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Driverless cars will be on UK roads by 2021, says government

Pilot models of the Uber self-driving car on display in 2016.

Pilot models of the Uber self-driving car on display in 2016.

London (CNN)Driverless cars could be in full use on Britain’s roads by 2021, the government announced on Wednesday.

The new technology is a step closer after UK ministers announced plans to move forward on advanced trials for automated vehicles. A statement issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) says that the UK is “on track to meet its commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.”
Plans to strengthen the code of practice for testing automated safely have also been outlined. The new regulations seek to ensure that anyone trialling driverless cars must publish safety information, trial performance reports and carry out risk assessments. They will also be required to inform the relevant authorities and emergency services.
The DfT described its announcement as a “major boost” to the UK’s market for connected and automated vehicles, which it estimates will be worth £52 billion ($ 67 billion) by 2035.
    A prototype Nissan Leaf driverless car on a demonstration in London.

    A prototype Nissan Leaf driverless car on a demonstration in London.

    Transport Minister Jesse Norman said in a statement: “Thanks to the UK’s world class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation.
    “The government is supporting the safe, transparent trialling of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel.”

    Expert skepticism

    Yet any suggestion that driverless cars will soon be common place on British roads has been met with skepticism from some experts.
    PA Consulting, a global innovation and transformation consultancy, has conducted extensive research on the viability of driverless cars.
    Charlie Henderson, roads expert at the company, was lead author of a 2018 report, Autonomous vehicles: What are the roadblocks? He told CNN that while the research focused on Britain “the issues are relevant to all geographies.”
    Henderson added: “To get autonomous vehicles working on the roads relies on six or seven factors, of which technology is one.”
    Others include legislation, policing and insurance. According to Henderson, however, the most important is other road users. This issue was brought to the fore last year when a 49-year-old woman was killed while crossing the road in Arizona by a self-driving Uber vehicle.
    “Road users are not just other vehicles but pedestrians and cyclists who need to learn to understand and be confident in how these vehicles are going to behave. You can design an autonomous vehicle to be super safe and drive along cautiously.”
    This, according to Henderson, would lead vehicles to be “very, very slow”, potentially causing “gridlock” in urban areas and even accidents.
    “What we need to do is think through a whole bunch of behavior changes, not just around the vehicles themselves but how people interact with them.”
    The 2018 report concluded that widespread use of driverless cars is at least a decade away, though Henderson added that there is likely to be “limited use of autonomous vehicles in specific environments” by 2023 — such as driverless buses and agricultural vehicles.

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    Christian Wolmar is a transport journalist who has published numerous books, including “Driverless cars: On a road to nowhere.”
    He told CNN the UK government announcement was “putting the cart before the horse,” adding: “The idea that they are thinking of allowing these cars on the streets before anything is ready is a mistake and might even put lives at risk.”
    The public’s appetite for the new technology is perhaps not as large as the automotive industry might want to believe.
    Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy for the RAC motoring organization, told CNN that while he welcomed the new safety testing standards, RAC research from 2016 showed “62% of UK drivers were actually scared by the thought of truly driverless cars on the road, with only 27% believing they will make the UK’s roads safer.”
    Lyes added: This suggests there is still an awful lot of work to do to convince people that the future of mobility really is all about vehicles that can drive themselves.”
      A spokesman for the UK road safety charity Brake said that, “connected and autonomous vehicles have huge potential to eliminate driver error and put an end to the daily tragedy of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”
      The charity said it supports the leading role being played by UK government on this subject, adding, “it is vital that people and their needs are put at the center of this technological shift.”

      Buttigieg touts his ‘front line, government experience’ as he makes argument for his 2020 White House bid

      South Bend, Indiana mayor – and longshot 2020 Democratic presidential candidate – Pete Buttigieg acknowledged that he isn’t the obvious choice to challenge President Trump for the White House, but said that his experience as mayor of the college town gives him “front line, government experience” that is needed in Washington.

      Speaking during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, the 37-year-old Buttigieg touted his experience as a small town mayor while laying out his platform on issues ranging from health care to foreign policy.

      “I get the audacity of somebody like me talking about running for this office, but frankly it’s a leap for anybody,” Buttigieg said. “All of the people who had that job have been mortals who just bring their experience to the table. My experience is that of guiding a city through a transformation, and I think a mayor at any level has the kind of executive, front line, government experience — and by the way, problem-solving experience — that we need more in Washington right now.”

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      Buttigieg said that he agrees with his fellow Democratic candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, on the issue of “Medicare-for-all,” but that he differs from her when it comes to doing away completely with private insurance.

      “There can be a role for the private sector,” he said. “If we want to make Medicare available to everybody, whether it’s as a public option to buy in or simply establishing that as how the payer structure works in this country, that’s going to be the center of gravity. And the bottom line is we need to make sure that every American is able to get health care.”

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      Buttigieg also weighed in on the tense situation in Venezuela, where disputed President Nicolas Maduro is under intense pressure – both internally and from the global community – to relinquish power amid threats from Trump to use U.S. military power to force the leader out of office. The Trump administration has imposed sanctions against the regime and backed opposition leader Juan Guaido, who has proclaimed himself interim president.

      “I agree with the fact that Maduro has lost his legitimacy,” he said.  “I think it is extremely irresponsible to talk about committing American troops to what could wind up being a proxy or war with countries that have claims on Venezuelan oil.”

      Judge Andrew Napolitano: The Roger Stone arrest and your government

      Just days ago, President Trump’s friend and confidant of 40 plus years, Roger Stone, was indicted by one of special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand juries and charged with a total of seven crimes: comprised of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

      YOU CAN WATCH JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO’S “LIBERTY FILE” EXCLUSIVELY ON FOX NATION. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP TODAY!

      He was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his Fort Lauderdale, Florida home at which the federal government—your federal government—utilized more manpower and firepower than was dispatched to kill Usama bin Laden.

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      After a federal judge, a few hours later, required only his signature for bail, he began defending himself quite powerfully in the media.

      Adapted from Judge Andrew Napolitano’s monologue for “Liberty File” on Fox Nation.

      Sean Hannity: Radical leftist Dems want more government control over your life. Is that what you want?

      As we watch the extreme radical left, it’s really important that you ask yourself some questions.

      Do you want the government to have more control over your daily life or less? Do you want the government to take more of your hard-earned money or less? Do you want the government to be more involved in your business or less involved? Do you want the government to have more control — or total control — of your health care or less? And do you believe the government has a duty to protect your borders from heroin, fentanyl traffickers, human traffickers, cartels, gangs, and the criminal elements — not the good people that want a better life — that come to our borders and access our country illegally?

      CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SEAN HANNITY.

      Because now, it is perfectly clear, that the lines have been drawn. Nearly every single elected Democrat — almost all of those who want to challenge President Trump in 2020 — want more and more total control of your life. They don’t trust you, the American people. Remember, they think we are irredeemable, deplorable, that we cling to our God, our guns, our Bibles, and religion. We are the smelly Walmart people. Now, they want control of everything.

      CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ENTIRE EPISODE.

      It’s actually beyond radical and extreme; it’s scary. It’s a failed ideology that’s been tried over and over. It creates dependency. 

      They have made promises that never come true, have never come close to what they promise. And even worse, the people that are promising this great stuff — keep your doctor, save money — they really only want power for themselves.

      Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. and far left Sen. Ed Markey are now set to unveil what they call their so-called “Green New Deal” legislation. This bill will dictate how you heat your home, cook your meals, and even how you commute to work. By the way, we just became the number one producer of oil on the planet, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. All fuel and gas, fossil fuels — we will not have them in 10 years under this Green New Deal. That is not just socialism. That is authoritarianism.

      In fact, according to previous proposals, Ocasio-Cortez wants this country to literally nationalize enormous, profitable, private industry — kill it off completely. That means all the millions of high-paying career jobs in the oil and gas and energy sector, guess what? Gone. It will force every American to pay drastically more for all forms of expensive energy, the lifeblood of our economy.

      Actually, the future humanity faces far more risks from the authoritarian far-left socialists. Look at Venezuela. Oh, they have a lot of energy, but they don’t have any money or food and poverty is rampant. Let’s see, Cuba — they didn’t do too well there, either. The former Soviet Union? Oh. Communist China, how is that working out?

      But according to Ocasio-Cortez, if the federal government doesn’t take dramatic, authoritarian action, the world is going to end in 12 years. Well, that only gives us two years of our plan. Why bother? Anyway, she actually thinks the future of humanity is at risk because of energy independence. We have more energy. We can help our allies, our friends and create millions of high-paying jobs for Americans. We’ve tried your way before, Ocasio-Cortez. It doesn’t work. 

      Actually, the future humanity faces far more risks from the authoritarian far-left socialists. Look at Venezuela. Oh, they have a lot of energy, but they don’t have any money or food and poverty is rampant. Let’s see, Cuba — they didn’t do too well there, either. The former Soviet Union? Oh. Communist China, how is that working out?

      CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

      Look at what life is like in literally any country that nationalizes private industry and imposes a strict government controls over private businesses. But that is not stopping Democratic presidential hopefuls like Elizabeth Warren from declaring that capitalism can be good, but only if the government has more control. And only if she and her fellow Democrats have a chance to impose even more rules and regulations.

      A lot of people risk a lot of money to start businesses. No help necessarily. They create goods and services that people want, need, and desire, and they either buy it or they don’t. That has created a standard of living that is the envy of the world, while the unimaginable in most places on this Earth.

      Adapted from Sean Hannity’s monologue from “Hannity” on January 31, 2019.

      US federal judge rules Syrian government was responsible for death of American journalist Marie Colvin

      A U.S. federal judge has determined that the Syrian government was responsible for the 2012 killing of American journalist Marie Colvin, 56, while she was covering the country’s civil war.

      Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled late Wednesday that the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad targeted journalists during that country’s civil war with the objective of suppressing coverage.

      She ordered the government to pay $ 302 million to Colvin’s family. Colvin, who was based in London, was covering the war out of a makeshift studio in Syria for the United Kingdom newspaper Sunday Times.

      The court opinion said that the Syrian government “discovered that foreign journalists were broadcasting reports from a Media Center in Baba Amr” and “launched an artillery attack against it, for the purpose of killing the journalists inside.”

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      A French photographer, Remi Ochlik, was killed along with Colvin.

      Colvin’s family filed a lawsuit in 2016 accusing the Assad regime of sending rockets toward the studio where Colvin and other journalists worked.

      “A targeted attack on a media center hosting foreign journalists that resulted in two fatalities and multiple injuries … is an unconscionable act,” Jackson wrote, explaining her ruling.

      American journalist Marie Colvin, who died in 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war; Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

      American journalist Marie Colvin, who died in 2012 while covering the Syrian civil war; Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

      The judge wrote that Colvin was “specifically targeted because of her profession, for the purpose of silencing those reporting on the growing opposition movement in the country. [The] murder of journalists acting in their professional capacity could have a chilling effect on reporting such events worldwide.”

      “A targeted murder of an American citizen, whose courageous work was not only important, but vital to our understanding of war zones and of wars generally, is outrageous, and therefore a punitive damages award…is warranted.”

      The court is ordering the Syrian government to pay Colvin’s family $ 2.5 million in compensation and $ 11,836 in funeral expenses, according to The Guardian.

      The Committee to Protect Journalists lauded the ruling.

      “This finding that Syria is responsible for deliberately killing Marie Colvin will not bring her back, but it will send a strong message to authorities worldwide that murdering journalists has consequences,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said in a statement. “As the international community continues to demand accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, the U.S. court’s verdict highlights the potential for justice and puts governments everywhere on notice.”

      CPJ added: “Evidence unsealed during the lawsuit in the D.C. court found that Syrian military officials responsible for the killing were rewarded with new cars and promotions.”

      CPJ says that at least 126 journalists have been killed covering the conflict in Syria, making it the second deadliest country for the media since the organization began tracking journalist murders in 1992.

      Colvin’s career was captured in a film, “A Private War,” which was released last year and starred British actress Rosamund Pike.

      “Once she got into a war zone, she got on with the job. She was no different from the rest of us except that she went in further and stayed longer,” television journalist Lindsey Hilsum and a friend of Colvin told The National in an interview. “She had incredible grit and endurance.”

      Five takeaways from government report that says Michigan State failed to report crime statistics

      A  federal review of Michigan State University was initiated after published reports of sex crimes by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.

      A  federal review of Michigan State University was initiated after published reports of sex crimes by former MSU doctor Larry Nassar.

      (CNN)Michigan State University for years violated federal law by failing to report crime statistics, including a series of sexual assaults committed by disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar, according to a preliminary US Department of Education report.

      Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison last year after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.
      The review that led to the scathing Education Department report — released to the university last month — was initiated in February 2018 after published reports about Nassar’s sexual crimes.
      “The university’s persistent failure to take swift and decisive action to detect and stop Nassar’s two-decade long predatory and abusive behavior indicates a lack of institutional control, especially in light of the credible information reported to institutional officials at several points over many years,” the report said.
        “This failure, alone, clearly demonstrates the institution’s most serious administrative impairments.”
        The 47-page report looks at the university’s compliance with the Clery Act, a federal law requiring the disclosure of all crimes on and near campuses by colleges that participate in federal student aid programs.
        The law is intended to provide students and staff with timely information on crimes so they “can make informed decisions about their educational and employment choices and play active roles in their own personal safety and to secure and protect their personal property,” the report said. “
        Here are five takeaways from the report along with the university response:

        At least 11 sex crimes committed by Nassar since 1997 were not included in MSU crime stats

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        MSU reaches settlement with Nassar victims

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        The report called the 11 criminal offenses a “representative sample of incidents” and said additional cases may be uncovered.
        “None of these crimes were ever recorded through any of the university’s normal incident reporting processes, and, as a result, were never included in any of Michigan State’s crime statistics disclosures,” the report said.
        “These violations date back to at least 1997, and involve victims, many of whom were minors at the time of the abuse, who reported these incidents to trusted adults, including coaches and athletic trainers.”

        At least five victims reported the crimes to university security authorities

        In each of the five cases, the university failed to issue timely warnings to the campus community about the sex offenses.
        “Each of these crime victims reported conduct that clearly rose to the level of a forcible sex offense or an incident of fondling,” the report said.
        “Moreover, the crimes reported by these individuals, as well as those crimes reported by each of the other survivors whose cases are summarized … unquestionably posed a serious, ongoing threat to campus community members, and, most specifically, to female patients of MSU Sports Medicine.”

        There were problems with the university’s sexual assault program

        The sexual assault program “did not produce or maintain adequate documentation about crimes that were reported, and did not provide data for inclusion in the university’s crime statistics because officials and staff believed that they were exempt from Clery Act reporting requirements,” the report said.
        When news of Nassar’s crimes became public about 2016, the sexual assault program saw an increase in “reporting that proved to be so high as to be overwhelming,” the report said.
        “Therefore, it stands to reason that Michigan State’s exclusion of those crimes from its crime statistics resulted in the under-reporting of crimes.”

        The university failed to warn students and staff about other crimes

        The report cited 21 crimes, mostly burglaries and robberies between 2011 and 2016.
        “An evaluation of the crimes … clearly shows that scores of Michigan State students were repeatedly victimized, in a similar manner, by similarly described suspects,” the report said.
        “Yet, instead of warning the community as required by the Clery Act, Michigan State allowed robberies of expensive electronic devices and brazen burglaries of occupied dorm rooms — often directed against a particular ethnic demographic — to continue unabated.”
        The report said the findings showed “serious violations of the Clery Act” and recommended that Michigan State “re-examine its campus safety and … policies and procedures on an annual basis to ensure that they accurately reflect current institutional practices and are compliant with federal regulations.”

        The university says it is ‘carefully reviewing’ the findings

        In a statement Wednesday, MSU said it was cooperating with the Education Department and reviewing the preliminary findings.
        “The safety and well-being of our campus community is our top priority,” MSU acting President Satish Udpa said.
          “The Nassar crimes caused so much pain to so many people, and we have more work to do to address those issues and support the survivors and our community. We welcome the opportunity to work with experts to review and strengthen areas as we renew our commitment to improve.”
          MSUsaid it is preparing a written response to the report, which the Education Department will consider before issuing a final document.

          The government shutdown took its toll on the nation’s immigration courts

          08 immigration court sketches

          08 immigration court sketches

          (CNN)The government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall has paralyzed the nation’s already bogged-down immigration courts.

          Judge Ashley Tabaddor, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, described judges in Los Angeles coming back this week to boxes filled to the rim with mail that had piled up over the course of the 35-day shutdown.
          “Everybody did the best they could,” Tabaddor said. “It’s just a lot of trying to work with our hands tied behind our back.”
          The government shutdown centered on Trump’s immigration agenda. His $ 5.7 billion request for his signature wall along the US-Mexico border, and congressional Democrats’ refusal to give him that money, brought the government to a grinding halt — including immigration courts.
            Trump has repeatedly criticized the nation’s immigration system, specifically taking issue with the practice of releasing immigrants while they await their court date. To remedy that, his administration has sought to hire more immigration judges in the hopes of unclogging the court. Even so, the shutdown seems to have put those efforts behind.
            The only cases that moved forward during the shutdown were those of immigrants in detention. All others were postponed. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks immigration court data, estimated that more than 42,000 immigration court hearings had been canceled as a result of the shutdown — exacerbating an issue Trump pledged to resolve.
            “What this does is it adds greater delay to the cases. We were shortchanged five or four weeks of time,” Tabaddor told CNN. “Not only were we not able to hear cases that were previously cases that were scheduled, but it’s going to take time to regroup.”
            Executive Office for Immigration Review spokeswoman Kathryn Mattingly said in a statement that “non-detained immigration cases that were continued due to the partial government shutdown will be rescheduled to the earliest available hearing date on the immigration judge’s calendar.”
            EOIR, which is within the Justice Department, warned the American Immigration Lawyers Association last Friday that there might be “some confusion” as non-detained courts reopened.
            Jeremy McKinney, an immigration lawyer in North Carolina and treasurer of AILA, confirmed that there was some confusion Monday, but otherwise business continued as usual as cases already scheduled for the week proceeded. The issue, though, is all the cases that preceded those this week and had to be postponed.
            An immigration judge described the situation to McKinney as a highway that’s “cleared a massive wreck but you have to deal with all the damage from the accident,” he said, the damage being the pile-up of cases. McKinney had about a dozen cases canceled as a result of the shutdown.
            In Los Angeles, Tabaddor explained situations in which court filings hadn’t been processed so cases scheduled for this week couldn’t move forward. The lack of interpreters, some of whom are contracted and need to be provided advanced notice, also required some cases be postponed, she said.
            The immigration courts are no strangers to case pile-ups. For years, the number of pending cases has been slowly creeping up, as more cases are added to the docket that can be addressed at any given time. Immigrants fighting deportation generally have a chance to make their case in court, where they can ask a judge to allow them to stay in the US by arguing they qualify for asylum or another legal option.
            According to TRAC, there are more than 800,000 cases pending. That often results in cases being scheduled years out.
            The Trump administration has tried to expedite the process by creating a quota system. Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department took the unprecedented step of implementing a quota system that required judges to clear at least 700 cases a year to receive a “satisfactory” performance evaluation. Between 2011 and 2016, judges completed 678 cases a year on average.
            In some cases, these changes have led to judges expediting their retirement. “There’s definitely an uptick of judges who are retiring,” Tabaddor said. “Over and over again, we’ve been hearing from our colleagues that are retirement eligible that they’re tired of the way they’re being treated.” Not only does that mean less judges, but less experienced judges, she added.
              There are 409 immigration judges nationwide. “EOIR is currently authorized 484 immigration judge positions and is actively working to reach that goal,” Mattingly said in a statement, adding that “it is not unusual to see an increase in government retirements at the end of a calendar year.”
              For now, the looming question is when cases postponed during the shutdown will be rescheduled.

              DOJ discloses government hack to expose reach of North Korean cyberattack

              NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: A US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference to announce money laundering charges against HSBC on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. HSBC Holdings plc and HSBC USA NA have agreed to pay $  1.92 billion and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in regards to charges involving money laundering with Mexican drug cartels. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

              NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: A US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference to announce money laundering charges against HSBC on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. HSBC Holdings plc and HSBC USA NA have agreed to pay $  1.92 billion and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in regards to charges involving money laundering with Mexican drug cartels. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

              Washington (CNN)FBI and Air Force investigators modified computer servers to collect information about a network of devices infected with a malware spread by North Korean hackers, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

              The operation, backed up by court orders and search warrants that enable the so-called government hacking, allowed law enforcement to map out the breadth of the network of infected devices, known as the Joanap botnet, and to notify victims in the US of the alleged North Korean cyberattack.
              “This operation is another example of the Justice Department’s efforts to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt national security threat actors, including, but by no means limited to, prosecution,” said John Demers, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, in a statement. “Through this operation, we are working to eradicate the threat that North Korea state hackers pose to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.”
              Prosecutors have said that the North Korean hackers that propagated the malware were also behind the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
                Investigators first obtained search warrants and orders from a federal judge in June that allowed them to use FBI computers in California to mimic a server infected with the malware and communicate with real infected devices, known as peers.
                “Computers within the network of computers infected by this North Korean malware … will be prompted to communicate with FBI IPs, disclose their own lists of other known Peers, and pass addresses of the FBI IPs to other Peers in the network. This will allow the FBI to learn the Internet Protocol (‘IP’) addresses of the other Peers in the botnet, thus generating a map of the botnet,” prosecutors explained in an application for a court order last year.
                An amendment to the federal rule outlining the use of warrants passed in 2016 allows law enforcement to access information like this from remote servers that are associated with malicious conduct and whose locations are hidden.
                Andrew Crocker, a senior staff attorney at the digital privacy advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the Justice Department has used the new warrant rule to take down a botnet in the past, but said the techniques described in the warrant application appeared to be unique and “fairly sophisticated.”
                  “The operation appears fairly sophisticated, describing the technical steps the government will take to ensure the computers it’s accessing are actually infected, and trying to limit the type of data it collects in order to shut down the botnet and ultimately notify US users who are affected,” Crocker said.
                  “With that said, these techniques are inherently invasive, both because of the possibility of unintended consequences and because the government is executing searches on many computers whose owners are not accused of any wrongdoing, but which have become infected,” he said.

                  A 96-day church service to protect asylum seekers ends with government deal

                  Non-stop service held to prevent deportation

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                  Non-stop service held to prevent deportation 01:34

                  (CNN)After holding religious services around the clock for 2,327 hours, a Dutch church declared victory Wednesday in its bid to prevent a family from being deported.

                  The Tamrazyans, a family of five originally from Armenia, had requested asylum in Netherlands and been denied. But now, a Dutch government deal struck Tuesday will offer them and other asylum-seeking families more time in the country.
                  Since October 26, the parents and children Hayarpi, Warduhi and Seyran have been sheltering inside the Bethel church and community center in The Hague. To prevent their arrest and deportation, the church held rites continuously for 96 days, taking advantage of a Dutch law that prohibits police officers from entering a church while a religious service is taking place.
                  Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that the new ruling allows authorities to reassess the asylum applications of a group of asylum-seeking families who are already in the country, which includes some 700 children who grew up in the Netherlands and their parents.
                    Hayarpi Tamrazyan (C) from Armenia attends a service in the Bethel church as it holds round-the-clock religious services to prevent the family from being deported.

                    Hayarpi Tamrazyan (C) from Armenia attends a service in the Bethel church as it holds round-the-clock religious services to prevent the family from being deported.

                    The Bethel church was optimistic about the future of the Tamrazyan family in the Netherlands.
                    “On January 30, 2019, the continuous church service that has been held since October 26, 2018 in the Bethel neighborhood-and-church house has ended. The political agreement that was concluded on Tuesday offers the Armenian family Tamrazyan a safe future in the Netherlands,” the church said in a statement.
                    Theo Hettema, chairman of the General Council of Protestant Ministers in the Netherlands, said: “We are extremely grateful for a safe future for hundreds of refugee families in the Netherlands. For months we have held up hope, and now that hope is taking shape.”
                    The church says more than 1,000 people took part in the service over the three-month period.

                    A pilgrimage

                    Police could not enter the church while the service - which began in October - was taking place.

                    Police could not enter the church while the service - which began in October - was taking place.

                    Axel Wicke from the Bethel church and community center in The Hague told CNN last month that the continuous service became something of a “pilgrimage” for people across the Netherlands.
                    “We have had to account for so many people who want to visit during Christmas,” Wicke said, adding that two of the services were being streamed on Christmas eve and Christmas Day.
                      The Tamrazyans have lived in the Netherlands for almost nine years, but their claim for political asylum was previously rejected. Until now, the Dutch Minister for Migration, Mark Harbers, had refused to use his discretionary powers to intervene and allow them to stay. His office declined to specifically discuss the case when contacted by CNN previously.
                      Speaking to Reuters in December, 21-year-old Hayarpi, the oldest daughter in the family of five, said: “I really don’t know what the outcome will be, but we hope we can stay here (in the Netherlands), because this is our home, this is where we belong.

                      Lawmakers meet hoping to avert another government shutdown

                      Manchin: Stop Washington's paychecks, stop shutdowns

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                      Manchin: Stop Washington’s paychecks, stop shutdowns 01:16

                      (CNN)A group of 17 lawmakers on Capitol Hill will meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon to figure out how to avert a government shutdown by February 15 and how to offer both President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats a deal on border security and immigration, an issue that has bedeviled Washington for years.

                      Trump attempted to sway the debate hours before they met, tweeting in the early morning, “If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!”
                      After about 800,000 federal workers went two pay periods without paychecks, Trump agreed Friday to temporarily reopen the government after a 35-day shutdown even though the bill to end it did not include his highest priority, $ 5.7 billion to build a wall on the southern border. His tweet was a reminder that he could force another shutdown if he opposes Congress’ consensus on border security.
                      Republican and Democratic congressional leaders urged Trump Wednesday to let the group do its work. Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said, “I think we ought to give them some room to negotiate this.”
                        When asked if Trump should stay out of the negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “He should sign the bill.”
                        “I think a conference committee can reach a good result left to its own devices without interference from anybody else,” the California Democrat told CNN. “I have confidence in the appropriators.”
                        In a private meeting with freshman Democrats Wednesday, Pelosi did not draw a red line in the spending talks, saying she has faith in the conference negotiators to reach an agreement, according to two attendees. Pelosi also discussed poll numbers showing the President upside down on a number of issues, suggesting Democrats won the argument over the shutdown.
                        The negotiators are 17 members of the House and Senate who serve on committees to appropriate government funding, dealmakers who rarely come from the hardline elements of either side of the party. Last year, the Senate Appropriations Committee came to a bipartisan agreement on a homeland security bill — that included $ 1.6 billion in border security including funds for fencing and barrier repairs. But Trump has lately called for much more funding to build the wall.
                        While the negotiators believe they could come up with a compromise, they went into the meeting not knowing how their respective party’s leadership will ultimately shape the debate.
                        “My goal would be to fund the government,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby earlier this week. The Alabama Republican added he couldn’t “preclude” whether some immigration proposals, such as extending legal protections to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, would be negotiated because Trump, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky “might want to get involved.”
                          On Tuesday, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said that Congress could reach a deal, but “if the President has the last word, it may not be enough” to avert a shutdown.
                          Trump himself has put the conference committee’s odds of success at “less than 50-50.”