- World Associated Press
Syria's Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed Sunday to help them fend off Turkey's invasion - a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos. The shift could lead to clashes between Turkey and Syria and raises the specter of a resurgent Islamic State group as the U.S. relinquishes any remaining influence in northern Syria to President Bashar Assad and his chief backer, Russia.
- World Reuters
Britain remains a long way from agreeing a final Brexit deal and the next few days will be critical if it is to agree departure terms with the European Union, a Downing Street source said on Saturday. Negotiators for Britain and the EU have entered intense talks over the weekend to see if they can break the Brexit impasse before a crucial summit next week and a deadline for Britain to leave the bloc on Oct. 31. News of progress in the talks sent financial markets surging on Friday after Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar identified a pathway to a deal following months of acrimony.
- World The National Interest
"Seawater combined with missile fuel to produce heat and toxic gases. Despite a crewman venting the tube, an explosion erupted in the silo, ejecting the missile and its warheads into the sea."
- U.S. Bloomberg
(Bloomberg) -- Bill de Blasio campaigned for New York mayor -- and for president -- vowing to help low-income workers and the least fortunate. But financially desperate taxi drivers, devastated by competition from Uber Technologies Inc. and similar companies, say he has abandoned them.The 22,000-member Taxi Workers Alliance says it has a plan at almost no net expense to the city: bailing out thousands of struggling drivers who can’t afford to repay expensive loans they took out from private lenders to buy city taxi-operating medallions. De Blasio counters that it would cost billions of dollars to solve the problem and says the federal government should pay.The plan would have the city take over the loans from private lenders for about 25% of their original value, as some private-equity companies have done. The city’s upfront expense would be $900 million or more, covering about 6,000 financially strapped cabbies owing an average of $600,000 each. But almost all the city’s cost would be recouped as drivers paid off their reduced debts, the drivers’ group says.“This would save me. I could afford this,” said Mohammed Hossain, 47, who bought his medallion for $854,000 in a city auction five years ago. “This was my dream, to own my business. The bank, the city, all made money on my dream.”Hossain owes about $705,000 to two banks for a medallion he says is now worth about $100,000. He recently renegotiated with the lenders, cutting in half his monthly payments to $1,500, but extending the loan term to 50 years. He intends to declare bankruptcy in two years when his car lease expires.Mulling BankruptcyAbout 26% of the city’s cabbies, like Hossain, are contemplating bankruptcy, and more than half are behind on their monthly bills, according to a 2018 report to the mayor. The report contained no recommendations for city-aided bailouts of loans that drivers now say they can’t pay. At least nine drivers have committed suicide in the past two years as the economic crisis has worsened, including one who shot himself outside City Hall’s front gate last year.The city reaped about $850 million in revenue from sales of 1,000 medallions from 2004 to 2014, promoting them as solid investments before 80,000 Uber drivers hit the city’s streets. That’s why city officials should be responsible for solving the problem, said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the Taxi Workers Alliance.“The mayor thinks it would cost billions because they haven’t paid enough attention,” said Desai, who has promoted the plan to the administration and in testimony to the City Council and U.S. Congress. “Soon, we plan to be on the streets in masses so our voices will be amplified and heard.”The mayor is insisting that any driver bailout would involve direct cash payments covering the full amounts of each loan, a solution that his administration has said would cost as much as $13 billion. He has called on the federal government to take care of the problem.“There’s no way -- that figure is in the billions, you are talking about a lot of money that would go right to banks,” de Blasio said during an Oct. 7 WNYC radio interview. “If we did that, it would come out of schools, it would come out of police, it would come out of many other things. We just don’t have that money.”Driver AssistanceThe mayor has instead touted administration measures such as waiving about $10 million in medallion renewal fees, creating a drivers’ assistance center with financial and mental-health counselors, and placing a cap on the licensing of any more for-hire vehicles.The mayor’s stance pits him against leaders in the City Council who are willing to spend money to help the drivers. Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of its Transportation Committee, says he and his colleagues, including Council Speaker Corey Johnson, agree that the city is partly to blame for the problem and for that reason “we bear some responsibility to fix it.”The proposed debt purchases will be one of several plans that he and others will push during budget negotiations with the mayor that begin next month, Rodriguez said.De Blasio doubts lenders would accept taking a big loss on their loans, said mayoral spokesman Seth Stein.Marblegate Asset Management LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut, has bought about 300 medallions and also some loans at a fraction of their original face value, according to a person familiar with the matter.At Aspire Federal Credit Union, based in Clark, New Jersey, general counsel Robert Bedford said the company would be interested in selling its 75 distressed taxi-medallion loans at a loss. “If the city wanted to talk to us, we would certainly be willing to discuss it,” he said.(Updates sourcing information in penultimate paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at email@example.com, William SelwayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
- PoliticsThe Daily Beast
It’s easy to forget just how different some of President Trump’s most loyal servants felt about oversight and impeachment when there were Democrats in the White House. On Sunday morning, CNN anchor Jake Tapper made sure his viewers remembered. In the final moments of his State of the Union broadcast this week, Tapper said that the White House’s outright refusal to “participate” in the House impeachment inquiry means that the president is “seemingly thumbing his nose at the very notion that the U.S. government was designed with three co-equal branches, specifically to offer checks and balances on each other.” “When President Obama was in the White House, the Republican-led House of Representatives conducted lots of oversight,” Tapper continued, “on the Fast and Furious scandal, on the Benghazi tragedy and more.” He said that anyone who covered or followed the Benghazi saga “may find it stunning to see Republican members of Congress trash-talking whistleblowers and inspectors general and trash-talking the oversight responsibilities of the House.” “After all, during the Obama years, in the trenches, pushing to conduct oversight were many of these same House Republicans,” Tapper said, “such as then Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas.” After playing a clip of Pompeo extolling the constitutional necessity of oversight, Tapper added, “Yes it is!” In response to him saying it was “unacceptable” for the Obama administration to ignore subpoenas, Tapper said, “It is unacceptable!”“One has to wonder what that congressman would make of the secretary of state, who has the same name, whose department is ordering State Department officials to ignore congressional subpoenas,” Tapper said, before moving onto Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also reportedly urged Donald Trump Jr. to do the same.That is a “far cry,” Tapper said, from what Graham had to say when he was tasked with prosecuting the impeachment case against Bill Clinton. “The day that Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is the day that he was subject to impeachment,” Graham said at the time. “Similarly, during the Clinton impeachment, Rudy Giuliani made it very clear where he stood on the matter of avoiding subpoenas,” Tapper said, revealing another clip from 1998 of Trump’s personal lawyer telling Charlie Rose that “the president is not above the law, is not able to avoid subpoenas.” “Now that Giuliani is enmeshed in the Ukraine scandal, however, Giuliani hasn’t even made it clear whether he is going to honor the congressional subpoena aimed at him,” Tapper added. “The arguments that Democratic presidents needed to comply with congressional oversight were correct. That’s how the system was set up.” Tapper concluded, “If you only apply constitutional standards to the other political party and not to your own, then those aren’t principles, they’re tactics.” Rachel Maddow Predicts Senate GOP May Just Find Its ‘Conscience’ and Impeach TrumpRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- U.S.USA TODAY
A teacher at Drexel Hill Middle School in Pennsylvania has been placed on administrative leave after she used racial slurs in a viral Facebook video.