Obama mourns Shimon Peres, and a bygone Israel

(CNN)When President Barack Obama visited Jerusalem in 2013, Shimon Peres, then 89 years old and in his fifth decade of public life, might have been expected to forgo the tour of high-tech innovations at the Israel Museum.

But Peres, ever-passionate about the unfolding opportunities of science, was there introducing his ninth US president to a panel of Israeli and Arab engineers cooperating on boosting the country’s computer and technology sectors.
    It was a convenient alignment of both men’s visions for the region and the broader world, one where shared interests — preferably rooted in the economies and ideas of the future — can bridge centuries-old divisions.
    “They are doing a job for the community, they are very proud, and they can do it all over the world,” explained the Israeli president, who would host Obama at his home later that evening after the American leader delivered a speech in the West Bank.
    For a US president whose ties to Israel became ever more complicated during his two terms in office, Peres represented a dependable voice for friendship, even as many of Israel’s other leaders took an assertive stance against some of Obama’s top priorities.
    More in synch with Obama’s vision of global politics and regional peace than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who as head of the government determines the country’s policies, Peres fostered ties with the US President that extended well beyond bilateral interests. He embodied a different Israel, one that seemed to be the kind of country Obama wished he might have partnered withas president.
    “When he talked, everyone listened,” Obama wrote in a lengthy, personal statement after Peres died Wednesday in Israel. “And later, long after he’d left the room, you remembered what he said. It crept into your soul and stayed with you. Shimon Peres was truly a force of nature.”
    Obama hopes to evokethat during remarks at Peres’ funeral on Friday, held at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl cemetery. He’s leading a US delegation of dozens, including former President Bill Clinton, who developed his own attachment to Peres during talks that led to the signing of the Oslo Accords on the South Lawn of the White House in 1993, for which he won the Noble Peace Prize.
    It’s only the second time Obama has traveled overseas last-minute to attend a fellow leader’s memorial; he flew to South Africa in 2013 to attend services for another Nobel laureate, Nelson Mandela. And on Wednesday, Obama ordered flags on federal grounds and buildings flown at half-staff, a rare honor for a foreign leader.
    “I saw there was a deep friendship there, it was a genuine friendship,” said Michael Oren, who served as the Israeli ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013. “The position of President of the State of Israel is largely honorific. You don’t have a lot of political power. You do have a moral platform, and that counted a lot for President Obama.”
    The pair met almost every year of Obama’s presidency, including in 2012 when Obama bestowed upon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest US honor for a civilian, during a gala celebration at the White House.
    The warmth Obama expressed for Peres at the ceremony stood in stark contrast to his many cold encounters with Netanyahu. The Israeli and American leaders clashed throughout Obama’s tenure over conflicting world view, politics and agendas.
    Peres provided a balm, an Israeli standard-bearer who lined up with Obama’s own visions for the country and its neighbors. At times, Peres even took Netanyahu to task for tangling with Obama.
    Unlike Netanyahu, who railed against the US-backed agreement with Iran to curtail its nuclear program, Peres largely withheld criticism, saying the deal should be assessed over time. When the prime minister — Peres’ rival stemming back to the 1996 Israeli elections — lobbied against the deal during an address to Congress at the invitation of Republicans, the former president rebuked his countryman.
    “Bibi (Netanyahu) can make speeches at any place or date, but when the President of the United States asks him not to come before elections, he must respect that request,” Peres said in 2015, referring to Israel’s upcoming vote soon after the congressional address.
    Obama’s relationship with Peres began even before the junior senator from Illinois entered the White House. During his trip to Israel as a presidential candidate in 2008, Peres told the first-term senator he’d read both of his autobiographies, stepping away from the books with a sense of “moving humanity.”
    “They say the future belongs to the young — they are wrong,” Peres said then. “The present belongs to the young. The young should now take care of the burning issues.”
    To both men’s disappointment, the burning issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians remained elusive. Efforts to negotiate an accord at various points of Obama’s term fell apart, and administration officials have acknowledged that restarting talks will be unlikely during the few months remaining in Obama’s presidency.
    The White House has cited the expansion of Israeli settlement activity on Arab land as unhelpful to the process and chafed at Netanyahu’s public wavering over a two-state solution, a bedrock American goal.
    “Given the state of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, or the absence of negotiations, I think it’s probably one of Peres’ bitterest aspirations never fulfilled,” said Aaron David Miller, who served in Republican and Democratic US administrations and is now vice president of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “He desperately, I think, wanted to put his stamp, his mark, and largely for the good of the Israeli polity, find a way to deal with the most complicated of all of Israel’s relationships.”
    Obama’s aides have not ruled out the President taking some steps toward laying out a framework for Middle East peace before he leaves office. Some see Peres’ death as a moment to redouble efforts toward an agreement, though officials downplayed the chance that Obama would press the case during his trip Friday to Israel, which was expected to last only hours.
    Among Palestinians, many of whom view Peres in a harsher light than Americans or Israelis, there was scant optimism that the moment was right for peace talks to begin anew.
    “I know today many people are celebrating the notion of peace, maybe the illusion of peace, but in reality, we still don’t have peace,” said Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestine National Initiative political party. “This whole celebration and idealization of the notion of peace should, in my opinion, push those Israelis who are now saying there is no place for Palestinian statehood and for a Palestinian free state to reconsider. It should also push the people of Israelto stop electing the most extreme leaders.”
    In the United States, it’s Obama’s successor who will be left to carry on the effort. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, said in a statement this week that Peres “personified dignity and grace in a region of the world where both run far too short.”
    But Trump has expressed skepticism about the Palestinians and given little indications that he would push either side to come to the table and make concessions in search of a peace deal.
    His Democratic opponent is more likely to embrace Obama’s peace efforts, but it’s not clear that she will make it the priority he did after having little show for it. Meanwhile, the Oslo process welcomed by her husband has also failed to bring a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Clinton, whose ties to Peres run far deeper than Trump’s dating back to her time as first lady and secretary of state, said in a joint statement with her husband she had “lost a true and treasured friend.”
    Unlike the last dozen US presidents, Trump or Clinton won’t be meeting any members of Israel’s founding generation, now that the last one is gone. And he or she will come into office on the heels of a relationship that’s weathered displays of deep animosity over the last eight years.
    While Obama and Netanyahu made an attempt during a meeting last week to put forward a positive display of ties — including a $38 billion decade-long military aid agreement — deep differences over the region persist.
    Amid his contentious encounters with Israel over the years, Obama counted on backing from Peres, a like-minded optimist who was similarly often viewed more favorably abroad than at home.
    “We shall not forget that basically (Obama) is a great friend and a good friend, and I trust him,” Peres told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in 2014. “And I don’t mind to hear criticism from a friend. I hope he doesn’t mind to hear it, too.”
    “Friendship,” said Peres, “is not just that all the time you’re flirting.”

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/29/politics/obama-israel-shimon-peres-funeral/index.html

    New Contest! The PiOT Challenge: Become Maker Famous!

    Want to become “maker famous”? Enter your best Raspberry Pi IoT project at http://www.piot.io for a chance to be published in MagPi magazine and win a ton of prizes including Raspberry Pi kits from MCM Electronics, a $250 gift card to Amazon, and Initial State subscriptions and swag. The PiOT contest runs through the month of October. Don’t [&hellip
    The post New Contest! The PiOT Challenge: Become Maker Famous! appeared first on .

    Thanks to Initialstate.com for these Posts and details

    Experts warn home ‘gene editing’ kits pose risk to society

    Nuffield Council on Bioethics report finds materials to perform basic experiments are now available to garage scientists

    The simplicity and low cost of tools to edit the genetic code means garage scientists – or amateurs with some skill – can now perform their own experiments, posing a potential risk from the release of GM bugs, a new report suggests.

    In a report published on Friday, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics said that the rise in precision gene editing tools had revolutionised biomedical research over the past ten years and could potentially have a dramatic impact on human society.

    But it found that the materials needed to perform basic experiments were available to enthusiasts outside academia and established labs. This year, one firm began to sell a kit for 100 to DIY biology interest groups that allowed them to render the common soil microbe, E coli, resistant to the antibiotic streptomycin.

    The report goes on to say that genetic technology has become so powerful that nations need to decide whether or not doctors should ever be allowed to modify the human species, a claims.

    While the creation of GM humans is not on the horizon yet, the risks and benefits of modifying a persons genome – and having those changes pass on to future generations – are so complex that they demand urgent ethical scrutiny, the review found.

    This could transform our range of expectations and ambitions about how humans control our world, said Andrew Greenfield, a geneticist and chair of the Nuffield Councils working group. Although most uses so far have been in research, the potential applications seem to be almost unlimited.

    Genome editing has become a common tool in laboratories around the world. The most common technique, called Crispr-cas9, works like a pair of molecular scissors. It is essentially a pair of enzymes that can be designed to find and remove a specific strand of DNA inside a cell, and then replace it with a new piece of genetic material. The procedure can be used to rewrite single letters of genetic code and even whole genes.

    The report found that gene editing could potentially block the inheritance of cystic fibrosis and more than 4000 other known conditions caused by single faulty genes. But the technique may also drive profound changes in farming, the report found, where the possibilities range from swine fever-resistant pigs, chickens that only give birth to females, and hornless cows that could be housed in smaller spaces. Because Crispr-cas9 does not leave any traces, meat and other products from GM animals could find its way to market without being labelled. Meanwhile, the simplicity and low cost of Crispr-cas9 means amateurs in the home can now perform their own experiments.

    Altering the genetic makeup of a human embryo and transplanting it into a woman is banned in Britain, but there are ethical arguments in favour of the procedure, such as preventing children from inheriting genes that cause fatal diseases. But if the procedure were allowed, some fear it could open the door to what the report calls consumer or liberal eugenics where children are modified to suit their parents preferences.

    Weve identified human reproductive applications as an area that demands urgent ethical scrutiny and we must consider carefully how to respond to this possibility now well before it becomes a practical choice, said Karen Yeung, a law professor at Kings College London, and co-author of the report.

    Scientists have already begun to edit the genes of human embryos, but only for basic research. Earlier this year, researchers in China tried to add HIV resistance to human IVF embryos which had been donated to science when tests found them to be unviable. The experiments did not achieve their goal, but highlighted how difficult the procedure was likely to be in humans.

    In 2015 another Chinese team became the first in the world to edit human embryos, when they tried, and failed, to modify a gene that causes beta-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder. Again, the work was performed on abnormal IVF embryos donated to research.

    From a purely medical standpoint, there are good reasons to correct faulty genes at the embryo stage, because the defective DNA is then erased from every cell in the body. The risk comes when the modification has unintended consequences. This could harm not only the child, but their future children, because the altered gene would be in their sperm or eggs.

    In light of the report, the Nuffield Council has set up two new reviews to look specifically at the ethics of gene editing in human reproduction and livestock. One major question will be where to draw the line on what is acceptable if gene editing is approved in humans, in principle. It may be morally acceptable to correct a faulty gene that will definitely pass on a fatal disease to a child. But what about a gene that has a chance of raising by 10% a persons risk of heart disease or Alzheimers? The report notes that in the future, it may be possible to enhance people with genes from other organisms, for example to improve night vision and sense of smell.

    It is only right that we acknowledge where this new science may lead and explore the possible paths ahead to ensure the one on which we set out today is the right one, said Yeung.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/sep/30/experts-warn-home-gene-editing-kits-pose-risk-to-society

    Hinkley Point contract to be signed – BBC News

    Image copyright EDF Energy
    Image caption Artist impression of Hinkley Point C building proposals

    The government and French energy giant EDF are set to sign the key contract for the new 18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

    EDF boss Jean-Bernard Levy is expected to join high ranking officials from the UK, France and China at the behind-closed-doors ceremony in London.

    Earlier this month the government gave the go-ahead for the plant which will power nearly six million homes.

    It will be the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation.

    The signing ceremony is a second attempt at finalising the deal after Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly announced in July that she needed more time.

    With her approval now granted and the contracts updated, the Department for Business is expected to confirm the formal signing on social media on Thursday afternoon.

    Q&A: What is Hinkley Point and why is it important?

    How much would Hinkley C cost bill payers?

    What does China get out of Hinkley?

    Dozens of contracts running to thousands of pages for the huge project in Somerset are believed to have been prepared ahead of the event.

    The key document is the Contract for Difference, or CfD, which gives a guaranteed price for the electricity Hinkley will generate for 35 years.

    In return EDF, with its Chinese partner CGN, will finance the project and shoulder the risk of any delays.

    Critics say the guaranteed “strike price” – which is more than twice the current wholesale cost of electricity – will provide a windfall for EDF for decades to come.

    The formal go-ahead for Hinkley will also cement China’s foothold in Britain’s nuclear industry.

    The last government signed a series of co-operation agreements in civil nuclear power with Beijing which opened the UK’s market to Chinese firms.

    CGN will pay about a third of the cost of Hinkley. Under its agreement with EDF it will also have a stake in a new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.

    The Chinese will then be allowed to develop their own reactor technology at Bradwell in Essex, subject to planning and regulatory approvals.

    Delays

    On Thursday afternoon the government is expected to publish some of the key documents linked to the deal. These will include the Contract for Difference and the waste transfer agreement that covers nuclear waste generated by the plant.

    After numerous delays EDF’s board agreed to proceed with the controversial project back in July.

    But just weeks after taking office, Prime Minister Theresa May ordered a review of the deal, leading to questions over the UK’s openness to foreign investment.

    Her government gave its approval two weeks ago on condition that it could prevent EDF from selling its controlling stake before completion of the project.

    EDF’s board approved the new terms on Tuesday paving the way for the formal signing of the deal.

    You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnMoylanBBC

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37502547

    Trump peddles Google conspiracy theory

    Waukesha, Wisconsin (CNN)Donald Trump on Wednesday touted a long-debunked conspiracy theory that the most popular internet search engine suppresses negative headlines about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

    Trump didn’t cite a source to back up his claim, but the most recent report alleging this came from Sputnik News, a Russian state-owned news agency.
      “Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton,” Trump said, apparently referring to Google searches during the first presidential debate on Monday night.
      Trump’s remarks Wednesday night came two weeks after Sputnik News, a Russian government-controlled news agency, published a report claiming that Google search results are biased in Clinton’s favor. Conservative news outlets, including Breitbart News, whose chairman became Trump’s campaign CEO last month, linked to the report.
      Trump has been repeatedly criticized for being too praiseworthy of Russian President Vladimir Putin and for promoting foreign policies that would benefit Russian interests around the world. And several of his top advisers — most notably his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort — have extensive ties to Russian government officials and oligarchs.
      The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment asking where Trump sourced his claim.
      But the remark was not an off-the-cuff ad lib — it was included in the prepared remarks Trump read from during his rally speech Wednesday night.
      The conspiracy theory first popped up in a viral video dating back to June, in which the pop culture site SourceFed claimed Google actively altered search recommendations to benefit Clinton’s campaign, which search engine optimization experts quickly debunked.
      Despite what you might have seen online, Google is not manipulating its search results to favor Hillary Clinton.
      Google also rebuked the claim in a statement last June.
      “Our autocomplete algorithm will not show a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person’s name,” a Google spokeswoman said. “Google autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how autocomplete works.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/28/politics/donald-trump-google-conspiracy-election-2016/index.html

      Controversial 3-parent baby technique produces a boy

      (CNN)Not everyone is rejoicing following the birth of a seemingly healthy three-parent baby earlier this year, which is detailed in study published in a scientific journal Tuesday. The baby boy was born on April 6 in Mexico, having been conceived using a technique called spindle nuclear transfer.

      As reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the use of this reproductive technology was intended to prevent Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological condition that affects at least one in 40,000 newborns.
        The mother previously had four pregnancy losses and had given birth to two children, one who survived less than a year, another who lived only 6 years due to the syndrome. For religious reasons, the mother wanted to use a technique that would not require the destruction of fertilized eggs, which an approved treatment in the United Kingdom would require.
        Led by Dr. John Zhang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, her doctors left the US, where the technique has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and performed their work in Mexico, which is free of similar regulations.
        “It is regrettable that it is now occurring in countries that have not had similarly serious close looks at both the technical and ethical aspects,” said Charo. “It’s going to be difficult to use the results of this particular effort in the context of organized data collection,” she said, “And that’s a shame, that’s a real loss of information not only to science but to every patient in the future who is considering this.”
        More importantly, though, she is concerned for the boy who is now 6 months old. “Follow-up is going to be important to look at the health of the child,” said Charo.
        “It’s always wonderful that a baby has been born and born healthy… as far as we know,” said Knowles. She is not alone in her skepticism for the future health of this baby.Tuesday, the Science Media Centre published the comments of 12 experts, many who reported similar reactions to the news.
        “We know that the procedure is not perfect,” said Dr. David J Clancy, lecturer, Lancaster University, who explained that in 2015, a published study showed “that tissue-specific expansion of mutated mitochondrial DNA during development can occur and so could cause disease if levels are high enough.”
        A healthy baby might eventually develop a disease, Clancy suggests.
        Knowles also pointed out that four out of five eggs fertilized by Zhang and his colleagues were nonviable — only one embryo could produce a child.

        See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

        “It shows you the technique itself is still quite fallible,” said Knowles, who noted that there’s no guarantee the defective mutation might not accumulate within the baby boy and eventually lead to disease. “Which is the whole reason you’re supposed to go slowly… and not jump right into creating babies.”
        CNN was unable to reach Zhang for this article.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/27/health/3-parent-baby/index.html

        Is Trump right? Could a 400-pound couch potato have hacked the DNC?

        Washington (CNN)Russia might be behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, according to US officials and lawmakers — but not Donald Trump.

        The Republican presidential nominee came up with many alternative possibilities at the first general election debate on Monday night.
          “It could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people,” he said during the first presidential debate. “It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
          He also devoted a portion of his answer about cyberattacks to the precociousness of his 10-year-old son.
          “So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a huge problem. I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable,” he said.
          Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said maybe Trump is confused about where the hacker’s “bed” lies.
          “My guess is if this guy weighs 400 pounds he’s sitting somewhere in Russia right now,” Schiff told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Tuesday. “I just find this, like his statements about ISIS that played into Russian propaganda, really deplorable.”
          And cyber experts say the remarks seem unaware of the seriousness of the threat.
          “I was pretty surprised during the debate — there is no ambiguity here,” former Obama administration cybersecurity official Chris Finan said.
          “Everybody knows who did it. So to suggest it was an individual — and the other thing is — these intrusion sets are fairly sophisticated,” said Finan, now CEO at Manifold Technology. “To say it was an individual or lone actor or small group, that to me shows a lack of appreciation about the threat and how sophisticated and pernicious it is.”
          So how on-target was Trump with his cybersecurity comments? Here are some expert perspectives.

          Could a 400-pound hacker have pulled the DNC breach off?

          The short answer is no, said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that investigated and responded to the hack of the DNC.
          It’s nearly impossible to know any hacker’s weight. But one thing that is clear to experts like Alperovitch is that government-backed hackers are well-staffed and well-resourced, using very particular software, break-in tactics and cover-up techniques that act as a signature of each group.
          In the case of the DNC, CrowdStrike discovered two groups inside the system, working unbeknownst to the other, which are well-known as Russian-linked hacking operations and have breached dozens or even hundreds of high-value targets like government agencies, high-level officials’ offices and think tanks.
          Alperovitch said it was “pretty unlikely” an individual could have mimicked all the various ways that these groups are distinct, from the software to the “tradecraft.” Let alone the other targets bearing the same signatures.

          There has been some official talk of Russian involvement, hasn’t there?

          US officials have only pointed at Russia anonymously, not wanting to ruffle the delicate Moscow-Washington relationship at this point.o
          But US officials from President Barack Obama on down have warned about Russia efforts to interfere in the election through hacking.
          Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has been one of the more forward-leaning.
          “They see a US conspiracy behind every bush,” Clapper said a few weeks ago when asked if the Russians wanted to disrupt the presidential vote. “They believe that we are trying to influence political developments in Russia, and so their natural response is to retaliate.”

          Could an individual hacker still do damage?

          Most definitely. Beyond Russia and other nation-state attackers and financially motivated criminal operators, often organized in mafia-like gangs, there are also lone-wolf hackers. Experts divide them into categories like “hacktivists” and “script kiddies,” opportunistic hackers motivated by notoriety or fame.
          Examples include Guccifer, a now-convicted Romanian hacker who recently pleaded guilty to hacking the accounts of the family of President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
          (A character claiming credit for the DNC hack surfaced online going by “Guccifer 2.0,” but Alperovitch said that was just an attempt to divert suspicion from the Russians as the Guccifer redux” has been proven to not natively speak Romanian.”)
          In another case, two North Carolina men were arrested for allegedly breaking into the email accounts of CIA Director John Brennan and National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

          How do individuals go about their hacking?

          While carrying out an attack the level of the DNC hack requires skill and manpower that individuals don’t possess, attacks like breaking a few email accounts is within the realm of a single hacker.
          Often the perpetrators use what’s known as social engineering — gathering clues about a person from their public life online and then using it to guess passwords or security questions to get into accounts and release the contents online.
          But that’s still probably beyond the abilities of most 10-year-olds.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/27/politics/dnc-cyberattack-400-pound-hackers/index.html

          Presidential debate fact-check: a review of Trump’s and Clinton’s claims

          Alan Yuhas fact-checks the statements of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York


          Donald Trumps claims

          Trump: Our jobs are fleeing the country, theyre going to Mexico theyre going to many other countries Hundreds of hundreds of companies are doing this.

          Trump is primarily talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the long-term decline in manufacturing around the US cant only be attributed to the trade deal. Economists still debate the effect of the deal on jobs, since US trade with Canada and Mexico is modest at best. In 2015, the Congressional Research Service wrote: Nafta did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.

          Manufacturing is down 37% since its peak in 1979, but this change has a great deal to do with the general shift toward a service-based economy, which the US has had surpluses in in recent years. Its true that many manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, especially since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but its also true that the US has added more than 800,000 factory jobs since 2010.

          Trump: My father gave me a small loan in 1975.

          Trump never struggled for money or started with anything modest. In 1978 his father gave him a loan totaling almost $1m about $3.7m today and acted as guarantor for the young Trumps early projects. A 1981 report by a New Jersey regulator also shows a $7.5m loan from the patriarch, and years later he bought $3.5m in gambling chips to help his son pay off the debts of a failing casino, which was found to have broken the law by accepting them. Trump also borrowed millions against his inheritance before his fathers death, a 2007 deposition shows.

          Trump has not proven that he is worth $10bn, though his tax returns, which he has refused to release, could provide a clearer picture of his worth. His financial filings suggest he has less than $250m in liquid assets, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Trump has a history of overstating his properties: he has, for instance, told the FEC that a New York golf club is worth $50m but also argued in court that it is worth only $1.4m.

          Trump claimed that his tax plan will be the largest cuts since Ronald Reagan and create jobs, while in his words Clintons would create a huge tax hike.

          Trumps tax plan would disproportionately help the wealthiest Americans, saving them millions of dollars and adding trillions to the national debt, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a conservative thinktank. He would reduce the business tax rate to 15%, eliminate the estate tax (aka the death tax), which mostly affects wealthy inheritors, and would reduce revenue from taxes by about $5tn. According to the Foundation, the top 1% of earners would see a 10.2% increase to their incomes.

          Clintons tax plan does not change tax rates for the middle class, but does increase taxes by 4% on people who have an adjusted income of more than $5m, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Only about 0.5% of small businesses in the US reported a profit of more than $1m in 2011, according to the US treasury department. Clinton would increase tax revenue by $1.1tn by taxing the top 1% of earners, increasing the estate tax and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and by implementing and a more complex tax code, according to the Tax Policy Center.

          Trump has not proven that he pays any federal income tax, and did not deny that he doesnt pay, saying simply that it would prove hes smart.

          Trump: African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell because its so dangerous. In Chicago theyve had thousands of shootings since 1 January Almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed since Barack Obama became president.

          Trump often cites Chicagos shooting crisis as evidence that the US is plagued by dangerous crime, but not even that city, which has the most homicides in the US, compares to a war zone as Trump says. In 2015, Chicago had 2,988 people who were victims of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune, and 488 homicides in all. The city has more than 500 homicides so far this year, per the paper, and more than 2,100 victims of gun violence.

          In Afghanistan a country Trump often compares the city to between January and June 2016, 1,601 civilians have been killed and 3,565 injured, according to the United Nations. The figures include 388 killed and 1,121 injured children. The UN reported 3,545 civilians killed and 7,457 injured in 2015. More than 80,000 people have been displaced by violence this year. The US and Afghan forces control only about 70% of the country, while the Taliban and militants control the other 30%, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate on Thursday.

          Trump on stop and frisk police tactics: Stop and frisk which worked very well in New York it It brought the crime rate way down.

          The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk, which became a hallmark of New York policing through the mayorships of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, has landed the city in federal court, where a judge ruled it unconstitutional. One research paper, unpublished through peer review, found modest drops in some crimes. A second paper, published through peer review, found problems in the first study and few significant effects of the tactic.

          A New York Civil Liberties Union report, on 12 years worth of police data, found young black and Hispanic men were targeted for stops at a vastly higher proportion than white men: more than half the people searched were black and about 30% were Hispanic. Among more than 5m stops during the Bloomberg administration, police found a gun less than 0.02% of the time, according to the report. NYPD records between 2004 and 2012 show similar figures: in 4.4m stops, weapons were seized from 1.0% of black people, 1.1% from Hispanic people and 1.4% of white people.

          New Yorks long-term decline in crime rates began before Giuliani took office in 1994, and its causes were and are diverse: data-driven policing with the Compstat system, the growth of the police force by 35% over the decade, incarceration increases by 24% and the 39% unemployment decline that matched with national economic growth. Not even the loudest supporters of stop and frisk, including Bloomberg whose last term Trump has called a disaster have argued the tactic alone reduced crime to its current lows.

          Trump said that the tactic was ruled unconstitutional because of a judge who was against policing, but his personal opinion about the judge does not mean she did not rule it unconstitutional.

          Trump: We have to take the guns away from the people that shouldnt have them These are bad people.

          This argument flies in the face of Trumps pro-gun rights stance for legal owners; he has repeatedly and falsely insisted that Clinton wants to take away guns from legal owners.

          Trump claimed that New Yorks crime rate is up since the end of stop and frisk. It remains near historic lows.

          Trump blames Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of the Clintons, and Patti Solis Doyle, a 2008 campaign manager, for creating the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US.

          There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the US, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Trumps five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.

          Trumps campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Solis Doyle had anything to do with the claim either. She told CNN that there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded the email and that the volunteer was dismissed, and that she called the Obama campaign to apologize.

          A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obamas lack of American roots could hold him back. But he added: We are never going to say anything about his background. The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.

          Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails for questioning Obamas citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obamas birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obamas birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.

          As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Bergs failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resigned when they were found out.

          Trump did not answer the question about what convinced him that the president was born in the US, even though the birth certificate has been public for the five years that has Trump continued questioning Obamas birthplace.

          Trump: Clinton has been fighting Isis your entire adult life.

          The Islamic States first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president. The group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014. The terror group largely formed out of the remnants of Saddam Husseins government and the factions that formed al-Qaida in Iraq all of which happened in the last decade or so. The group also gained international notoriety only in 2014, when it invaded Iraq in significant forces and when Clinton was out of office.

          Trump: Whether [the DNC hack] was Russia, whether that was China, whether that was another country, we dont know.

          Several independent security firms, in addition to intelligence officials, have pointed to Russian-backed hackers as the culprits behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee. Trump is correct in an extremely technical sense: no one has provided 100% proof that Russia was behind the hack, and the Obama administration has proven loath to escalate a hacking war. But security experts have found technical fingerprints that seem to hint back toward Russia, just as they have found links back to Chinese hacks in unrelated cases.

          Trump: President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum for Isis.

          The claim that Obama and Clinton created the conditions for Isis ignores that Isiss first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president; that the group took root in Syrias civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014; and that Obama withdrew American forces in 2011 under the timeline agreed on by Bush and Baghdad.

          Trump has claimed that Nato must turn to a directly anti-terror campaign in the Middle East, and that his urging has already influenced the alliance.

          But Nato has had a Defense Against Terrorism program since June 2004, almost a full 12 years before Trump called the alliance obsolete. In July its member nations decided to increase efforts against Isis, specifically, in Syria and Iraq, as its leaders had discussed for months. Trump was not involved.

          Trump also claimed that his new Washington DC hotel came in before schedule and under budget.

          Not quite. Per the AP:

          A June 2013 press release posted on the Trump Organizations website announced that the redevelopment of the old post office was expected to start in 2014 with the hotel opening scheduled in 2016. A few months later, the Trump Organization announced the expected grand opening of the hotel would happen at the end of 2015. The Trump Organization said in a third statement in 2013 … completion was expected in late 2015.

          In 2014, the Trump Organization went back to announcing the hotel would open in mid-2016. In February, in the midst of Trumps presidential campaign, the organization shifted and announced the hotel was planned to open in September, almost two years ahead of schedule, which is unheard of for a project of this size and complexity, Ivanka Trump is quoted as saying.

          And during a March visit to the site, Donald Trump said: Were two years ahead of schedule. Were going to be opening in September.

          The hotel is now only partly open.

          Trump on the Iran nuclear deal: One of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. He said $400m in cash was part of that deal and Clinton was responsible.

          Clinton had nothing to do with the delivery of $400m to Iran as part of a settlement for a failed arms deal that Tehrans pre-revolutionary government had made with the US in the 1970s.

          The State Department under John Kerry has admitted, however, that it wanted to use that money as leverage to secure the sailors release, although its transfer had been mediated through an international court. The money was delivered as foreign currency because US law bars any transaction in US dollars and sanctions make bank transactions difficult.

          The US is not giving any of its own money to Iran as part of an international nuclear arms deal meant to prevent the construction of weapons. The deal gradually unfreezes assets that belong to Iran but were frozen under sanctions related to the nations nuclear program. Sanctions related to human rights, terrorism and other issues remain in place and still lock Iran out of billions.

          Trumps guess of how much Iran will benefit by unfrozen assets is far higher than most experts estimates, though not inconceivable. Treasury secretary Jack Lew has put the number at $56bn, and Iranian officials have said $32bn and $100bn. Independent economists have calculated that Iran will free up anything between $30bn to $100bn. Complicating the math are Irans debts: it will have to pay off tens of billions to countries such as China.

          There is no evidence that the brief capture in January of 10 American sailors had any effect on the nuclear deal, which had been finalized five months earlier, although the incident rattled fragile relations between Washington and Tehran. A few days after the sailors were released, UN inspectors confirmed that Iran had complied with the deal.

          What Iran does next remain an open question subject to inspection by UN officials and Clintons argument in favor of the deal hinges on a degree of good faith that Tehran will comply by the terms of the deal.

          Trump: I was just endorsed by ICE.

          Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government agency. It does not endorse political candidates. A group of former customs officials endorsed Trump just before the debate.

          Donald
          Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on the debate stage on Monday night. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images


          Hillary Clintons claims

          Clinton: Donald is one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis.

          Clinton is correct, and Trump unrepentant. In a video made in 2006 for his defunct and legally embattled Trump University, Trump said he hoped for a real estate bubble burst.

          I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy property and make a lot of money, he said.

          Thats called business by the way, Trump interrupted Clinton.

          Clinton: Donald says climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.

          Trump: I did not, I do not say that.

          Trump did say that, in a 2012 tweet, right here:

          Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012

          The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

          Clinton claimed that African American men are more likely to be killed by guns than other demographics.

          She is broadly correct that African American men are disproportionately affected by gun violence, including by police. Shes also correct that crime rates are overall still down from where they were in the 1990s, but she omits the 10.8% single-year increase in murders in 2015. The recent spike in violent crime has been concentrated in a handful of cities, such as Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore.

          Clinton: Trump has been praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin. Trump: Wrong.

          Trump has repeatedly called Russias president a strong leader and spoken approvingly praise by nearly any definition of this strength and Putins polling numbers. For instance, on 18 December 2015 he told MSNBC: Ive always felt fine about Putin. I think that hes a strong leader.

          He added: Hes running his country and at least hes a leader, unlike what we have in this country.

          Last September, he told Fox News: In terms of leadership [Putins] getting an A. In a 10 March debate, Trump tried to hedge on semantics. Strong doesnt mean good, he said. Putin is a strong leader, absolutely. He is a strong leader. Now I dont say that in a good way or a bad way. I say it as a fact.

          Clinton: Donald supported the invasion of Iraq. Trump: Wrong.

          This is a lie. In the months before the Iraq war began, the businessman made a tepid endorsement of invasion to radio host Howard Stern, who asked him whether he thought the US should attack Saddam Hussein.

          Yeah, I guess so, Trump answered.

          A few weeks later he told Fox News that George W Bush was doing a very good job. Several weeks after the invasion, Trump told the Washington Post: The wars a mess. In August 2004 he told Esquire: Two minutes after we leave, theres going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.

          Even in an interview cited by the Trump campaign to explain his opposition, Trump expressed impatience with Bush for not invading sooner. Whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur? He would go and attack. He wouldnt talk.

          Trump also supported complete withdrawal from Iraq, even in the event of continued civil war or authoritarian violence there. You know how they get out? They get out. Thats how they get out. Declare victory and leave, he told CNN in 2007. This is a total catastrophe, and you might as well get out now because youre just wasting time, and lives.

          Like Clinton, Trump also supported military strikes in Libya, saying in a February 2011 video blog that the US should take immediate action against dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.

          We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically. No one supported an occupation to build democracy there in the model of George W Bushs occupation of Iraq.

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/26/debate-fact-check-trump-clinton-live-quotes-hofstra

          Get real-time reactions during the presidential debates | Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab

          In our latest experiment, you can sign up for Android notifications from Guardian columnists during the presidential debates wherever you are in the world

          The Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab and the Guardian US opinion desk are sending experimental web notifications tonight during tonights presidential debate, with real-time opinions from Guardian columnists.

          To sign up: Open this page in a Chrome browser from an Android phone (Samsung included) and tap to sign up. Web notifications are currently only available on Chrome on Android devices. They are meant for mobile but will work on Chrome browsers on desktop, too.

          These experimental alerts will supplement the news alerts sent from the Guardians Android app with reactions from Guardian columnists Richard Wolffe and Lucia Graves. They will be sent at key moments throughout the debate, while the Guardian app news alerts will provide only the most important updates. (The alerts can also be received through desktop Chrome browsers but unfortunately not iPhones. Were working on a way to release iOS versions of our notifications experiments and hope to have that ready next month.)

          During the debate, you will hear from the columnists with their quick takes on the candidates policy statements, their debating styles, and whos winning and whos losing.

          This project is the latest installment in ongoing experimentation with notifications, part of the Mobile Labs mission to learn more about mobile storytelling. After the experiment, well send out a survey soliciting feedback on the experience.

          Questions, suggestions or observations? Drop us a note: innovationlab@theguardian.com

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/23/presidential-debates-real-time-reactions-notifications-mobile

          Donald Trump on trade and the economy: CNN’s Reality Check vets the claims

          Washington (CNN)During his campaign, Donald Trump’s made many claims about trade and the economy. CNN’s Reality Check Team put the billionaire’s statements and assertions to the test.

          The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
          Reality Check: Trump on trade deficit increasing 40% while Clinton was secretary of state
            June 22, 2016
            By Chris Isidore and Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
            Trump said Clinton should be “scorned” because the nation’s trade deficit with China soared 40% while she was secretary of state.
            “Our trade deficit with China soared 40% during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state — a disgraceful performance for which she should not be congratulated, but rather scorned,” he said.

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            Actually, the trade deficit rose only 12% if you look between 2008 and 2012, which is the most accurate way to measure what happened under her tenure, which ran from early 2009 until early 2013, according to federal trade data.
            However, if you cherry-pick the data from 2009 to 2012, the deficit jumped 34%. But that’s because the trade gap narrowed during the depths of the recession in 2009.
            Either way, Trump’s assertion is exaggerated. Therefore, we rate it as false.
            Reality Check: Trump on losing nearly 1/3 of manufacturing jobs since NAFTA and China admitted to World Trade Organization
            June 22, 2016
            By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
            Trump lashed out at Clinton’s support of trade agreements that he said were “among the most destructive ever signed.”
            Specifically, Trump cited the North American Free Trade Agreement, which then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1994, and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in late 2001, for which the former president smoothed the way.
            “We’ve lost nearly one-third of our manufacturing jobs since these two Hillary-backed agreements were signed,” Trump said.
            The presumptive Republican candidate is exaggerating the figures a bit. The nation has lost 27% of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA was signed in 1994. The sector, which employed 16.9 million people back then, now has 12.3 million workers.
            But that masks the fact that the industry actually expanded it payrolls slightly under the remainder of Bill Clinton’s term.
            The bleeding really began in the early 2000s and continued through and immediately after the Great Recession.
            Manufacturers, however, have been adding jobs since early 2010. Employment is up 7.3% since then.
            Yet it’s not clear how much free trade deals drove the decline in manufacturing employment. Corporate America was already shifting jobs to lower-wage countries, and technology already made it more costly for U.S. companies to produce goods here. Also, today’s factory jobs require more education and skills, leaving many less-educated Americans on the sidelines.
            Trump also said that the nation will lose millions more jobs if Hillary Clinton is elected because she will adopt the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which the former secretary of state had supported but now opposes. His comments here are misleading, too, because only Congress has the power to ratify trade agreements.
            We therefore rate Trump’s statement as true, but misleading, because there were many other factors beyond trade that led to the decline in manufacturing employment after China entered the WTO.
            Reality Check: Trump started off with a ‘small loan’
            June 22, 2016
            By Jeremy Diamond and Sonam Vashi, CNN
            “I started off in Brooklyn, New York, not so long ago, with a small loan and built a business that today is worth well over $10 billion,” Trump said during a speech in Washington.
            We reported on this claim last October.
            That small loan from Trump’s father was worth $1 million, probably given before Trump entered the Manhattan real estate market in the early 1970s.
            If Trump’s father made the loan in 1968, the year his son graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, that $1 million would be worth $6.8 million in today’s dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index inflation calculator.
            Trump has built up a multi-billion-dollar net worth, expanding his father’s lucrative real estate business to new heights. But while much of Trump’s success is a credit to his work, he was born into a successful, wealthy family, inheriting part of his father’s more than $200 million net worth.
            Trump’s narrative of self-making his entire fortune doesn’t quite hold up either — The Washington Post Fact Checker found that he profited from loans, loan guarantees, his father’s connections and trusts to help create his empire.
            Trump has boasted over and over that his net worth is $10 billion, but it’s unclear how true that really is. Last year, Forbes rated his net worth as $4.5 billion — less than half of what Trump claims. We’ve only gotten a glimpse of Trump’s financial details, especially as Trump has refused to release his tax returns (because he’s being audited, he claims), but we know he’s worth at least a billion.
            Given that for almost all Americans, $1 million is hardly a small loan, especially back in 1968, we rate his claim that he started his business with a “small loan” as false.
            Reality Check: Trump on paying for the wall with Mexico
            February 25, 2016
            By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
            Trump has long said he wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and get the Mexican government to pay for it. More recently, he’s been tying the issue to America’s trade deficit with its southern neighbor.
            “We have a trade deficit with Mexico of $58 billion a year. And that doesn’t include all the drugs that are pouring across and destroying our country. We are going to make them pay for that wall. Now, the wall is $10 billion to $12 billion,” Trump said during the Republican debate in Houston, the last debate before Super Tuesday.
            It’s true that the trade deficit with Mexico was $58 billion last year. But that doesn’t mean the Mexican government can pay for the wall … not to mention whether they’d even agree to.
            The deficit means that private firms in Mexico have earned more money from trading with the U.S. than U.S. firms have earned from trade with Mexico, said Gary Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
            “It not like it’s a pot of money available to the Mexican government,” he said.
            So it’s false that the trade deficit gives Mexico the money to pay for the wall.
            CNN also looked at the cost of building the wall. Construction experts said a wall fashioned out of pre-casted concrete panels — similar to those that run alongside highways — would be the most workable choice.
            Based on the price of highway panels, the price tag for the wall alone would cost around $10 billion, which is not accounting for the cost of construction that would take at least four years over the border’s diverse terrain.
            Other construction estimates have come in much higher. A retired estimator and economist for one of the nation’s largest construction firms calculated it would cost nearly $25 billion, according to The Washington Post.
            We rate Trump’s claim that building the wall would cost between $10 billion and $12 billion as false.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/25/politics/donald-trump-economy-money-jobs-taxes-fact-check/index.html