NEWARK – Responding to a defense request to dismiss the corruption case against U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-NJ), a federal judge in Newark threw out seven of the most serious bribery charges related to campaign contributions, but allowed the case to proceed on other charges involving gifts and trips given to Menendez.In a last act before withdrawing from the case, U.S. District Judge William Walls – who served as judge during the 2017 Menendez trial, tossed out the most serious charges, saying federal prosecutors failed to prove that campaign donations given to Menendez influenced his decision to help his friend and co-defendant Salomon Melgen navigate the federal bureaucracy in behalf of his business.Menendez’s defense team is expected to request that the other charges also be dropped. But if such a request is made, it’ll have to be before a new judge, once one is assigned, now that Judge Walls has removed himself from the case, said sources with knowledge of the situation.Menendez is accused of corruption because he received sizable campaign contributions from Melgen as well as trips and gifts.Walls declared a mistrial in the 2017 case when the jury reported it was deadlocked 10 to 2 in favor of acquittal.The Department of Justice announced earlier this month it would seek a retrial.In an event scheduled for Friday, Jan. 26, Hispanic civic and elected leaders from across New Jersey were expected to gather on the steps of Elizabeth City Hall to denounce the U.S. Department of Justice for accusing Menendez, the nation’s highest-ranking Latino elected official and leading immigrant rights advocate, of “racializing” the legal proceedings in court.“Given the Trump Administration’s continuous attacks on immigrants, voting rights and other crucial issues, the state’s Hispanic community fears the decision to retry Senator Menendez is the latest example of the DOJ being weaponized to target minorities,” said a Democratic release issued by the Hispanic leadership.Defense attorneys had asked Walls to dismiss all the charges based on the testimony heard in the previous trial.Walls denied defense requests for a judgment of acquittal on all charges but dismissed the seven of the 18 charges, including the most serious of them that involved campaign contributions.Federal prosecutors claim that Menendez traded the power of his office in exchange for six-figure campaign contributions, luxury hotel stays, and private jet flights. But Walls said prosecutors failed to make a connection between the contributions and the official acts Menendez performed.Melgen, an ophthalmologist, sought the Menendez’s intervention in an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute, a port security contract for one of his companies, and to settle a visa issue for his girlfriend.In a public statement issued last week, Menendez said the retrial has political overtones, coming at a time when he will run for reelection this year. One third of the narrowly divided U.S. Senate will also be up for election.Menendez was an outspoken critic of some policies of President Barack Obama, under whose administration the Justice Department brought the original indictment. He has led the Democratic opposition in a number of areas against policies being instituted under President Donald Trump, especially immigration policy.
UPDATE – July 16th, 2018 – 10:30 pm Eastern: The Phish From The Road (@Phish_FTR) Twitter account has shared a number of photos from today’s rehearsals. Check them out below: Phish‘s 2018 summer tour kicks off tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 17th, at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s in Stateline, Nevada. Yesterday, bassist Mike Gordon shared a selfie of the band rehearsing at an indoor arena with their full stage setup, as they customarily do prior to the start of tours. (Last year, the band rented out an arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the week ahead of their summer tour opener in Chicago). The picture was taken at the Reno Events Center in Reno, NV, roughly an hour’s drive north of Harvey’s up I-580. While the first news of these indoor tech rehearsals was floated yesterday, the band has been preparing for this summer’s tour for some time. On June 29th, Gordon posted a photo to his Instagram page of himself and drummer Jon Fishman in a practice space with the caption, “Summah rehearsals.” In addition to their Phish-specific rehearsals, the band members have been keeping busy with other projects in recent weeks. Trey Anastasio recently wrapped up a three-night run with his trio-turned-quartet including his first-ever performance in New York’s Central Park; Mike Gordon and his solo outfit headlined last weekend’s Breckenridge Brewery Hootenanny in Littleton, Colorado; and Page McConnell sat in with Russell Batiste in New Orleans in late June, where they confirmed onstage that a new Vida Blue album was in the works. Jon Fishman did some touring with the Mallett Brothers earlier this year, and recently spoke about his excitement for Phish’s upcoming tour on a local Maine late-night talk show.During Fishman’s talk show appearance, host Danny Cashman asked the drummer if he still felt excitement about Phish’s upcoming tour, even after all these years. “Yeah, now more than ever,” Fish responded. “I’m 53 years old, and I feel like I’m actually starting to get good.” He continued, after pausing for laughs:No, seriously, I’m starting to really break ground into areas of drumming that I haven’t heard from other people yet. And the band, I think, is starting to… We broke up from ’04–’09, and it took us some years to get back [to] where we left off. And I feel like we’re starting to get into new levels of listening and improvisational abilities and stuff that surpass where we left off in ’04, and it’s very exciting.All things [re]considered, it seems as though Phish will be prepared to hit the ground running when they arrive at Harvey’s tomorrow. And that’s a good thing, too—after their most recent performance at the Stateline, Nevada venue in 2013 produced perhaps the most lauded jam of 3.0, the “Tahoe Tweezer“, expectations are high for the sold-out two-night run.Have fun, and be safe out there, kids. Viva la Phish tour!
On Thursday, Howard Hall will host its annual Totter for Water event, aiming to raise $4,000 to build a water well in Cameroon.Photo courtesy of The Water Project Sophomore Mary Kate Marino, Totter for Water commissioner, said Howard’s 24-hour, teeter-totter fundraiser raises awareness about water needs around the world.“The Totter is fun and builds a good sense of community,” Marino said. “It also provides a good way to start conversations about the world population’s water needs.”Although the event begins Thursday at 5 p.m. on South Quad and ends Friday at 5 p.m., Howard already has started fundraising efforts.“Totter [for Water] is technically a week-long fundraising event,” Marino said. “We have sent e-mails to everyone in the dorm requesting that they gather donations from their friends and families.”This year, Howard changed the partnering organization for their project.“Last year, we worked with The Water Project,” Marino said. “This year, we partnered with Engineers Without Borders at Notre Dame. We are able to operate under the same principle of improving water development worldwide, but we are now more specific to a Notre Dame group.”Partnering agencies are not the only change, she said. Howard has also raised the fundraising goal from last year.“We beat our goal last year by roughly $2,000. So this year, we made the fundraising goal $4,000, and we hope to beat even that,” Marino said.Hannah Miller, a junior in Howard, said she looks forward to tottering from midnight to one a.m. on Friday.“Totter for Water is a really good cause and a good way to build dorm community,” Miller said. “It serves as a reminder about the needs of others, especially with something that we take for granted.”Marino said the project is having a positive effect on dorm residents’ habits.“Totter is an environmental reminder to all the members of our dorm,” Marino said. “The project is influencing the girls [in Howard] to turn off water when it is not needed and turn off lights to conserve electricity.”Marino said water should not be such a scarce resource for the world’s population.“We have to look at the international community and not just our own needs,” Marino said. “This project provides one opportunity to go out there and help people access this resource.”For more information, Marino said log onto ewbnotredame.weebly.com and to donate log onto ssl.charityweb.net/ewbusa.Tags: 24 hour totter, fundraising for water, Howard, Howard Hall, totter for water
Lobbying Spending by U.S. Coal Companies Down by Half Since 2012 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Catherine Traywick for Bloomberg News:Cash-strapped coal companies are reaching the conclusion that energy policy is a matter for the courts rather than Congress. As dwindling demand puts pressure on mining companies to cut costs and climate rules threaten their very survival, many are shifting scarce resources from lobbyists to lawyers.“They’re not reducing their political efforts; they’re simply shifting tactics,” said Jeffrey Berry, a lobbying expert and professor of political science at Tufts University. “As we’ve found with many EPA regulations, going to court can put a monkey wrench in the administration’s plans.”“It may be a better investment than going to your friends in Congress and asking ‘Can we have this?’” he said.Lobbying spending by major coal producers in the U.S. is down by about half from $15 million in 2012, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of disclosure filings. Alpha Natural Resources, which filed for bankruptcy protection in August, last year spent just a third on lobbying as what it had in 2012. Peabody Energy, the country’s top coal producer, halved its D.C. advocacy from $3.8 million in 2012, cutting it by 20 percent between 2014 and 2015. Those declines are much steeper than those seen in the rest of the energy sector, according to Bloomberg Government analyst Bob Meteer.Among mining trade groups, which rely on member fees for their programs, the picture is even starker. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity cut lobbying spending by 51 percent from 2014, while the National Mining Association cut back 44 percent, according to Bloomberg Government data.With shrinking resources, the mining groups said they see little to gain from lobbying the executive branch. President Barack Obama drew a line in the sand with the Clean Power Plan, an EPA rule that mandates a shift from coal-fired power to natural gas and renewable energy. Cheap natural gas is also stealing market share from coal.Coal Lobbying Down as Industry Throws Weight Behind Legal Battle
Bloomberg: Peabody Has Lost the Lifeline That Might Have Kept It Out of Bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michelle Davis, Jodi Xu Klein and Tim Loh for Bloomberg News:Bowie Resource Partners is scrapping a loan sale that would’ve funded its purchase of mines from Peabody Energy Corp., jeopardizing a deal that would help stave off a Peabody bankruptcy filing, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.The company dropped the $650 million financing after getting a cool reception from investors, said the person, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Bowie had put the loan deal on hold last month and was seeking to renegotiate the terms of the purchase.The asset sale was critical to Peabody, which has until April 14 to make an overdue interest payment. The largest U.S. coal miner, which has been ravaged by the coal market’s worst downturn in decades, this month said it may not be financially strong enough to remain in business in its current form and may seek bankruptcy protection.Peabody spokesman Vic Svec declined to comment. Brian Settles, a representative for Bowie Resource, didn’t respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment.There’s “substantial doubt” as to whether Peabody can comply with its loan covenants “without consummation of the transaction,” the company said in a Feb. 29 filing.Under the terms of the acquisition, Louisville, Kentucky-based Bowie Resource will have to pay Peabody a $20 million fee if the deal can’t be done because of the buyer’s failure to obtain sufficient funding, according to a regulatory filing. The companies have the right to terminate the deal if the transaction hasn’t closed by March 31.Peabody has been seeking ways to ease its debt burden as rivals including Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and Arch Coal Inc. filed for bankruptcy. On March 15, Peabody elected to skip $71 million in semi-annual coupons due and entered a 30-day grace period to make the payments.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-29/peabody-lifeline-vanishing-as-bowie-loan-deal-said-to-be-dropped
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):In another indication of growing U.S. utility interest in energy from hydrogen and in large-scale battery storage, Entergy Corp. and Mitsubishi Power Americas Inc., an affiliate of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., said that they will jointly develop “decarbonization projects” for Entergy’s utility operations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.The partnership will focus on tooling combined-cycle power plants to run on a mix of hydrogen and natural gas, creating hydrogen from renewable energy and nuclear power, transporting and storing hydrogen, and developing large-scale battery stations.“New technologies and innovative solutions to the challenges posed by climate change present opportunities for us to significantly decrease carbon emissions from our generation portfolio while maintaining low rates,” Paul Hinnenkamp, Entergy’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.Natural gas-fired generation accounts for roughly two-thirds of Entergy’s power portfolio, which includes more than 30,000 MW of capacity, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The company also owns over 7,000 MW of nuclear generating capacity and more than 2,600 MW of coal-fired power plants, compared with less than 100 MW of renewables.The collaboration builds on gathering momentum for hydrogen and battery storage to play central roles in what Paul Browning, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Power Americas, called “the next phase of decarbonization.” The companies did not immediately respond to a request for details on the volume, location and timing of the projects.For Mitsubishi, the partnership with Entergy marks its latest hydrogen and battery storage deal with U.S. utilities and power plant developers. In early September, the developers of more than $3 billion in planned natural gas-fired generation projects in New York, Ohio and Virginia selected the company to supply hydrogen-compatible gas turbines as part of a package that includes creation of hydrogen using renewable energy, through the process of electrolysis, and hydrogen storage. That came after Mitsubishi in August announced a contract to build a 200-MW battery storage project in Texas and joined more than a dozen U.S. electric and gas utilities to launch a $100 million five-year research project to explore greater use of hydrogen and other low-carbon fuels.[Garrett Hering]More ($): Mitsubishi, Entergy launch 4-state hydrogen, battery storage rollout Entergy, Mitsubishi team up to boost hydrogen, battery storage in U.S. utility’s service territory
Briefs B riefsT HE ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION of South Florida recently held a gathering in Coral Gables that featured invited judges. The members of APABASF had the opportunity to interact with the judiciary as well as network with one another. Pictured from the left are Deborah Lowe; 11th Circuit Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola; Grace Robson, APAPASF director; Professor Aya Gruber, APABASF director; Alice Sum, APABASF secretary; and William Simonitsch, APABASF president. October 1, 2005 Regular News
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 63-year-old Coram man died after crashing his truck on the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville on Wednesday afternoon.Suffolk County police said David Hutchings was driving a GMC pickup truck eastbound on Route 495 near exit 63 when he crashed into the center median near the HOV lane at 1:15 p.m.The victim was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.Sixth Squad detectives, who impounded the truck and are continuing the investigation, believe Hutchings suffered a medical emergency, which caused the crash.
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He conceded, however, that the number of positive cases outside the capital had increased and called for regional governments to apply strict measures on visitors entering their respective areas with a compulsory 14-day self-isolation period and strict health protocols.To get a clearer picture of Indonesia’s COVID-19 situation, the government has secured 479,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) reagents from South Korea and China, in line with Jokowi’s order to expedite massive testing in April and in May, as well as aggressive tracking and strict isolation.“Pak President asked all of us to work even harder and encourage communities to be more disciplined and officials to be stricter, so we can start going back to a normal life again in July,” Doni added.Many, however, have doubted the Health Ministry’s data on the number of confirmed cases in the country, arguing there has been a lack of transparency and sluggish tests and tracking since the first announcement of infected cases in March.BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo said the Health Ministry had supplied limited data to the agency and the government’s data had conflicted with that provided by regional administrations.The government has reported 9,096 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 765 fatalities in Indonesia as of Monday.Topics : The government has claimed that Jakarta, the country’s epicenter of COVID-19, has flattened the curve and experienced a significant slowdown in new cases, hoping to see an end the national outbreak in July.“We can explain in the latest development that particularly for Jakarta, the new cases have rapidly slowed down and flattened,” said COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo after a limited meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday.Doni, who also heads the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said the result was contributed by the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed in the capital city. “The PSBB is running effectively. The Jakarta governor has also reported the results of the implementation to the President,” he said.Read also: Testing backlog forces Jakarta to apply COVID-19 protocol to more than 1,000 burialsThe Jakarta administration was the first in the country to impose 14-day PSBB measures on April 10. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan’s request for an extension was approved and will last until May 22.Doni further said that Indonesia had seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 patients under treatment and currently 7,032 people were being treated, compared to 10,179 isolation room beds available nationwide.