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| May 25, 2019

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Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near Alaska

May 24, 2019 |

Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near AlaskaIt’s old, it’s obvious and it has mechanical problems — facts hard to ignore while the Tu-95 plays a key role in a highly orchestrated and much exaggerated effort by the Kremlin to impress its foreign rivals.(This first appeared several years ago and is being reposted due to reader interest.) At first glance, the Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber looks like a 59-year-old flying anachronism, a Cold War leftover that has outlived its usefulness in a century when stealth is king.The Bear is showing signs of its age. In recent months, two Tu-95 crashes led to the grounding of the entire fleet of more than 50 aircraft to resolve mechanical issues. Besides, there is nothing stealthy about the Bear.Even when the bomber is in top-notch shape, the turboprop-powered Tu-95 is loud … really loud. In fact, it’s so noisy that listening devices on submerged U.S. submarines can hear a Bear flying overhead.Furthermore, it has the radar signature of a flying big-box store. The plane is huge.Photos of lumbering Bear-H bombers intercepted by sleek U.S. or NATO warplanes as they flew toward protected airspace are some of the most recognizable images of the East-West nuclear stand-off during the 1970s and ’80s.



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Despite a booming economy, many U.S. households are still just holding on

May 23, 2019 |

Many U.S. households find themselves in a fragile position financially, even in an economy with an unemployment rate near a 50-year low, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

The Fed’s 2018 report on the economic well-being of households, published Thursday, indicated “most measures” of well-being…


L.A. Times – Business

Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

May 23, 2019 |

Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly stormsWeather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.



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Trump: U.S. will respond with 'great force' if Iran attacks interests

May 22, 2019 |

Trump: U.S. will respond with 'great force' if Iran attacks interests“I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. “If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will.” His comments came as two U.S. government sources said the United States strongly suspects Shi’ite militias with ties to, and possibly encouragement from, Iran fired a rocket on Sunday into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. The sources, who are familiar with U.S. national security assessments and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still trying to establish which militia fired the Katyusha rocket on Sunday and the extent, if any, of Iranian involvement.



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Oil prices down on swelling U.S. stockpiles, demand concerns

May 22, 2019 |

Oil prices down on swelling U.S. stockpiles, demand concernsOil prices fell on Wednesday after industry data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories and on demand concerns linked to a protracted trade war between China and the United States. Brent crude futures were down 17 cents at $ 72.01 a barrel by 1130 GMT.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for July delivery were down 46 cents at $ 62.67.



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Bernie Sanders proposes U.S. education overhaul in appeal to black voters

May 20, 2019 |

Bernie Sanders proposes U.S. education overhaul in appeal to black votersDemocratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders unveiled an education policy proposal on Saturday designed to pump billions of dollars into the public schools system, in a bid to appeal to black voters who shunned the U.S. senator during his previous presidential run. The 10-point plan Sanders detailed in a speech in South Carolina aims to end racial disparities in the public education system. America’s education policy debate has long been steeped in discussions of race and racial discrimination.



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Trump calls freeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from U.S. control a ‘pretty urgent problem’

May 19, 2019 |

President Trump said freeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government control is a “pretty urgent problem” that his administration plans to work with Congress to address.

Trump, speaking Friday at a conference hosted by the National Assn. of Realtors, said that the mortgage giants lack competition,…


L.A. Times – Business

U.S. is stepping up enforcement of delinquent student loans

May 18, 2019 |

Your rich Uncle Sam is calling in his chips.

The U.S. government stepped up collections on delinquent student debt to $ 2.9 billion last year — or an average of $ 1,000 from 2.9 million former students and their cosigners, according to the Treasury Department. And the trend continues. In the first…


L.A. Times – Business

In nod to 2020, Trump pitches U.S. immigration overhaul

May 18, 2019 |

In nod to 2020, Trump pitches U.S. immigration overhaulTrump’s plan, roundly panned by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups, is aimed at trying to unite Republicans – some who want to boost immigration, others who want to restrict it – ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections. “If for some reason, possibly political, we can’t get the Democrats to approve this merit-based, high-security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House (of Representatives), keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency,” Trump said in a Rose Garden address to Republican lawmakers and Cabinet members. Trump proposed keeping the overall numbers steady, but shifting to a “merit-based” system similar to one used in Canada – a plan he said would result in 57% of green cards being based on employment and skills.



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U.S. Orders American Civilians to Leave Iraq amid Iran Tensions

May 17, 2019 |

U.S. Orders American Civilians to Leave Iraq amid Iran TensionsThe State Department on Wednesday ordered all non-critical government employees to leave Iraq and warned American citizens not to travel to the country over fears that growing tensions between the Trump administration and neighboring Iran could spark a conflict endangering them.In a statement announcing the decision, officials cited a "high risk for violence and kidnapping" and said "normal visa services will be temporarily suspended" at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil. Some employees in Baghdad "will continue to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Basrah," the statement said.The move comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to Baghdad, meeting with Iraqi officials and discussing the "importance of Iraq ensuring that it's able to adequately protect Americans in their country."Pompeo said he made the visit also to warn Iraq about U.S. intelligence that suggested Iran was planning strikes on U.S. forces in the country."We don't want anyone interfering in their country, certainly not by attacking another nation inside of Iraq, and there was complete agreement," Pompeo said. "These were attacks that were imminent, these were attacks that were going to happen fairly soon. We've learned about them and we're taking every action to deter them."The U.S. deployed four bombers as well as the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier-strike group to the Persian Gulf last Thursday amid fears that Iran was transporting short-range ballistic missiles in the region.Acrimony between the U.S. and Iran has been increasing since April, when the U.S. officially designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization and Pompeo announced an end to the exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil and gas that eight countries had been granted.U.S. Central Command, responsible for Middle Eastern operations, said in a statement Tuesday that troops are "now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to US forces in Iraq."



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