Liberal and conservative justices seemed split Wednesday on whether to grant a new sentencing hearing to Lee Boyd Malvo, one of two snipers who terrorized the Washington, D.C., region in 2002 when he was a teenager. The Supreme Court heard arguments on whether Malvo, who was 17 at the time of the killings, was wrongly sentenced in Virginia to life without parole. Virginia argues Malvo’s life sentence was not mandatory because the judge theoretically had discretion to suspend part of Malvo’s life sentence, despite a state law mandating either execution or life without parole as the only sentencing options for a capital murder conviction.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is due to open a new $1.5 billion Chinese rail line on Wednesday linking the capital Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, despite delays in establishing an industrial park there to drive freight traffic. The development of Kenya’s railways has been part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, a multi-billion dollar series of infrastructure projects upgrading land and maritime trade routes between China and Europe, Asia and Africa. Kenya had planned to open an industrial park in Naivasha, offering companies tax breaks for investing in manufacturing, and preferential tariffs for electricity generated in the nearby geothermal fields.
The latest hunt for the remains of the plane of Amelia Earhart, the famed American aviatrix who disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, has turned up nothing. The New York Times reported Tuesday that an extensive search conducted by a team led by Robert Ballard, discoverer of the wreckage of the Titanic, had not turned up any evidence of Earhart’s aircraft. The National Geographic Channel, which sponsored the expedition, is to air a documentary about the search on Sunday.
Representative Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) on Wednesday afternoon contradicted earlier reports that she was set to join fellow members of “The Squad” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) in endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.“I have not made any endorsement at this time. It is critically important to me to involve my residents and my district in every major decision I make, because staying rooted in our community makes our movement stronger,” Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press in a statement.Tlaib explained that while she is bringing Sanders to her Michigan district on October 27, “I need to know that anyone I choose to endorse will fight for my residents, and I appreciate the opportunity for them to have a dialogue with Sen. Sanders about these critically important issues.”The comments contradict several media reports and a tweet by Omar earlier Wednesday that suggested Tlaib was joining her and Ocasio-Cortez in endorsing Sanders.> Proud to endorse @SenSanders for President, glad that @AOC and @RashidaTlaib are on board too. It’s time ???????????? https://t.co/2mAmXJiKxv> > — Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 16, 2019Tlaib’s hesitancy to endorse Sanders likely stems from her district demographics, which ensure a competitive 2020 primary race. She won the 2018 primary by four points over a crowded field.“Tlaib is only squad member who will likely face a competitive primary, and she narrowly won a crowded primary where black vote split across several candidates. She is undoubtedly a Bernie Sanders fan, but unsurprising she seems to be taking different endorsement route,” New York Times reporter Astead Herndon tweeted in response to the news.
More questions have arisen surrounding President Trump’s businesses after ProPublica obtained documents via New York’s Freedom of Information Law.The documents show that for two of Trump’s New York properties — 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower — different financial figures were reported to lenders and to tax authorities. For example, the Trump Organization told a lender that 40 Wall Street had been 58.9 percent leased on Dec. 31, 2012, before vaulting to 95 percent a few years later, which reportedly represented borrower-friendly “leasing momentum.” But the company reportedly disclosed that the building was 81 percent rented as of Jan. 5, 2013 to tax officials. Ultimately, the reporting strategy helped Trump reach favorable terms — he received a 10-year loan with a lower interest than the building previously had and was also able to defer paying off much of the principal until the end of the loan. “There was a story crafted here,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University.As for Trump Tower, the company reportedly told tax authorities that the building made around $822,000 renting space to commercial tenants in 2017, while reporting to lenders that it took in nearly double that. In eight years of data ProPublica examined for the property, the Trump organization generally reported gross income to tax authorities that was around 81 percent of what it reported to the lender.There can be legitimate reasons for such numbers to diverge, real estate experts have noted, but those same experts told ProPublica that some of the gaps in the documents did not appear to have any reasonable justification. Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley said the discrepancies amount to some “versions of fraud.” Read more at ProPublica.