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The latest news from Life

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    how to lose a guy in 10 days paramount pictures

    • AMC Theatres now has over 380,000 members on its movie-ticket subscription service, AMC Stubs A-List.
    • A-List (and probably MoviePass) also helped the chain have its first yearly US attendance increase since 2015.


    AMC Theatres continues to capitalize in the wake of the MoviePass craze.

    The largest theater chain in the world announced a new milestone on Tuesday for its movie-ticket subscription service, AMC Stubs A-List. 

    In three months of being in existence, membership is now over 380,000. That's a 120,000-member increase during the last six weeks, according to the chain. And A-List members are seeing a wide variety of movies, as the company's data shows that subscribers have seen more than 363 different movie titles in just under three months.

    The popularity of A-List, and likely of MoviePass as well, has also led to AMC projecting its first yearly US attendance increase since 2015, though the release did not specify what the exact increase was. 

    “With 380,000 members enrolled in just three months, AMC Stubs A-List is demonstrating that it encourages moviegoers of all ages, locations and backgrounds to come to movie theatres more often, and they’re bringing family and friends along with them," Adam Aron, AMC Theatres CEO, said in the release. "The early success of this program is evident as AMC is projecting an attendance increase at our U.S. theatres for the first time in three years. This is very good for AMC, and very good for our guests and movie studio partners."

    With MoviePass scaling down to just catering to the occasional moviegoer, the only major competition AMC's "three movies per week for $19.95" a month plan has is Sinemia. 

    Following the survey from the National Research Group, which named the Sinemia's "two movies for $7.99 a month" plan as the most attractive for moviegoers, Sinemia announced an unlimited monthly plan for $29.99.

    There may be a new rivalry heating up in the battle for movie-ticket membership supremacy.   

    SEE ALSO: Emma Stone only had a couple of hours to train for that violent single-shot action sequence in Netflix's "Maniac," and she injured her wrist doing it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies

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    Big Mouth

    As the fall TV season gets underway, a few fan-favorite shows are returning with new seasons next month.

    To find out which returning series audiences are anticipating the most for October, the TV tracking app TV Time analyzed data from its 13 million global users to see which upcoming TV series viewers had followed the most frequently on its app.

    The list includes the upcoming seasons of Netflix shows like the animated comedy "Big Mouth" and "Marvel's Daredevil," along with the latest season of The CW's hit series "Riverdale."

    Here are the 5 returning shows that viewers are anticipating the most for October, according to TV Time:

    SEE ALSO: The 5 most anticipated new TV shows premiering in October

    5. "The Walking Dead" (Season 9) — Premieres October 7 on AMC

    Summary: "We see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick’s steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors."

    4. "Castlevania" (Season 2) — Premieres October 26 on Netflix

    Summary: "A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly beasts controlled by Dracula himself. Inspired by the classic video games."

    3. "Riverdale" (Season 3) — Premieres October 10 on The CW

    Summary: "While navigating the troubled waters of sex, romance, school and family, teen Archie and his gang become entangled in a dark Riverdale mystery."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (8 of 29)

    • I spent a month in Israel talking to Arab-Israeli leaders during one of the tensest summers in years — and they described dire poverty and increasing tensions.
    • At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling coalition were passing the Nation-State Law, which codifies the state's Jewish character, but which minorities in Israel have called "outright racism."
    • Chief among the Arab leaders I met with was Ayman Odeh. He has been likened to Martin Luther King Jr. by those sympathetic to his cause and a terrorist by Israel's ultranationalist defense minister.
    • Arabs, who make up 21% of Israel's population, suffer a litany of issues, from rampant crime and poverty to health, which Arab leaders say comes from decades of neglect from the Israeli government.

    The soldier stepped forward and looked down the hill. Fingering his assault rifle, he called to me, first in Hebrew, then, upon seeing my confusion, in English.

    I was walking up a narrow path at the edge of Sacher Park, the largest public park in Jerusalem and one that borders both the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, and the Supreme Court. Tall willowy cypresses stood sentinel on one side of the path, a cascading metal fence on the other.

    When I reached the point where the path met the Knesset service road, the soldier, athletic and younger than me, pointed at my camera. "What were you talking a photo of?"

    "The fence," I said. He seemed confused.

    "Do you know what you were taking a photo of?" he said.

    In Israel, a fence is never just a fence.

    "It looked pretty in the morning light," I said, trailing off, aware of my frivolousness in a country conditioned by violence and tension. I held out the camera and offered to delete the photo.

    He took my passport and questioned my intentions. I had a meeting at the Knesset, I told him. With Ayman Odeh, I added.

    Odeh is the Arab leader of the parliament's third-largest bloc, four Arab parties known collectively as the Joint List. He is likened to Martin Luther King Jr. by those sympathetic to his cause and a terrorist by Israel's ultranationalist defense minister.

    He is, in many ways, the first Arab leader of his kind in Israel. Whereas previous Arab or Palestinian leaders gained prominence through force of personality or association with the Palestinian struggle, Odeh has become one of the country's most high-profile politicians because he was elected to such a prominent position.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (4 of 29)

    "The fact that the third-largest party in the Israeli Parliament is a Palestinian front is extremely significant," Orly Noy, a leftist Iranian-Jewish political activist and journalist, had told me. "Just by existing it has had an impact on Israeli politics."

    I tried to see if Odeh's name registered any response, but the soldier's eyes looked askance at the service road. He asked a few more questions. I deleted the photo. The soldier flicked his head, his eyes fixed on the road. "Go."

    As I shuffled the quarter-mile to the Knesset, I kept asking myself a question that, as an American, has become almost reflexive after an interaction with authority: "What would that've been like if I wasn't white?" In Israel, the question is similar but tailored to the region: "What would that have been like if I was Arab?" "If I was Palestinian?"

    Arab-Israeli society is rife with issues, from crime to poverty to health

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (23 of 29)

    It's not a flippant question.

    Many of the issues that plague Israel's Arab community parallel those faced by minorities in the US. Arabs, who make up 21% of Israel, have a lower life expectancy than Jews, a higher infant-mortality rate, worse infrastructure services, and lower incomes, particularly among those with higher education. Nearly 50% of Arab-Israelis fall below the poverty line, compared to 13% of Jews, according to the most recent report, though that number is an improvement over recent years.

    The problem of crime and violence is particularly entrenched. A recent study conducted by the Knesset Research and Information Center found that 64% of murder victims over the past three years were Arabs, and 95% of all shooting incidents were related to the Arab population.

    In the months leading up to my visit to Israel, in July, the country had been rife with tension, as it always seems to be.

    Bloody protests in Gaza commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Nakba, the Arabic word for "catastrophe" — what Palestinians call the Israeli War of Independence and subsequent exodus of 700,000 Palestinian Arabs — and the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had, in turn, sparked protests in Arab-Israeli communities over the Israeli army's conduct during the protests. In Haifa, protests turned into clashes with police and left protesters bloodied or arrested.

    In June, the Jewish residents of the northern town of Afula protested the sale of a home to an  Arab family, with the former mayor saying they "don't want a mixed but rather a Jewish city, and it's their right. This is not racism."

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (12 of 29)Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (11 of 29)

    The news in Israel is always full of headlines on protests, clashes, foiled attacks, stabbings, and incidents between Arab-Israelis and police where fault is, it seems, in the eye of the beholder.

    But it goes beyond that. As the Israeli novelist Iris Leal wrote in May, "Israel's Arabs know they're second-class citizens and the most hated group in Israel."

    These things weighed on my mind as I passed through the successive security checks in an outer gatehouse that manages who goes into the Knesset: metal detector, passport check, X-ray machine.

    After I put my backpack through the X-ray machine, an officer took it aside and slowly dismantled every item inside, swabbing it methodically for bomb residue and passing each piece back through the X-ray.

    Matan Cohen, a goateed Israeli doctoral student at Columbia University, in New York, who serves intermittently as Odeh's foreign-policy adviser, smiled sheepishly as he waited for me, as if to say, This is what it is.

    We hurried down the path toward the Knesset, a squat rectangular building that looks more like a university library than a hall of power.

    Odeh invited me to the parliament to attend a special event on the problem of crime and violence plaguing Arab-Israeli society. Arab-rights activists, professors, police bigwigs, and Arab families of victims, among others, attended. Most of the Knesset members present were from the Joint List and the Zionist Union, the center-left opposition bloc.

    The atmosphere reminded me of a family reunion. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, and this contrasted with the grave issues being discussed.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (3 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (1 of 29)

    With Odeh busy running from committee room to committee room, Cohen, the foreign-policy adviser, played the part of tour guide and translator, stopping every so often to say hello to a leftist or Arab activist or staffer he knew.

    We sat in Odeh's office, where posters of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress hung on the walls. Cohen expounded on the state of Israeli politics, the economic effects of what he sees as de-facto segregation between Arabs and Jews, the shifting tilt of the Supreme Court — a "fig leaf" on Israeli democracy, he said — and the way Israel's "balancing act" between being a Jewish and democratic state creates problems.

    His views are not Odeh's — Odeh complains Cohen is too pessimistic — but he is one of Odeh's chief advisers. When Cohen was an undergraduate at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, he spearheaded a successful campaign to get the school to divest from Israel. He said that, at 17, Israeli forces shot him in the eye during a demonstration against the 285-mile separation barrier built in the early 2000s to separate the West Bank from Israel.

    "Whoever is more blatant, more discriminatory, more racist gets the votes," Cohen said of the state of Israeli politics today. "It's an uphill battle."

    The political drift in Israel is moving further and further right

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    It's impossible to talk about the Joint List, Odeh, or Arab society without outlining the state of Israel's politics.

    Perhaps no politician has proved more adept at navigating Israel's parliamentary system, its tenuous alliances, and nonstop wheeling and dealing than Benjamin Netanyahu. "King Bibi" has held power for nine years and counting, longer than any prime minister since David Ben-Gurion, Israel's founding father.

    He and his conservative Likud Party have won with a simple formula: a vice-like grip on its base, fear-based appeals about national security, and, with each successive government, a growing reliance on nationalist, right-wing, and ultra-Orthodox parties.

    Netanyahu and his allies have frequently played up anti-Arab sentiment to curry electoral favor with the far right. On Election Day 2015, with Likud failing in the polls, Netanyahu said Arab voters were showing up at polling stations "in droves" to drive turnout of his base. It worked.

    The collapse of Syria, the rise of ISIS, and the threat of a nuclear Iran have pushed Israel's politics to become dominated by national security — even more so than in the past. That tilt favors Likud since many Israelis see the left as weak.

    Labor, the main center-left party, was in power during the first and second intifadas, the Palestinian uprisings against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which coincided with a wave of terror attacks.

    At this point, the left has dwindled to 8% of the public, according to those surveyed in a 2016 Pew Research poll. In that poll, the right had swelled to 35% and 55% were in the center. But ideas that were once fringe have become mainstream. The same poll found that nearly half of the Jewish Israelis surveyed said they supported the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

    The effect is that left and center-left parties now try to appeal to right-wing voters, Noy, the leftist activist and journalist, told me.


    In 2015, Isaac Herzog, then the leader of Labor, ran a campaign with ads advertising that he understood "the Arab mentality," that he saw Arabs through "the crosshairs" of a gun, and at one point referred to Palestinians as a demographic threat, saying: "I don't want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel's Knesset. I don't want a Palestinian prime minister."

    Throughout the years, Netanyahu has accused the left of having "forgotten what it means to be Jews." Last year, Avi Gabbay, Labor's current leader, unironically repeated the sentiment.

    The feeling among many left-wing Israelis, according to Tel Aviv University professor Aviad Kleinberg, is that if Gabbay represents the left, they might as well vote for the right.

    Israel's Arab Parliament members face an uphill battle to be heard

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (2 of 29)

    On the day I visited the Knesset — while Odeh and his cohort were holding an event to talk about how to improve the lives of impoverished and violence-weary Arab-Israeli citizens — the ruling coalition was holding a joint-committee session debating the so-called Nation-State bill.

    Introduced in 2011 and debated sporadically in the years since, the bill was written as one of Israel's "Basic Laws," which collectively act as the de-facto constitution. The bill's apparent purpose is to set in stone the state's Jewish character, but critics decried the bill as "discriminatory," extreme nationalism, and "racist."

    The most contentious clause declared that "the State may allow a community, including followers of a single religion or members of a single nationality, to establish a separate communal settlement." Many suggested the bill as written could legalize segregation. One far-right Knesset member argued that the clause was necessary to push more Jews into areas dominated by Arabs.

    The bill was far from the only piece of controversial legislation the ruling coalition was attempting to push through before the summer recess in 10 days. Perhaps then it was understandable why Aida Touma-Sliman, a quick-witted Arab-Israeli lawmaker, feminist activist, and member of the Joint List, seemed exhausted when I met her in the Knesset cafeteria, a room ostensibly for members' only but rarely enforced. As we ate vegetarian sandwiches after a long day of meetings, she told me she'd been up nearly until dawn that day sitting through committee votes.

    When I asked her how she saw the Joint List in the political climate, her once jovial demeanor disappeared. "If anybody thinks that now is the time to lead huge initiatives related to the rights of any citizen or human being in this country, I think we have an illusion," she told me. "We are in a situation where we are trying to defend our community. We are in a defensive strategy more than anything else, because we are really that threatened."

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (5 of 29)

    One of the most prominent feminist activists in Israel, a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and a former journalist, Touma-Sliman does not suffer fools lightly. When I asked her what Odeh was like in his younger years — the two have known each other since he was in his 20s, and she refers to him as her "comrade" — she cut off the line of questioning. The political predicament doesn't have time for nostalgic reminisces.

    I asked whether Arab-Israeli MKs have raised the issue of violence in Arab society before.

    "One of the big lies in the Israeli media and the government is that we do not deal with the everyday rights and lives of our constituency," she said, and instead are too focused on solving the Palestinian question — the peace process, a two-state solution, conditions in the West Bank and Gaza.

    "We've been talking about the crime [in Arab society] for years now. The government didn't want to do anything and they didn't do anything. Then, when they wanted to deal with it, they blame us for it."

    Later in the day, Odeh gave a speech in front of the Knesset saying, "There is an unacceptable gap … between the declarations and the head nods on the importance of dealing with this phenomenon and the activity on the ground."

    Indeed, Arab-Israeli lawmakers have been sounding the alarm for close to a decade. In 2012 — three years before Touma-Sliman was elected — long-serving Arab-Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi held a special Knesset meeting to discuss the issue, which many felt had reached crisis levels. At the session, Netanyahu called the lives of Arab-Israelis "insufferable" and vowed to help solve the issue by integrating the communities into the economy and education system and increasing law-enforcement by earmarking $46 million for improvement plans.

    The issue came up again, in 2015, after a 100-page report detailed underfunding in nearly every facet of Arab public life, from policing to infrastructure. The report found that the per capita budget for residents of Arab towns was 10% less than residents of the poorest Jewish towns and as much as 45% less than wealthier ones.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (24 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (28 of 29)

    Shortly after, the government approved a $4.3 billion five-year plan, Resolution 922, to improve education, housing, and policing in Arab communities. About one-third of the money has been spent so far. Rather than specify the amounts of money used for programs, it directs government agencies to allocate 20% of their budget to minority populations. While Odeh and the Joint List were instrumental in negotiating the plan, other Joint List MKs and those in Arab civil society suggested the plan was a fraction of the funding needed to bring about real change.

    The government says it has seen improvements in the number of Arab students in higher education, and the rate of employment among Arab-Israelis. And some Arab mayors say they are feeling the positive effects on the ground. But many in Arab society say the situation with crime and violence has not improved and that much more needs to be done to bridge the massive gap that has built up over decades.

    Israel is riddled with impoverished, crime-ridden Arab villages and towns — and Jisr az-Zarqa is one of the hardest hit

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (27 of 29)

    In Jisr az-Zarqa, violence, poverty, and neglect have long been the norm. On a sunny Thursday morning, I drove with the Israeli human-rights activist Jafar Farah to the coastal Arab village, one of the poorest towns in Israel. It's prone to gang warfare, shootings, stabbings, and arson, and 80% of the 14,000 inhabitants live below the poverty line.

    Residents have complained of decades of police neglect — a police station for the village was opened for the first time in November — and said that when police are around, they treat residents as "a security threat or potential criminal." The distrust is bone-deep.

    Farah, who's 52 and has a head of curly gray-black hair, has devoted his life to improving the situation of Arabs in Israel. In 1997, he founded the Mossawa Center, in Haifa, a city long heralded as Israel's "model" city of Arab-Jewish coexistence.

    Farah winced as he shifted to get comfortable in his car seat. His leg had been in pain for months. In May, Farah was detained by police while he was looking for his son at a Gaza-solidarity protest. After seeing his son covered in blood at the police station, Farah demanded to know why. Farah said the officer's response was to kick him and break his knee. The Police Investigation Unit has opened a probe looking into the incident. The officer in question has been placed on administrative leave.

    We drove down Highway 2, the primary artery connecting Tel Aviv and Haifa. Farah pointed at a crowded expanse of gray cinderblock structures overlooking the highway. Though Jisr az-Zarqa abuts the highway, there's no exit. There were exits for the towns before and after. We drove farther south, doubled back on an interior road, and exited to a small two-lane access road that is the only way into the impoverished village. Farah told me to pull over. A police car was idling at the mouth of the road, stopping any car heading toward the highway.

    "I want to see how the police ... " he said, trailing off. His eyes were fixed on the officer talking to a man in a newish white sedan. "Policing is a big issue in the village."

    Farah has an acerbic sense of humor, honed after years of fighting what he sees as thinly veiled racist attacks on Arab communities. We drove through the one-lane tunnel that passes under Highway 2 and forms the entrance to Jisr. Farah pointed in each direction.

    To the east,he said, Jisr is bounded by the highway. To the south, Jisr is bounded by Caesarea, Netanyahu's hometown and a wealthy enclave of villas and private pools. An earthen embankment, nearly a mile long, 30-feet high, and 15-feet wide, was built more than a decade ago to separate the communities. Caesarea residents said they wanted to block the sound of the call to prayer from Jisr's mosques and to prevent thieves. Jisr residents see it as another example of official discrimination: a separation wall built so that wealthy Caesareans don't have to look at the dilapidated town.

    To the west there is the sea and the Nahal Taninim Nature Reserve, created in 2000 amid much consternation from Jisr's fishermen who used the lands and waters. To the north there's Ma'agan Michael, considered Israel's richest kibbutz, or collective community. The 1,400-person kibbutz covers a landmass five times that of Jisr, whose population density is more akin to Cairo than a fishing village. The town's mayor has estimated Jisr would need to double in size to properly accommodate its fast-growing population. Plans to add land to Jisr by moving the highway or from unused land near Caesarea or nearby Beit Hanania have been blocked by those communities.

    "The kibbutzim can't give back its agricultural lands, of course. Their fathers promised them those lands 3,000 years ago," Farah said with an acidic laugh as he looked out to Ma'agan Michael. "But, remember, they vote for Meretz," the social-democratic left-wing party.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (26 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (13 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (21 of 29)

    The problems that plague Jisr are extensive and interconnected: a weak education system, high crime rates, a lack of public services, insufficient housing, and high rates of unemployment, particularly among men. The men in the town used to make a living fishing off the coast, but scarcity and increased restrictions from the state have pushed most out. Many families now rely on income from the town's women, who pile into shuttles at dawn every morning to take on menial jobs all over the country.

    The majority of Farah's advocacy in Jisr and other Arab communities is about basic services: In 2013, Mossawa successfully lobbied to have Jisr connected by public buses. Other recent successes include the building of an early childhood center and a building for the social welfare department. But the center and department will be housed in the same location. "Not good," Farah said, shaking his head.

    Sewage systems, water, and electricity are other major issues. Near the southern edge of the town, Farah showed me how squat houses alternated with unfinished multistory concrete structures and ramshackle houses were built on top of one another. The government won't approve permits for new buildings because of the proximity to Caesarea, Farah said, so residents build upward illegally. The houses are linked by looping green cables that carry electricity from one legal structure to half a dozen illegal ones, like a perverse game of telephone.

    "At a certain point, we need to be advocating for higher education and not for sewage systems, you know?" he said.

    We parked at the city-council building, which is a series of trailers. The new police station, opened in November, is next door. Residents weary of violence applauded the development, but there was frustration, Farah said, that the city council had asked unsuccessfully for years for a permanent structure. It still isn't built. At the government's direction, the police station was built on land that the town council had hoped to use for development.

    That day, Farah and the town council were due to show Emanuele Giaufret, the EU's ambassador to Israel, the progress made by an EU-funded, Mossawa-coordinated project to empower the town to "maximize the economic potential." One of the main plans, in the works for years, is to turn the village into a tourist destination. Its coastline is spectacular, and the thought is that it could become a beach town.

    After a short presentation, residents led Giaufret and the other attendees on a guided tour. We drove down a sand road to the coast, flanked by scrub plants and the Taninim Stream. The tour guide, a young Arab woman, pointed out the ruins of a stone bridge and explained that the town derives its name, which means "bridge over the blue," from the bridge built to commemorate Kaiser Wilhelm II's visit to Palestine, in 1898.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (14 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (15 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (18 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (16 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (17 of 29)Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (19 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (20 of 29)

    As we walked along Tel Taninim, an ancient hill overlooking a wild and untouched Mediterranean beach, one of the women on the tour fainted. Her son splashed water on her face. She woke up and fainted again. It was ascertained that she was diabetic and didn't have insulin with her. Others tried to shield her from the sun with a scarf. Marwa Zoubi, Mossawa's social and economic program coordinator, turned to me.

    "This is the problem: The closest ambulance has to come from Caesarea," she said. "Because the highway doesn't connect to Jisr, it is 20 minutes away. The closest hospital is in Hadera, 30 minutes away." Jisr has no hospital, no post office, no social-security office, no bank, and no ATM, she added. There's little land to add any of those things.

    Ten minutes passed before a lifeguard came from a nearby beach and administered first aid. Later, a paramedic showed up to take the woman away. The tour continued.

    When it ended, the ambassador met the town council in a community center. Farah gave a speech and pulled no punches.

    "I know it's not an easy time to be an ambassador to this country," Farah said as he leaned between the lectern and a crutch. "Your position is either you support us here or we become refugees in Europe. I hope to not become a refugee in Europe."

    A law passed that Arab-Israelis believe is the state saying 'Don't even dream that you will be equal'

    OrenHazanNSB 3

    What Farah was referring to was unmistakable. At 3 a.m. that morning, the Knesset passed the Nation-State Law after a contentious and dramatic eight-hour debate. 

    The decorum in the Knesset often strays from civil — fistfights, cursing, and shouting are all par for the course — and the debate over a bill one Joint List member called "the death of democracy" did not disappoint.

    Odeh waved a black flag from the podium, Joint List MKs Tibi and MK Touma-Sliman shouted at Netanyahu, "You passed an apartheid law, a racist law" — to which, Netanyahu shouted "How dare you talk this way about the only democracy in the Middle East?" Jamal Zahalka, also of the Joint List, ripped up a printed copy of the bill. In the end, the law was softened in response to the criticism. The "exclusive communities" clause was replaced with one stating that the state sees "developing Jewish settlement as a national interest." Another dropped clause would have instructed courts to use Jewish ritual law when no legal precedents existed.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (9 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (10 of 29)

    But the criticism was swift, strong, and widespread. The American Jewish Committee said the law puts at risk "the commitment of Israel's founders to build a country that is both Jewish and democratic." Major Israel-backers Jewish Federations of North America and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews expressed concerns over discrimination.

    Eventually the EU joined the chorus. Mordechai Kremnitzer, a professor emeritus of the Faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in the left-leaning daily Haaretz that the law "raises the overt, blunt discrimination to the constitutional level."

    Hassan Jabaereen, the founder and general director of Adalah, a Palestinian-run legal center and human rights organization, told Business Insider that, even in its revised form, the law indicates that Arab-Israelis are not equal. By including a clause promoting "Jewish settlement" as a "national interest," Jabareen said, it shows that land and housing rights are not equal for Jews and Arabs.

    There are some indications that Netanyahu's coalition many have miscalculated with the law. Tens of thousands of Druze, the Arab group that serves in the military and is frequently held up as something like a model minority, have come out to protest the law as promoting inequality. In response, Netanyahu convened a committee to handle the uproar from Druze and other minority groups. A number of petitions, including one by the Joint List, have been filed against the law in the courts.

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    Ben-Dror Yemini, a columnist for Yediot Ahronot, Israel's paper of record, told me the law was a "provocation" and "stupid" but not racist. "It's an unnecessary law, but not a racist law. We don't need this kind of law because it won't change anything," Yemini said.

    On that last point Farah agreed. But whereas Yemini believes that discrimination in Israel is no worse or better than other Western nations, Farah told me that discrimination against Arabs is already widespread. The Nation-State Law only codified it.

    In the case of the Arabic language, Farah said, it has never been treated as an official language. The Knesset does not offer translation in Arabic and laws aren't translated. Most public services offer little Arabic in their literature, websites, and signs. And as far as "exclusive communities," lots of Israeli towns and kibbutzes already have admission committees, which critics say allow towns to prevent Arabs from moving in.

    "If we would use ‘I have a dream,'" Farah told me, "the law is saying, ‘Don't even dream that you will be equal.'"

    The leader of the Arab-Israelis remains an unshakable optimist

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (29 of 29)

    Ayman Odeh is an optimist, almost unfailingly so. I met him a few days before the vote, at a popular Lebanese café in Haifa, where over a salad he tried to convince me that recent measures that Netanyahu's coalition put forth were a response to the growing strength of the Arab population.

    He rattled off stats: Arabs are now 18% of university students, 23% of students at the Technion (Israel's MIT), 16% of medical students, and Arabs in the medical field roughly equaled their proportion in society. And, besides, he said, this is the first Knesset in which Arabs hold 13 seats, the third-largest bloc.

    It's an encouraging notion, but one that belies some of the reality. Odeh's Joint List formed out of extreme circumstances. In 2014, the Knesset passed an election law that raised the vote threshold a party needed to be seated from 2% to 3.25%. It was no secret that some of the law's sponsors pushed the bill as a means to exclude Arab parties.

    The Arab parties, which have vastly divergent viewpoints ranging from an Islamist party to one with a Communist history, were forced to band together. An unprecedented 63.5% of Arabs came out to vote, up from 56% in 2013. But it's been difficult to keep the coalition together, as Odeh acknowledged, saying, "It's not easy to hug together a Communist and an Islamist with a liberal and a nationalist."

    And with the bloc's inability to pass laws in the face of Netanyahu's rightist coalition and the general rightward drift of the center-left opposition, it's anyone's guess if the upcoming election next year will generate the enthusiasm of 2015.

    Odeh seems unconcerned. Perhaps it is because his vision, by necessity, is wider than just the goings-on of the Knesset. Reading Malcolm X jump-started his political education. "There were times I had to stop reading to take a breath because I couldn't breathe," he told me. But lately, he has taken Martin Luther King Jr. as his north star.

    Odeh has become the de-facto leader of Arab society in Israel, a role he has taken to with gusto. When I met with Odeh, he had to stop the interview several times to speak with the family of an Arab child who had been kidnapped the previous day. He can be found frequently leading rallies and protests against Netanyahu and the ruling coalition in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and elsewhere.

    When Farah, the rights activist, was injured at the Gaza-solidarity protest in May, Odeh was on the news criticizing officers for what he saw as police brutality and suppression. He was eventually suspended from the Knesset for a week after lashing out at police officers at the hospital where Farah was being treated. His outspokenness has drawn vicious criticism from Netanyahu's most right-wing allies, like Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the founder of far-right Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

    "Every day that Ayman Odeh and his associates are free to walk around cursing at police officers is a failure of law enforcement authorities," Lieberman posted on Twitter at the time. "The place for these terrorists is not in the Knesset — it's in prison. It's time they pay a price for their actions."

    Odeh appears to be a new kind of Arab leader in Israel

    aymanodeh 5.JPG

    One of the most contentious issues in Israel since the 1990s has been the eviction of Bedouin Arabs from the Negev Desert in the south and the West Bank. Nomadic Bedouins lived in the area long before the state formed, but after Israel's victory in the Six-Day War, in 1967, the state expropriated it as state land with the intention of establishing Jewish towns there. Bedouins established villages in the lands, built illegally since the government rarely approves permits for Arabs.

    Since 1948, Israel has established 700 towns and communities for Jews and fewer than 10 for Arabs, despite similar population growth, a statistic Arab-Israelis and leftists often cite as evidence of "apartheid."

    Recently, the Israeli army has issued dozens of orders to demolish Bedouin villages to make way for Jewish settlements. The Bedouins, the government has said, will be moved to new more modern homes; current Bedouin villages often lack electricity or running water. But Bedouins argue that the sites are inadequate. One site is next to a garbage dump, and there is little room for their animals to graze.

    Odeh has led the fight against the demolitions. Two weeks after the election of 2015, he led a 75-mile march from the Negev Desert to Jerusalem to call attention to the Bedouin issue. In January 2017, Odeh was at the forefront again. After a Supreme Court order, the government moved to demolish and evacuate the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran to make way for a Jewish town to be named, unironically, Hiran. Hundreds of armed police launched a predawn raid on the village while residents and activists — Odeh among them — attempted to stop the demolition.

    The day erupted in clashes, and a Bedouin-Israeli was shot by police while driving his car. The man lost control of his car and plowed into a policeman, killing him. The driver was fatally shot by police, who said they suspected a terrorist attack.

    Odeh was in the thick of it, attempting to get past police to the man's body. It ended with Odeh covered in pepper spray and, he alleges, shot in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet. Police said he was hit by an errant rock thrown by protesters. When I asked Odeh, given the current climate in the Knesset, whether he felt his activism was more important than his parliamentary work, Odeh pointed to the demolitions.

    "After that protest, we had a year with no demolitions of houses. I will happily be shot again if it will lead to another year of no demolitions," he said. "With respect to the parliamentary work, the public work is the one that, all across history, has made the changes in the world."

    After a 13-year battle in the courts led by Adalah, the Arab legal centerthe residents Umm-Al-Hiran reached an agreement in April to voluntarily leave the village and move to a new development in Hura, a Bedouin town in the Negev Desert.

    Odeh told me that he wants to present a "moral alternative" to Israeli society based around equality. His goal is not just to energize Arab-Israelis, but to win over Jews, to pull the center of gravity away from the right wing.

    AYmanOdehUmmalHiran 6.JPG

    Almost to his detriment, Odeh has espoused a politics that is "soothing" to Jewish-Israelis and focused on coexistence, Noy, the leftist journalist, told me. In the current climate, she said, Jews are not that interested in hearing about "possibilities of coexistence," and Odeh's insistence risks alienating those Arab-Israelis who desire a more combative leader. And Odeh's notion that Arab-Israeli society is doing better rings hollow to Jabereen, the Arab-Israel rights lawyer, who said that Odeh's positivity is more about convincing consituents the Joint List is successful than conveying reality.

    Even now, with the Nation-State Law galvanizing Arab society, there is no guarantee that Odeh will be able to hold together the Joint List for elections next year. There is still a lot of "bad blood" between the four parties that form it, she said.

    Odeh is thinking beyond his immediate bloc. He talked about forming a "democratic coalition" for those who want to resist not just Netanyahu's government, but right-wing and antidemocratic governments all over the world, and told me that the most important question in Israel right now is who can exclude who first.

    Will the right wing win over a big-enough majority of Jews to exclude Arab-Israelis, or will Arab-Israelis form a coalition that excludes the right wing? Such a thing has happened before, he reminded me. In the 1990s, Arab-Israeli Knesset members helped Labor leader Yitzak Rabin form the government that negotiated the Oslo Accords, one of the most significant movements in the Israel-Palestine peace process.

    But times are different. In the age of US President Donald Trump, he said, Netanyahu appears reasonable, and that could open the door for moves that could shake the status quo to its foundations.

    Cohen, Odeh's adviser, told me that many Israelis believe the government is laying the groundwork for annexing Area C, which comprises 60% of the West Bank and is where 500,000 Jewish settlers live. As part of the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into three areas. While A and B are managed by the Palestinian Authority, and Area C is under complete Israeli-military control. Estimates for the Palestinian population there range from 150,000 to 300,000, according to The Washington Post.

    Taking Area C, something proposed openly by right-wing education minister Naftali Bennet, would all but end the two-state solution.

    There is ‘no future for the Israeli economy' without Arabs

    ummelfahem 2

    For all the apparent provocations against Arab-Israelis — the Nation-State Law, the demolitions, the tirades of right-wing politicians — there's a growing awareness that they are increasingly integral to Israel's future.

    The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in its 2018 report that Israel needs to better integrate its Arab-Israelis or risk economic stagnation and declining living standards for all of Israel.

    While Knesset members may have little interest in helping Arab society, Odeh said, the ministries and the bureaucracy have acknowledged that economic development and equality is "in the interests of everyone."

    As Robert Cherry, a Brooklyn College professor of economics who has written extensively on discrimination and race, wrote last year, there is a wide gap between the inflammatory anti-Arab rhetoric of Netanyahu, Bennett, and others in the ruling coalition and the positive actions they have taken to aid Arab-Israeli society.

    "Netanyahu knows and understands that there is no future for the Israeli economy without the Arabs and [ultra-Orthodox Jews]," Abed Kanaaneh of the left-wing coexistence organization Sikkuy, told The Jerusalem Post in November. "You can say a lot about him, but on economics, he knows what to do."

    As part of Resolution 922, the $4.3 billion five-year plan for the Arab sector passed in 2015, funding was increased for Arab business centers and accelerators and the government plans to invest $25.6 million in small and medium-size Arab businesses.

    The government has also pledged to fund 30 months of salaries for Arab employees if a company hires five or more people from that population. The Innovation Authority, the office charged with developing the science and tech industries, said it was expanding grant and support programs for Arab entrepreneurs. The hope is to increase the percentage of Arabs working in the tech industry. Currently, they make up only 3% of the workforce.

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (6 of 29)

    Israel News AymanOdeh Arab (7 of 29)

    "This is what beats the racism: economics," Dror Sadot, Odeh's spokeswoman, said with a laugh as we walked with Odeh through the winding alleyways of Wadi Nisnas, a colorful Arab neighborhood in Haifa.

    Odeh stopped in every shop, every restaurant, and every market stall, and greeted each proprietor the same way he greeted me — with a million-dollar smile, a bear hug, and a pat on the back. Having started his career in the city council, he knows everyone, and everyone knows him.

    People called out to him, "Ayman, Ayman." Haifa is a city, but, as residents told me, it acts like a village. Odeh is the village kid who made it big.

    We stand in front of the vegetable market, and a Jewish professor at the local university put down his bags and said something to Odeh. He then shook his hand vigorously. I asked Sadot what the man had said.

    "You bring pride to Haifa."

    SEE ALSO: I visited the most contested city in the Middle East, where Israelis and Palestinians are separated by a gauntlet of military checkpoints — and the harsh, complicated truth of the conflict was immediately clear

    DON'T MISS: A Supreme Court hearing in Israel that erupted into a brawl showed in a matter of minutes why the Israel-Palestine conflict has been impossible to solve

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    the old man the gun 3 final

    • "The Old Man & the Gun" director David Lowery looks back on trying to ignore the fact that he was directing Robert Redford's final acting performance.
    • The legendary actor announced five months before shooting started that he was retiring after the movie. 
    • Lowery tells Business Insider what Redford's final day on set was like.


    David Lowery was taking a jog when he got the news.

    It was November 2016, and Lowery's brief escape from the constant presidential election coverage was suddenly interrupted by his phone vibrating non-stop. He glanced down to find numerous texts from friends sending him stories about Robert Redford, one of the greatest actors who ever lived and the star of Lowery's next movie, “The Old Man & the Gun” (in theaters on Friday), announcing that it would be his final film. Redford would be retiring from acting.

    “The weight on my shoulders was immediately immense,” Lowery told Business Insider while sitting in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan hotel last week, thinking back on that moment, which came five months before production began. “But I realized I can’t think of that or I’ll consciously craft a swan song as opposed to making a great Robert Redford movie.”

    It was just the latest wrinkle in a movie Lowery and Redford had been trying to get off the ground for years.

    Juggling a Robert Redford movie and rebooting a Disney classic

    The two connected following Redford’s Sundance Film Festival in 2013, where Lowery premiered his gothic crime drama, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.” Redford was so taken by the 1970s-influenced feel that he contacted Lowery and presented him with a movie he wanted to do — the life of career criminal Forrest Tucker

    Based on a 2003 New Yorker story on Tucker, who since age 15 had spent most of his life getting sent to prisons and eventually escaping from them (by Tucker’s count, 18 times successfully and 12 times not), the movie would look at Tucker (played by Redford) at age 70 as he goes on a string of bank heists after escaping San Quentin State Prison.

    “To get a call from Robert Redford asking if you want to develop a movie with him was one of those pinch yourself moments,” Lowery said.

    But Redford wasn’t the only person in Hollywood who wanted to work with the writer-director. The same day Lowery met with Redford to talk about the movie he also had a meeting at Disney for another life-changing moment: an offer to direct a reboot of “Pete’s Dragon.”

    Suddenly Lowery was juggling writing scripts for two major pillars in Hollywood. It played out that “Pete’s Dragon” got off the ground faster than “The Old Man & the Gun,” so the director had to have the uncomfortable talk with Redford about putting their movie on hold for a couple of years.

    Pete's Dragon David Lowery Disney final“He just wanted to make sure that I still wanted to make the movie,” Lowery said.

    The meeting went so well that Lowery came out of it with Redford agreeing to take a small role in “Pete’s Dragon.”

    Though the movie wasn’t a huge moneymaker for Disney, it raised Lowery’s profile in the business (he’s now prepping to make a reboot of “Peter Pan” for the studio), and the time on set with Redford led to both being very comfortable with each other going into “The Old Man & the Gun.”

    With “Pete’s Dragon” out of the way (Lowery also made the indie “A Ghost Story” shortly after), Lowery could focus on how to make “Old Man & the Gun” into the kind of cops-and-robbers movie that would play best to his strengths.

    Lowery admitted that in early drafts of the script he wrote his best imitation of a Michael Mann heist movie like “Heat” or “Thief,” but realized he was just kidding himself. Instead, he turned to his star as his inspiration.

    “I’m interested in folklore and myths, and there’s something about actors who have been around for as long as Robert Redford that ties into that,” Lowery said. “He has become part of the folklore of our culture, and he is a legend, and that became the focal point for me.”

    Recapping a legendary career with just one take

    “The Old Man & the Gun” is a movie that feels like it’s not from this era, and that’s probably why Redford sought out Lowery to make it. Shot on grainy Super 16mm, it matches the movie’s analog early 1980s feel, down to the big town cars and Casey Affleck’s bushy mustache (he plays the cop after Tucker).

    “When everyone saw the first cut it took everyone a moment to get on the same page,” Lowery said about showing the movie to its distributor, Fox Searchlight. “But we showed it to Redford and he said, ‘Don’t change a frame.'"

    The heart of the movie is Redford’s performance. With a sly grin and a twinkle in his eye, he plays Tucker as the charming bank robber without a care in the world. And to create a mythology for Tucker, Lowery used the iconic status of his star. While showing flashbacks of Tucker's past escapes, old photos of Redford are used for Tucker’s mugshots and a brief clip from one of Redford’s old movies, 1966’s “The Chase” (in which Redford plays an escaped convict), is used to portray Redford as young Tucker on one of his escapes.

    "At a certain point you know you need to see his face," Lowery said of getting the footage of a younger Redford. "You want to see it."

    the old man the gun 1 finalIt’s hard to say if Redford is really retiring from acting (at “The Old Man & the Gun” premiere he sort of walked it back when talking to Variety), but if this really is his last movie, his last day on set proved he ended his career in the slick Sundance Kid style that made him a legend.

    Redford’s last day wasn’t a complex scene, Lowery recalled, it was just a shot of him talking in a phone booth. But how he performed it was what will stay in the director’s mind.

    “We planned on doing a couple of angles of the phone booth shot, so we set up a dolly shot first, but in just one take he nailed the whole thing,” Lowery said. “The whole way through had the perfect tone and I said, ’It’s perfect, let's call it a day,’ and we said that was a wrap on Robert Redford and everyone applauded. I know from ‘Pete's Dragon’ that he always gives a little speech at the end of the movie to make sure everyone feels as appreciated as they deserve to feel, so he did that, and then he got in his car and drove away.”

    Redford’s flawless one-take of the scene is in the movie, and though most will not recognize its significance, Lowery wouldn't have it any other way. Disguised as a minor scene, he accomplished his mission of making just a great Robert Redford movie, not his coda.

    However, the brief moment speaks volumes for Lowery,

    “You can see him almost laughing in that take, like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders,” he said. “You can tell that after we say cut he can go home. Seeing that shot and then thinking about his career, I can just see the joy on his face.” 


    SEE ALSO: The 7 biggest box office bombs of 2018, so far

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    flu shot in space

    • Flu season is approaching in the US and clinics are opening up to provide shots or a nasal mist for protection.
    • The flu vaccine has been updated this year to combat new strains of the virus, and experts think it may perform better than last year's against some nasty versions. 
    • Even if a flu vaccine doesn't prevent you from getting the flu, it can make the illness less severe if you do get it.


    Flu season is fast approaching in the US, and with it, a new flu vaccine is here. 

    After last year's shot performed so poorly, proving itself only 25% effective against some of the nastiest strains of the flu, infectious disease experts and drugmakers have reformulated the 2018-2019 vaccine. Although it's still early in the season, flu experts are hopeful about the new formula.

    "What we hope is that it's going to be a better match to what's circulating," doctor Richard Webby, an infectious disease expert at St Jude Children's Research Hospital, told Business Insider. 

    Webby is part of the World Health Organization team that decides how the vaccine gets made each year, and which flu strains drug manufacturers will target for protection.

    He says it's still too early to tell exactly how well this year's vaccine — which comes in both a shot and a mist — will pair up with the deluge of flu bugs that will better circulate in cooler, drier winter air. But there are already a few promising signs that this year's season might not be as bad as the last, and that this year's shot will better protect us from some of the worst cases of flu out there.

    The new flu shot has two key differences from last year's vaccine

    flu shot

    The formulation has been changed in two key ways: the nasty H3N2 strain that sickened many people last year has been updated, and the influenza B virus targeted for protection in the vaccine has been changed, too. So far, the revamped vaccines look promising.

    "It appears that the virus is doing a little better job, if we look at what's gone on in the southern hemisphere season," Webby said.

    Down south in Australia, for example, it's been a fairly mild flu season, with flu activity circulating at "low" levels, according to the Australian Department of Health. That may not perfectly translate to an equally mild flu season up north, but what Webby's seen so far suggests that the shot is also combatting the flu better than it did last year. 

    Drugmakers have been working since February to develop the new vaccine for this season's flu. 

    "Designing the vaccine takes a lot of effort and a lot of experimentation," Eva Lee, a mathematician and computational scientist who studies how flu viruses change and mutate at Georgia Tech, told Business Insider. "It takes about six months to really get the vaccine in good shape," she said.

    During that time, most flu shots are grown in chicken eggs, the same way they've been manufactured for more than 70 years. Studies show it's perfectly safe for kids with egg allergies to receive these flu shots. The flu mist, a nasal spray, is also made in eggs.

    One of the difficulties of designing a good flu shot this way is that manufacturers are dealing with a tough-to-control virus. As it is grown in the egg, it changes a bit. Meanwhile, the flu bug that's circulating in the population and sickening people is mutating and changing, too. 

    "That is really the chicken and egg catch," Lee said.

    Webby agrees, adding that, "the flu shot is a great public health tool, but it's certainly not the best vaccine we have."

    Even if the shot doesn't prevent the flu, it can make the illness milder

    Despite its imperfections, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the flu vaccine can prevent a number of illnesses. During the 2015-2016 season, the CDC estimated that the vaccine prevented about 5 million flu cases in the US, and another 71,000 hospitalizations. It doesn't matter much whether you mist or you poke, Webby said, both methods provide a similar dose of protection.

    There are some more potent versions of the flu vaccine available for elderly adults, who are some of the most at-risk of catching a deadlier flu. 

    In addition to lowering your chances of contracting a flu bug, the shot can also make the illness milder, if you do catch it. Finally, getting your flu shot can contribute to what's called "herd immunity" — fewer cases of the flu circulating in the population helps protect vulnerable people from getting sick, including the elderly, children, and individuals with certain allergies who can't get the vaccine. It takes about two weeks from vaccination for flu antibodies to fully build up in the body.

    A flu shot can come with mild side effects, including soreness, low-grade fever, and muscle aches. But that's clearly better than coming down with a full-blown flu, which can knock you out for over a week. 

    If you're wondering where flu shots are available near you, the CDC has the following flu vaccine finder, searchable by zip code. 

    SEE ALSO: How to avoid the flu when your partner or roommate gets sick: 9 simple tips

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    Kavanaugh Yale

    • The Senate Judiciary Committee has released pages of a calendar belonging to Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee.
    • The pages are from May to August 1982, the summer that Christine Blasey Ford alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.
    • They include references to parties Kavanaugh attended.
    • Kavanaugh's lawyers sent the pages to the committee late on Tuesday, aiming to disprove Ford's allegation.
    • Ford and Kavanaugh are both set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released several pages from a calendar belonging to Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, from the summer when Christine Blasey Ford alleges he sexually assaulted her.

    The calendar pages are from May to August 1982, after Kavanaugh's junior year at Georgetown Prep in Montgomery County, Maryland. They reference various parties Kavanaugh attended in those months.

    Kavanaugh's lawyers sent the pages to the committee late on Tuesday, according to USA Today, aiming to disprove Ford's allegation that he sexually assaulted her at a party around that time.

    Ford has said she doesn't know the exact date or location of the party.

    Here are the calendar pages: 

    There is no explicit mention of Ford in the pages. But they do appear to reference Mark Judge, who Ford has said was in the room while Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her.

    Ford and Kavanaugh are both set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Senate Democrats have called for Judge to testify, but he has said he has no knowledge of the incident and does not wish to speak publicly on the matter.

    Kavanaugh has also been accused of sexual misconduct by Deborah Ramirez, a woman with whom he went to college.

    Ramirez's lawyer, John Clune, said on Wednesday morning that his client was willing to testify as well.

    "She would be willing to testify, but she wants … us to be able to have this conversation about what this is going to look like, what the process is going to be, and if there's going to be an FBI investigation into what happened in her case," Clune told CBS News.

    Clune also said Senate Republicans skipped a scheduled call with him and Ramirez on Tuesday night.

    The attorney Michael Avenatti has also said that he has a client with evidence of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh and that he could reveal that person's identity before Thursday.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Judge: Meet Brett Kavanaugh's high-school friend and the other man named in Christine Ford's allegations against the Supreme Court nominee

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    man lying down summer flip flops

    • Fashion is subjective — but Silicon Valley stylist Victoria Hitchcock has a few rules for any man trying to pull off a polished look.
    • Hitchcock recommended ditching both khaki pants and flip-flops.
    • She told Vox that these were her two major fashion "no-nos" for men.

    Fashion used to be much simpler for men.

    Throughout much of the 20th century, men in white collar jobs would typically throw on a suit in the morning and be done with it. But from the 1990s onwards, workplaces dress norms have become more casual for both men and women.

    Still, even though suits are no longer the norm in a large number of industries, many professional men still want to look polished. Stylists like Victoria Hitchcock are there to help them strike the perfect balance.

    She specifically focuses on helping tech workers cultivate a look that's both effortless and put-together, in order to help them tackle Silicon Valley in style. Hitchcock charges clients a $2,000 upfront fee.

    "I want my clients to express their own authenticity and brand and live their lives," Hitchcock told Business Insider.

    That being said, Hitchcock does have two strict fashion rules that she told Vox about. According to her, men should avoid khaki pants and flip-flops at all costs.

    When it comes to khakis, Hitchcock said that even East Coast dwellers should steer clear of that particular type of pants.

    "There are other color options, like dark olive green," she told Vox.

    And as for flip-flops, Hitchcock added that the footwear doesn't have a place in more casual settings either.

    "I don't care if they are rubber or leather, and I don't care if you are 'just wearing them to your friend's barbecue on the weekends,'" she said.

    SEE ALSO: The Silicon Valley stylist who charges $2,000 or more to make techies look effortless says Rolexes are 'gaudy' and recommends a watch for less than $100 instead

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    SEE ALSO: It's time to end the war against men who wear cargo shorts

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford are both scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
    • Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were in high school.
    • Deborah Ramirez has also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in college.
    • Kavanaugh is a deeply divisive nominee — more Americans (43%) oppose his nomination than support it (38%), according to a new poll.
    • Here's where you can watch the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing live.

    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of the women who has accused the judge of sexual misconduct are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, September 27 beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

    After opening statements from Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh will deliver their own opening statements.

    The senators will question them separately, with Ford going first. Senators can also yield the five minutes they're each allotted to an independent counsel to have them ask the questions.

    Grassley said on Tuesday he has hired Rachel Mitchell, a career prosecutor experienced in handling sex crimes, to question both Kavanaugh and Ford. A committee vote to confirm Kavanaugh is tentatively scheduled for Friday.

    As the blockbuster hearing is likely to gather a lot of attention, most news and major networks will likely broadcast it live on TV and online.

    Where to watch the livestream online

    • C-SPAN (no subscription required)
    • ABC News (no subscription required)
    • CBSN (no subscription required)
    • Fox News (first 10 minutes are free)
    • NBC (subscription only)
    • CNN (subscription only)
    • MSNBC (subscription only)

    A deeply divisive nomination


    Ford, now a professor of psychology, says Kavanaugh forced himself on her, locked her in a room, groped her, and covered her mouth to mask her screams during a drunken house party when she was 15 and he was 17.

    "I thought he might inadvertently kill me," Ford told the Washington Post. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing."

    Nearly 60% of Americans say they will be following the proceedings closely, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, which also found that about a third of Americans — 32% — believe Ford's allegations, while 26% believe Kavanaugh's denials, and 42% don't know who to believe.

    And there's a 19-point gender gap in the responses. Just 20% of women believe Kavanaugh and 35% believe Ford, while 35% of men believe the judge and 28% believe his accuser.

    But a large majority of Americans believe that if Kavanaugh did indeed attack Ford, he should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Nearly 60% say that if Ford's allegations are true, Kavanaugh isn't fit to sit on the country's highest court, but a majority of Republicans (54%) say the judge should be confirmed even if the allegations of sexual misconduct are true.

    Public opinion is markedly more supportive of the alleged victim in this case than it was in 1991, when law professor Anita Hill said Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her in the workplace. She testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee then, too, in a highly publicized spectacle.

    Overall, more Americans (43%) oppose Kavanaugh's nomination than support it (38%).

    Deborah Ramirez has also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in college.

    Kavanaugh has forcefully denied both women's allegations, calling the claims "smears, pure and simple" and "grotesque and obvious character assassination" in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

    During a Monday interview with Fox News, he said he wouldn't "speculate about motives."

    "I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford, at some point in her life, was sexually assaulted by someone in some place," Kavanaugh said. "But what I know is I've never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or at any time in my life."

    SEE ALSO: Kavanaugh says it was legal for seniors to drink when he was in high school, but Maryland's drinking age was raised to 21 when he was 17

    DON'T MISS: Here are all the sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh

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    Xi Jinping

    • China announced it would cut tariffs on about 1,500 goods starting November 1.
    • The move comes days after the latest round of tariffs in the US-China trade war went into effect.
    • China's tariffs cut shows the government is settling in for a protracted trade war with President Donald Trump and the US.
    • The tariff cut would decrease inflationary pressures on Chinese consumers and help to build relationships with non-American suppliers.

    China's government announced on Wednesday that the country would cut import tariffs on a slew of goods to lessen the impact of the trade war with the US.

    Duties on textiles, construction equipment, and more than 1,500 other goods will drop on November 1, according to the Chinese government. Chinese state media said the move was expected to save consumers in the country 60 billion yuan, about $8.7 billion.

    The move suggests that the Chinese government is digging in and expects the trade war with the US to last for some time.

    All indications have pointed to an extended trade war as China canceled talks following President Donald Trump's latest round of tariffs and the US is already threatening another round of restrictions.

    But Wednesday's move also shows that Beijing is also trying to tweak economic conditions to weather a drawn-out fight, Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said.

    "Cutting tariffs makes a lot of sense," Alden said. "If you're worried about strengthening China's position in the supply chain, if you cut tariffs — especially on intermediate goods — that helps the competitiveness of company's within China and it helps keep down consumer costs at a time the tariff war is driving them up."

    Essentially, cutting tariffs for non-US goods would act as a release valve for some of the pressure from the trade war. Businesses and consumers in China won't see as dramatic an increase in the cost of goods, which decreases public pressure on the government to come to an agreement with the US.

    Additionally, the cut is likely to increase pain on US manufacturers as Chinese consumers shift from more expensive American goods toward cheaper alternatives from other countries. Scott Kennedy, a Chinese economic expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it means gains from the cut would go to non-US companies.

    "In principle, these tariff cuts should apply to all imports, including those from the United States," Kennedy told Business Insider. "But China is still likely to leave in place its retaliatory tariffs, meaning the benefits of these tariff cuts will go to other countries."

    Already Chinese producers have been turning to non-American sources for their needs, and the combination of higher tariffs on US goods and lower duties on other goods would likely speed up that shift.

    Alden said this was also part of China's long-term strategy. By building relationships with other countries, China can grow its economic influence worldwide and wean itself off an economic reliance with the US.

    "Those tariff cuts are mostly going to benefit competitors of the US and that helps China build goodwill elsewhere," he said.

    In July, China announced cuts to tariffs on cars and other goods such as apparel and appliances. In all, Reuters estimated that China's average tariff level would drop to 7.5% in 2018, from 9.8% in 2017.

    Kennedy said that while the move does give a small boost to imports that should help other countries, it does not signal a broad shift in Chinese economic policy.

    "The most important barriers to imports and foreign investment are non-tariff barriers," Kennedy said. "No one should see this announcement as a turn away from industrial policy and the dominant focus on supporting domestic Chinese companies."

    SEE ALSO: Trump's trade war with China shows no sign of slowing down, and it might be about to get even worse

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    gary cohn Donald Trump

    • H.R. McMaster, the former national security adviser, confirmed on Tuesday that Gary Cohn took documents off President Donald Trump's desk that would have pulled the US out of a major trade deal with South Korea.
    • The explosive story was in the veteran journalist Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House."
    • But McMaster argued that the move was not designed to hide the document from Trump.
    • The White House and Trump have pushed back on Woodward's reporting.

    H.R. McMaster, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, has confirmed an explosive allegation from Bob Woodward's new book about Trump's White House.

    According to the Washington Examiner, McMaster said on Tuesday that Gary Cohn, Trump's former top economic adviser, did steal documents off the president's desk to prevent Trump from pulling the US out of key trade deals.

    Asked about the anecdote in Woodward's book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," that Cohn stole documents that would have pulled the US out of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement, known as KORUS, McMaster argued it was the right thing to do.

    "I know about that incident, and that was wholly appropriate for Gary Cohn, who was a wonderful public servant and a great colleague, to do," he said at an event hosted by Perry World House, according to the Examiner.

    Pulling the US out of KORUS would have had significant economic consequences and most likely would have harmed the US's relationship with South Korea during a critical juncture in talks with North Korea.

    Cohn told colleagues at the time that the theft was necessary and that Trump would forget about the idea, according to the book, released earlier this month. Woodward reported that Cohn also snatched a document that would have pulled the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement from the president's desk.

    McMaster pushed back on the book's assessment that Cohn's move was designed to hide the document from Trump, saying the removal was a product of the White House document process.

    "It wasn't to hide it from the president at all," McMaster said, according to the Examiner. "I mean, the president knew what this particular argument was. We had a process that was underway that combined the Homeland Security Council, the National Economic Council, and the National Security Council together to assess really what our trade policies ought to be and our objectives ought to be."

    The White House has pushed back on the book, calling it "nothing more than fabricated stories." Trump has also disputed the idea that Cohn stole documents from his desk.

    Cohn released a statement earlier this month saying Woodward did "not accurately portray my experience at the White House." But in the statement and subsequent appearances, Cohn did not directly dispute the document-theft story.

    SEE ALSO: Gary Cohn reportedly snatched documents off Trump's desk to prevent him from wrecking 2 massive trade deals

    DON'T MISS: All the revelations that have come out so far from Bob Woodward's explosive book on Trump

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    Michael Avenatti

    • Attorney Michael Avenatti revealed the identity of the third woman to accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, of sexual misconduct.
    • She is Julie Swetnick, a resident of Washington, DC.
    • Swetnick alleges that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present when she was "gang-raped" in the early 1980s.

    Attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday revealed the identity of the third woman to accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, of sexual misconduct, as Julie Swetnick, a resident of Washington, DC.

    Swetnick signed a sworn declaration in which she alleged, among other things, that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present when she was "gang-raped" at a party in 1982. She said she shared details of the incident with two additional people shortly after the sexual assault took place.

    In a statement released by the White House, Kavanaugh said the allegations were "ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone."

    "I don’t know who this is and this never happened," he said.

    According to Swetnick's sworn declaration, tweeted by Avenatti minutes before he posted a photo of Swetnick, the accuser said she first met Kavanaugh and Judge at a Washington, DC-area house party sometime between 1980 and 1981.

    Swetnick said that between 1981 and 1983 she attended "well over 10 house parties" at which Kavanaugh and Judge were present. She said she witnessed both men "drink excessively and engage in highly inappropriate conduct, including being overly aggressive with girls and not taking 'no' for an answer."

    • Swetnick's allegations include claims that Kavanaugh and Judge tried to "spike" drinks with drugs or liquor that was particularly high in alcohol content to "cause girls to lose their inhibitions and their ability to say 'no.'"
    • She claims she witnessed Kavanaugh and Judge do this so women could be "gang-raped" by a "train" of boys that, she says, included Kavanaugh and Judge.
    • "I have a firm recollection of seeing boys lined up outside rooms at many of these parties waiting for their 'turn' with a girl inside the room," she said.

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh

    Swetnick said she was raped in 1982, claiming she was "incapacitated without my consent and unable to fight off the boys raping me." She said she believed she was drugged using quaaludes, a sedative.

    Swetnick said she was aware of other witnesses who could attest to the truthfulness of her entire declaration.

    Swetnick said she witnessed Kavanaugh engage in "abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls, including pressing girls against him without their consent, 'grinding' against girls, and attempting to remove or shift girls' clothing to expose private body parts."

    Pointing to Kavanaugh's comment from a Fox News interview earlier this week during which he said he was a virgin for "many years after" high school, Swetnick said the claim was "absolutely false and a lie," adding that she witnessed the judge "consistently engage in excessive drinking and inappropriate contact of a sexual nature with women during the early 1980s."

    Though there was little information on Swetnick available online before Avenatti's tweet, her declaration, which Avenatti said he provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, was sworn under penalty of perjury. Swetnick said she holds multiple active US-government security clearances. Experts said that making false statements on such a document would be a "career-ender" for her.

    Swetnick becomes the 3rd woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

    The first was Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who alleged that, while in high school, Kavanaugh pinned her down and put his hand over her mouth, groping her while his friend watched.

    Ford is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday morning.

    On Sunday, The New Yorker published the account of a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh. She alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dorm-room party during the 1983-4 school year when he was a freshman at the university. Ramirez was initially reluctant to come forward because she said there were gaps in her memory.

    Regarding Ford's allegation, Kavanaugh said it was "completely false." Responding to Ramirez, Kavanaugh said the "alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen."

    Avenatti first revealed he'd had a client making such claims after The New Yorker published its story on Ramirez Sunday night. The lawyer, who also represents adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in her battle with Trump over a nondisclosure agreement, was faced with skepticism initially. On Tuesday, Avenatti disputed an online rumor that he had been "scammed."

    Democrats, meanwhile, were cautious in discussing Avenatti's client before his Wednesday revelation.

    A Senate Judiciary Committee source told CNN that the committee responded to Avenatti and investigators "immediately started looking" into Swetnick's allegations. The committee also asked if she was willing to speak with investigators, CNN reported.

    Read Swetnick's full declaration:

    SEE ALSO: Here's the calendar Kavanaugh gave a Senate committee from the summer of alleged sexual assault

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    border wall map full border

    From western California to eastern Texas, across four US states and 24 counties, the 1,933-mile US-Mexico border criss-crosses arid desert, rugged mountains, and winding rivers.

    For 654 of those miles, fencing separates the two countries from each other.

    The 7.3 million people who live in the border counties on each side of the line have watched for years as security grew tighter and illegal crossings tapered off.

    In just the last 12 years, the US government built the barriers, deployed troops, and started using advanced surveillance technology — all in an effort to tame and control some of the wildest and remotest land in the United States.

    Today, making good on campaign promises to "build that wall," President Donald Trump and his administration has cracked down even further, pushing for more fencing, a border wall, and thousands of National Guard troops stationed along the boundary line.

    Trump has even issued a few government shutdown threats in recent weeks, angered that Congress has agreed to allocate just $1.6 billion for the wall in 2019 rather than the $5 billion he demanded.

    Amid a surge of families attempting to illegally cross the border, the Trump administration also sparked months of controversy by separating thousands of immigrant children from their parents and struggling to reunite hundreds of them.

    With public outrage has growing toward the government's immigration policies, it's worth taking a look at the complexity of the borderlands to understand the daunting task of securing them.

    From the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Gulf of Mexico in the east, here's what the entire US-Mexico border looks like:

    SEE ALSO: Tactical units spent weeks trying to breach and climb Trump's border wall prototypes — and they're nearly impossible to scale

    DON'T MISS: The Trump administration just released new photos of 'the president's border wall' — and it looks more like a fence

    California has stood more defiantly than any other state against Trump's immigration agenda and his long-promised wall. Yet the Golden State's southern boundary is one of the most thoroughly fortified along the entire US-Mexico border.

    Source: Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and OpenStreetMap contributors

    Roughly 105 miles of the 140-mile border California shares with Mexico are walled off by pedestrian fencing or vehicle barriers, beginning on the west coast with a tall, metal fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean.

    Source: GAO analysis of Customs and Border Protection data

    Though some Trump critics have seized upon his recent attempt to deploy the National Guard in California, the San Diego coastline already hosts around 55 guardsman who assist in "counterdrug missions" and conduct surveillance support.

    Source: USA Today

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • The Senate Judiciary Committee released prepared remarks from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Christine Blasey Ford's allegation he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
    • Kavanaugh said the allegations against him are "last-minute smears," adding that he will not be "intimidated" into withdrawing his nomination. 
    • He acknowledged that he wasn't "perfect" in high school.
    • Kavanaugh and Ford are both set to testify on the allegation before the committee on Thursday. 

    The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released prepared remarks from Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh he is set to give at a hearing focused on Christine Blasey Ford's allegation he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. 

    Kavanaugh and Ford are both set to testify before the committee on Thursday. 

    Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in either high school or college. 

    In his prepared remarks, Kavanaugh said the allegations against him are "last-minute smears," adding that he will not be "intimidated" into withdrawing his nomination. 

    Kavanaugh conceded he wasn't "perfect" in high school, but claimed he spent most of his time "focused on academics, sports, church, and service" in those days and further denied Ford's accusations. 

    "I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes," Kavanaugh said, while claiming he's "never sexually assaulted anyone" at any point his life. 

    Ford, a professor in California, alleges Kavanaugh attempted to force himself on her at a party in Montgomery County, Maryland, when they were both in high school. She said Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand when she tried to scream. 

    Ramirez, who attended Yale University at the same time as Kavanaugh, alleges he shoved his penis in her face at a party in college. 

    On Wednesday morning, Ramirez's lawyer said she'd be willing to testify on her allegations

    Attorney Michael Avenatti for the past several days claimed to have a client with evidence of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Swetnick was revealed as the client on Wednesday, and in a sworn declaration claimed Kavanaugh was present at a party where she was gang raped

    SEE ALSO: Michael Avenatti reveals client who is 3rd woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

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    Google Maps

    If you've ever been put in charge of making dinner plans for a large group of people, you know the difficulty of navigating food allergies and picky preferences to settle on an option that everyone — or at least the majority — can agree on.

    But with a new group planning feature, Google is trying to ease some of that stress.

    The new feature — which was announced at Google I/O in May and started rolling out to users on Wednesday — lets you use Google Maps to create a shortlist of restaurant options that your friends can vote on. By scrolling through the app's "Explore" tab, you'll be able to view a list of restaurants and compile the poll, which can then be shared on messaging platforms. 

    Although some group messaging platforms do currently have polling features available — like GroupMe and iMessage, for example — the amount of information you can include is quite limited. 

    It's worth noting that in order to use Google's polling feature, everyone in the group must have Google Maps downloaded. So before relying on this app to make all your future plans, make sure your friends loyal to Apple Maps download Google's navigational app.

    Here's how you can start using Google Maps to make group planning less of a painful and tedious process.

    SEE ALSO: Tinder is slowly rolling out a Bumble-like feature where women have to make the first move before men can message them

    When scrolling through a list of options in Google Maps' Explore tab — which you can filter based on location, price, etc. — long press on a place to add it to a shortlist you want to create.

    Your shortlist is indicated by a small floating bubble off to the side of your screen that will show the number of places you have added to your list.

    Clicking on the bubble will show you the list of options, which is easy to edit. You can then share the list to a group on a number of platforms, including iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and email.

    Once the list is shared, members of the group can vote on the options with either a thumbs up or thumbs down. Everyone with access will be able to add additional suggestions or remove any of the options, and the app will even indicate which place is winning in the poll.

    This new feature does not guarantee the everyone's happiness with the final decision, but hopefully the democratic process will ease some of the stress of group planning.

    The group planning feature will be available to use when you update to the latest version of Google Maps on your smartphone.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    brett kavanaugh

    • Judge Brett Kavanaugh denied sexual misconduct allegations made by a third woman against him on Wednesday. 
    • "This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don't know who this is and this never happened," Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. 

    Judge Brett Kavanaugh denied sexual misconduct allegations made by a third woman against him on Wednesday, calling them "ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone" and adding that he does not know the woman who made the allegations.  

    In a sworn declaration made public by attorney Michael Avenatti, Julie Swetnick said Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge engaged in "abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls" at house parties in high school in the early 1980s. 

    Swetnick, 55, said Kavanaugh and Judge helped the teenage girls become "inebriated and disoriented so they could then be 'gang raped' in a side room or bedroom by a 'train' of numerous boys" during the parties. Swetnick also alleged that said Kavanaugh and Judge were present when she was "gang raped" at a party in 1982.

    Swetnick, who said she holds multiple active US government security clearances, also said she shared details of the incident with two additional people shortly after the sexual assault took place.

    "This is ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone. I don't know who this is and this never happened," Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House. 

    Kavanaugh has also forcefully denied the two other women's allegations, calling the claims "smears, pure and simple" and "grotesque and obvious character assassination" in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.

    During a Monday interview with Fox News, he said he wouldn't "speculate about motives."

    Senate Judiciary Committee aides said that they are reviewing Swetnick's claims just a day before Kavanaugh and one of his other accusers, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford, are set to testify before the Senate.

    Ford says Kavanaugh forced himself on her, locked her in a room, groped her, and covered her mouth to mask her screams during a drunken house party when she was 15 and he was 17.

    And a former college classmate of Kavanaugh's, Deborah Ramirez, alleged this week that an intoxicated Kavanaugh exposed himself to her and thrust his penis in her face when the two were students at Yale University. 

    SEE ALSO: How to watch the Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh hearings live — and what to expect

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    Donald Trump Avenatti

    • President Donald Trump bashed Attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday after he revealed the identity of a woman with new accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 
    • Trump referred to Avenatti as a "third rate lawyer" and a "total low-life!"
    • Avenatti's client is Julie Swetnick, who alleges Kavanaugh was at a high school party in the 1980s where she was gang raped. 

    President Donald Trump bashed Attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday after he revealed the identity of a woman with new accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. 

    "Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships - a total low-life!" Trump said in a tweet.

    Trump has a history with Avenatti, but this was the first time the president has tweeted about him. 

    Avenatti also represents adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, whom Trump gave hush money to over an alleged extramarital affair. 

    The lawyer responded to Trump in a tweet, calling the president a "habitual liar and complete narcissist."

    "'False accusations?' Like those crimes your fixer Cohen pled to? You are an habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation. You are so inept that your 'best and brightest' are Cohen and Giuliani. Let’s go," Avenatti said.

    Avenatti on Wednesday revealed his client as Julie Swetnick, who alleges Kavanaugh was at a party when they were both in high school during the early 1980s where she was gang raped.

    In a tweet on Wednesday, Avenatti said, "We demand an immediate FBI investigation into the allegations. Under no circumstances should Brett Kavanaugh be confirmed absent a full and complete investigation."

    Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by three women in high school or college, including Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez. 

    Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were both teenagers, attempting to force himself on her while covering her mouth with his hands when she attempted to scream. Ramirez, who went to Yale University at the same time as Kavanaugh, alleges he shoved his penis into her face at a party in college. 

    Ford and Kavanaugh are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her allegation on Thursday. 

    Meanwhile, Ramirez has also expressed a willingness to testify.

    SEE ALSO: Michael Avenatti reveals client who is 3rd woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

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    WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) (C) talks with reporters as he leaves a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office in the U.S. Capitol September 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. McConnell and GOP senate leaders met with Republican members of the Judiciary Committee to discuss the latest developments in the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said the committee is looking into new claims of sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
    • Grassley said a Thursday hearing with Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, is set to go on as planned.
    • He did not rule out the possibility of another hearing to address the other allegations.
    • Grassley also weighed in on new allegations against Kavanaugh, made public by attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday.
    • "I haven't even gone to Google to learn more about him," Grassley said of Avenatti. "It seems to me he wants to protect people that are involved in pornography and he’s running for president."

    WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Thursday's hearing for testimony from Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault when they were both teenagers, will go on as planned even as new allegations surfaced on Wednesday.

    "We’re doing everything to accommodate Dr. Ford with the environment she wanted. She doesn't want it to be a media circus, she wants to be treated respectfully. She wants breaks. Everything like that," Grassley told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

    He added: "So to answer your question, the committee meeting is going to go ahead because I don't feel that we should disadvantage Dr. Ford any more than she’s already been disadvantaged in the sense of people wondering whether the hearing was going to be last week or this week or whatever else."

    Grassley also noted that the committee will be looking into the allegations made by Julie Swetnick that Kavanaugh was present when she was "gang-raped" at a high school party in 1982. 

    "Every time that there’s been accusations made, we’ve tried to follow up where we could get a contact, so obviously this morning we have this contact and our investigators are on it immediately," he said. "And I can’t say anything beyond that."

    Grassley did not rule out the possibility of additional hearings with Kavanaugh, but that any decisions on that would have to wait until after the Thursday hearing. A procedural vote to move Kavanaugh from the Judiciary Committee onto the Senate floor has already been scheduled for Friday morning, though it can be pushed back if Republicans want.

    Concerning Swetick's attorney Michael Avenatti, a regular foe of President Donald Trump who also represents porn actress Stormy Daniels in her case against the president, Grassley he only knows about him from what he has read in the news.

    "I haven't even gone to Google to learn more about him," Grassley said. "It seems to me he wants to protect people that are involved in pornography and he’s running for president. And I don't know what his motivations are. I don’t know what his reputation as a lawyer is."

    "But really what’s important here isn't the lawyer," he added. "The important is the person that claims she’s been harmed."

    SEE ALSO: Here's an evolving count of which senators are voting for Trump's Supreme Court pick

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    brunei water village

    • Brunei is a tiny country in Southeast Asia that's home to one of the most interesting communities in the world — Kampung Ayer, or "Water Village."
    • Nearly half of the capital city's population lives in Kampung Ayer, where thousands of houses stand on stilts, as do schools, mosques, restaurants, and police stations.
    • The village stands in stark contrast to the rest of Brunei's capital city, which has glimmering architecture and pristine streets.

    The tiny nation of Brunei is incredibly wealthy. Its oil-based economy has propelled the Southeast Asian country to a higher GDP per capita than the United States, Japan, and Switzerland.

    That wealth is on full display in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, where opulent buildings and majestic mosques line the pristine streets.

    But that extravagance isn't reality for many of the residents of Bandar Seri Begawan. Nearly half of the city's entire population lives just outside the capital's downtown in a "floating village" on the Brunei River, where thousands of houses stand on tall stilts and residents drive water taxis to get around.

    Besides housing 13,000 people, Kampung Ayer, or "water village," also has mosques, schools, restaurants, police stations, and a fire department — all on stilts.

    Here's what it looks inside Kampung Ayer, one of the most interesting villages in the world.

    SEE ALSO: Inside the surreal capital city of Brunei, a tiny nation of unimaginable wealth where oil money pays for everything and half the population lives in a floating 'water village'

    Brunei is a tiny country on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.

    Source: CIA World Factbook

    Thanks to its oil and gas reserves, it's one of the richest countries in the world, with a GDP of $77,000 per capita.

    Source: International Monetary Fund

    Its wealth is on full display in its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, where glittering mosques and extravagant architecture appear around every corner.

    Source: Business Insider

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    Brett Kavanaugh

    • Mark Judge is Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's high school friend and was named in allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.
    • Christine Blasey Ford says Judge was in the room when the alleged assault took place.
    • Judge claims the alleged assault never happened and said it wouldn't fit Kavanaugh's character.
    • But Judge has come under scrutiny over past writings on rape, masculinity, and alcoholism. 
    • Judge issued a statement claiming he doesn't remember the alleged incident and rejected calls from Democrats for him to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 
    • The allegations against Kavanaugh could derail his Supreme Court nomination. 

    The allegations that have upended the confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have also opened scrutiny on another man: Mark Judge, who Christine Blasey Ford claims was also in the room when she says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teenager.

    Ford claims that Judge laughed as Kavanaugh assaulted her and assisted him, claiming both were "highly inebriated" at the time. 

    "Kavanaugh physically pushed me into a bedroom as I was headed for a bathroom up a short stair well from the living room," Ford said in a letter to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

    "They locked the door and played loud music precluding any successful attempt to yell for help," Ford added. "They both laughed as Kavanaugh tried to disrobe me in their highly inebriated state. With Kavanaugh's hand over my mouth I feared he may inadvertently kill me."

    Ford said she was only able to escape the situation when Judge jumped onto the bed and the "pile toppled." 

    Julie Swetnick, who's represented by Attorney Michael Avenatti, on Wednesday brought forward additional allegations against Kavanaugh and Judge. 

    Swetnick in a sworn declaration alleged that Kavanaugh and Judge were involved the gang rape of girls at parties when they were in high school. She also claims they were present at a party where she was gang raped and is calling on the FBI to investigate her allegations. 

    Judge denies Ford's claims

    Judge, like Kavanaugh, denies the alleged assault occurred and has claimed such an act would be contrary to Kavanaugh's character.

    "It is not who he is," Judge told The New York Times, adding that school they both attended instilled within them values that would've urged against such behavior. 

    Kavanaugh and Judge both went to Georgetown Prep, an elite, all-boys high school in the Washington, DC, area. 

    Judge, an author, filmmaker, and journalist, has floated some controversial ideas and opinions in his writings.

    In 1983, for example, one of Judge's high school yearbook quotes read: "Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs."

    Judge has also come under fire for racially charged comments, and reports have suggested he used to routinely post images of young women on social media.

    His social media accounts have apparently been deleted in recent days, however, but many of his writings are still available for access. 

    Judge issued a statement after Ford's allegations were made public claiming he had no memory of the alleged assault and rejected calls from  Democrats for him to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

    "I have no more information to offer the Committee and I do not wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford's letter," Judge said in the statement.

    Barbara Van Gelder, Judge's attorney, on Wednesday told Mother Jones her client also denies Swetnick's allegations and is not "publicly talking about these matters during the pendency of the confirmation process." 

    Judge has reportedly fled the Washington, DC, area and is holed up in a beach house in Bethany Beach, Delaware

    Kavanaugh and Ford are both set to testify on her allegations before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Ford's legal team said her client has been subjected to death threats and forced to relocate her family since coming forward. 

    Another Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, has also expressed a willingness to testify. 

    Judge wrote a memoir on his alcoholism in high school, referencing a friend named 'Bart O'Kavanaugh'

    Years after high school, Judge wrote a memoir, "Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk." It chronicled his struggles with alcoholism while a teenager, painting his days at Georgetown Prep as filled with parties and black-out drunk nights. 

    Judge changed names in the book to protect people's privacy, but he at one point referenced a friend named "Bart O'Kavanaugh." The character was described as someone who got so drunk he "puked in someone's car the other night."

    Ford's lawyer, Debra Katz, earlier this month referenced Judge's writings on his alcoholism when discussing the alleged sexual assault.

    "My client had a beer. ... The men were stumbling drunk, one only needs to look at the writings of Mark Judge — who was the other person present — to know that he wrote ... that they were all drinking so heavily that they would black out repeatedly," she said during an appearance on CBS "This Morning."

    Judge once wrote an op-ed criticizing women who 'dress like prostitutes'

    Judge, who has written opinion pieces for an array of publications, including The Daily Caller, in November 2013 wrote an article about rape for the online magazine Acculturated that has come under scrutiny in light of Ford's allegations. 

    "Feminists argue that no means no, and that men need to understand that," Judge wrote at the time. "There’s never any excuse to rape, a crime that I think is almost akin to murder because the rapist kills a part of the human soul. And yet what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality."

    Judge went on to say that women who "dress like prostitutes" send out certain signals and use their bodies for "cheap theatrics." 

    In a separate article written by Judge for SpliceToday in September 2015, he argued it's good for young men to understand that "no means no" but also said there's an "ambiguous middle ground" in which a woman seems interested and a man must "prove himself to her."

    "If that man is any kind of man, he’ll allow himself to feel the awesome power, the wonderful beauty, of uncontrollable male passion," Judge added. 

    Judge once said Barack Obama is 'the first female president'

    In an August 2013 op-ed for the Daily Caller, Judge also offered some of his views on masculinity and suggested former first lady Michelle Obama was the real "man" in her relationship with then-President Barack Obama. In this context, Judge expressed a longing for the days former President George W. Bush was in the White House. 

    "Barack Obama is the first female president," Judge wrote.

    "With her love of violent movies, her fixation on fitness, and death glare that appears when she doesn’t like what she’s hearing, Michelle is actually more man than her husband," Judge added. "Oh for the days when President George W. Bush gave his wife Laura a loving but firm pat on the backside in public. The man knew who was boss."

    Judge didn't respond to repeated requests from Business Insider for an interview.

    SEE ALSO: 'Dems and their usual nonsense': Donald Trump Jr. mocks Kavanaugh accuser in Instagram post

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    • Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they have hired longtime Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford during her testimony Thursday.
    • Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when the two were teenagers in the 1980s.
    • Mitchell is a respected, experienced prosecutor who specializes in sex crimes, and has said that the innocence and vulnerability of victims is what first drew her to the practice.

    The woman who will question Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday during her testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has built her career out of investigating sex crimes and interviewing traumatized victims of abuse.

    Senate Republicans announced Tuesday they had hired Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party when the two were teenagers.

    Mitchell's retention was the latest development in a series of controversies over the hotly anticipated hearing. Although Ford had requested that senators question her rather than a lawyer, Senate Republicans defended Mitchell's hiring as necessary to ensure a fair and respectful hearing.

    It will also allow Senate Republicans to avoid the optics of having 11 male Republicans grilling Ford with questions about a sensitive subject.

    "We have done it because we want to depoliticize the whole process, like the Democrats politicized the Anita Hill thing," Grassley said in a statement, referring to Hill's 1991 testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, whom she accused of sexual harassment.

    "I promised Dr. Ford that I would do everything in my power to avoid a repeat of the 'circus' atmosphere in the hearing room that we saw the week of September 4," Grassley added.

    'It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were'

    Christine Blasey FordMitchell is the perfect candidate for the job, according to those in Arizona's law-enforcement community who know her. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sang her praises in a statement on Tuesday.

    "The American people can be confident that Rachel Mitchell's experience as a conscientious prosecutor, trained to seek justice, protect victims, and pursue truth will assist the Senate Judiciary Committee in performing its important task," he said.

    A longtime prosecutor who worked her way up to the role of chief of the Special Victims Division of the Maricopa County attorney's office, Mitchell is highly experienced in prosecuting sexual assault cases. She is currently on leave from her position, according to Grassley's statement.

    Mitchell has prosecuted several high-profile cases throughout her career, including the 2005 conviction of Rev. Paul LeBrun, a former Catholic priest accused of molesting young boys. LeBrun was eventually sentenced to 111 years in prison.

    "She's one of these career prosecutors who specializes in sex crimes," Paul Ahler, who formerly worked in the Maricopa County attorney's office, told The Arizona Republic. "It's hard to find those people because a lot of people get burned out on those issues, but it's kind of been her life mission."

    Mitchell is particularly well-known for working with child victims. She has helped develop best practices when interviewing victims, and was once named the "Outstanding Arizona Sexual Assault Prosecutor of the Year."

    It was in part the helplessness of young victims that drew Mitchell to the specialty. In 2012, she told FrontLine Magazine that she had never intended to specialize in sex-crimes prosecution until she became a law clerk and was paired up with a senior attorney who was prosecuting a youth choir director.

    "It was different than anything that I would have ever imagined it being. It intrigued me," Mitchell said. "It struck me how innocent and vulnerable the victims of these cases really were. When I became an attorney with the office I prosecuted other kinds of cases, but I was drawn back to this area."

    SEE ALSO: Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis says she was sexually assaulted and can’t remember certain details — just like Christine Blasey Ford

    DON'T MISS: How to watch the Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh hearings live — and what to expect

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