Supreme Court won’t halt turnover of Trump’s tax records

Agencies
February 23, 2021

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Washington, Feb 23: In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the US Supreme Court has declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor.

The court's action on Monday is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before.

Trump's tax records are not supposed to become public as part of prosecutors' criminal investigation, but the high court's action is a blow to Trump because he has long fought on so many fronts to keep his tax records shielded from view. The ongoing investigation that the records are part of could also become an issue for Trump in his life after the presidency.

In a statement, the Trump blasted prosecutors and said the Supreme Court never should have let this fishing expedition' happen, but they did. The Republican claimed the investigation is politically motivated by Democrats in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State. And he said he would fight on and that We will win!

The Supreme Court waited months to act in the case. The last of the written briefs in the case was filed on October 19. But a court that includes three Trump appointees waited through the election, Trump's challenge to his defeat and a month after Trump left office before issuing its order.

The court offered no explanation for the delay, and the legal issue before the justices did not involve whether Trump was due any special deference because he was president.

The court's order is a win for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, who has been seeking Trump's tax records since 2019 as part of an investigation.

Vance, a Democrat, had subpoenaed the records from the Mazars accounting firm that has long done work for Trump and his businesses. Mazars has said it would comply with the subpoena, but Trump sued to block the records' release.

Vance's office had said it would be free to enforce the subpoena and obtain the records in the event the Supreme Court declined to step in and halt the records' turnover, but it was unclear when that might happen. In a three-word statement on Monday, Vance said only: The work continues.

The court's action on Monday wasn't the only defeat for Trump, the court also declined to get involved in a handful of cases related to the 2020 election.

The records Vance has been after are more than eight years of Trump's personal and corporate tax records. Vance has disclosed little about what prompted him to seek them. In one court filing last year, however, prosecutors said they were justified in demanding the records because of public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organisation.

Part of the probe involves payments to two women porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal to keep them quiet during the 2016 presidential campaign about alleged extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.

In July, the justices in a 7-2 ruling rejected Trump's argument that the president is immune from investigation while he holds office or that a prosecutor must show a greater need than normal to obtain the tax records.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump nominated to the high court, joined that decision. It was issued before Trump's third nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court.

As part of its July decision, the high court returned the Vance case and a similar case involving records sought by Congress to lower courts. And the court prevented the records from being turned over while the cases proceeded.

Since the high court's ruling, in the Vance case, Trump's attorneys made additional arguments that his tax records should not be turned over, but they lost again in federal court in New York and on appeal. It was those rulings that Trump had sought to put on hold.

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Agencies
February 14,2021

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Washington, Feb 14: Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday on charges of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol, after a majority of Senate Republicans closed ranks and refused to punish the former president in his historic second impeachment trial.

The five-day trial saw Democratic prosecutors argue -- bolstered by dramatic video of the January 6 riot -- that Trump betrayed his oath by whipping up his supporters into storming Congress in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power.

It concluded as expected with a majority of Republicans declaring him not guilty, in a sign of the powerful grip the 74-year-old Trump continues to exert on his party.

But while the 57-43 majority that voted to convict fell short of the two-thirds needed in the Senate, seven Republicans joined with Democrats to seek Trump's conviction, making it the most bipartisan impeachment trial in US history.

Trump, who has been secluded in his Florida club since leaving office on January 20, welcomed the verdict -- denouncing the proceedings as "yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country."

Despite the stain of a second impeachment, Trump hinted at a possible political future, saying that "our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun."

"We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future," he said in a statement.

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on January 13, a week after the chaotic assault that stunned the nation and provoked widespread bipartisan outrage.

Democrats argued that Trump's behaviour was an "open and shut" case of impeachable conduct, retracing how he spent two months repeating the falsehood that the election was stolen, before inciting his supporters to attack Congress and stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory.

"He summoned his supporters to Washington, on the Ellipse, whipped them into a frenzy, and directed them at the Capitol," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote.

The defense team swatted the evidence away, arguing that Trump's appeal to supporters to "fight like hell, at the rally that preceded the attack," was merely rhetorical.

But their central argument was that the Senate had no constitutional jurisdiction to try a former president. Most Republican senators agreed.

But Mitch McConnell, the powerful Senate minority leader who voted to acquit on those same grounds, left no doubt he considers Trump to have caused the riot -- which sent lawmakers fleeing for safety as a marauding mob rampaged through the Capitol.

The former Trump ally unleashed a searing rebuke of the ex-president, calling his actions preceding the assault a "disgraceful dereliction" of duty.

"There's no question -- none -- that president Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," McConnell told the chamber after the vote.

He stressed that while Congress has exhausted its avenues for punishing Trump, the US justice system has not.

"President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office," McConnell said. "He didn't get away with anything yet."

Building their case over two days, Democratic impeachment managers described how Trump first encouraged, then refused to call a halt to the January 6 insurrection that left then-vice president Mike Pence and lawmakers in mortal danger.

Proclaiming Trump's innocence, defence lawyer Michael van der Veen told the Senate that "the act of incitement never happened" and that rioters acted alone.

After the trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was openly targeted by rioters and was evacuated from the Capitol on January 6, laid into the "cowardly" Republican senators who voted to acquit.

"Senate Republicans' refusal to hold Trump accountable for igniting a violent insurrection to cling to power will go down as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation's history," she said.

Before moving to final arguments, the proceedings were interrupted for a few hours on Saturday when House impeachment managers, in a surprise move, said they wanted to call witnesses.

But they backed down, instead reaching agreement with the defence that a statement by congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler would be entered as evidence.

Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin had wanted Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach Trump last month, to testify over her statement that Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a frantic call to Trump during the attack and implored him to call off the rioters.

She said McCarthy briefed her about the call, and said that when he told a sceptical Trump that the insurrectionists were his supporters, "according to McCarthy, the president said: 'Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.'"

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Dr Parinitha Gutha
February 15,2021

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Children’s Cancers are rare compared to those in adults.

Worldwide, around 3 lakh children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer every year and 80% of them live in developing countries.

As infectious diseases are becoming more controlled in children, cancer is emerging to be the leading cause of death after accidental deaths. 

The good news is that most of the children’s cancers are now curable, but many factors are acting against achieving this result. Because they have their uniqueness, both biologically and psychologically, they must be treated in dedicated Pediatric Cancer Units to achieve results.

Types of Childhood Cancers

More than a dozen kinds of childhood cancers and a hundred different subtypes exist. 

Blood cancers, brain cancers, and neuroblastomas account for more than half of the cancers in children.

The most common childhood cancer is Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). In the 1950s, almost every child with ALL died. But today, about 90% of children with ALL survive.

Causes

The cause is usually unknown and not linked to any environmental or genetic factors apart from a small proportion (5%) which is caused by an inherited genetic condition.

In adults, the mutations reflect the cumulative effects of aging, long-term exposure to cancer-causing agents. However, it has been difficult to identify potential environmental causes of childhood cancer.

The analogy is that most cancers develop as a result of mutations in genes that lead to uncontrolled cell growth.

Treatment

It is important to know that Children's cancers are not always treated like adult cancers.

Children should not only survive, but thrive. To achieve this, Cancer needs to be diagnosed early and treated in dedicated Paediatric Oncology Units where the team is focused and qualified to respond to children's needs. Many individuals are not aware that this expertise exists and that many childhood cancers are handled successfully.

The types of treatment that a child with cancer receives will depend on the type of cancer and how advanced it is. Common treatments include chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, and bone marrow transplantation.

What is the outlook?

Most childhood cancers are highly curable, provided prompt and effective treatment is accessible. 

In resource-rich countries, three out of four children survive (about 80%).

The Survival gap…

Unfortunately, this is not the case in India. Around 80% of children with cancer live in developing countries and more than half die. There are no cancer registries to give us accurate statistics, children are often not diagnosed, or diagnosed too late, and limited access to information and life-saving treatment. 

However, the situation is becoming more hopeful with the availability of dedicated Paediatric cancer Units providing excellent standards of care.

Children’s Cancers are curable and they are no less important than children fighting malaria, dengue, malnutrition, and other causes of death.

Let us stand up to cancer and strive to save our children!

 

Dr Parinitha Gutha is a Senior Consultant, Paediatric Oncology/Hematology at American Oncology Institute, Hyderabad

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Agencies
February 25,2021

Mamata rides pillion on electric scooter to protest fuel price hike

In a unique protest against fuel price hike, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday rode pillion on an electric scooter to state secretariat Nabanna Bhavan.

Banerjee was seen sitting behind state minister Firhad Hakim, who rode the battery-powered electric scooter.

With a placard protesting against the petrol price hike hanging around her neck, helmet-clad Banerjee waved at people on both sides of the road during the five-km-long journey from Hazra More to the state secretariat.

After reaching Nabanna, Banerjee slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre saying, "We are protesting against the fuel price hike. The Modi government only makes false promises. They have done nothing to bring down fuel prices.

You can see the difference in petrol prices when the Modi government came to power and now."

"Modi and Shah are selling the country. This is an anti-people's government," she added.

The feisty TMC chief also criticised the BJP government for renaming the Sardar Patel Stadium, popularly known as the Motera stadium, in Ahmedabad after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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