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    Is former Vice President Joe Biden planning to run for president in 2020? Here are the latest updates:   Update 3:56 a.m. EDT April 24: Former Vice President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that he is running for president, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to the Washington Post, the Delaware Democrat plans to make his candidacy official in an online campaign video Thursday morning, 'a source close to him' said. A fundraiser for Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, also is scheduled that evening in Philadelphia, Politico reported. On Monday, Biden, 76, will make an appearance at a Pittsburgh union hall for his first campaign event, NBC News reported. Update 9:45 a.m. EDT April 19: According to the Associated Press, “Joe Biden is expected to announce he's running for president next week. That's according to three people with knowledge of Biden's plans.” Click here to read the story. Update 11:15 a.m. EDT March 12: An unidentified “senior Democratic lawmaker” has told The Hill that Joe Biden has decided to run for president in 2020. Click here to read the story. Original story: Former Vice President Joe Biden is ready to enter the 2020 presidential race, according to some news reports. The news site Axios reported that Biden has already told top Democrats he will jump into what is expected to become a very crowded field of Democrats ready to take on President Donald Trump. What are the signs for those less politically connected? Biden has spent the past year going after Trump on issues both foreign and domestic, and recently fired a shot across the bow of potential Democratic challengers when he said he considers himself  the 'most qualified person in the country to be president.' “I’ll be as straight with you as I can,” Biden said at a book signing tour in December. “I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I’ve worked on my whole life.” And while his comment can be passed off as bravado from a lifelong politician, polls have supported Biden’s claims, at least when it comes to his popularity. Biden has consistently been at the top of surveys asking Democratic voters who they would vote for. The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll had Biden at 32 percent, while a survey from David Binder Research found Biden at 30 percent. No other potential Democratic candidate the surveys asked about had more than 20 percent in either of those polls. When it comes to 2020 matchups, Biden polled ahead of Trump in a survey of North Carolina voters for potential 2020 Democratic contenders. Biden led Trump by 5 points, 49 percent to 44 percent, in the survey conducted by Public Policy Polling that was released on Wednesday. One big advantage Biden would have in a 2020 run for the White House is decades of public service. He won his Senate seat when he was 29 years old in 1972. He left that Delaware Senate seat in 2008 to serve eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president. With decades of public service comes supporters with deep pockets and a name that people recognize. It also comes with baggage that Biden may find difficult to unload. His treatment of Anita Hill during the 1991 confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas rankles women still and was stirred up once again during the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh last fall. Another, inescapable, factor in his decision to run is his age. At 76, is he the one that Democrats who elected a new, younger class of representatives are looking for to lead the party and the country? If he does run and wins the Democratic nomination to face Trump (who is 72), whoever wins that election will be the oldest U.S. president ever elected. After decades in the public eye, do you think you know Joe Biden? Here are a few things you may not have known. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was born on Nov. 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and moved to Wilmington, Delaware, at age 10. He has three siblings. He attended a series of Catholic schools and excelled at sports. He stuttered as a young boy. In 1965, he graduated from the University of Delaware and three years later earned a law degree from Syracuse University. He married his first wife, Neilia Hunter, in 1966. They had three children – Joseph Robinette 'Beau' III, Robert Hunter and Naomi Christina. He worked as an attorney in Wilmington before running for and winning a seat on the New Castle County Council in 1970. In 1972, he unseated a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat. A month later, in December 1972, Biden’s wife and children were Christmas shopping when the car they were riding in was struck by a truck. His wife and daughter were killed in the accident and his sons were badly injured. Biden canceled his plans to move to Washington and instead commuted by train from Delaware to work in the Senate. He was sworn in as senator in his sons’ hospital room. After his wife’s death, Biden would eventually meet schoolteacher Jill Jacobs. The two married in 1977 and had one daughter, Ashley. Biden won reelection in 1978 and five times after that. He was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and of the Foreign Relations Committee. In 1987, he entered the 1988 presidential race. He dropped out three months later amid claims he plagiarized material used in his campaign and made false claims about his academic record. Five months later, in February 1988, Biden underwent surgery to repair an aneurysm on the right side of his brain. A few months later he had surgery to repair a second aneurysm on the other side of his brain. While in the Senate, he introduced a bill that became the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), crafted a bill that put 100,000 more police officers in communities, and voted to ban assault weapons. In 2007, he once again announced he would run for president but dropped out of the race in January 2008. In August 2008, he became then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate. The two were elected on Nov. 4, 2008. He was both the first Catholic and the first Delawarean to serve as vice president of the United States. The pair were re-elected in 2012. In May of 2015, his eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer. He was 46. Later that year, Biden said he would not run for president in 2016, but didn’t close the door on a run in 2020. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award the government gives, in his last month in office. He left office on Jan. 20, 2017 when Trump is sworn in. In February 2017, he and his wife launched the Biden Foundation which champions seven issues: foreign policy; a cancer initiative; community colleges and military families; protecting children; equality; ending violence against women, and strengthening the middle class. Biden published “Promise Me Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,' in November 2017.  
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that he is running for president, multiple news outlets are reporting. >> Is Joe Biden running for president in 2020? According to the Washington Post, the Delaware Democrat plans to make his candidacy official in an online campaign video Thursday morning, 'a source close to him' said. A fundraiser for Biden, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, also is scheduled that evening in Philadelphia, Politico reported. On Monday, Biden, 76, will make an appearance at a Pittsburgh union hall for his first campaign event, NBC News reported. Biden, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 and 2008. This time, he joins a packed field of 20 Democratic candidates vying to take on Republican President Donald Trump. >> Read more trending news  Biden consistently has performed well in recent polls. In a national survey of Democrats released by Monmouth University this week, Biden led the field with 27% support, The Hill reported. He's also leading the Democratic pack in the RealClearPolitics polling average, with 29% support.  But the Monmouth poll found that Biden's favorability rating dropped from 76% in March to to 72% this month, according to The Hill. The drop came as multiple women came forward to accuse him of inappropriate contact. >> Joe Biden responds after multiple women accuse him of inappropriate behavior 'I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space, and that's a good thing, that's a good thing,” he said earlier this month. “I’ve worked my whole life to empower women. I've worked my whole life to prevent abuse, I've written, and so the idea that I can't adjust to the fact that personal space is important – more important than it's ever been – is just not thinkable. I will. I will.” Read more here.
  • When Boeing releases first quarter results Wednesday, investors will be looking beyond profit and revenue numbers to clues about the fate of the company's best-selling plane and when it might fly again. They'll want to know how close engineers are to completing a fix to flight-control software at the center of investigations into two deadly crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max. Executives have so far given few clues about how much it will cost the company to fix the plane, compensate airlines whose Max jets are grounded around the world, and pay out claims to any of the families of the 346 victims. The aerospace giant is scheduled to release financial results for the first quarter before the stock market opens on Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expect Boeing to report adjusted earnings of $3.19 per share on revenue of $22.94 billion. Both of those figures have come down considerably in the past month. Whether Boeing hits those numbers, however, will be secondary after the two crashes that have damaged the company's reputation for safety, caused the worldwide grounding of about 370 Boeing 737 Max airliners, and raised questions about the U.S. government's approval of the plane in 2017. Investigations into crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia have implicated an automated flight-control system that erroneously pushed the noses of the planes down in response to bad readings from sensors. Boeing began working on a software update to the system more than five months ago. When the market closed Tuesday, Boeing Co. shares stood 4% higher than before the October crash of a 737 Max operated by Indonesia's Lion Air. After a slump, they skyrocketed from late December until early March when another 737 Max crashed, this one operated by Ethiopian Airlines. Analysts treated the Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia as a one-time event and noted confidently that Boeing was working on a software fix. Even with a mild sell-off since the March crash, the shares are still up 16% in 2019, barely trailing the 17% gain in the Standard and Poor's 500. Investors believe the market for jetliners will remain strong for many years and airlines don't have much choice for big planes — Boeing and Airbus form a duopoly, and both have huge order backlogs. CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company has conducted 120 test flights of the upgraded software, and only needs a final certification flight with FAA personnel on board. That flight is expected any day. Last week, an expert panel of the Federal Aviation Administration judged that a software fix to the Max would be 'operationally suitable,' and that airline pilots familiar with previous versions of the 737 won't need additional time in flight simulators to learn about the new software that is unique to the Max. Jim Corridore, an airline analyst for CFRA Research, said that while Boeing still has much work to do, the FAA panel's determination 'shows that the return of the plane to flying is now a 'when' question rather than 'if' ... we remain firm in our view that Boeing will survive this with its order book largely intact.' Some analysts do see long-term risks to Boeing, however. The company has temporarily cut production of 737s, which means cash will be delayed until deliveries of new planes resume. It also faces a growing list of lawsuits by families and shareholders. Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak is surprised that investors seem to expect a 'relatively benign' outcome of the Max saga. Airbus could raise production, Poponak wrote in a recent note to clients, and the flying public, airlines and several countries are viewing the Max with more caution. 'We see a risk that lasts in the order book moving forward over the next few years,' he said.
  • A Pennsylvania high school senior battling Ewing’s sarcoma is in the fight for his life after his prognosis worsened, and the cancer spread. >> Watch the news report here Brady Hunker of Mount Pleasant says he’s not counting down the days until his last; he’s making the most of them. That’s why he wants to marry his longtime girlfriend, who has been by his side since Day One. 'I can’t pinpoint an exact point, but I just knew she was somebody special that I wanted to keep,' he said. >> Read more trending news  Hunker and Mollie Landman have been best friends since seventh grade. Now seniors in high school, he asked her to marry him this past weekend. 'We just share that kind of bond that I don’t think you can have without going through something awful with each other. So I think just going through all of this has changed our perspective in life and made us appreciate every single moment we have together,' she said. >> On WPXI.com: Department of Health denies cancer cluster in 17-page report At age 15, Hunker was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. He was in remission until it returned last year even stronger. 'We were up one night talking about the things I’d regret in my life if we were to hear the worst news possible, and I’d really only regret not marrying the person who I love more than anybody else in this world,' he said. The couple is now trying to pull off their dream wedding in just three months. 'Why would we wanna wait? We don’t know what the future holds but we want to be in each other's,' she said. A GoFundMe has been established to help Brady and his fiancee afford the wedding of their dreams. Learn more here.
  • A controversial proposal to increase housing near transportation and job hubs faces a key test Wednesday as California lawmakers search for solutions to the state's housing affordability crisis. Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener's bill is one of dozens on housing before lawmakers this year that attempt to the slow rising rents, spur more building, reduce commutes and ensure low-income people can stay in their neighborhoods. California has 3.5 million fewer homes than it needs and prices are increasingly becoming out of reach for renters and potential homeowners. 'We need more housing in the state of California,' Wiener said Monday in a press conference defending his bill. 'We are seeing the carnage this is causing in our state every day with people being displaced and evicted.' Lawmakers from both parties, developers and tenants alike are calling for change but there's little agreement on what changes work best. The debate can be personal and emotional. In San Francisco, a wealthy businessman has accused Wiener's bill of promoting gentrification. Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which bankrolled last year's failed rent control ballot measure, sent mailers and bought TV ads linking the policy to urban renewal projects that pushed African Americans out of their neighborhoods in the 1960s. 'Urban renewal means negro removal,' reads one piece of mail, under a photo of black activist and author James Baldwin. Wiener, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and San Francisco NAACP President Amos Brown denounced the ad, saying it amounted to racial fearmongering and distorted the bill's purpose. 'For someone to take advantage of a very real lingering anger and fear about what happened is just unconscionable,' Wiener said. Broadly, Wiener's bill would allow for denser building in areas around transportation and jobs that are now dominated by single-family homes. He said his bill makes a concerted effort to guard against gentrification by requiring a portion of any new development to be set aside for people who make less than the area median income. It also delays the bill's requirements for five years in certain 'sensitive communities.' Supporters of the bill argue that California needs denser building in those areas to give people more options for living near where they work. It aims to stop suburban sprawl that's prompting residents to commute farther from home to work, clogging California's roads and spewing more pollutants into the air. 'We can't expect the state to just continue allowing all this job growth, all this economic growth, all this prosperity while shutting out the workers from being able to participate in a way that doesn't require them to drive two hours each way,' said Matthew Lewis, spokesman of California YIMBY, a group co-sponsoring the bill. The League of California Cities and many local governments oppose the bill because it would take away some of their power to plan their cities. On the opposite side, some social justice groups worry the new development would displace neighborhoods' low-income and existing residents. Laura Raymond, director of the Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles, said the bill doesn't require enough of the units to be designated for affordable housing and that it lacks specifics on how 'sensitive communities' would be chosen and given resources to develop their own housing plans. 'We're working really hard to make sure that this bill is changed to do more to protect communities and provide value for low income renters,' she said. Wiener's bill isn't the only controversial housing bill up for debate this week. On Thursday, an Assembly committee will take up two bills aimed at tamping down on rising rents. One by Assemblyman Richard Bloom aims to expand rent control in California, while another by Assemblyman David Chiu would put a cap on rent increases. California prohibits rent control on buildings constructed after 1995. Bloom has tried unsuccessfully to expand rent control in the past, and a ballot measure to repeal the 1995 law failed at the ballot last year. Weinstein, of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has filed paperwork to mount another ballot measure in 2020 if the Legislature doesn't act.
  • Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten is getting another chance at getting out of prison following a years-long saga that has seen a board recommend her parole three separate times. Van Houten's case is being heard before California's 2nd District Court of Appeal, which will consider whether to overturn a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge's ruling denying parole for Van Houten last year. Van Houten's attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, will argue that his 69-year-old client deserves to be released because she's a changed woman, takes responsibility for her actions and has been a model inmate for more than four decades. Prosecutors will continue to vigorously fight Van Houten's release because of the seriousness of the crimes. Van Houten was 19 when she and fellow cult members stabbed Los Angeles grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary to death in 1969. The killings took place a day after other so-called Manson family members murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others in crimes that shocked the world. Van Houten, who is serving life in prison, was only involved in the LaBianca killings. She is not expected to be at Wednesday's hearing. Every year since 2016, a parole board has recommended that Van Houten deserves to be released, finding that she's no longer a threat to society. Former Gov. Jerry Brown twice blocked Van Houten's release, saying she had failed to explain how she transformed from an upstanding teen to a killer and that she laid too much of the blame on Manson. The parole board's most recent decision on Jan. 30 is undergoing a five-month review process before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk. The 2nd District Court of Appeal's three-judge panel could decide the case following Wednesday's arguments, potentially rendering any decision by Newsom unnecessary, or the judges could decide that the case belongs in the governor's hands. Pfeiffer said he has never been so optimistic that Van Houten will win. 'This has been the best anything has ever looked since I've been on the case,' he said. 'This is probably the best way out.' But courts can be reluctant to interfere in matters of parole, said Samuel Pillsbury, a criminal law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. 'It is highly emotional,' Pillsbury said. 'The voters have decided the governor should have a veto on this so the courts would prefer to let this process play out.' If the decision comes down to the governor, Pillsbury said Van Houten has an uphill battle because of the infamy of the Manson murders. 'The Manson case is one of a kind,' he said. 'There's no other case like it in terms of the number of people in California who feel strongly about it, who've lived through it. The entire state and much of the nation still feel some degree of trauma from that, and it makes it a very different kind of case from an elected official's point of view.' In denying Van Houten parole last year, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Ryan found that she would 'pose an unreasonable risk of danger to society,' citing the brutal nature of the crimes. During one of her parole hearings, Van Houten said the murders were the start of what Manson believed was a coming race war that he dubbed 'Helter Skelter,' after a Beatles song, and that he had the group prepare to fight and learn to can food so they could go underground and live in a hole in the desert. Van Houten said she was traveling up and down the California coast when acquaintances led her to Manson. She candidly described how she joined several other members of the group in killing the LaBiancas, carving up Leno LaBianca's body and smearing the couple's blood on the walls. Manson died of natural causes in 2017 at a California hospital while serving a life sentence. ___ Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP
  • Prosecutors in the case of a Minneapolis police officer who shot an unarmed woman have been hammering away at what could be a key element of Mohamed Noor's defense — that he heard a loud slap against his police SUV that stirred fears of an ambush. The prosecution has tried to raise doubts about whether that slap occurred and attacked officers and investigators for apparent missteps, noting that police at the scene turned body cameras on and off at will, did not share information and possibly disturbed evidence, according to court testimony. Noor, 33, is on trial for murder and manslaughter in the July 15, 2017, death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia who reported a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. She was shot after she approached the vehicle. One point of contention is whether Damond slapped the SUV, causing a thump that Noor's partner, officer Matthew Harrity, testified scared him so much that he drew his weapon. Defense attorneys for Noor have said he also heard a loud bang on the squad car, but prosecutors have suggested the slap was concocted. They insist the officers faced no threat. Harrity testified that he did not tell anyone about the thump on the night of the shooting. The first time he spoke about a noise was three days later, when he sat down for an interview with his attorney and state investigators. But somehow, the notion that Damond slapped the car made its way into a search warrant affidavit hours after the shooting. 'There was a conspicuous absence of information,' Chris Olson, assistant agent in charge of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified this week. As he was trying to figure out what happened, Olson said, the scene's incident commander, Minneapolis police Sgt. Shannon Barnette, told him she had a brief conversation with Harrity, and that it sounded like Damond had made contact with the car. Olson gave contradictory testimony about whether he or Barnette first suggested that Damond slapped the car, and how that information was passed on to another BCA investigator who crafted the search warrant. Bradford Colbert, a law professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, said that under law, Noor had a right to use deadly force to protect himself or others. For prosecutors, Colbert said, the preferred narrative would be that Damond was shot after merely appearing at the window. For the defense, it would be better if Damond slapped the car, creating the loud, startling noise. 'I can see why the state would be arguing or trying to convey that there was no slap,' he said. Jennifer Kostroski, a BCA latent print examiner, testified there was no forensic evidence to show Damond touched the squad car. But under questioning from the defense, she said knuckles or a backhand slap would not leave prints. Other witnesses said the squad car was partially dusted for fingerprints — but not entirely — then sent to be washed just hours after the shooting. 'They certainly could've handled it better,' said Marsh Halberg, a Minneapolis defense attorney who is not connected to the case. He stopped short of saying investigators made mistakes, but said, 'in hindsight, I think everyone could agree things could've been done more smoothly, more thoroughly, more independently.' Representatives of the Minneapolis Police Department and the state BCA said they could not comment. The trial has revealed other apparent missteps by investigators. Some Minneapolis police officers turned their body cameras on and off, so it's possible that key statements went undocumented. One officer was not told that Noor fired from inside the vehicle, so he entered the car and possibly disturbed evidence. Another investigator was concerned that Damond had been covered by a sheet, again possibly disturbing evidence. And, one witness testified, state investigators did not follow up on information about the original 911 call made by Damond, so prosecutors conducted their own investigation. Some officers on the scene did not initially know they were dealing with a police shooting — though body camera video shows Harrity and Noor reported that to the first responding officers. Barnette testified last week that she did not speak with Noor about the shooting that night, acknowledging on the witness stand that if she had, he might have provided different information than his partner. Colbert said it's possible the state is raising these issues in an attempt to show that 'everybody knew this went down wrong,' and police responded by going into cover-up mode. 'If it was just simply an accident, you wouldn't go to those lengths. That seems to me to be the state's strategy,' Colbert said, adding that prosecutors seem be trying to show that police 'knew from the get-go that this is wrong, and they are just trying to cover their tracks.' ___ Check out the AP's complete coverage of Mohamed Noor's trial.
  • A man who orchestrated one of the most gruesome hate crimes in U.S. history was set to be executed Wednesday for the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. nearly 21 years ago. John William King, who is white and an avowed racist, was put on death row for chaining Byrd to the back of a truck and dragging his body for nearly 3 miles (5 kilometers) along a secluded road in the piney woods outside Jasper, Texas. The 49-year-old Byrd, who was black, was alive for at least 2 miles (3 kilometers) before his body was ripped to pieces in the early morning hours of June 7, 1998. Prosecutors said he was targeted because he was black. Authorities say the 44-year-old King is openly racist and has offensive tattoos on his body, including one of a black man with a noose around his neck hanging from a tree. If executed, King would be the fourth inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the third in Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state. The hate crime put a national spotlight on Jasper, a town of about 7,600 residents near the Texas-Louisiana border that was branded with a racist stigma it has tried to shake off ever since. Local officials say the reputation is undeserved. King's attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution, arguing that King's trial lawyers violated his constitutional rights by not presenting his claims of innocence and conceding his guilt. His lawyers cited a 2018 Supreme Court ruling in a Louisiana case in which the justices said that a lawyer for a criminal defendant cannot override his client's wish to maintain his innocence at trial. 'From the time of indictment through his trial, Mr. King maintained his absolute innocence, claiming that he had left his co-defendants and Mr. Byrd sometime prior to his death and was not present at the scene of his murder. Mr. King repeatedly expressed to defense counsel that he wanted to present his innocence claim at trial,' A. Richard Ellis, one of King's appellate attorneys, wrote in his petition to the Supreme Court. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Monday rejected a similar request to stop the execution. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday turned down King's request for either a commutation of his sentence or a 120-day reprieve. Over the years, King has also suggested the brutal slaying was not a hate crime, but a drug deal gone bad involving his co-defendants. King, who grew up in Jasper and was known as 'Bill,' will be the second man executed in the case. Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed in 2011. The third participant, Shawn Allen Berry, was sentenced to life in prison. King declined an interview request from The Associated Press in the weeks leading up to his planned execution. In a 2001 interview with the AP, King said he was an 'avowed racist' but wasn't 'a hate-monger murderer.' Louvon Byrd Harris, one of Byrd's sisters, said she and other family members plan to attend King's execution. 'I think it will be a message to the world that when you do something horrible like that, that you have to pay the high penalty,' she said. Harris said she doesn't expect King to be remorseful. Brewer said nothing to Byrd's family before he was put to death. 'All they are going to do is go to sleep. But half the things they did to James, all the suffering he had to go through, they still get an easy way out to me,' Harris said. Billy Rowles, who led the investigation into Byrd's death when he was sheriff in Jasper County, said after King was taken to death row in 1999, he offered to detail the crime as soon as his co-defendants were convicted. When Rowles returned, all King would say was, 'I wasn't there.' 'He played us like a fiddle, getting us to go over there and thinking we're going to get the rest of the story,' said Rowles, now the sheriff of neighboring Newton County. A week before Brewer was executed in 2011, Rowles said he visited Brewer, who confirmed 'the whole thing was Bill King's idea.' Mylinda Byrd Washington, another of Byrd's sisters, said she and her family will work through the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing to ensure her brother's death continues to combat hate everywhere. 'I hope people remember him not as a hate crime statistic. This was a real person. A family man, a father, a brother and a son,' she said. ___ Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70
  • Democrat Andrew Yang understands he's unknown to much of America. But the political newcomer says he'll ride what seems like an improbable path to the White House just like President Donald Trump. Yang, an entrepreneur who is generating buzz with his signature proposal for universal basic income, is banking on a high-profile appearance on the Democratic debate stage later this year for his message to catch on. The 44-year-old made his first visit Tuesday to the early voting state of Nevada. At least 300 people turned out to his evening rally to wave signs that said 'Math' and 'Yang Gang' while the candidate predicted his rise through a crowded pack of 2020 contenders. Yang said that like Trump, he'll break away by taking on issues no other candidate will talk about — especially his plan to give money to most every American. 'I hate to say it, but the Democratic Party is in need of some new ideas,' he said. Trump won in 2016 by correctly identifying and speaking to economic anxieties, Yang told the crowd. But Yang said Trump's solutions were wrong, racially divisive and ignored the real culprit of increased automation. 'This campaign is about showing America that it's not immigrants that are causing these economic problems, it is technology,' he said. Yang's plan proposes paying every American adult $1,000 a month, no strings attached. The program would be paid for by a 10% value added tax estimated to generate $800 billion in revenue. He also predicts savings by streamlining existing social programs like welfare and food stamps, proposing to let people elect to give up those benefits in favor of universal basic income. Yang is also estimating that once the money is distributed to Americans, it will infuse the economy and create further savings by improving people's well-being and curbing current spending on health care, incarceration and homeless. Critics of guaranteed income plans argue they make people less productive and less likely to work and could attract more unemployed residents. Yang suggests the only people likely to work less with guaranteed income would be new mothers and teenagers. Once he's president, he said, Democrats would get on board with the proposal and Republicans would find it politically unwise to oppose a plan to put money in everyone's pocket. In addition to universal basic income, Yang lists more than 100 policy positions on his website, which range from liberal touchstones like 'Medicare for All' to the obscure: a proposal to revitalize and repurpose forsaken shopping malls, a push for free or heavily subsidized marriage counseling for all Americans and plans for a text-line to report abusive robocalls. Yang, a New York native, is the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He earned Ivy League-degrees studying economics and political science at Brown University and law at Columbia University. Before launching his run for the White House, he worked as a corporate lawyer, ran a test preparation company and created Venture for America, a fellowship program that helps cultivate entrepreneurs.
  • A California girl managed to avoid a man following her in a car as she walked through a Vacaville neighborhood by hiding behind a parked truck. >> Read more trending news  Home surveillance video captured the incident, which happened earlier this month, and shows the girl being followed by a dark colored Pontiac driven by an adult man. The girl is clearly trying to avoid the man as he repeatedly turns around and tries to approach her. Vacaville police Capt. Matt Lydon said when the girl first noticed she was being followed, she walked to a different neighborhood and the driver followed.  Trending: Children find their lost puppy hanging from noose in woods behind home “As she walked into the adjacent neighborhood, she saw the Pontiac again,” Lydon said, according to KRON-TV. “She hid behind a parked truck on the street as the male went up and down the street a couple of times attempting to get her attention and attempting to have a conversation with her.” The video shows the girl hide behind the truck as the car repeatedly drives by, backs up and stops as the driver tries to engage in a conversation with her. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  When the car appears to drive off, the girl takes off running. Police are hoping someone may be able to help identify the driver and the car.