Americas

Wells Fargo Bank Admits To Stealing Money From Public
Americas

Wells Fargo Bank Admits To Stealing Money From Public

An American bank Wells Fargo & Co has finally agreed to wrongdoing in the form of pressurizing employees in a fake accounts scandal. This was long pending case with the US Justice Department and Securities. The San Francisco based bank has now agreed to pay $3 billion (2.3 billion pounds) to resolve criminal and civil probes against it. It was accused for fraudulent sales practices and has admitted to the same.

The bank will also enter into a three-year deferred prosecution agreement during which it will continue to cooperate with any ongoing government investigations, Justice Department officials have confirmed in a media statement.

Wells Fargo &Co admitted that between 2002 and 2016, it indeed did pressurize employees to meet “unrealistic sales goals that led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts or products to customers under false pretenses or without consent, often by creating false records or misusing customers’ identities,” the department confirmed it their media address.

Nick Hanna, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California further added that “this case illustrates a complete failure of leadership at multiple levels within the bank. Simply put, Wells Fargo traded its hard-earned reputation for short-term profits, and harmed untold numbers of customers along the way.”

Strangely, the top management in the bank’s community bank division was aware of this wrongdoing since 2002, and many of these unethical and unlawful activities were simply termed as ‘gaming’ within the bank’s working language.

About $500 million of the penalties will go to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be distributed to investors to settle charges that the bank committed fraud by misleading investors about its sales practices, an SEC official shared with the media.

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Bernie Sanders Warned About Russian Interference In Election Build Up
Americas

Bernie Sanders Warned About Russian Interference In Election Build Up

Russia is said to be interfering with the built up towards the 2020 US elections, FBI intelligence reporting has confirmed. This time, they are trying to interfere with Bernie Sander’s build up but in at a smaller scale.

Both Sanders and Mr. Donald Trump have been briefed about this intelligence. According to intelligence findings, this kind of interference had been discovered to be done in the 2016 to influence the winning of Trump and jeopardizing the election results for Hilary Clinton.

Trump has continued to deny Russian involvement in private and public. It is now being indicated that possibly, Mr. Sanders, who has been criticized for online vitriol might be a victim to fake internet accounts spreading such false news under his name. His supporters are now saying that it is possible this kind of “ugly stuff” that has been attributed to his campaign was actually coming from Russian intervention.

Moscow is known to have created many fictitious accounts that trampled over Clinton’s portrayal and spread malicious false news against her, strengthening the case for Trump to be elected.

U.S. national security officials have struggled with how to respond to indications that foreign adversaries may be meddling in elections after the Obama administration was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for not disclosing more to the public and Russia’s interference in 2016.

The US has been struggling against increasing foreign influence and interference in the election process term after term. There are many forces at play in ensuring a certain kind of candidate wins the American elections.

The U.S. intelligence has been extremely forthcoming and accurate in having warned for years that Russia and others were likely seek to interfere in the 2020 contest. Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that Russia interfered in “sweeping and systematic” fashion in the 2016 presidential election to help Mr. Trump and denigrate his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.

However, the warnings have continued to be ignored making it possible to suspect the intent of the current serving President, for some kind of meddling with the results becomes evident.

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UK PM Boris Johnson says anticipating meeting Trump in the G7 summit in June
Americas, Europe

UK PM Boris Johnson says anticipating meeting Trump in the G7 summit in June

Boris Johnson’s office announced after reports that an expected meeting between US-UK in early 2020 is delayed. British PM Boris Johnson is anticipating meeting U.S. President Donald Trump is likely in June.

“The pioneers highlighted their commitment to the UK-U.S. bilateral relationship and anticipated seeing each other at the G7 Summit in the United States this June.”

Relations among Washington and London have been strained by Britain’s decision to permit the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei [HWT.UL] a restricted role in its mobile network, proposed the Iran atomic agreement and British digital services tax.

The Trump administration has spent last year irately lobbying it allies to bar Huawei from their 5G framework, as it claims the Chinese tech organization works as a proxy for the Chinese government to spy. Huawei has more than once declined this, and claims the US’ quest for the company is politically roused.

Johnson had been anticipated to visit Washington early this year. However, the visit got delayed till June when a summit of pioneers of the G7 is due to take place in the United States, The Sun newspaper announced.

“President Trump and the Prime Minister talked over telephone tonight and discussed a variety of international and bilateral issues,” Downing Street said in an announcement on Thursday.

Article Credit: The Guardian

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Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29
Americas

Taliban confirms signing agreement with US on February 29

The radical Taliban movement has announced its intention to sign an agreement with the United States on February 29. This was reported on Friday by the representative of the Taliban, Zabihulla Mujahid.

“Now both parties must create an appropriate security environment in anticipation of the signing of the agreement,” Mujahid said.

Earlier, the upcoming signing of the agreement with the Taliban was announced by the head of the press service of the US Department of State, Morgan Ortegus. It was noted that soon after this, intra-Afghan negotiations will be held, on which, on the basis of this agreement, an attempt will be made to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan.

The National Security Council of Afghanistan, announced that the government and the Taliban have reached an agreement on a regime to reduce violence, which should take effect at midnight from Friday to Saturday. The regime will last seven days.

On Thursday, the Taliban radical movement announced that it will soon reach final agreements with US authorities to reduce violence in Afghanistan. In the future, this should allow all foreign troops to withdraw from the country. US President Donald Trump said on February 13 that Washington and the Taliban could soon announce deals. He added that the United States “would like to bring its military back home” from Afghanistan.

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Wikileaks Founder Might Receive Pardon  For Trump
Americas

Wikileaks Founder Might Receive Pardon For Trump

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could save his life if he would just deny that Russia had anything to do with WikiLeaks’ publication of Democratic Party emails in 2016, the Trump government has said. This has been confirmed by his lawyer in London who is now considering releasing the Australian editor-journalist.

This announcement could actually lead to his extradition to the U.S. His lawyers have proven the fact that the former Republican U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher had been sent by the president to visit Assange in 2017 to offer him a pardon. However Rohrabacher has denied ever having spoken to the president about Assange.

Assange is wanted in the US on 18 counts of including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law. He could spend decades behind bars if convicted.

The Australian-born Assange made global headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. In 2010, his website is said to have enraged Washington by leaking secret U.S. documents making them easy for public consumption.

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Trump Sacks Maguire Over Spill Of Beans On Russia Connect To House Committee
Americas

Trump Sacks Maguire Over Spill Of Beans On Russia Connect To House Committee

Someone from the National Intelligence Department spilled bean which he was not supposed to. It has resulted in Joseph Maguire losing his job. The acting director of national intelligence was pulled up insubordination coming to light from within his area of work. It was learned that one of his subordinates had briefed the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s apparent preference for Mr. Trump in the 2020 presidential contest.

It is confirmed that Shelby Pierson, the top election-security official in Mr. Maguire’s office had delivered information on election interference in a classified hearing before bipartisan members of the House panel, alongside national security officials from other federal agencies.

According to Pierson’s statement in the hearing, Russia seemed to be favouring Trump towards the 2016 election campaign. This is where Trump has suddenly decided to drop the retired navy admiral and opted for someone less experienced for the role. Trump has now named Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, as his next acting director of national intelligence.

The first openly gay cabinet level official in American history, Grenell has exhibited certain amount of loyalty to Trump in the past; hence the favoritism. Grenell, it is believed, might have to face stiff resistance and sharp opposition from Democrats if the White House tried to push through a Senate nomination and confirmation process.
Moscow interfered in “sweeping and systemic fashion” in the 2016 election in an effort to boost then-candidate Trump’s chances by spreading divisive social media content and hacking and leaking Democratic emails, according to the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller. Russia has denied election interference.

Trump has publicly and privately always denied any knowledge and showed skepticism over the US intelligence services drawing up with such conclusions. Trump does not share good vibes with any of the US intelligence services and has tried constantly to rid them of officers to replace with the ones that can toe-the-line for him.

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Democrats battle in heated Las Vegas debate with Bloomberg as the prime target
Americas

Democrats battle in heated Las Vegas debate with Bloomberg as the prime target

Michael Bloomberg was invited to his first presidential debate with a volley of attacks commonly held for front-runners. For parts of the debate, he was the primary target of his Democratic contenders. Yet, there were additionally various clashes between different candidates in what may have been the most argumentative discussion of the season, CBS News reported.

Bloomberg has so far spent more than US$409 million of his cash on crusade adverts. While the spending has impelled him into the runner up, as indicated by ongoing surveys, it has exposed him to a tempest of assaults from rivals in Nevada.

Bloomberg was tested on his record on stop-and-search, his slanderous remarks about women, his wealth, his tax returns, and his organization’s utilization of nondisclosure negotiations.

Representative Elizabeth Warren criticized Bloomberg saying, “I’d prefer to discuss whom we’re running against: a wealthy person who calls females fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren stated. “No, I’m not discussing Donald Trump; I’m discussing Mayor Bloomberg,” The CBS News reported.

In the opening half of the debate, Bloomberg attempted to clarify a portion of his past approaches, including the proceeding of the controversial stop and frisk strategy in New York, whereby cops halted and addressed individuals they doubted to be associated with a crime.

According to The National, Bloomberg demonstrated more vitality in the subsequent half, taking on Senator Bernie Sanders. He attacked Sanders’ grip of socialism. “I don’t believe there’s any way that the senator [Sanders] defeating President Trump,” he added.

Both CNN and the Washington Post pronounced Senator Warren as the victor of the night. However, regardless of Sanders’ augmenting lead, none of the candidates might have the option to arrive at the 1991 representatives required to guarantee the nomination in July at the national conference.

Article Credit: The National/CBS News

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Buttigieg hits back at Trump and Limbaugh, saying, ‘I’ve never transferred hush money’
Americas

Buttigieg hits back at Trump and Limbaugh, saying, ‘I’ve never transferred hush money’

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has again targeted President Trump over the issue of “family esteems” by bringing up that his marriage has never included him paying “quiet cash to a pornography star.”

As per The Guardian, Buttigieg, who came out as gay in 2015 and wedded his better half, Chasten Buttigieg, in 2018, has been the subject of late homophobic remarks by radio host Rush Limbaugh, who said, his audiences were “yet not willing to elect a gay person kissing his spouse on the stage of the presidential debate.”

Limbaugh, who was facing controversy since Trump gave him the presidential medal of freedom, stated the US president advised him to “never apologize” for his remarks.

Questioned on if he believed Trump would not be disagreeing with a president coming from the LGBTQ+ people group, Buttigieg answered: “Well, not if he’s sending out his supporters to speak in this manner, stated during a CNN town hall in Las Vegas.

“What’s more, look, I mean, the possibility of the likes of Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh addressing anyone on family esteems,” the Democratic presidential candidate said to applause, Buttigieg included.

Buttigieg then made a sharp reference to the cash paid to porno star Stormy Daniels by Trump through his former legal advisor Michael Cohen. “I mean, I’m sorry; however, one thing about my marriage is it’s never included me sending hush cash to a pornography star in the wake of cheating my husband with him or her,” he said.

“So they need to discuss family esteems? We should debate family esteems. I’m ready.” he added.

According to The Guardian, it is the second time that Buttigieg has conflicted with Trump during the week over his private life and Limbaugh’s remarks. On Sunday, the former South Bend mayor stated that he was “disheartened for what the Republican party has turned into if they agree to that sort of homophobic speech.”

Article Credit: The Guardian

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Where Does McSally and Gardner’s Loyalty  Lie?
Americas

Where Does McSally and Gardner’s Loyalty Lie?

Those who stood by the obtuse and obstinate President of the United States at a time when he was being tried for misuse of power at office are now reaping the benefit.

Many such Republican senators are now banking on their loyalty to take them through the elections. As a gesture of thank you, Trump is now said to be holding campaign rallies this week that will give a thrust to the credibility of two of the most vulnerable GOP senators. This includes Martha McSally of Arizona and Cory Gardner of Colorado. Both the state of Colorado and Arizona are said to be giving a competitive fight in the presidential election in November 2020. No wonder Gardner and McSally are banking on the Midas touch that should eventually help them rally voters and raise money.

Another reason for them being in good books of Trump, is that they seem to have followed in his footsteps and campaigned like the mentor. McSally has liberally used tactics like criticizing media houses, creating advertisements against the opponents and the likes.
Both McSally and Gardner have been instrumental in convincing voters not to push for testimonies towards the impeachment of the Mr. Donald Trump.

While the truth remains hidden, their stance of favoring the President could be winning for them now. But it could go into history with the Democrats to mark them as what they stand for and whether constitutional well being is (at all) on their minds or not.
Indeed, embracing the president on stage has helped the senators rally the Republican base. But will continue to serve as a reminder to independents too of how they cast their votes on impeachment and where do their loyalties really stands.

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Trump Chooses Loyalist Over Apt Candidates For National Intelligence Position
Americas

Trump Chooses Loyalist Over Apt Candidates For National Intelligence Position

Donald Trump is now turning to his well wishes and loyalist than working a way to keep in good terms with his own administration. It is confirmed that Trump has now named Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany, as his next acting director of national intelligence. Trump has been seen to be in logger heads with his own intelligence agencies.

Grenell will be replacing the current acting director, Joseph Maguire, whose temporary term expires in March 2020. Grenell is known for his blunt style and seems to have won himself this position due to his close ties to Mr. Trump.

Trump has had multiple persons holding the gate for him. Earlier it was Rep. John Ratcliffe (R., Texas), who was promptly removed after he raised concerns among senators that he would seek to politicize U.S. intelligence.

He was replaced by Mr. Maguire, a retired Navy vice admiral who acted as the interim steward of the U.S. intelligence community last summer.

The first openly gay cabinet level official in American history, Grenell might have to face stiff resistance and sharp opposition from Democrats if the White House tried to push through a Senate nomination and confirmation process.

It is still not confirmed as to when he would be assuming the new role, but news has been out that Grenell has been looking at getting out of his official role and entering the private sector instead. He is expected to serve as acting director of national intelligence for at most four months, providing a stopgap that allows Mr. Trump to find a director for his potential second term.

The law creating the job of DNI, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, states that any nominee for the post “shall have extensive national security expertise.” In the perception of the Democrats, Grenell lacks any kind of exposure and experience in dealing with intelligence to be considered fit for such a role.

However, Trump seems to be believe more in his loyalists as he has been extremely mistrusting of any kind of intelligence shared with him through the existing set of officials in the various intelligence agencies.

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An American bank Wells Fargo & Co has finally agreed to wrongdoing in the form of pressurizing employees in a fake accounts scandal.
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