News Shorts, Weather and Sports for Thursday, December 21, 2017

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Weather for Thursday December 21, 2017


WASHINGTON (AP) — A triumphant President Donald Trump and jubilant fellow Republicans celebrated the passage of their $1.5 trillion tax overhaul Wednesday as a “historic victory for the American people.” The American people, however, will need some convincing.

As Trump and GOP lawmakers gathered at the White House to cheer their first major legislative achievement — and the biggest tax changes in a generation — some Republicans warned that the party could face a painful political backlash against an overhaul that offers corporations and wealthy taxpayers the biggest benefits and was projected to trigger the loss of health care coverage for millions of Americans.


UKHIA, Bangladesh (AP) — For six hours he hid in an upstairs room, listening to the crackle of gunfire and the screams of people being slaughtered outside his Myanmar home.

With every footstep that drew near, every cry that pierced the air, 52-year-old Bodru Duza braced for the soldiers to find him, to kill him like all the others who had fled to his compound that morning seeking a safe place to shelter. They were being blindfolded and bound, marched away in small groups, then butchered and shot as they begged for their lives.

What had started out as a quiet Sunday in northwestern Myanmar had spiraled into an incomprehensible hell — one of the bloodiest massacres reported in the Southeast Asian nation since government forces launched a vicious campaign to drive out the country’s Rohingya minority in late August.

By the time it was over, there was so much blood on the ground, it had pooled into long rivulets across the uneven earth, among bits of human flesh and the fragments of shattered skulls.


SYDNEY (AP) — Two men were arrested in Australia after the SUV in which they were travelling rammed into pedestrians on a busy central Melbourne street Thursday, leaving 14 people injured in what police believe was a deliberate act.

Victoria state police said the driver of the vehicle and a second man were in custody after the incident, which occurred on Flinders Street in the city’s central business district just after 4:45 p.m. when the area was busy with Christmas shoppers.

Commander Russell Barrett told media that while the motive of the incident was not immediately clear, “at this stage we believe it was a deliberate act.”


WASHINGTON (AP) — You wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, but the tax overhaul coming into effect is heavily tilted to the rich. It also leaves “Obamacare” in place, despite his assertion that the tax plan repeals the health care law. Nothing about the plan provides the fuel to achieve economic growth at the levels he’s predicted.

Trump’s penchant for exaggeration and sometimes pure fiction has clouded the realities of the overhaul as it has shaped up over months. As for Democrats, you wouldn’t know to hear them talk that middle-class people are getting a tax cut out of the deal, too.

A look at remarks made Wednesday and earlier about the tax plan Trump will shortly sign into law.

TRUMP: “It’s the largest tax cut in the history of our country.” — remarks Wednesday.

THE FACTS: It isn’t. For months Trump has refused to recognize larger tax cuts in history, of which there have been many, or to grant that other presidents have enacted big tax cuts since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

An October analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that it would be the eighth biggest since 1918. As a percentage of the total economy, Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II. Trump’s plan is also smaller than cuts in 1948, 1964 and 1921, and probably in other years.

Valued at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, the plan is indeed large and expensive. But it’s much smaller than originally intended. Back in the spring, it was shaping up as a $5.5 trillion package. Even then it would have only been the third largest since 1940 as a share of gross domestic product. (Read more)


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean soldiers fired 20 warning machine gun rounds Thursday, turning back North Korean soldiers apparently pursuing a comrade who had earlier dashed across the rivals’ shared border, officials said. It is the fourth time this year a North Korean soldier has defected across the world’s most heavily armed border.

South Korean military officials said they heard gunfire from the North after South Korea fired its warning shots, but it wasn’t clear if the firing was retaliatory. Neither side immediately reported casualties.


(BBC) Apple has confirmed the suspicions of many iPhone owners by revealing it does deliberately slow down some models of the iPhone as they age.

Many customers have long suspected that Apple slows down older iPhones to encourage people to upgrade.

The company has now said it does slow down some models as they age, but only because the phones’ battery performance diminishes over time.

Apple said it wanted to “prolong the life” of customers’ devices.

The practice was confirmed after a customer shared performance tests on Reddit, suggesting their iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it had aged but had suddenly sped up again after the battery had been replaced.

“I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus, and his was faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong,” wrote TeckFire.

Technology website Geekbench then analysed several iPhones running different versions of the iOS operating system and found some of them did indeed appear to have been deliberately slowed down.


(NWI Times) HAMMOND — Though bootlegging is most commonly associated with Prohibition, bathtub gin and gangsters like Al Capone, federal prosecutors say it’s alive and well in Northwest Indiana.

The federal government has seized $1 million from a Hammond liquor store alleged to have sold booze to Illinois liquor stores so they could dodge the higher state alcohol taxes in the Land of Lincoln.

In June, lLiaw enforcement officials seized $1 million from Columbia Liquors at 6433 Columbia Ave. in south Hammond and its bank accounts at First Merchants Bank in Munster, including more than $52,000 in cash the owners had at their home, according to court records. The U.S. attorney’s office is now pursuing a forfeiture case in the United States District Court Northern District of Indiana in Hammond.

The federal case charges that Columbia Liquor owners Shreyas Patel and Dipteben Patel “devised a scheme to defraud or obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses.” Prosecutors allege Columbia Liquors bought liquor from three Indiana distributors and in turn sold it for cash to liquor stores across the south suburbs in Illinois, where excise taxes are substantially higher.

“Specifically, the Patels, through their Indiana liquor store, purchased large quantities of liquor and sold them to seventeen Illinois liquor stores, at least five of which they own, for subsequent retail sale thereby depriving the State of Illinois of excise and sales taxes to which it was entitled,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Orest Szewciw charged in the federal complaint. “By selling liquor purchased without payment of excise taxes in Illinois, the Illinois liquor-store owners, including the Patels, increased their profits. In furtherance of the scheme to defraud or obtain money by false pretenses, the Patels caused the use of interstate wire communications.”


(NWI Times) GRIFFITH — A Hammond High School coach is among four people facing charges in connection with a fight that broke out Monday at a basketball game and spilled onto the court in the final 6.3 seconds of play.

A Hammond High coach, Robert Pogue, 29, of Hammond, has been charged with disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor, according to Griffith Police Cmdr. Keith Martin.

Pogue is accused of swinging at Jamar Freeman, 25, of Calumet Park, a spectator in the bleachers, after Freeman allegedly threatened to smack a basketball player and then “pushed or chest-bumped” Pogue.

Pogue works with the Hammond High School boys freshmen basketball team and is in his fifth year as a coach.

Jamar Freeman, along with Shaunaria Watson, 25 and Joshua Freeman, 24, both of Chicago, have also been charged with the same class B misdemeanor, Martin said.

According to police, the three spectators involved in the altercation were seated three rows behind the Hammond team’s bench and had been heckling the referees and team throughout the game.


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