentObama, Singaporean #PrimeMinisterLeeHsienLoong made an official visit to the US to commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations and to enhance the bilateral strategic partnership.
As President Obama noted in his toast remarks, nearly 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson welcomed to the White House the first prime minister of a newly independent Singapore, the country’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. On Tuesday, the President and First Lady welcomed his son—a patriot, a political leader, and a statesman of a rising thriving Asia Pacific, as the President said.
In his speech, Prime Minister Loong spoke of this bilateral relationship in saying, “Our armed forces personnel have taken part together in international operations in Afghanistan and in the Middle East. They also train alongside each other on professional courses and joint exercises. I, myself, as a soldier, attending U.S. courses, have personally experienced the dedication, the competence, and the warmth of our hosts. I made good friends, and we still keep in touch after many decades. And they include Frank and Mary McGurk, who are my military sponsors at the Commander and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas nearly 40 years ago.”
Loong closed his speech, announcing “To mark the 50th anniversary of our relations, Singapore has named an orchid hybrid in honor of President and Mrs. Obama. And this is a hybrid of breeds native to Singapore and Hawaii, where the President was born — most of us believe,” a line which received much applause and laughter from attendees.
On AUG3, foreign ministers from the five #CentralAsian states convened in Washington, #DC for the second meeting of the C5+1. 2016 marks 25 years of bilateral relations between the US and all five #CentralAsian states. #SecretaryofState #JohnKerry hosted the conference between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. According to the State Department’s press release, the meeting marked the second ministerial conference of the parties, after the first gathering in the ancient city of Samarkand last fall. The group discussed regional security, economic connectivity, environment and climate change, and humanitarian issues. Secretary Kerry and the ministers also discussed five proposed projects developed by C5+1 working groups following the first ministerial visit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in November 2015. All the members have expressed a commitment to a joint approach to address regional issues of shared interest and to deepen the US’ relationship with the Central Asian states. The meeting comes on the eve of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the independence of the Central Asian states. In his opening remarks, Secretary Kerry declared intention to foster regional cooperation in trade, counterterrorism, and transport. He also announced plans to set aside 15 million dollars to boost clean energy projects in the region.
A joint statement (excerpted below) was also released on behalf of all parties to the meeting:
“The Secretary and the Foreign Ministers declare the intention of their countries to:
Enhance cooperation to prevent and counter transboundary threats and challenges such as terrorism, and the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, illicit drugs and human beings;
Contribute to global and regional efforts on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including by respecting the provisions of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in Central Asia and pursuing entry into force of the Treaty’s Protocol;
Continue support to Afghanistan and its development as an independent, peaceful, thriving state, recognizing that the situation in Afghanistan remains an important factor in security and stability of the entire region;
The Ministers express their gratitude to the United States for hosting this meeting of the Foreign Ministers in the “C5+1” format.”
On AUG3, the #WhiteHouse announced it is considering using economic sanctions to censure the Russian government for its “nefarious activities” in cyberspace. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted, “Economic Sanctions are something that we have used before and could potentially be used in preparing a proportional response to cyber threats.” In April of last year, the President signed an Executive Order, entitled “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” giving the US Treasury the power to levy sanctions against entities who commit cyber attacks or espionage in the US. Wednesday’s press conference constitutes the very first time the US Government has disclosed intentions to consider economic sanctions against Russia for an alleged cyber attack.
On AUG4, #DepartmentofHomelandSecurity Secretary #JehJohnson announced considerations to classify electronic polling stations nationwide as “critical infrastructure.” This categorization would entitle them to the same level of cyber-security precautions as the country’s financial sector and power grid. The move comes in the wake of the DNC email hacking, widely believed to have been carried out by the Russians. The country’s election infrastructure has not experienced major change since the Help America Vote Act of 2002, demonstrating that many of the stipulations are outdated.
On AUG3, the #USStateDepartment announced the designation of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Mohamed Abrini as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Executive Order 13224, imposing sanctions on foreign persons and groups determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten US security, the US economy, or foreign policy. According to a #StateDepartment press release, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) is a splinter group of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. The group, founded by a former TTP leader in August 2014, has staged multiple attacks in the region targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel, and law enforcement, and was responsible for the killing of two Pakistani employees of the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar in early March 2016. In late March 2016, JuA carried out the suicide assault at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan that killed more than 70 people—nearly half of them women and children—and injured hundreds more. The Easter Sunday attack was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan since December 2014.
The second designation, regarding Mohamed Abrini, comes in the wake of the November 2015 Paris Attacks and March 2016 Brussels attacks. In both cases Abrini’s ISIL cell was responsible for the terrorist attacks. Since his arrest on April 8, 2016 by Belgian authorities, Abrini has been identified as being “the man in white”—also known as “the man in the hat”—seen with two identified suicide bombers at Brussel’s Zaventem airport on March 22, just minutes before the attack that killed 16 people. Abrini is also believed to have taken part in the pre-attack surveillance for the November 2015 Paris attacks and to have assisted in planning attacks in the UK and Germany.
On AUG2, outgoing #NYPD Commissioner William #Bratton received high praise from colleagues in law enforcement, most notably #FBI Director James #Comey. In a statement, Comey remarked: “Bill Bratton is a giant of law enforcement, who has devoted decades to keeping the American people safe. He will be sorely missed; fortunately for all of us, he leaves behind not only safer cities, but also a legacy of great law enforcement leaders inspired by his example.” NYPD Chief James O’Neill will take over as Bratton’s successor. At his resignation speech, Bratton said, “There’s never a good time to leave, but there’s a right time. For me this is both a good time and it’s the right time.”
On AUG4, #Facebook announced plans to reduce what it terms “clickbait” news stories from publishers on its news feed, in order to continue to retain its 1.71 billion members. Certain types of headlines, for instance, will now be classified as clickbait, such as “those that withhold or distort information.” Such stories will appear less prevalently on the news feed. The social media site will manually classify tens of thousands of headlines with a “clickbait” score, to train its new algorithm. Clickbait articles tend to present intriguing headlines which suggest there is more to a story than there actually is, making the link more likely to be visited. The National Union of Journalists (#NUJ) has heralded the decision as an attempt to prevent the “sensationalizing” of stories to “trivialize” the news. It notes that the decision represents an important step on the path to present more “challenging public interest journalism that takes time to research and deliver.”
On AUG4, the world’s largest international maritime exercises concluded, hosted by US Pacific Fleet, #RIMPAC 2016. After more than one month of training events carried out in and around Southern California and the Hawaiian Islands, twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel marked the 25th in the RIMPAC series that began in 1971. The exercises were led by US Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, commander of the US 3rd Fleet, who served as the commander of the combined task force.
Other central leaders of the multinational effort included Commodore Malcolm Wise (Royal Australian Navy and head of the maritime component), Brig. Gen. Blaise Frawley (Royal Canadian Air Force and head of the air component), and Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore James Gilmour (leader of the amphibious task force.)
The event stands as a strong symbol of the unity that can flourish in a real-world situation between coalition forces on an international stage. “From the beginning harbor phase to the closing ceremony reception, the different nations have demonstrated their capability and proven themselves to be very adaptive during the entire exercise,” Tyson noted.
On AUG3, the first enlisted female #USNavy sailor earned the “dolphins,” qualifying to work aboard a submarine in preparation for a USS Michigan deployment. Chief Culinary Specialist Dominique Saavedra, of Los Angeles, was pinned with the silver honor, during a Puget Sound Baval Shipyard ceremony. The guided-missile submarine, with a homeport in Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, was recently reconfigured to include living space for up to three female chief petty officers and 36 female crewmembers. At the end of last week, #TheMichigan left dry dock and tied up at a neighboring pier. In the next 5 years, seven Ohio-class subs will add about 550 enlisted women, constituting 20% of the crews.
On JUL21, #Marines from the 3rd Division returned to #Guam for the first time since 1944, marching down streets on the day that heralds the island’s liberation from wartime Japanese forces during World War II. Wielding the colors of the nation, the Color Guard returned to a land which their division had aided in securing from Japanese occupation 72 years earlier. With the ascension to command of Major Gen. Richard L. Simcock II, the Division wanted to do something special for the nation that held such a prominent position in Marine Corps history. The event began with a B-52 flyover from Andersen Air Force Base and was accompanied by music from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band from #Okinawa.
On AUG2, the #USAirForce announced that the F-35 is officially ready for combat, a historic milestone for the US military. The F-35’s success over the last 15 years has been marred by quite a few technical issues and cost concerns, since Lockheed Martin first won its production contract. The stealth fighter comes with a 110 million dollar price tag, the most expensive weapon ever built for America’s military. The aircraft has been the subject of much controversy, given its costs and delays, with Arizona Senator John McCain calling the cost overruns “disgraceful” and adding that it has been a “scandal and a tragedy with respect to schedule and performance.” The first squadron to receive the advanced jet is the 34th Fighter Squadron at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base. Three models of the F-35 Lightning II will ultimately replace the legacy fighters used by the #USAirForce, #USMarineCorps, and #USNavy. The US Air Force has announced plans to buy 1,763 F-35A’s in total (in conventional landing and takeoff jets in the coming years), hoping to operate the largest F-35 fleet in the world.
On AUG2, a new #AirForce policy increased the maximum age for enlistment from 27 to 39, making the branch one of the best options for those who feel the call to serve later in life. In the Army, the maximum age for enlistment is 25, while in the Navy and Marines, the ages are 34 and 28, correspondingly.
On AUG3, #Pentagon officials confirmed that more than 30 active-duty American service members have contracted the mosquito-borne Zika virus in countries where the disease has been identified. One of these 30 individuals includes a pregnant woman, although the Pentagon has not released additional information on her condition. The Army is currently working in collaboration with outside scientists to develop a Zika vaccine.
#Army Medical Research and Material Command member, George Ludwig, said, “The Army has an interest in supporting development of countermeasures against Zika. Infectious diseases have traditionally been the greatest threat to soldier health and readiness both in the field and in garrison.”
On AUG5, 13 US soldiers will be heading to the #2016RioOlympics to compete alongside Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, and Kevin Durant in the quest for Olympic Gold. With the #OpeningCeremony on Friday, and in honor of soldier-athletes who have competed in the #Olympics since 1896, Lima Charlie presents a spotlight on these athletes’ profiles, courtesy of the official #USArmy G-4 Logistics Initiatives Group:
Olympic Event: 3,000m steeplechase
US Army Occupation: Financial Management Technician
Joined Army: July 2013
Hometown: Eldoret, Kenya
Olympic Event: Men’s 5,000-meter
US Army Occupation: Water Treatment Specialist (92W)
Joined Army: May 2014
Hometown: Iten, Kenya
Olympic Event: Double Trap
US Army Occupation: Sergeant 1st Class
Joined Army: 2006
Hometown: Katy, Texas
Olympic Event: 10,000-meter
US Army Occupation: Financial Management Technician
Joined Army: October 2014
Hometown: Eldoret, Kenya
Olympic Event: Men’s 10,000-meter
US Army Occupation: Motor Transport Operator (88M)
Joined Army: September 2015
Hometown: Iten, Kenya
Olympic Event: Air Rifle, Three-Position Prone Rifle
US Army Occupation: Watercraft Engineer (88L)
Joined Army: 2013
Hometown: Olympia, Washington
Olympic Event: Recurve Bow
US Army Occupation: Infantry 11B
Joined Army: 2005
Hometown: Alamosa, Colorado
Olympic Event: Women’s 100-meter Breaststroke
US Army Occupation: Healthcare Specialist (68W)
Joined Army: 2009
Hometown: Prescott, Arizona
Olympic Event: 50-meter Prone Rifle
US Army Occupation: Infantry (11B)
Joined Army: 2004
Hometown: Darlington, Wisconsin
Olympic Event: Race Walking
US Army Occupation: Dental Specialist (68E)
Joined Army: December 2000
Hometown: Evansville, Indiana
Olympic Event: Double Trap
US Army Occupation: Infantry (11B)
Joined Army: 2004
Hometown: Hillsgrove, Pennsylvania
Olympic Event: Pistol Shooting
US Army Occupation: Infantry (11B)
Joined Army: January 2001
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Olympic Event: Modern Pentathlon
US Army Occupation: Motor Transport Operator (88M)
Joined Army: January 2013
Hometown: Roswell, New Mexico
On AUG3, #PresidentObama commuted the sentences of more than 200 federal inmates, in his largest grant of clemency to date. His two-term total of clemency grants has now reached more than 500 commutations. This figure constitutes more than the previous nine presidents combined, according to the White House. Included in this list of federal inmates pardoned are 67 life sentences. Almost all the prisoners were serving time for nonviolent crimes, such as methamphetamine or cocaine related incidents, and almost all are men.
The administration’s decision has been met with sharp backlash, from critics who note that one in four of the 214 criminals had firearms convictions, and yet the President continues to push for harsher gun control laws.
On AUG4, #PresidentObama held his last press conference before the First Family’s annual summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. The President held the event just after meeting with the National Security Council, taking to the podium in the Pentagon Briefing Room around 4 PM. During the conference, the President spoke on issues from recent counter-ISIL gains to continued Russian support of the Syrian government’s attacks on opposition forces to the recent controversy on the administration’s 400 million dollar cash payment to Iran.
Specifically, President Obama noted that #ISIS militants will likely continue to pose a threat to the US even after the group is ousted from its main strongholds in Syria and Iraq. In particular, he mentioned, lone wolf-type attacks on soft targets are likely to continue. However, he added that the United States and its NATO allies cannot succumb to the threat posed by ISIS. He began his remarks by noticeably naming the prominent ISIL leaders that administration has killed, adding, “none of ISIL’s leaders are safe, and we are going to keep going after them.”
Obama was asked many questions about the GOP frontrunner, and attempted to halt any further queries during the conference, saying, “I thought I made myself pretty clear. I obviously have a very strong opinion about the two candidates who are running. One is very positive. And one is not so much.”
On AUG1, #Massachusetts became the first US state ever to ban employers from asking for salary histories from prospective hires. In what are considered the most robust equal pay laws in the country, Massachusetts’s new legislation prohibits employers from requesting this information until after they make a job offer that includes compensation. The applicant does have the option, however, to disclose their current or previous salary figure. Also as part of the new law, one stipulation requires employers pay men and women the same for “comparable work.” This marks a stark departure from the more strict wording of “equal pay for equal work,” as comparable work is defined as being “substantially similar” in skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, not strictly job title. While a handful of states have passed equal pay laws intended to close the gender wage gap—including #NewYork and #California—none go as far as Massachusetts, regarding the salary disclosure request ban.
On AUG2, the #DelawareSupremeCourt ruled the death penalty unconstitutional, imposing a temporary halt on death sentences. The state carried out its last execution four years ago and currently has 14 individuals on death row. In the nearly 150-page opinion, the court ruled that judges, instead of juries, hold too great a role in the issuance of a death sentence. According to the opinion, this violates the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. Although the decision can still be overturned by the General Assembly, such an action is considered highly unlikely as the State Senate and governor have publically announced intentions to sign the bill. As for those presently on death row, the Delaware Court’s ruling leaves their fates in limbo, as the state Attorney General has the power to appeal the ruling, as was done in Florida and Alabama. Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware commented, “As of today, Delaware no longer has a death penalty…We join the ranks of 19 other states in the United States without capital punishment. We call on all Delawareans to honor this ruling by our highest court and oppose any effort by the General Assembly to ‘fix’ our death penalty statute.”
#NationalNumbers #StockExchange #Jobs
#Gasoline #Oil #Silver #Gold #Copper
On AUG2, #US stocks achieved a milestone for the technology industry, as the five biggest companies in the world by market value were all US tech companies, for the first time. A tech sweep of the highest market rungs didn’t happen at the heights of the dot-com bubble and hasn’t occurred since. The companies which were part of the historic moment were #Apple, #Alphabet, #Microsoft, #Amazon, and #Facebook.
On AUG5, US stocks rallied to close higher after a stellar jobs report superseded #WallStreet expectations. Friday’s equity rally inched the S&P 500 and #Nasdaq Composite to close at all-time closing highs. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 54.87 points, or 1.1%, for its first record in more than a year. The S&P 500 index SPX closed up 18.62 points, or 0.9%, to 2,182.87. The #DowJonesIndustrialAverage rose 191.48% or 1%, to 18,543.53. This marked the large-cap benchmark’s first record since July 22. Defensive sectors like telecoms and utilities experienced a lag, while technology and financial stocks led the gains, up 1.2% and 1.9% respectively.
On AUG5, a strong jobs report suggested that Britain’s #BREXIT June 23rd decision didn’t have such a great effect on hiring plans for US companies. Unemployment remained at 4.9% and hourly pay continued to rise. Banks rose, by far, the most, as higher interest rates increased their profits on lending. Bank of America rose 57 cents and Citigroup increased $1.88.
On AUG5, wholesale #gasoline remained steady at $1.38 a gallon, while heating oil lost 1 cent to $1.32 a gallon. Natural gas, by comparison, dropped 6 cents to $2.77 per 1,000 cubic feet.
ON AUG5, #gold fell $23, or 1.7%, to $1,344.40 an ounce. This marked its biggest loss since May. #Silver, fell 63 cents, or 3.1%, to $19.82 an ounce, and #copper fell 2 cents to $2.15 a pound.
On AUG5, the #USDollar inched up to 101.75 yen from 101.17 yen and the euro fell from $1.1127 to $1.1091.
On AUG5, the #USLaborDepartment reported that the US economy added 255,000 jobs in July, smashing expectations of a 180,000 gain.
Lima Charlie News, with Special Ops by Nikita Roach
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