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Despite report findings, almost half of Americans think Trump colluded with Russia

U.S. President Trump departs a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters down the hall as the president departs a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 26, 2019

By Chris Kahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly half of all Americans still believe President Donald Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after Special Counsel Robert Mueller cleared Trump of that allegation.

Americans did feel slightly more positive about Trump after learning the findings of the 22-month investigation into Russian meddling in the election, the national opinion poll released on Tuesday showed.

But U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s investigation did little to change public opinion about the president’s alleged ties to Russia or quench the public’s appetite to learn more.

According to Barr’s summary released on Sunday, Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, but did not exonerate the president on the question of obstructing the investigation.

When asked specifically about accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, 48 percent of poll respondents said they believed “Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election,” down 6 percentage points from last week.

Fifty-three percent said “Trump tried to stop investigations into Russian influence on his administration,” down 2 points from last week.

Public opinion was split sharply along party lines, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to believe that Trump colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll measured the public reaction in the United States on Monday and Tuesday, after the report summary was released, gathering online responses from 1,003 adults, including 948 who said they had at least heard of the summary findings.

The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of its precision, of about 4 percentage points.

Trump’s approval rating got a slight boost, with 43 percent of Americans saying they approved of his performance in office, the highest he has polled so far this year and an increase of 4 percentage points compared to a similar poll last week.

Since January, the proportion of adults who approved of Trump has ranged between 37 percent and 43 percent.

Trump heralded the summary of the Mueller report as a “complete and total exoneration” and vowed to strike back with investigations of his own against unnamed political enemies who he believes are guilty of “evil” and “treasonous things.”

Democrats have called on Barr to release the full report, a position shared by a majority of poll respondents.

Among those familiar with Barr’s summary, only 9 percent said it had changed their thinking about Trump’s ties to Russia and 57 percent said they want to see the entire report.

Thirty-eight percent of all adults, including two out of three Democrats, support efforts by Democratic leaders to continue the Russia investigation in Congress, according to the poll.

The poll also found that 39 percent felt that Trump “should be impeached,” while 49 percent felt that he should not.

Click here to see the entire Reuters/Ipsos poll: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CzWPJl

(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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Congo’s new leader to meet Pompeo, senior officials in first U.S. visit: spokesman

FILE PHOTO: Felix Tshisekedi holds up the constitution during his presidential the inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
FILE PHOTO: Felix Tshisekedi holds up the constitution during his presidential the inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

March 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s new President Felix Tshisekedi will visit Washington in early April to discuss strengthening economic and security ties, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Robert Palladino said Tshisekedi will visit Washington from April 3 to 5 for meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior cabinet officials in the Trump administration.

It was not immediately clear whether he will meet with President Donald Trump.

“We share President Tshisekedi’s interest in developing a strong partnership between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Palladino told a briefing.

He said efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in the violence-plagued eastern region of Congo would also be discussed.

The country’s Ebola epidemic has now exceeded 1,000 cases, according to the country’s health ministry, with a death toll of about 629 in the world’s second-worst ever outbreak.

Washington has imposed sanctions against senior officials for fraud and corruption in Congo’s Dec. 30 presidential election, won by Tshisekedi, which led to Congo’s first ever transfer of power via the ballot box.

While the sanctions have targeted the country’s electoral commission chief and advisors, Washington has stopped short of calling into question the legitimacy of Tshisekedi’s victory.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

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Number Of Illegals Trying To Cross U.S. Border Every Day Hits 13-Year High

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Daily border crossings of illegal migrants over the past month have surpassed a daily average not seen since fiscal year 2006, stark evidence of the escalating situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers apprehended or stopped 3,974 illegal migrants on March 19, marking the single highest day since Present Donald Trump entered office, according to CBP data obtained by NBC News. There have been six other days in February where crossings surpassed 3,595, topping the 3,530 daily average seen in fiscal year 2006.

These seven days, which took place over just the past six weeks, are all the highest on record since the beginning of the Trump administration.

The latest numbers are not totally surprising. Illegal immigrant apprehensions have been steadily rising this year, and the Department of Homeland Security predicted total apprehensions in March would reach a high not seen in over ten years. The spring months typically witness greater rates of illegal migrants as more people are willing to make the trek across Mexico during the warmer weather.

The high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S southern border has been garnering public attention. Border Patrol agents working near El Paso, Texas, for example, reported catching over 430 illegal immigrants over a period of just five minutes on March 19.

The type of immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally are different from what was experienced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many of whom during that period were adult Mexican nationals. The vast majority of illegals apprehended at the border today are families, and most of them are from Central America. Out of the 3,834 illegal migrants the CBP encountered on March 12, the majority of them (2,022) were members of a family unit.

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The new demographics make it difficult for immigration enforcement officials to quickly deport them, leaving detention centers overwhelmed.

A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed earlier in March that her agency has been forced to relieve overcrowded detainment centers by releasing 107,000 illegal immigrants in the past three months — a number that averages to over 1,000 illegals a day. (RELATED: Illegal Alien Admits To Killing Four People To Score Money For Meth)

The flood of asylum requests and border crossings forced the El Paso Border Patrol sector to temporarily close its highway checkpoints. The checkpoint agents who typically check cross-border cargo for drugs are instead being redeployed to process the influx of asylum seekers.

The situation brings credence to President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration. The administration is using the emergency crisis to allocate billions in funds for border wall construction. Congressional Democrats, for their part, have heavily opposed Trump’s moves, passing a resolution through the House and Senate that condemns the declaration.

However, Trump vetoed the resolution, and Democratic attempts to override his veto failed in the House on Tuesday.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

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China business activity recovering thanks to ‘credit-soaked’ quarter: Beige Book

FILE PHOTO: People stand on the sidewalk at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: People stand on the sidewalk at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

March 26, 2019

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s economy showed “unmistakable” signs of recovery in the first quarter, with company profits, investment and hiring improving, but policymakers may be relying too much on extraordinary levels of credit, a private survey showed on Wednesday.

The quarterly survey of thousands of Chinese firms by China Beige Book International (CBB) painted a surprising picture of a turnaround in business conditions after a poor fourth quarter that saw the weakest economic growth since the financial crisis.

CBB’s findings were in contrast to mostly downbeat official data for January and February and other business surveys which suggest recent stimulus measures are only slowly kicking in. Most analysts have also warned of a rocky first quarter, and do not expect China’s economic downturn to bottom out until mid-year.

However, the U.S.-based consultancy questioned whether the first-quarter’s “credit-soaked” recovery was sustainable, noting riskier types of shadow banking were on the rise again.

While companies said access to credit was improving, the survey also found some firms were reporting higher interest rates, despite the central bank’s efforts to lower financing costs.

“Credit is surprisingly expensive… Credit costs need to be further stabilized or the current rally will falter,” CBB said in a statement, saying shadow lenders were charging sky-high rates.

Chinese banks lent a record 3.23 trillion yuan ($477 billion) in January as policymakers tried to jumpstart sluggish investment and prevent a sharper slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Authorities have urged banks to keep lending to struggling small and private firms in particular, even though such companies are considered higher credit risks.

“Even traditionally disadvantaged firms in the credit markets are no longer so – at least for a quarter: private firm borrowing outpaced state-owned enterprises in the first quarter,” CBB said.

In early March, Premier Li Keqiang announced billions of dollars in additional tax cuts and infrastructure spending this year.

Along with a growing list of government support measures, signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks may also have been a factor behind the improvement in business confidence, CBB added.

China will release March and first-quarter economic data around mid-April.

(Writing by Kim Coghill; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

Source: OANN

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Jussie Smollett ‘Volunteer Service’ Included Two Days Of Work With Jesse Jackson Nonprofit And An Appearance On PBS

Andrew Kerr | Investigative Reporter

  • Jussie Smollett spent two days volunteering with Jesse Jackson Sr.’s nonprofit group, a key factor that led prosecutors on Tuesday to drop all charges against the actor for allegedly staging a fake hate-crime against himself.
  • A letter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said the “Empire” actor spent “several hours volunteering” with the group on Saturday and Monday.
  • “Empire” music director Rich Daniels also penned a letter in support of Smollett, where he highlighted the actor’s surprise visit to a Chicago-based arts school.
  • “The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago,” the Cook County State Attorney’s Office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Jussie Smollett’s ‘volunteer service’ with Jesse Jackson Sr.’s nonprofit group on Saturday and Monday helped convince prosecutors on Tuesday to drop all charges against the “Empire” actor for allegedly staging a fake hate-crime against himself.

“The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped,” the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Empire” actor Smollett, 36, faced 16 charges for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that two individuals wearing “Make America Great Again” hats attacked him on the street with a chemical substance and a noose.

The attorney’s office provided a letter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition which stated that Smollett spent “several hours volunteering” over the course of two days at the nonprofit group’s store, where he “met with staff and gave his suggestions” as to how to market its products to a younger demographic.

The letter also stated the “Empire” actor spent “a significant part of his time” reviewing the group’s weekly broadcast and “encouraging” the production crew.

“The final areas of service were meetings with our membership staff and our social media director,” the letter stated. “His suggestions and assistance in responding to some of our concerns were quite helpful.”

The letter appeared to have been signed by Jesse Jackson Sr., the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Smollett racked up a total of 18 hours of community service with the nonprofit group, TMZ reported.

Jussie Smollett Community Service Letter by Andrew Kerr on Scribd

The attorney’s office also provided TheDCNF with a letter from “Empire” music director Rich Daniels, who highlighted Smollett’s work with non-profit groups outside working hours.

Among the highlights was Smollett’s visit to a Chicago-based African-American arts school in January, where Daniels said the celebrity’s surprise visit inspired joy in children and faculty alike.

“The reaction Jussie received was nothing short of inspiring as the children squealed with joy when he surprised them in their classrooms and the faculty and staff were no different,” Daniels wrote. “It was both a memorable afternoon and the beginning of what will hopefully be a significant relationship with Jussie and this program.”

Smollett also donated his “time and talent” for the taping of the “Chicago Voices” concert on PBS, according to Daniels.

“Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich indicated in his review of the national broadcast that the performance with Jussie was the highlight of the program,” Daniels wrote.

Daniels also said Smollett “would perform at the national conference of The Kennedy Forum in Chicago”, attended a single meeting with the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and appeared at a concert promoting “sound mental health” at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynsk

Also key to Smollett’s charges being dropped was his willingness to fork over his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago Law Department.

“There would be no nolle without the forfeiture,” Kiera Ellis, a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported that “nolle” is a reference to the Latin phrase “nolle prosequi,” which means “to refuse to pursue.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the case against Smollett was “rock solid,” was reportedly “furious” after learning of the decision to drop the actor’s charges during a police academy graduation ceremony. (RELATED: Police Chief ‘Furious’ At Smollett Case Dismissal)

The attorney’s office told TheDCNF that its decision to drop Smollett’s charges does not exonerate the actor.

“We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett,” the attorney’s office said in a statement.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

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Kontaveit brings giant killer Hsieh’s Miami run to an end

FILE PHOTO: WTA Premier 5 - Qatar Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis - WTA Premier 5 - Qatar Open - Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Doha, Qatar - February 13, 2019 Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in action during her round of 16 match against Germany's Angelique Kerber.REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

March 26, 2019

(Reuters) – Anett Kontaveit brought Taiwan giant killer Hsieh Su-wei’s Miami Open run to a dramatic end with a 3-6 6-2 7-5 comeback win on Tuesday to become the first player through to the semi-finals.

After beating Japan’s world number one Naomi Osaka in the third round and 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth, the 33-year-old Hsieh looked poised to add the 21st-seeded Estonian to her collection by racing to a 4-0 lead in the third set.

But Kontaveit, 10 years her junior, took a page from the Taiwanese player’s playbook and dug in.

In her third round win over Osaka, 27th seed Hsieh rallied from a set and a break down but this time the tables were turned.

Kontaveit bravely battled back to get on level terms and, with Hsieh serving at 6-5 to force a tiebreak, moved in for the kill, breaking the tiring Taiwanese to clinch a stirring win.

The Estonian now awaits the winner of the match between third-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova and Australian 12th seed Ashleigh Barty.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

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Arkansas fires Anderson after 18-16 season

FILE PHOTO: NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Vanderbilt
FILE PHOTO: Mar 6, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson gestures during the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

March 26, 2019

Arkansas fired head coach Mike Anderson on Tuesday following an 18-16 season, ending his eight-year tenure as head coach and his 25 years with the program.

“After a review of the program, including an analysis of the past eight years and a look forward, I have made a decision that a change in leadership will best position our men’s basketball program for future success,” athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a prepared statement. “In the past eight seasons, we have won a number of games and have made appearances in both the NIT and the NCAA Tournaments.

“However, in my evaluation, we have not sustained a consistent level of success against the most competitive teams in the nation to enable us to compete for SEC and NCAA Championships on an annual basis. That will continue to be the benchmark for our success throughout our athletic program.”

Yurachek said a national search for the next coach will begin immediately. Associate head coach Melvin Watkins will lead the program until a coach is hired.

Anderson, 59, was named head coach in March 2011, replacing John Pelphrey, who was fired. In eight seasons, Anderson compiled a 169-102 record

His hiring was a return home for Anderson, who was on the Razorbacks staff for 17 seasons (1985-2002) before becoming head coach at UAB (2002-06) and Missouri (2006-11).

Overall, his teams were 369-200 and made nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks played in three NCAA tournaments (2015, 2017 and 2018) and in the NIT twice (2014, 2019) under Anderson’s leadership.

Arkansas’ season ended Saturday with a 63-60 loss to top-seeded Indiana in the second round of the NIT.

Fort Smith, Ark.-based KFSM-TV reported Tuesday that the Razorbacks bought out Anderson’s contract, which had three years remaining, and will pay him $3 million.

Four Southeastern Conference teams now have openings: Arkansas, Alabama, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN



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U.S. President Trump departs a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters down the hall as the president departs a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 26, 2019

By Chris Kahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly half of all Americans still believe President Donald Trump worked with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after Special Counsel Robert Mueller cleared Trump of that allegation.

Americans did feel slightly more positive about Trump after learning the findings of the 22-month investigation into Russian meddling in the election, the national opinion poll released on Tuesday showed.

But U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of Mueller’s investigation did little to change public opinion about the president’s alleged ties to Russia or quench the public’s appetite to learn more.

According to Barr’s summary released on Sunday, Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, but did not exonerate the president on the question of obstructing the investigation.

When asked specifically about accusations of collusion and obstruction of justice, 48 percent of poll respondents said they believed “Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election,” down 6 percentage points from last week.

Fifty-three percent said “Trump tried to stop investigations into Russian influence on his administration,” down 2 points from last week.

Public opinion was split sharply along party lines, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to believe that Trump colluded with Russia and obstructed justice.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll measured the public reaction in the United States on Monday and Tuesday, after the report summary was released, gathering online responses from 1,003 adults, including 948 who said they had at least heard of the summary findings.

The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of its precision, of about 4 percentage points.

Trump’s approval rating got a slight boost, with 43 percent of Americans saying they approved of his performance in office, the highest he has polled so far this year and an increase of 4 percentage points compared to a similar poll last week.

Since January, the proportion of adults who approved of Trump has ranged between 37 percent and 43 percent.

Trump heralded the summary of the Mueller report as a “complete and total exoneration” and vowed to strike back with investigations of his own against unnamed political enemies who he believes are guilty of “evil” and “treasonous things.”

Democrats have called on Barr to release the full report, a position shared by a majority of poll respondents.

Among those familiar with Barr’s summary, only 9 percent said it had changed their thinking about Trump’s ties to Russia and 57 percent said they want to see the entire report.

Thirty-eight percent of all adults, including two out of three Democrats, support efforts by Democratic leaders to continue the Russia investigation in Congress, according to the poll.

The poll also found that 39 percent felt that Trump “should be impeached,” while 49 percent felt that he should not.

Click here to see the entire Reuters/Ipsos poll: https://tmsnrt.rs/2CzWPJl

(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: Felix Tshisekedi holds up the constitution during his presidential the inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
FILE PHOTO: Felix Tshisekedi holds up the constitution during his presidential the inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 24, 2019. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

March 26, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s new President Felix Tshisekedi will visit Washington in early April to discuss strengthening economic and security ties, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Robert Palladino said Tshisekedi will visit Washington from April 3 to 5 for meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior cabinet officials in the Trump administration.

It was not immediately clear whether he will meet with President Donald Trump.

“We share President Tshisekedi’s interest in developing a strong partnership between the United States and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Palladino told a briefing.

He said efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in the violence-plagued eastern region of Congo would also be discussed.

The country’s Ebola epidemic has now exceeded 1,000 cases, according to the country’s health ministry, with a death toll of about 629 in the world’s second-worst ever outbreak.

Washington has imposed sanctions against senior officials for fraud and corruption in Congo’s Dec. 30 presidential election, won by Tshisekedi, which led to Congo’s first ever transfer of power via the ballot box.

While the sanctions have targeted the country’s electoral commission chief and advisors, Washington has stopped short of calling into question the legitimacy of Tshisekedi’s victory.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

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Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Daily border crossings of illegal migrants over the past month have surpassed a daily average not seen since fiscal year 2006, stark evidence of the escalating situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers apprehended or stopped 3,974 illegal migrants on March 19, marking the single highest day since Present Donald Trump entered office, according to CBP data obtained by NBC News. There have been six other days in February where crossings surpassed 3,595, topping the 3,530 daily average seen in fiscal year 2006.

These seven days, which took place over just the past six weeks, are all the highest on record since the beginning of the Trump administration.

The latest numbers are not totally surprising. Illegal immigrant apprehensions have been steadily rising this year, and the Department of Homeland Security predicted total apprehensions in March would reach a high not seen in over ten years. The spring months typically witness greater rates of illegal migrants as more people are willing to make the trek across Mexico during the warmer weather.

The high number of migrant apprehensions at the U.S southern border has been garnering public attention. Border Patrol agents working near El Paso, Texas, for example, reported catching over 430 illegal immigrants over a period of just five minutes on March 19.

The type of immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally are different from what was experienced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, many of whom during that period were adult Mexican nationals. The vast majority of illegals apprehended at the border today are families, and most of them are from Central America. Out of the 3,834 illegal migrants the CBP encountered on March 12, the majority of them (2,022) were members of a family unit.

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jose Martinez south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The new demographics make it difficult for immigration enforcement officials to quickly deport them, leaving detention centers overwhelmed.

A spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed earlier in March that her agency has been forced to relieve overcrowded detainment centers by releasing 107,000 illegal immigrants in the past three months — a number that averages to over 1,000 illegals a day. (RELATED: Illegal Alien Admits To Killing Four People To Score Money For Meth)

The flood of asylum requests and border crossings forced the El Paso Border Patrol sector to temporarily close its highway checkpoints. The checkpoint agents who typically check cross-border cargo for drugs are instead being redeployed to process the influx of asylum seekers.

The situation brings credence to President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration. The administration is using the emergency crisis to allocate billions in funds for border wall construction. Congressional Democrats, for their part, have heavily opposed Trump’s moves, passing a resolution through the House and Senate that condemns the declaration.

However, Trump vetoed the resolution, and Democratic attempts to override his veto failed in the House on Tuesday.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

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FILE PHOTO: People stand on the sidewalk at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: People stand on the sidewalk at Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

March 26, 2019

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s economy showed “unmistakable” signs of recovery in the first quarter, with company profits, investment and hiring improving, but policymakers may be relying too much on extraordinary levels of credit, a private survey showed on Wednesday.

The quarterly survey of thousands of Chinese firms by China Beige Book International (CBB) painted a surprising picture of a turnaround in business conditions after a poor fourth quarter that saw the weakest economic growth since the financial crisis.

CBB’s findings were in contrast to mostly downbeat official data for January and February and other business surveys which suggest recent stimulus measures are only slowly kicking in. Most analysts have also warned of a rocky first quarter, and do not expect China’s economic downturn to bottom out until mid-year.

However, the U.S.-based consultancy questioned whether the first-quarter’s “credit-soaked” recovery was sustainable, noting riskier types of shadow banking were on the rise again.

While companies said access to credit was improving, the survey also found some firms were reporting higher interest rates, despite the central bank’s efforts to lower financing costs.

“Credit is surprisingly expensive… Credit costs need to be further stabilized or the current rally will falter,” CBB said in a statement, saying shadow lenders were charging sky-high rates.

Chinese banks lent a record 3.23 trillion yuan ($477 billion) in January as policymakers tried to jumpstart sluggish investment and prevent a sharper slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Authorities have urged banks to keep lending to struggling small and private firms in particular, even though such companies are considered higher credit risks.

“Even traditionally disadvantaged firms in the credit markets are no longer so – at least for a quarter: private firm borrowing outpaced state-owned enterprises in the first quarter,” CBB said.

In early March, Premier Li Keqiang announced billions of dollars in additional tax cuts and infrastructure spending this year.

Along with a growing list of government support measures, signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks may also have been a factor behind the improvement in business confidence, CBB added.

China will release March and first-quarter economic data around mid-April.

(Writing by Kim Coghill; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

Source: OANN

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Andrew Kerr | Investigative Reporter

  • Jussie Smollett spent two days volunteering with Jesse Jackson Sr.’s nonprofit group, a key factor that led prosecutors on Tuesday to drop all charges against the actor for allegedly staging a fake hate-crime against himself.
  • A letter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition said the “Empire” actor spent “several hours volunteering” with the group on Saturday and Monday.
  • “Empire” music director Rich Daniels also penned a letter in support of Smollett, where he highlighted the actor’s surprise visit to a Chicago-based arts school.
  • “The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago,” the Cook County State Attorney’s Office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Jussie Smollett’s ‘volunteer service’ with Jesse Jackson Sr.’s nonprofit group on Saturday and Monday helped convince prosecutors on Tuesday to drop all charges against the “Empire” actor for allegedly staging a fake hate-crime against himself.

“The charges were dropped in return for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago. Without the completion of these terms, the charges would not have been dropped,” the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Empire” actor Smollett, 36, faced 16 charges for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that two individuals wearing “Make America Great Again” hats attacked him on the street with a chemical substance and a noose.

The attorney’s office provided a letter from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition which stated that Smollett spent “several hours volunteering” over the course of two days at the nonprofit group’s store, where he “met with staff and gave his suggestions” as to how to market its products to a younger demographic.

The letter also stated the “Empire” actor spent “a significant part of his time” reviewing the group’s weekly broadcast and “encouraging” the production crew.

“The final areas of service were meetings with our membership staff and our social media director,” the letter stated. “His suggestions and assistance in responding to some of our concerns were quite helpful.”

The letter appeared to have been signed by Jesse Jackson Sr., the founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Smollett racked up a total of 18 hours of community service with the nonprofit group, TMZ reported.

Jussie Smollett Community Service Letter by Andrew Kerr on Scribd

The attorney’s office also provided TheDCNF with a letter from “Empire” music director Rich Daniels, who highlighted Smollett’s work with non-profit groups outside working hours.

Among the highlights was Smollett’s visit to a Chicago-based African-American arts school in January, where Daniels said the celebrity’s surprise visit inspired joy in children and faculty alike.

“The reaction Jussie received was nothing short of inspiring as the children squealed with joy when he surprised them in their classrooms and the faculty and staff were no different,” Daniels wrote. “It was both a memorable afternoon and the beginning of what will hopefully be a significant relationship with Jussie and this program.”

Smollett also donated his “time and talent” for the taping of the “Chicago Voices” concert on PBS, according to Daniels.

“Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich indicated in his review of the national broadcast that the performance with Jussie was the highlight of the program,” Daniels wrote.

Daniels also said Smollett “would perform at the national conference of The Kennedy Forum in Chicago”, attended a single meeting with the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and appeared at a concert promoting “sound mental health” at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynsk

Also key to Smollett’s charges being dropped was his willingness to fork over his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago Law Department.

“There would be no nolle without the forfeiture,” Kiera Ellis, a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, told the Chicago Sun-Times, which reported that “nolle” is a reference to the Latin phrase “nolle prosequi,” which means “to refuse to pursue.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said the case against Smollett was “rock solid,” was reportedly “furious” after learning of the decision to drop the actor’s charges during a police academy graduation ceremony. (RELATED: Police Chief ‘Furious’ At Smollett Case Dismissal)

The attorney’s office told TheDCNF that its decision to drop Smollett’s charges does not exonerate the actor.

“We stand behind the Chicago Police Department’s investigation and our decision to approve charges in this case. We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett,” the attorney’s office said in a statement.

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