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Scott Pruitt Before the EPA: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money

  1. Scott Pruitt Before the EPA: Fancy Homes, a Shell Company and Friends With Money New York Times
  2. NYT: Pruitt purchased home from lobbyist in 2003, using a shell company CNN
  3. Lobbyist whose wife rented to Pruitt sought help from EPA for client The Hill
  4. Is it finally Scott Pruitt's time to go? Washington Post
  5. Lobbyist Linked to Pruitt's Condo Did Contact EPA, Firm Says Bloomberg
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Who was Jack Johnson, the boxer Trump is considering pardoning?

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. â€" President Donald Trump says he's considering a posthumous pardon for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after the late Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of accompanying a white woman across state lines.

Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that the actor Sylvester Stallone, a friend of his, had called to bring Johnson's story to his attention.

"His trials an d tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial," Trump wrote from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. "Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!"

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

Boxer Jack Johnson. President Donald Trump says he's considering "a Full Pardon!" for boxing's first black heavyweight champion more than 100 years after Jack Johnson was convicted by all-white jury of "immorality" for one of his relationships. AP file

Most famously, his story was fictionalized for the play "The Great White Hope," starring Jam es Earl Jones, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play in 1969. A film version with Jones was released in 1970. More recently, the documentary "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson," directed by Ken Burns, was aired on PBS in 2004.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.

The boxer died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson's case for years.

The tweet came a week after Trump pardoned I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who had been a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, arguing that Libby had been "treated unfairly" by a special counsel.

Stallone, who starred in the 1976 boxing film "Rocky" and several sequels, is a supporter of the president and attended Trump's New Years' Eve party at Mar-a-Lago in 2016.

Related

Trump pardons 'Scooter' Libby, former Cheney aide

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson "was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago."

"Johnson's imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor," McCain said earlier this month.

In Jim Crow America, Johnson was one of the most despised African-American of his generation, humiliating white fighters and flaunting his affection for white women.

The son of former slaves, he defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of "great white hopes," culminating in 1910 with the u ndefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

"He is one of the craftiest, cunningest boxers that ever stepped into the ring," said the legendary boxer John L. Sullivan, in the aftermath of what was called "the fight of the century."

But Johnson also refused to adhere to societal norms, living lavishly and brazenly and dating outside of his race in a time when whites often killed African-Americans without fear of legal repercussions.

After seven years as a fugitive following his conviction, Johnson eventually returned to the U.S. and turned himself in. He served about a year in federal prison and was released in 1921. He died in 1946 in an auto crash.

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The stain on Johnson's reputation forced some family members to live in shame of his legacy.

The family "didn't talk about it because they were ashamed of him, that he went to prison," ; Linda E. Haywood, 61, has said of her great-great uncle. "They were led to believe that he did something wrong. They were so ashamed after being so proud of him."

Haywood said she didn't find out she was related to Johnson until she was 12. She remembers learning about Johnson when she was in sixth grade during Black History Month, and only learned later that he was kin.

Once, she recalled, she asked her mother about Johnson.

"She just grimaced," Haywood said.

Haywood has pressed to have Johnson pardoned since President George W. Bush was in office, a decade ago.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War; he was framed for embezzlement. Bush pardoned Charles Winters in 2008, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neut rality Acts in 1949.

Haywood wanted Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says "processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons."

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department's website.

But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process.

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Trump considers pardoning late African-American boxing legend Jack Johnson

Sports April 21, 2018 5:47 pm Trump considers pardoning late African-American boxing legend Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson looks on as opponent Stan Ketchel is counted out on Oct. 16, 1909.;

Jack Johnson looks on as opponent Stan Ketchel is counted out on Oct. 16, 1909.

Malcolm W. Emmons/Sporting News via Getty Images

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he was considering pardoning the late boxing legend Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world who was jailed after having a relationship with a white woman.

Story continues below

Johnson was arrested in 1912 on the grounds that his relationship with Lucille Cameron, a white prostitute who later became his wife, violated the Mann Act against “transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes.” He died in 1946.

“Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson,” Trump said in a tweet, referring to the actor who played the underdog boxer Rocky Balboa in the 1976 film “Rocky.”

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial. Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!” Trump added.

Trump’s April 13 pardon of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of perjury in 2007, was criticized by Democrats who argued the decision signaled that obstruction of justice would be rewarded by the president.

Trump floated the possible pardon for Johnson hours after issuing a series of tweets criticizing the New York Times for a story suggesting his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, might cooperate with federal authorities against the president.

“Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if … it means lying or making up stories,” Trump said. “Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that.”

READ MORE: Donald Trump says in Twitt er rant that Michael Cohen is unlikely to ‘flip’ on him

The newspaper said Trump’s lawyers and advisers have become resigned to the possibility Cohen could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating Cohen for activity that could relate, at least in part, to work he did for Trump.

The FBI on April 9 raided Cohen’s offices and home, a dramatic development in a series of probes involving close Trump associates.

U.S. prosecutors conducted a search that was partly the result of a referral by the office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating if members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump has called the probe a “witch hunt” and denied any collusion. Russia also denies meddling in the election.

© 2018 Reuters

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WB Cautions Over Issuing Bonds


WB Cautions Over Issuing Bonds
|
21-Apr-2018
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The 2018 African Pulse Report by the World Bank has cautioned African governments to reduce their high appetit e for borrowing from the markets, especially internationally, as it argues this poses a significant risk to economies on the continent.
“The composition of public debt has changed â€" away from traditional toward new sources of financing. The share of concessional and multilateral lending is on a clear downward trend, and by 2016 the bulk of bilateral lending was provided by non-Paris Club creditors.
“Market-based external debt has emerged as a new source of financing for several lower-middle-income countries, but also low-income countries.
Although international bond issuances allow countries to diversify their investor base and complement multilateral and bilateral financing, large bullet repayment from 2021 on, constituting significant refinancing risk for the region,” the report states.
The report adds that as of March this year, 18 countriesâ€"including Ghanaâ€"were at high risk of debt distress, compared with eight countries in 2013.
“Public debt in creased from an average 37 percent of GDP in 2013 to 56 percent in 2016, with more than two-thirds of the countries experiencing an increase of more than 20 percentage points. Debt sustainability risks in the region have increased significantly over the past few years, with 18 countries at high risk of debt distress as of March 2018,” the report states.
The African Pulse Report further noted that “worsening fiscal positions and exchange rate depreciation” were among the main reasons behind the recent increase in public debt.
Again, another reason the Bank cited for mounting public debts is the slowdown in economic growth experienced by many countries on the continent.
The Bank is, therefore, urging various governments to improve debt management frameworks and capacity in order to address this problem.
Putting it into local perspective, figures released by the Bank of Ghana in March showed Ghana’s debt stock has almost reached the dreaded threshold of 70 perce nt of GDP.
The country’s public debt stock has reached GH¢142.5billion as of December 2017, representing 69.8 percent of GDP.
Even though the figure is a reduction from the 73.3 percent of GDP recorded in the same period 2016, it is still at unsustainable levels.
The central bank’s data show that in September 2017 Ghana’s debt stood at GH¢138.9billion, representing 68.1 percent of GDP. The figure dropped to GH¢137.6billion in October, representing 67.4 percent; but it went up to GH¢139billion in November, representing 68.1 percent of GDP.
The domestic component of debt as at December 2017 stood at GH¢66.7billion, while the foreign debt stock was at GH¢75.8billion.
Several institutions have persistently urged the government to devise means of shoring-up domestic revenue in order to cut borrowing.
The IMF, in February this year, urged the government to legislate new measures that boost revenue by at least 0.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as low revenue mobilisation has been blamed for the fiscal imbalances experienced over the years.
To this effect, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has directed that all business owners in the country, beginning this month, must register a Tax Identification Number (TIN) before they are allowed to access certain essential services in the country.
This is to ensure that most businesses in the informal sector are roped into the tax net.
Source: B&FT

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CJI won't recuse himself from administrative, judicial work

CJI won’t recuse himself from administrative, judicial workDhananjay MahapatraChief Justice of India Dipak Misra is learned to have decided not to recuse himself from administrative and judicial work in the Supreme Court, feeling reassured by the support from a large number of senior advocates and lawyers who have rallied behind him against the removal motion of Congress-led opposition parties. | TNN | Apr 22, 2018, 02:49 IST

Highlights

  • SC sources said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra maintains that the removal motion against him has been propped up for political considerations.
  • They also said that he is in no mood to oblige those who have “engineered the dubious pretext” to get him to quit.
NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is learned to have decided not to recuse himself from administrative and judicial work in the Supreme Court, feeling reassured by the support from a large number of senior advocates and lawyers who have rallied behind him against the removal motion of Congress-led opposition parties.
SC sources told TOI that Justice Misra maintains that the removal motion against him, based on frivolous allegations, has been propped up for political considerations and to deter him from discharging his duties as the CJI. They also said that he is in no mood to oblige those who have “engineered the dubious pretext” to get him to quit.
With Congress-aligned lawyers, like former attorney general K Parasaran and his son Mohan, the former solicitor general, as well as senior advocate Mahalaxmi Pavani, daughter-in-law of the late P P Rao, backing him, the CJI, sources said, is feeling vindicated that he has done no wrong.
Parasarans and Pavani felt that Congress acted in a “childish way” in using the motion for removal as a political tool.
‘CJI to reconsider stand if RS chair fails to see through Cong’s game’

SC sources said the CJI is of the opinion that he would reconsider his stand if the Rajya Sabha chairman too fails to see through, what they called, “the game being played by Congress, which is annoyed with the CJI for not giving in to belligerence by certain party-affiliated lawyers to coerce the court into accepting demands for a year-long adjournment of a sensitive case”, and admits the motion. “Till that time the CJI will continue with his administrative and judicial work,” a source said.
The Rajya Sabha chairman is empowered not to accept the motion if he is not convinced by the grounds mentioned in the notice for removal.
In the last instance of a removal motion, against then SC judge Veeraswami Ramaswami, the then CJI had withdrawn judicial work from him only after then Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray admitted the m otion against him and set up an inquiry committee headed by SC judge O Chinnappa Reddy. The committee under Justice Reddy found Justice Ramaswami guilty of 11 out of 14 charges of corruption.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, one of the signatories to the notice against CJI Misra, had defended Ramaswami in the Lok Sabha and made light of the corruption charges. Congress had defeated the motion against Justice Ramaswami by abstaining from voting even as some of its members, like R Prabhu, supported the former SC judge.
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