House Minority Leader Patrick Neville won’t seek re-election for top GOP spot

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville announced Friday that he won’t seek to retain his House leadership post, months after news reports that he would be challenged for the seat and likely lose it.

“There’s been a lot of folks that have been, quite frankly, spending all their time trying to run against me instead of … helping Republicans win elections,” Neville said.

The Castle Rock Republican said he plans to instead focus on getting reelected to serve his district for the next two years. He also plans to complete the last year of his executive MBA at the University of Denver.

The divide has grown between supporters of Neville, who holds far-right views and associates with groups like the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, and Republicans who say the party needs to make changes to get elected in an increasingly blue state.

Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, had previously announced he would seek the minority leader’s spot, with backing from many in the Republican caucus.

Neville said he came to the decision a week ago and decided to announce it before the election in hopes that it will help Republicans focus on flipping Democratic seats. The House leadership vote takes place after the election.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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For 3rd Time, Groups Seek End to Trump Order on House Seats | Political News

By MIKE SCHNEIDER, Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For the third time in two months, civil rights groups and state and local governments were asking judges to strike down a directive from President Donald Trump that would exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from being counted when deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.

The coalition of civil rights groups and state and local governments called Thursday on federal judges in California to rule that Trump’s order was illegal, claiming it discriminates against people based on race, ethnicity, and national origin. They said Trump’s order goes against 230 years of U.S. history, will cause them to lose political representation and is discouraging people in the country illegally from participating in the 2020 census.

Trump administration attorneys say the challenge to the order is premature and should be dismissed.

The numbers used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets is a process known as apportionment. It is derived from the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident that is set to end at the end of the month. The census also helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding annually.

After Trump issued the order last July, around a half dozen lawsuits were filed across the U.S., challenging it. Hearings on the order already have been held in Washington and New York, and a panel of three federal judges in New York ruled that it was unlawful. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The New York judges didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the memorandum, merely saying it violated federal laws on the census and apportionment. That left open the door for the judges in the other cases to rule on other aspects of the president’s memorandum. Other lawsuits challenging the memorandum have been filed in Maryland and Massachusetts, and a lawsuit filed two years ago in Alabama covers the same ground.

The California case was being heard virtually Thursday before three district judges. They included U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who last month in a separate case stopped the Trump administration from finishing the census at the of September, allowing the count to go on for another month through October. A different coalition of civil rights groups and local governments had sued the Trump administration for the extra time, arguing minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ended early.

The Trump administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to put Koh’s order on hold.

Although the legal fights over Trump’s order and when the census will end are being fought in separate court cases, opponents challenging the Trump administration say they are intertwined since the census schedule was shortened to accommodate Trump’s order.

Facing disruptions to field operations because of the pandemic, the Census Bureau proposed a new timetable in April that extended the deadline for finishing the count from the end of July to the end of October and pushed the apportionment deadline

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House Democrats seek to block funds for ‘defeat despair’ Covid ads

House Democrats overseeing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response will introduce a largely symbolic bill intended to limit the administration’s ability to spend federal funds on certain coronavirus-related advertisements before the election, according to a draft shared first with POLITICO.

The Defeat Pandemic Propaganda Act of 2020 is authored by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), joined by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). The Democrats’ bill would bar HHS from using taxpayer funds on an ad campaign to “positively influence public perception regarding the Covid–19 pandemic,” specifically distort any facts or encourage risky behaviors amid the outbreak.

“[F]ederally-funded advertisements meant to cast the situation in a positive light or suggest there is no longer a need to take public health precautions would be wholly unethical, especially in the weeks before a presidential election,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. A spokesperson for Krishnamoorthi acknowledged the difficulty of moving such legislation forward in a split Congress weeks before the election.

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Police Seek Suspects In Hell’s Kitchen Homicide, Stabbing

HELL’S KITCHEN, NY — Police appealed to the public Tuesday for help finding suspects in two separate stabbings in Hell’s Kitchen, one of which left a man dead.

The first incident happened around 10:09 p.m. on Aug. 22, when a 21-year-old man stabbed a 24-year-old man in the chest during a fight in front of 790 11th Ave., part of the Clinton Towers complex.

The victim, identified as Terrell Wigfall, was brought to Mount Sinai West Hospital, where he died from his injuries on Sept. 16. Wigfall had been a promising basketball player at Bronx Community College before apparently leaving the team last year, the New York Post reported.

The suspect, identified as Tammuz Darbasie, ran into the Clinton Towers after the stabbing, according to police. Authorities are seeking Darbasie, described as 6 feet tall and 140 pounds, last seen wearing a white shirt, black sweatpants and black sneakers, and known to frequent the neighborhood.

The second incident happened around 11:42 p.m. last Wednesday, Sept. 23, when an unidentified man stabbed a 42-year-old man in the back during an argument in front of 748 10th Ave.

The victim was hospitalized in stable condition, while the suspect fled north on 10th Avenue, police said. Authorities described him as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 5 to 6 inches tall, last ween wearing a dark baseball cap, a black hoodie, blue sweatpants and black sneakers.

Police asked anyone with information about either case to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). People can also submit tips online or on Twitter, @NYPDTips.

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Police seek help finding suspect in homicide outside Michigan haunted house

PONTIAC, MI – Police have asked for the public’s help finding a suspect in a fatal shooting that occurred in a parking lot outside the Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac early Sunday morning.

Deputies with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and STAT EMS responded shortly after 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27 to the popular haunted house, 18 South Perry St., for a shooting report.

The caller said the victim, a 29-year-old Detroit man, was laying on the ground in a nearby parking lot, per a statement issued by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim and his girlfriend had been waiting in line to enter the haunted house when a man in line ahead of them would not move.

Michigan haunted house, ranked No. 1 in the US, opens this week with COVID changes

The victim and the suspect — described as a man standing 6-foot tall and wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt and jeans — exchanged words as the suspect thought the victim had cut in line ahead of him.

The victim told his girlfriend he was going to his vehicle, police said. The suspect and the victim then went separately to the parking lot.

That’s when witnesses told police they heard shots fired. The victim, whose name has not been released, was shot in the side, neck, and chest.

He was transported to McLaren Oakland hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

A witness reported a blue sedan fled the scene at a high rate of speed after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the fatal shooting is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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House Dems seek to curb presidential power with new bill targeting potential abuses

House Democrats unveiled a sweeping package of government reforms Monday aimed at curbing future abuses of power by a president and strengthening congressional oversight powers, in response to the conflicts they’ve had with the Trump administration in the last three years. 

The legislation, called the “Protecting Our Democracy Act,” wouldn’t pass the Republican-controlled Senate even if it were to pass the House before the end of the current Congress, but it is among the bills Democrats have prepared, should they recapture the Senate and White House this November. It would complement H.R.1, another reform package targeting voting rights, campaign finance and government ethics House Democrats passed in 2019. 

The committee chairs who authored the legislation say it will prevent future abuses and restore the balance of power between Congress and the White House, and they argue that the foundation of democracy is “deeply at risk” without changes.  

“Since taking office, President Trump has placed his own personal and political interests above the national interest by protecting and enriching himself, targeting his political opponents, seeking foreign interference in our elections, eroding transparency, seeking to end accountability, and otherwise abusing the power of his office,” the chairs said in a statement. “It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president.” 

The latest legislation tries to claw back more power for Congress and to curb the president’s power under the Constitution, an area where Democrats have struggled, despite hundreds of hours spent on investigations of the current administration and impeachment proceedings that ended with the president’s acquittal in the Senate. 

It would speed up the process by which Congress can turn to the courts to enforce a subpoena and empower the courts to fine government officials who fail to comply. Democrats have used the contempt process to try to compel Attorney General William Barr, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with subpoenas, only to see those efforts stall in court or fail to produce documents they sought. 

There are also provisions aimed at limiting the administration’s ability to govern through emergency declarations or to divert federal funds away from the use intended by Congress. 

The bill would also try to curb potential political interference by the Justice Department, and even allow fines against White House officials who violate the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan political activity while acting in an official capacity. An ethics watchdog for the White House recommended that one of President Trump’s key advisers, Kellyanne Conway, be fired for violating the act, but she faced no consequences from the White House. 

Other measures would strengthen protections for whistleblowers in the federal government and try to give further support to the inspectors general who independently investigate federal agencies.  

The president himself would face increased scrutiny and limits on his ability to issue pardons or commutations to relatives or officials who were found to have obstructed Congress. Self-pardons would

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Ebbsfleet Garden City bosses seek clarity over Ebbsfleet International’s use as lorry park for Brexit

Garden city bosses have called for greater clarity over the proposed use of Ebbsfleet International station for Brexit after its sudden closure as a Coronavirus test centre.

Boris Johnson’s Government has earmarked it as a potential customs check point in the event the UK leaves without a deal, it is understood.

Vehicles queue to enter the Coronavirus testing centre set up in one of the car parks at Ebbsfleet International. Picture: Chris Davey
Vehicles queue to enter the Coronavirus testing centre set up in one of the car parks at Ebbsfleet International. Picture: Chris Davey

It comes after a Kent County Council letter was leaked showing that the Ebbsfleet Covid testing centre closed two weeks ago because it would be needed for HMRC for “inland border facilities” .

Precise use has not been confirmed but it is believed that one of Ebbsfleet station’s car parks would hold up to 80 lorries at a time and a booking system implemented for slots.

The decision has prompted fears locally that HGVs and lorries could be “stacked out” on the highway as a result.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC), the planning authority tasked with delivering 15,000 homes at the UK’s newest Garden City, met to discuss these concerns on Wednesday.

Its chief executive, Ian Piper told planning members, including Dartford and Gravesham council leaders, “swim lanes” had been proposed to hold vehicles queuing to use the facility.

Ebbsfleet International car park D has been earmarked for the government's Brexit plans. Picture: Chris Dave
Ebbsfleet International car park D has been earmarked for the government’s Brexit plans. Picture: Chris Dave

Garden city bosses have been informed this new design would help prevent major blockages on surrounding roads entering the site, which is a short distance off the A2.

But Mr Piper said: “I think until the facility becomes operational and they are actually clearer how many vehicles are arriving and departing then I don’t think they can be totally sure whether the amount of ‘swim lane’ capacity they have put in will solve the problem.

“What it will do is it will hold capacity within the facility of those queuing rather than them being stacked out on the local highway”.

He added: “We have been pushing for a lot more detail about the operational aspects of the site.”

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite sought assurances these developments would be monitored closely, adding it was “extremely important for local people”.

A new special development order (SDO) was issued by the government on September 3.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation's chief executive Ian Piper has sought further clarity over the car park's intended use
Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s chief executive Ian Piper has sought further clarity over the car park’s intended use

This grants temporary planning permission to border departments for the development of inland border facilities and associated infrastructure across “specified local authorities”, of which Kent is one.

However, the Housing Secretary, who must sign off approval, has not yet received any submissions – although it is understood one is likely to be made for car park D at Ebbsfleet Central.

Ebbsfleet station had been used as a Covid testing site between April and September, but earlier this month testing staff were told “out of the blue” that the site would be closing.

The nearest testing facility is now in Medway , off Curtis

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Police seek two men after “vicious, merciless” stabbing in the garden district

Toronto Police said Friday that they’re looking for the two suspects in an attack that officers called “brazen,” “vicious,” and “merciless.”

The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 28, in Toronto’s garden district, near O’Keefe Lane and Shuter Street.

According to surveillance footage provided, two men were seen attacking a third. One suspect wrestled the 25-year-old victim to the ground while the accomplice rushed in with what appeared to be a blade. The victim was then stabbed many times, as the initial attacker continued punching and kicking the man.

In an interview with the Star, police confirmed the man received “serious injuries,” but will recover.

“The investigators are trying to ascertain the relationship [between the three men], and also what led up to the actual altercation in the stabbing,” said police.

The two suspects were described as Black men, both in their early 20s. One was seen wearing a “red polo shirt, black jeans, beige Gucci shoes, and a black baseball cap.” The other was described wearing a “blue hooded sweat shirt with lightening bolts, torn blue jeans, black shoes, and a black baseball hat.”

They were last seen heading south down “O’Keefe Lane towards Shuter Street.”

Police said they’re looking for several women who were caught on camera as being in the area during the stabbing.

“Because of the severity and the viciousness of the attack, we’re trying to put urgency on this,” they said.

If you have information on the incident, let police know at 416-808-5100. You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously by calling 416-222-TIPS (8477).



Kevin Jiang

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House Democrats seek information on $250 million contract on coronavirus PR campaign

In new letters, House Democrats are demanding new documents about the Department of Health and Human Services’ $250 million contract with a marketing firm handling a campaign on coronavirus that Democrats say they want to ensure does not go to propping up the President’s reelection campaign.

a clock tower in front of a building: The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.

© Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The contract, which was advertised over the summer to help the administration “defeat despair and inspire hope” surrounding coronavirus, according to the performance work document sent to communication firms and first reported by Politico in August, is valued at a quarter of a billion dollars.

The House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Jim Clyburn, the chairman of the select committee on coronavirus and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a subcommittee chairman, sent letters to both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Ben Garthwaite, the chief executive officer for Fors Marsh Group, the market research firm that ultimately got the contract.

“We have grave concerns that, rather than focus on planning and executing a national strategy to contain the coronavirus, the Trump Administration is using a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer money to fund what appears to be a political propaganda campaign just two months before a presidential election,” House Democrats wrote in their letters.

Democrats also wrote “to address the despair many Americans are experiencing during this pandemic, the Administration needs to be honest about the risks Americans face and promote science-based solutions –not political spin — to finally contain the virus and prevent more unnecessary infections and deaths.”

“The public relations firm hired by HHS will report to Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo, who is a former campaign operative for President Trump and not a public health professional,” the letters say.

The letters come just days after a new audio recordings between President Donald Trump and journalist Bob Woodward revealed the President purposefully downplayed the severity of the coronavirus back in March.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

It’s not unprecedented for an administration to use a marketing or public relations firm to help craft a message or conduct research about public health. Fors Marsh lists on its websites several previous campaigns it worked on with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration on issues related to childhood asthma and rural health habits. And when former President Barack Obama was trying to educate and sell Americans on the Affordable Care Act, the administration spent millions on advertising to get people to sign up.

Still, House Democrats are requesting

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UK house prices jump as buyers seek gardens after lockdown: RICS

LONDON (Reuters) – The post-lockdown surge in Britain’s housing market intensified in August, and prices hit a four-year high, as buyers sought properties with gardens, according to a survey that also sent a warning signal that the recovery could run out of steam.

FILE PHOTO: The Knightsbridge house which has been purchased by Polish billionaire Dominika Kulczyk for 57.5 million British pounds, stands in London, Britain February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

The monthly gauge of house prices from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shot up to +44 in August from +13 in July, hitting its level since February 2016. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a reading of +25.

Prices rose across the country except for London where they have remained more or less flat over the past two months.

The survey chimed with other signs that a mini-boom is underway in the housing market – one of the few parts of the economy to have bounced back from the pandemic – helped in part by an emergency tax cut for buyers.

Demand accelerated sharply, helped by a shift towards properties with gardens after the COVID-19 lockdown, RICS said.

Some 83% said they expected to see higher demand for properties with gardens and most predicted reduced demand for homes in highly urban areas or tower blocks.

“The latest RICS survey provides firm evidence of a strong uplift in activity in the housing market which should help support the wider economy gain traction over the coming months,” RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said.

Still, there were some ominous signs.

The survey’s gauge of sales for the next 12 months deteriorated further in August, dented by worries about the economy.

Last week Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said it was too soon to say if the rebound in the housing market was anything more than a release of pent-up demand following lockdown, helped by the temporary cut to property taxes.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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