Undocumented New Yorkers worry about the future of the city’s ID program

He and immigration advocates say it’s about bringing people out of the shadows. De Blasio promised recently to destroy the records of undocumented immigrants who’ve applied for an ID, people like Araceli and Ana Maria — to protect them from being targeted by the Trump administration’s   immigration officials. This is not something we’re just making up to scare people, this is a legitimate thing. Will the ID in her purse get her deported from the US? In New York, the ID can be used to open a bank account, or get discounts at museums. They pay taxes here. But for years now, cities like San Francisco and   Oakland   and Trenton, New Jersey, have been issuing IDs to residents, regardless of immigration status. “This is our city. Araceli says the ID made her feel safer doing that, too — less worried about having to prove who she was. PRI.org

But she also checks out poetry in Spanish. How many times a day do you show your state ID? It’s helped her develop a closer relationship with teachers — something that, she says, helped save her life: When her ex-husband’s beatings started getting more severe, one teacher said she needed to call the police. The New York City ID was controversial at its inception, and it’s coming under fire again. She’s also undocumented. One of the first things Ana Maria did when she got her New York City ID card was go to the library — to   get books. So, I mean, it’s something serious. The Berlin attacker had 14 different identifications.”
Ana Maria says she’s worried. “If you do a Google search for fake passports, you’ll see countless stories. Information. She’s an undocumented immigrant and she asked me not to use her last name. A lot of people here have been living in New York for 20, 30 years,” he explains. They required an ID to let visitors in — because of terrorism threats and mass shootings. She checks out CDs and magazines, too, to practice her English.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. And this is our city.”
Documented or not, the ID is about living here like anyone else, Ramirez-Caminatti says. Favio Ramirez-Caminatti runs El Centro NYC, an immigrant rights group in Staten Island. Getting a library card might not be a big deal to most Americans. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio disagrees. But now some immigrants here wonder whether   getting that ID at all   might cause them more trouble in the end. Malliotakis’ opponents accuse her of fearmongering, but she says   this is a real concern that should be taken seriously. But then, think about how much more this ID card gave Ana Maria. If you are undocumented, these small tasks   can cause anxiety. Their children study here. Ana Maria can’t use her ID to drive — but, for her, it’s nice to have access to all those books in the library, just   like other New Yorkers. “They work here. For Araceli, who also didn’t want to be identified by her full name, the ID means a lot more. Did she make a mistake getting it in the first place? Critics say giving people who aren’t authorized to live in the US easier   access to bank accounts and   schools is dangerous. “Our concern is, if you’re giving out government-issued identification cards, if there were to be an investigation, or there were judicial inquiries into a cardholder, then all the records would not be there anymore to satisfy those requests,” she says. Doing that, critics say, threatens cities’ safety. He’s telling immigrants the ID is a good thing, and they should get one. When you use your credit card, get a drink, even go to the movies, depending on your taste   in films. Now, with her New York City   ID, she can come and go freely. That used to mean   she couldn’t go to PTA meetings at her kids’ school. She’s one of the two Republican lawmakers suing to stop the city from destroying the records of people who’ve applied for the ID. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis represents Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I met Ana Maria at a church in Staten Island.

Conspiracy theorists aren’t all deranged weirdos. They’re friends, family members and people you meet on the street.

There are a few of those people, but when you think of a conspiracy theorist, you should think of your friends, your family, someone you meet on the street. (After all, President-elect Donald Trump was interviewed by a man who thinks the Sandy Hook shooting was faked).Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. “When something big happens in the world, we look for a proportionally big explanation,” Brotherton says. Rob Brotherton is a psychologist and author of the book   “Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories.” He argues that we’re all a lot more vulnerable to these theories than we think, and he dispels some commonly held beliefs:  
First, the notion that conspiracy theorists are all deranged weirdos. Never mind that there was no evidence that he did this. Pizzagate. The JFK assassination. One of the very first conspiracy theories was the idea that Nero played the lyre as Rome burned. PRI.org

But what type of person believes in conspiracy theories? Still, lots of people at the time believed it to be true. No. Then again, I might just be a lizard person trying to discredit that fear. If someone told you that Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks in order to get elected, that would sound … far-fetched, to say the least. There’s the proportionality bias. And why? And conspiracy theories have been a part of American life since the founding of the country. Brotherton says it’s important to keep one thing in mind: conspiracies are extremely hard to pull off. And these biases have, of course, been with us for a long time.     •      A parent who lost their child at Sandy Hook fights the idea that his son’s death was faked. Lizard people. When we see information that doesn’t confirm what we believe, we subject it to much more scrutiny. Finally, there are actual conspiracies. Conspiracy theories are all around us, and it can seem like they’re becoming more and more a part of our culture. Potentially anyone’s a conspiracy theorist.”
Second, there are psychological reasons why people are prone to believe in conspiracy theories. Here’s some more reading on the subject:
     •     Here’s a   look at 50 years of conspiracy theories from New York Magazine. It’s hard to get away with a conspiracy, especially an elaborate, complex conspiracy resting on a lot of things, involving a lot of people. “We have this stereotype of conspiracy theorists as this handful of people who live in basements and wear tinfoil hats and have strange ideas and make posts in all caps on internet forums, but that’s really not the case.     •      Does the illuminati control hip-hop? The illuminati. That’s not true, according to Brotherton. Ssssssss. Once we have a belief, we seek out information that’s consistent with that. People plot and they do illegal things. This story first aired as an interview on PRI’s Innovation Hub. “When something relatively small and mundane happens, we’re satisfied with a relatively small explanation.”
Third, we’re also all dealing with confirmation bias. (Watergate, too, would have sounded completely implausible to most Americans a year or two before Woodward and Bernstein uncovered it.)
So, if conspiracy theories have been around since ancient history, and we are psychologically vulnerable to them, and there are — from time to time — actual conspiracies … how does someone tell the real from the fake? People just aren’t that good at keeping secrets.”  
So if lizard people were secretly running the world … someone would have blabbed. But here’s how the conspiracy theory developed. But, they’re usually not that good at it. But it appears that that actually happened. “We know that conspiracies happen in the world.

A Syrian family finds sweet success in Canada

Credit:

Courtesy of Tareq Hadhad

“We are Syrian-Canadian,”   says Tareq, “and it’s reflected in our chocolate pieces.”
Tareq’s favorite flavor, though, is a classic. Antigonish is a tiny town in Nova Scotia, Canada, with a population of about 5,000.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadListen to the Story. Their shop even has 10 employees. They sell, for example, Syrian chocolate with maple syrup filling. “I love the most dark chocolate. PRI.org

It’s kind of out-of-the-way. Twelve months later, they say they are completely financially independent. It was one of the largest in Syria, and they exported all over the Middle East and even to Europe. “We feel that we have a huge responsibility, now,”   says Tareq, “to start to give back to the country that welcomed us with open arms.” This is a box from Peace by Chocolate. And now, they mix and combine the two. The Hadhads arrived in Canada last winter, after spending years in refugee camps in Lebanon, with almost nothing except for a few bags of clothing. Eighty-five percent cocoa,”   he says, “so this is very bitter, but there is some sweet with the filling of nuts that makes it perfect.”
Tareq has been talking about chocolate a lot lately. He got another call from his father soon after. “That made the start easier with the support from the Antigonishers.”
The Hadhads had owned a chocolate factory in Damascus. “We brought with us the skills and experiences and everything we got from our past,” he says. Then, they started making and selling Canadian chocolate, too. “He was just saying, ‘Everything has gone. This shop — it’s called Peace by Chocolate — is run by a former refugee family from Syria. But, one afternoon, that factory was bombed. Tareq remembers the call he got from his father. But there’s a chocolate shop here so famous that tour buses line up outside. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even talked about it at the United Nations. His family feels proud and honored by the attention, he says, and also grateful. “‘Everything has gone   can be rebuilt.”
In Antigonish, the Hadhads are doing just that — rebuilding. Tareq Hadhad, the family’s oldest son, says his family was never completely bereft because they always had their recipes. At first, they sold mostly Syrian chocolate in their shop. Everything has gone,”‘   says Tareq. “‘After three days, my father came to me, maybe we lost our factory, but at least the family members are safe,” Tareq says. He’s been interviewed over 200 times.

Watch live: President Obama’s farewell speech

“For Michelle and me, Chicago is where it all started. It’s the city that showed us the power and fundamental goodness of the American people,” Obama said in a Facebook post previewing his remarks. The 2016 election campaign has raised serious questions about the resilience of US democracy. Diehard fans — many African Americans — have braved Chicago’s frigid winter to collect free tickets, which now sell for upwards of $1,000 a piece on Craigslist. “They are all totally different.”
The trip to Chicago about more than nostalgia, Keenan indicated. But speechwriter Keenan sees few obvious templates: “Bush and Clinton did theirs from here (the White House), George H.W. Obama’s last trip on Air Force One will be a pilgrimage to his adoptive hometown, where he will address a sell-out crowd not far from where he delivered his victory speech eight years ago. Bush went to West Point, gave a foreign policy speech,” he told AFP. Trump has smashed conventions, vowed to efface Obama’s legacy and hurled personal insults left and right. After that there will still be a holiday and an autobiography, but Obama could find himself being dragged backed into the political fray if Trump were to enact a Muslim registry or deport adults brought to the United States years ago by their parents. In a virtually unprecedented move, US intelligence has accused the Kremlin of seeking to tip the electoral scales in Trump’s favor. Presidential precedent
Presidents since George Washington have delivered a farewell address of sorts. Having vowed to take a backseat in politics, Obama’s second act could yet be as politically engaged as Jimmy Carter — whose post-presidency has remade his image as an elder statesman. Some 51 percent of Americans polled believe that Trump is doing a bad job as president-elect. Obama’s foundation is already gearing up for a quasi-political role — funneling idealistic youngsters into public life. Obama’s lead speechwriter Cody Keenan said the address will be about a vision for where the country should go. Democrats, cast into the political wilderness with the loss of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives plus a majority of statehouses, are struggling to regroup. “For him, as someone who started as a community organizer, whose campaign was powered by young people, ordinary people, we decided we wanted to go back to Chicago.”
“Chicago is not just his hometown, it’s where his career started.”
And now it is also where Obama’s presidential career will effectively end. Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency Tuesday, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters shaken by Donald Trump’s shock election. Washington’s final 7,641-word   message — which is still read once a year in the Senate by tradition — contained warnings about factionalism and interference by foreign powers that seem oddly prescient. Obama’s cross-country trek would be a sentimental trip down memory lane, were it not slap-bang in the middle of a tumultuous presidential handover. You can watch the speech live here, starting at 9 p.m. “The thread that has run though his career from his days as community organizer to the Oval Office   is the idea that if you get ordinary people together and get them educated, get them empowered, get them to act on something, that’s when good things happen,” he said. ‘True to him’
With an approval rating hovering around 55 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll, Obama will hope to steel them for new battles ahead. 20. Many Obama aides who had planned to take exotic holidays or launch coffer-replenishing forays into the private sector are also reassessing their future and mulling a return to the political trenches. EST:

Aside from First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will also come along for the ride. “It will tell a story.”
As Obama put it: “Over the course of my life, I’ve been reminded time and again that change can happen — that ordinary people can come together to achieve extraordinary things.”
“And I’ve seen that truth up close over these last eight years.”
Life after White House
Trump’s unorthodox politics has thrown 55-year-old Obama’s transition and post-presidency plans into flux. Having vowed a smooth handover of power, Obama finds himself being increasingly critical of Trump as he prepares to leave office on Jan. “It’s not going to be like an anti-Trump speech, it’s not going to be a red meat, rabble rousing thing, it will be statesman-like but it will also be true to him,” Keenan told AFP.

Remembering Clare Hollingworth, the journalist who broke the news of World War II

And always, apparently —   the legend is — that she still kept her bag and her shoes ready, in case she had to go run to do a breaking news story.”
In her mid-90s, Hollingworth fell victim to a scammer, a much younger man who managed to persuade her to give him control of her estate. He emptied her accounts. This was her first scoop: “1,000 German tanks massed on Polish border.”
The German invasion of Poland — the beginning of World War II — began just before dawn on Sept. In August 1939, Hollingworth was in Poland as an aid worker, but then switched careers and turned to journalism. She followed conflicts throughout the Middle East, Algeria and Vietnam.  
“It’s a part of her life that not many people know at all,” says Janine di Giovanni. Hollingworth sued and he promised to repay the money. British reporter Clare Hollingworth has a good claim on the title of scoop of the century. Extraordinary life.” It was the start of a long career as a war correspondent   that took Hollingworth through World War II. She was 105. She liked to have a beer for breakfast. There in the fields she saw endless rows of large objects under burlap sacks. Extraordinary woman. But much of it is still outstanding. Hollingworth also played a role in saving many people’s   lives. “[This] really surprised so many people,” says di Giovanni, “because she’d been so savvy and so sharp, and yet at the end of her life, someone had taken such terrible advantage of her.”
Asked what Hollingworth means to her, di Giovanni says: “Resilience, strength, curiosity. Listen to the full interview. Di Giovanni is a former war correspondent herself, and reviewed Hollingworth’s biography for the Spectator. Because it was Hollingworth who broke the story of World War II.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. She landed a job with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. The only exception was for diplomats. She called the British Embassy, which at first refused to believe her. For the 20th century, that is. She drove, alone, to the frontier, and crossed into Germany. Before the war, as an aid worker, she helped thousands of people, mostly Jews, obtain British visas. It was the first confirmation of the invasion that the British government received. “She had her own table there,” says di Giovanni. When the wind blew, she saw tanks. She’s currently Middle East editor for Newsweek, and author of “The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria.”
Hollingworth spent her later years living in Hong Kong, where   she was a proud member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. This allowed them to get out of eastern Europe ahead of the Nazi storm. PRI.org

Hollingworth died Tuesday   in Hong Kong, where she had lived for the last four decades of her life. She said, well, listen to this, and thrust the phone out of the window as German tanks roared past. 1,   1939. Hollingworth followed her instincts and convinced a British diplomat friend to lend her his car. She continued to help refugees and displaced people after she became a reporter. It was her first week on the job. Tensions were mounting with Germany, which had just closed border areas to nonresidents. After the war, she always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, in the words of one colleague. Hollingworth was again close to the frontier. Once again,   thanks to Hollingworth, the Telegraph was first with the story. “She would go there every day, sit there.

How a bigger FIFA World Cup could lead to March Madness-style drama

And many more will have the chance to dream to participate,” Infantino said. But that may not impact the United States much. Compare that to Europe with 56 nations and 13 spots, and South America with 10 countries and six   spots. Critics say that’s what this is all about. FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, has decided to expand the format of its men’s World Cup   from 32 teams to 48. https://t.co/zPRIt5lU0w
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
“Sixteen more countries, some of which probably will never have dreamt to participate in a World Cup, will have the chance to participate. But let’s be clear about two big reasons FIFA is choosing to change what is already a very profitable tournament every four years. Then comes the politics. Africa, for example, has 54 national soccer teams, but only got five   spots at the last World Cup. But that’s not entirely fair either. So get ready for the debate over the pros and cons of this expansion to continue for the next nine   years. The new system could result in an extra qualifying spot or two. There were 64 matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Asia has 46 teams and only four   spots. That means more TV rights to sell, more passionate TV viewers in 16 extra nations, and of course more advertising revenue for FIFA. The US men’s national soccer team has been a regular at recent World Cups. The downside? While the expansion will make it easier to qualify for the premier   men’s soccer tournament, it may also make it harder to win. The 2026 edition will feature 80 soccer games. And they are right to complain. The continents whose teams dominated were rewarded with the most qualifying spots. And that could mean more excitement for spectators and viewers at home. Asian and African teams have had fewer opportunities to make soccer history than their European and South American counterparts, simply because they’ve been invited to the dance fewer times. That means fewer opportunities for teams to recover from early stumbles, and more opportunities for surprises and Cinderella stories like the ones you see in US college basketball during March Madness. The new format calls for the World Cup to move more quickly to a do-or-die knockout stage. For years, nations in Asia and Africa have been complaining that they’ve been discriminated against by a World Cup format that favors Europe and South America, the two historical hotbeds of soccer. Certainly, as Infantino suggested, more teams that wouldn’t even be at the tournament under the current format could qualify. Traditionally, the allocation of spots at the World Cup has been decided   based on performances at past tournaments. FIFA Council unanimously decides on expansion of the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition as of 2026. Any soccer fan hoping to watch all 80 matches in 32 days in 2026 will face a much steeper challenge than at present. He explained the change at a press conference in Zurich. That’s not a democratic distribution. Money and politics. The United States is considered a front-runner to host that World Cup, either alone or in collaboration with neighbors Mexico and Canada. Expanding the number of teams helps to address that. But the FIFA expansion could have a very tangible impact on American soccer fans when it goes into effect for the 2026 tournament. If that happens, that will mean more World Cup games being played here on US soil in 2026. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said the move is meant to bring the joy of a World Cup to more nations. First of all, expanding the format means more games per tournament. The change will go into effect with the 2026 edition of the tournament. The change may be less significant for North America and the Caribbean, the region that includes the United States.

The Filipino president has deployed a ‘social media army’ to push his agenda

His post   quickly got the attention of a young woman named Madelyn. In September 2016, he tweeted about the Filipino president’s war on drugs. Listen to the full interview. It turns out, he was onto something: “I learned that it was far from an original thing” — anyone speaking critically of Duterte gets attacked — “and this is pretty much standard going for everyone covering the drug war and anything else in the Philippines right now.”
Furthermore, Duterte’s social media strategy seems to be effective, and it has a lot to do with the island nation’s overall youthfulness: The average age in the Philippines is 23, and nearly half of its 103 million residents use social media, according to Williams. PRI.org

It has also come to light, especially recently, that social media’s global reach   can be used to perpetuate fake news, “troll” dissenters, and, for some politicians — give the impression of widespread support. Williams stumbled upon “a bit of an online tale,” as he put   it,   back when he was   reporting on the violence in the Philippines. And she seemed to tweet about him constantly throughout the day. Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. “People do kind of admire him, but, but, yeah, it’s been very much propped up by a lot of this noise online.”  
More broadly, the scenario shows how Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, once seen as belonging to the masses, have been co-opted by these bigger players. So, they just consume this daily diet of highly inflammatory, one-sided information. Read more:   Kids in Macedonia made up and circulated many false news stories in the US election
Germany finds itself in the center of the cyberstorm
What it’s like to be the victim of a Russian online smear campaign
Like in the Philippines. Journalist Sean Williams says he’s been on the receiving end of Duterte’s keyboard army, something that he details in an article titled, “Rodrigo Duterte’s Army of Online Trolls,” which has been published in this month’s issue of The New Republic. There’s no perusing different news sites or anything, “people just keeping scrolling through and scrolling through Facebook, looking at these kind of incendiary headlines, [partisan] websites, but they never click free to any meat. I think that’s where a lot of this comes from.”    Some people are paid to promote Duterte online. US President-elect Donald Trump is a well-known personality   on Twitter — his “unpresidented” tweet is among a plethora that has caused a stir — and one day, he even   blocked a high schooler who called him a “reject Cheeto” — but he’s hardly the first world leader to turn to social media to address the public. because they would incur data charges,” Williams said.    
This story first aired as an interview on PRI’s The Takeaway, a public radio program that invites you to be part of the American conversation. Maybe because he’s a reporter, Williams didn’t just drop the subject and move on. “So, for instance, a huge, huge part of all of this is that people get Facebook free with their phones but they can’t actually click through to anything … She replied to Williams — writing him off as a “troll,” and a   “foreigner who knows nothing bout my country,” he recounts in the magazine piece. Notably, around 20 percent of   Duterte mentions online, here, come just from “bots,” a figure that Williams ascertained with the help of a social media research company: “They were surprised and so was I, that this amount of noise just being put out by fake accounts is so strong around Duterte. But it also is a result of the   way that mobile phone networks and the internet   play out there, funneling only certain content to people. Often, they create   fake accounts on social media and because the government is behind it, “It’s really hard for any opposing voices to get their voices heard,” he said. He asked around to others involved in journalism and human rights in the Philippines about the   back-and-forth on Twitter. So that kind of says a lot about where his messages are coming from.”  
That’s not to say that the Filipino president doesn’t have a real following.    
It wasn’t long before Williams noticed that Madelyn’s Twitter stream was chock-full of adulation for President Duterte. “They’re kind of being used by the people with the most money and the bigger means to get that message across, and that’s kind of a worrying development,” said Williams. President Rodrigo Duterte, who came into power last year, has already proven himself to be a “power user” on Twitter: He has allegedly deployed a sort of “social media army” to not only push out   pro-Duterte propaganda   but   to keep   his critics in check.

China’s making huge economic bets on green energy

“They also see that as part of their energy security strategy,” Geall says. Officials in Beijing are turning the problem of poisonous pollution into a green opportunity for China.Player utilitiesPopout
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downloadThis story is based on a radio interview. And low carbon innovation and cleaner technologies are a big part of that.”
According to Geall, who is also a research fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, China is hoping to become the leading global exporter of clean energy technologies. “There is popular pressure to clean up air pollution in China — the Communist Party needs that for its own legitimacy,” says Sam Geall, the executive editor of the bilingual environmental news and policy site Chinadialogue. “I think that they’re realizing that, rather than being exposed to volatile prices for traditional forms of energy supply, they can actually manufacture energy security by investing in renewables, particularly in solar. “But there is a larger, kind of top-down ambition to restructure the Chinese economy away from heavy industry and energy-intensive industries like steel and cement and towards innovation and services. The plan, which is expected to help curb greenhouse gas emissions, will also create an estimated 13 million jobs. PRI.org

On Thursday, China’s National Energy Administration announced that it would invest at least $360 billion in renewable energy. We’ve seen huge deflation in the cost of solar in recent years, largely because of the scale of manufacturing in China.”
Though demand for coal continues to decline around the world, Trump has promised to revive the US   coal industry and is also doubling down on oil and natural gas. With the US   focused elsewhere, Chinese companies feel they can quickly move into the renewable energy space. Listen to the full interview. With this investment, China is positioning itself as a global leader for new renewable technologies at a time when US   President-elect Donald Trump appears to be moving America in the opposite direction. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, “China made a record $32 billion in overseas [renewable energy] investment deals in 2016 alone, marking a 60 percent year-on-year rise in spending.”
This story first aired as an interview on PRI’s The Takeaway, a public radio program that invites you to be part of the American conversation.

Watch live: Senate grills Trump’s cabinet nominees in confirmation hearings

is so jammed right now that several high, important hearings will fall on the same day,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday. I’ll return this letter to @SenateMajLdr with the same requests. “Our constitutional duty is to make a choice about whether this individual will be a champion of constitutional rights and liberties and will be able to stand up to Donald Trump, soon to be president, and say, you cannot do what you need to do, or we’re going to have to indict someone who is a friend of yours, and sometimes there will be conflicts of interest where an independent counsel will have to be appointed,” he said. “I think they’ll all pass,” he predicted. So they have not been appropriately vetted for something like a cabinet post before,” said the New York Democrat. Many of Trump’s nominees pose especially thorny conflict-of-interest challenges, Schumer added. Unlike Sessions, who has faced pushback from Senate Democrats, Kelly by most accounts has been amicably received during several days of private meetings with Democratic and Republican members of the Homeland Security Committee. The US Senate began confirmation hearings for key nominees to Donald Trump’s cabinet Tuesday,   amid concerns many of the president-elect’s picks haven’t been fully vetted over ethics, or made full financial disclosures. “What had been standard practice for the vast majority of nominees — the completion of a preliminary ethics review before their nomination — was skipped over for the vast majority of president-elect Trump’s nominees,” Schumer said. “I’m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition,” Booker told MSNBC, adding that Sessions “has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country.”
Blumenthal said one measure of whether an attorney general nominee is right for the job is whether that person is willing to stand up to the president in the interest of justice. “He has denounced Roe v. Sessions, in particular, has drawn fierce opposition from liberals concerned over his conservative views on everything from abortion rights to civil liberties. “Confirmation is going great,” he told reporters Monday in an unexpected appearance in the lobby of Trump Tower, headquarters for his gilded corporate offices in New York City. Our requests are eminently reasonable, shared by leaders of both parties. Many have vast holdings in stocks and very few have experience in government. Trump, meanwhile, has shown no sign of worry over the reception his nominees will get on Capitol Hill. Ten days before Trump takes the oath of office, lawmakers will hold hearings for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for US attorney general, and retired Marine general John Kelly, his choice for homeland security secretary. “They come, many of them, from enormous wealth. Watch the hearings live:

Several nominees are scheduled to have hearings this week, with three due to get under way Wednesday, including Rex Tillerson, the wealthy Exxon oilman who Trump has tapped for secretary of state. And on other issues like religious freedoms, torture, where he’s taken positions that I think are out of the mainstream, and of course his staunch and steadfast opposition to any kind of immigration reform,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC late Monday. Wade, which guarantees a woman’s right to choose. pic.twitter.com/IMT7ZtJFjV
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 9, 2017
“The hearing schedule … Another Democratic senator, Cory Booker, has gone so far as to say he’ll testify against Sessions at Tuesday’s hearing — a departure from many decades of Senate protocol. Democrats however are vowing not to allow Congress to rubber stamp Trump’s cabinet picks without a fight. Meanwhile, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said lawmakers in the Republican-controlled chamber have crammed the schedule full of hearings, making the vetting more challenging than usual.

The outspoken women behind late Iranian President Rafsanjani

His daughter Hashemi   has been out of parliament for more than a decade, but her legacy remains. But during the protests that engulfed Iran after the 2009 vote, Marashi was widely quoted as saying, “If people see that [the government]   has cheated, they should protest on the streets.”
Despite the   allegations of corruption and abuse of power that cloud the Rafsanjani legacy, Fathi, the former correspondent in Tehran, argues his   youngest daughter   Faezah Hashemi could become vocal again. When she won the post in 1996, Iran’s conservative mullahs —   religious leaders — wouldn’t acknowledge that she’d received more votes than any other candidate. After she was released, she sparked outrage when she visited the Baha’i families of friends she made in prison. “It was too embarrassing for the regime to admit that a young woman had won more votes than influential clerics in the country, so her name appeared second,” Fathi says. “We have to wait and see how things are going to unfold,” says Nazila Fathi, a former correspondent for The New York Times. Iranians were not accustomed to hearing from the wives of their leaders. Rafsanjani is credited with saving her from the group’s attempt to assassinate her. “She refused to wear her headscarf the way the regime women wore them, or the coats that the regime required women to wear. Somehow the clerics had thought if women were pedaling around the city they were exposing themselves too much.”
Hashemi spent six months in Iran’s infamous Evin prison after protesting the 2009 presidential election results. “It was important for her that women get out,” Fathi says. The recent death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani leaves the outspoken women in the reformer’s family in a sort of political limbo. “She did have the popularity to move forward with it.” Likewise, Effat Marashi —   the late Rafsanjani’s wife, and the mother of his five children — pushed the boundaries limiting Iranian women. She later described it as “the best time of my life” that “opened another world” to her. In the days following the revolution, she was reportedly a target of the extremist group Forghan, which is thought to have murdered more than a dozen political and religious figures shortly after clerics took power. The ex-president’s younger daughter, Faezah Hashemi, served in Iran’s parliament. She had a women’s bike path built in Tehran and increased access to sports facilities. “She was a person who believed in change and wanted to see change,” Fathi says. “Biking was one of those sports that had been banned right after the revolution. But in parliament, she was always very vocal. Her cellmates included women activists of the Baha’i faith, a religion that had been banned after the 1979 revolution. That set her apart on the surface. It’s unclear how much clout his once-powerful daughter and wife will retain in an increasingly conservative Iran. She wasn’t afraid to challenge clerics.”
The family’s patriarch, the relatively moderate Rafsanjani, served two terms as Iran’s president, from 1989 to 1997. Although he retained some influence after stepping down, he was largely silenced by more conservative voices in recent years. Iran’s women can thank her for making it possible for them to exercise in public.