(WASHINGTON) JUST IN: George Papadopoulos Released from prison DEC.07: after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI has now said in a tweet on Friday that he will run for Congress in 2020 and favours Orange County for a seat and vows he will win #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: George Papadopoulos announced Friday that he will run for Congress in 2020: The announcement comes a week after Papadopoulos was released from federal prison, where he served 12 days for lying to the FBI #AceNewsDesk reports

“It is true. I will be running for Congress in 2020, and I will win. Stay tuned,” Papadopoulos tweeted, confirming an earlier interview with the Daily Telegraph, a London-based publication: Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI after he dissembled about his interactions with foreign officials close to the Russian government. One of his Kremlin-linked contacts told him early in 2016 that the Russians had dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” according to court filings.

A federal judge sentenced Papadopoulos to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos had cooperated with the investigation and asked the judge for leniency, while prosecutors sought a six-month prison term…………He was released December 7.

In the Telegraph interview, Papadopoulos, who resides in the Los Angeles area, named Orange County as where he hopes to find a congressional seat: “Now that Los Angeles is home I just have to find a little Republican enclave somewhere in this part of the country and run there,” he said in the interview.

We all make mistakes,” Papadopoulos said in his interview with the Telegraph. “It’s not the end of the world to forget when you met somebody a year ago. It shouldn’t preclude my future in politics in this country.”

Sources: Telegraph – Published: December.15: CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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#AceSecurityReport JUST IN: Facebook’s 6.8-million users photos including those they had not even posted have been had been revealed in September by a software bug it was finally revealed at Bryant Parks pop- up experience on Friday #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: Facebook has revealed that a software bug exposed the photos of up to 6.8 million users, including pictures they had not posted: It made the announcement a day after hosting its pop-up privacy experience “It’s Your Facebook” in New York’s Bryant Park………..It said several third-party apps had access to “a broader set of photos than usual” for 12 days in September…………….The company said it would notify affected users.It is the latest in a series of data breaches at the social network, which has faced scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal #AceNewsDesk

Pop-up cabin in New YorkAFP: Facebook opened a pop-up privacy experience on 13 December

“When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline………..”In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos,” the company said in a blogpost.………………..It said up to 1,500 apps were affected by the glitch…………..As well as letting developers access photos on a user’s timeline, it gave them access to photos posted in Stories and Marketplace, among other features……………..It also let them see photos that people had uploaded but not posted on Facebook, for example if they had started writing a post but not finished it……………..Facebook said it would be working with affected developers to help them “delete the photos from impacted users”.

Sources: Facebook.Com/CNN.Com/ Published: December.14: 2018:

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(TEXAS, Ariz.) JUST IN: #ObamaCare ‘ Unconstitutional ‘ Federal judge rules that ‘ A ffordable Care Acts ‘ individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of the law t herefore cannot stand as California plans an appeal #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: Legal experts say the ruling won’t immediately affect Americans’ health coverage, and a group of states led by California is already vowing to appeal. But the invalidation of the landmark health care law popularly known as Obamacare throws into doubt the future of health coverage for millions of Americans on the Obamacare exchanges and in Medicaid expansion #AceNewsDesk reports

The ruling and expected appeal sets up another cliffhanger in which the fate of the law, which Republicans have unsuccessfully tried to repeal for years, will likely once again ultimately lie with the Supreme Court: Chief Justice John Roberts cast the deciding vote leaving the law intact in 2012, but it’s unclear how the justices will view this challenge, which Centers on changes to the individual mandate that were baked into the 2017 tax reform.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on a promise to undo Obamacare, was thwarted in Congress last year by a lone vote from the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain: Trump immediately tweeted in celebration on Friday and called on Congress to act.

“As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!” Trump wrote……………He later added, “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas. Great news for America!”

Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi decried the ruling and suggested that the coming Democratic-led House will intervene in the case: “Republicans are fully responsible for this cruel decision and for the fear they have struck into millions of families across America who are now in danger of losing their health coverage,” Pelosi said in a statement. “When House Democrats take the gavel, the House of Representatives will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans’ effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act.”

Today, the law governs American health care………….

More than 4 million people have already signed up for 2019 coverage on the exchanges, and millions more are expected to pick plans before open enrollment ends Saturday…………………The ruling threatens to wipe away the Affordable Care Act’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions, which became a focal point of the midterm elections and helped Democrats take the House.

In his opinion, District Judge Reed O’Connor said: The “ Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress’s Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause—meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional.”…………….He also held that the individual mandate is “essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA.”

The case against the ACA was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general and governors, as well as two individuals. It revolves around Congress effectively eliminating the individual mandate penalty by reducing it to $0 as part of the 2017 tax cut bill. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty.

The Republican coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is arguing that the change rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional: The states say that the voiding of the penalty, which takes effect next year, removes the legal underpinning the Supreme Court relied upon when it upheld the law in 2012 under Congress’ tax power.

The Trump administration said in June that it would not defend several important provisions of Obamacare in court: It agreed that zeroing out the penalty renders the individual mandate unconstitutional but argued that invalidates only the law’s protections of those with pre-existing conditions. These include banning insurers from denying people policies or charging them more based on their medical histories, as well as limiting coverage of the treatment they need……………..But the administration maintained those parts of the law were severable and the rest of the Affordable Care Act could remain in place.

Professor Tim Jost, of Washington and Lee University, noted that O’Connor went further than the Trump administration had asked: “The Trump administration only asked that the individual mandate and provisions protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions be invalidated, but O’Connor’s order would invalidate many provisions of the Medicaid program, the Medicare program and other federal laws,” he told CNN.

But Jost said the structure of the challenge and of O’Connor’s ruling means that nothing will change right away: “Judge O’Connor has declared the individual mandate unconstitutional and the rest of the Affordable Care Act invalid, but he has not blocked its continued operation,” Jost said.

Because the administration would not defend the law, California, joined by 16 other Democratic states, stepped in: They argued that the mandate remains constitutional and that the rest of the law, in any event, can stand without it. Also, they said that eliminating Obamacare or the protections for those with pre-existing conditions would harm millions of Americans.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the ruling “an assault” and a spokesperson for his office indicated an appeal would be coming…………………..”Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA’s consumer protections for healthcare, on America’s faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans,” Becerra said in a statement. “The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court.”.

American Medical Association president Barbara McAneny said the group will work with other groups in pursuing an appeal and reversal of the decision.”Today’s decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans,” she said in a statement. “It will destabilise health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009. No one wants to go back to the days of 20 percent of the population uninsured and fewer patient protections, but this decision will move us in that direction.”

Meanwhile, Paxton applauded the ruling and said it represents a massive check on federal power………….”Today’s ruling enjoining Obamacare halts an unconstitutional exertion of federal power over the American health care system while our multistate coalition lawsuit works its way through the courts,” Paxton said in a statement. “Our lawsuit seeks to effectively repeal Obamacare, which will give President Trump and Congress the opportunity to replace the failed social experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans will again have greater choice about what health coverage they need and who will be their doctor.”

The lawsuit entered the spotlight during the midterm elections, helping propel many Democratic candidates to victory…………….Protecting those with pre-existing conditions became a central focus of the races…………Some 58% of Americans said they trust Democrats more to continue the law’s provisions, compared to 26% who chose Republicans, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation election tracking poll released in mid-October……………The consumer protections targeted by the administration are central to Obamacare and transformed the health insurance landscape. Their popularity is one of the main reasons GOP lawmakers had such difficulty repealing Obamacare last year……………………”Guaranteed issue” requires insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their medical history. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, insurers often rejected applicants who are or had been ill or offered them only limited coverage with high rates……………..Under the law’s community rating provision, insurers are not allowed to set premiums based on a person’s health history. And the ban on excluding pre-existing conditions from coverage meant that insurers cannot refuse to pay for treatments because of a policyholder’s medical background…………….All these provisions meant millions of people with less-than-perfect health records could get comprehensive coverage. But they also have pushed up premiums for those who are young and healthy. This group would have likely been able to get less expensive policies that offered fewer benefits prior to Obamacare. That has put the measures in the crosshairs of Republicans seeking to repeal the law and lower premiums.

It’s no wonder that politicians on both sides of the aisle promised to protect those with pre-existing conditions during the election: Three-quarters of Americans say that it is “very important” for the law to continue prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage because of medical histories, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s September tracking poll — 58% of Republicans feel the same way. And about the same share of Americans say it’s “very important” that insurers continue to be barred from charging sick people more.

Source: CNN.Com/ Published: December.15: 2018: Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.

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(LONDON) #Brexit Latest: #NoDeal Scenario as the Swiss government approved on Friday the text of a trade agreement with Britain that aims to maintain economic and commercial relations with its sixth-biggest export market after #Brexit, the cabinet said #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.15: Editor says here’s what we know so far ……..If the transition period between the EU and the UK comes into effect on March 29 next year, the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU will continue to apply between Switzerland and the UK,” a government statement said: Should Britain leave the EU under a “no-deal” scenario, the text of the agreement “makes it possible to replicate in substance the vast majority of trade agreements that currently regulate relations between Switzerland and the UK” Reuters reported on Friday #AceNewsDesk reports

The prime minister said she had been “crystal clear” with the European commission president and other EU leaders on Thursday night about the assurances she needed over the unpopular Irish backstop.………………Giving a lunchtime press conference in Brussels amid an atmosphere of recrimination, May said her discussions with her EU colleagues “have shown further clarification and discussion is in fact possible” and that she would be holding further talks “in the coming days”.

The European Union has confirmed that while Brits won’t need a visa, they will have to buy a ‘travel pass’ to be able to enter the EU: To get this document UK citizens will need to pre-register for a three-year electronic visa waiver in a system, similar to the USA’s ESTA programme…………..It will cost 7 euros – today valued at about £6.30 – but will last for three years: The full information given reads: “The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will apply to United Kingdom nationals once union law on free movement of union citizens ceases to apply to them, as to other visa-free third country nationals”…………….The scheme doesn’t start until 2021 and affects many non-EU countries, including the UK when it leaves.

NAO Reports: Financial Settlement: The United Kingdom (UK) is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on 29 March 2019. The government has agreed with the EU the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, including how it will establish a new relationship with the EU during an implementation period. As part of this agreement, the UK will continue to participate in the EU’s annual budgets in 2019 and 2020 as if it had remained a member state. It will also pay a share of the outstanding commitments and net liabilities that the EU entered into by the end of 2020. This is known as the ‘financial settlement’.

In April 2018, we reported on HM Treasury’s central estimate of the cost of the financial settlement: We concluded that HM Treasury’s estimate that the financial settlement would cost between £35 billion and £39 billion was reasonable given the parameters it had set for the estimate. We noted that future events would determine significant elements of the financial settlement’s cost and that relatively small changes in events could push the cost of the financial settlement outside HM Treasury’s published range. Since April, additional information has become available that means forecasts of the value of some of the financial settlement’s components can be updated.

The government’s agreement with the EU has two major components: a Withdrawal Agreement, setting out the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU; and a political declaration on the terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement includes the terms of the financial settlement. The House of Commons is due to have a ‘meaningful vote’ on the government’s agreement with the EU.

#AceNewsDesk report ……………….Published: December.15: 2018:

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(NEWTOWN, Conn.) JUST IN: Sandy Hook Elementary School has been evacuated on the six year anniversary of the mass shooting that claimed dozens of lives after a ‘ bomb threat ‘ deemed not credible wa s received: Moments of silence were observed in Newtown and other places Friday morning in memory of the vic tims #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.14: Editor says here’s what we know …….Police said a threat was made around 9 a.m. It was deemed not credible, but school was dismissed for the day as a precaution, CBS2 affiliate WFSB reports: “Please stand with our community as we attempt to survive another tragic anniversary,” Newtown Action posted on social media……….Police said the threat is not tied to bomb threats being emailed nationwide…………..On Dec. 14, 2012, 26 students and staff were gunned down at the elementary school’s former location #AceNewsDesk reports

Sandy Hook Elementary School students have been sent home for the day after a bomb threat forced an evacuation on the sixth anniversary of the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six educators: Newtown police say the threat was made at about 9 a.m. Friday and the school was evacuated. Lt. Aaron Bahamonde says there’s a heightened level of anxiety in town on the anniversary and the school superintendent decided to cancel remaining classes.

It’s unclear whether the threat was related to the bomb threats made nationwide Thursday: The school where the shooting happened on Dec. 14, 2012, was knocked down and a new building was constructed at the same site.

Moments of silence were observed in Newtown and other places Friday morning in memory of the victims.

Sources: CBS2 – WSFB – Boston Globe – Published: December.14:2018:

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#cop24

(PRISTINA, Kosovo.) JUST IN: Parliament voted on Friday to create a 5,000-strong-army which was lauded as “historic” by the United States but NATO criticised it as unhelpful in efforts to ease tensi ons between #Kosovo and #Serbia and could provoke military intervention by Belgrade #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.14: The move, coming 20 years after Kosovo Albanians’ uprising against Serbian rule and a decade after independence, was lauded as “historic” by the United States but NATO criticised it as unhelpful in efforts to ease tensions between Kosovo and Serbia #AceNewsDesk reports

Legislation to transform the lightly armed Kosovo Security Force, which was created mainly for crisis response, civil defense and removal of ordnance from the 1990s conflict, into an army was approved by 105 deputies in the 120-seat assembly: Eleven minority Serb deputies boycotted the vote…………..Kosovo’s constitution mandates the creation of a national army but no action was taken for years while Pristina sought, in vain, to obtain the approval of Kosovo Serbs.

The move is also strongly opposed by Kosovo Serbs’ patron Serbia, which has refused to recognise the independence of its former province and warned that a national Kosovo army could destabilize the Western Balkans: “I regret that this decision was made despite the concerns expressed by NATO,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement on Friday.

“The North Atlantic Council will now have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement with the Kosovo Security Force,” he said: Though creating such an army could take years, Serbian politicians maintain that it could be used to expel remaining Serbs from Kosovo – an accusation denied by Kosovo Albanian leaders who rely on European Union and U.S. support for reforms and development of the small, impoverished Balkan country…………..On Dec. 5, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic suggested one possible response by Belgrade could be military intervention.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will be inspecting troops along the Kosovo border over the next three days, his office said on Thursday: NATO-led peacekeeping mission to Kosovo still has around 4,000 troops in the landlocked country.

Balkans analysts, however, said any action by Serbia’s 28,000-strong army against Kosovo is highly unlikely given Belgrade’s aspirations to join the EU and that Brnabic’s remarks appeared to be a sop to Serbian nationalists: With the new law in place, Kosovo will set up a defense ministry and the future army is to be comprised of 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. Pristina government officials said the process would last at least 10 years………………Kosovo’s independence came almost a decade after a NATO air war halted a two-year counter-insurgency war by Serbian security forces that included arrests, killings and expulsions of ethnic Albanian civilians.

Source: Reuters.Com/ Published: December.14: Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Ivana Sekularac, Mark Heinrich and Raissa Kasolowsky

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(NEW YORK) JUST IN: Johnson & Johnson shares plummeted more than 11 percent, its biggest one-day percentage drop in 16 years, after a Reuters @SpecialReports investigation showed the company knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder: The cases include thousands of women with ovarian cancer #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Dec.14: Johnson & Johnson has for decades known its raw talc and finished powders at times tested positive for small quantities of asbestos, with the company’s doctors and lawyers vexed by the findings but failing to alert regulators or consumers, according to a Reuters story published Friday: J&J stock — up 6 percent for the year — plunged 11 percent on news of the report, based on memos, internal documents and confidential memos that the maker of Johnson’s Baby Powder had been compelled to share with attorneys for some 11,700 plaintiffs who claim the company’s powder products caused their cancers #AceNewsDesk reports

Any exposure to asbestos is a health risk, according to the World Health Organization and other medical groups: Company documents, along with deposition and trial testimony, show that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, tests showed small amounts of asbestos could sometimes be found in the company’s raw talc and finished powders, Reuters reported. At the same time, company executives, mine managers, scientists, doctors and lawyers worried about the problem and how to address it but did not disclose the issue to regulators or the public…………..An examination of the documents also revealed how J&J succeeded in curbing regulators’ plans to curtail asbestos in cosmetic talc products as well as scientist research on talc’s health effects, Reuters stated.

J&J did not immediately return a request for comment, but the company has publicly maintained there is no science to back alleged links between its powder and cancer: The company has won several recent court cases allaging liability and damages, and is appealing other judgments, including $4.6 billion awarded in July to 22 women who claimed its product caused their ovarian cancer.

Sources: Reuters – CBSLocal – WHO – Published: December 14, 2018 at 08:53AM

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