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Iran's supreme leader calls for government to be backed in face of U.S. sanctions

Iran's supreme leader on Sunday called on state bodies to support the government of President Hassan Rouhani in fighting looming U.S. economic sanctions, saying America's "conspiracy" could be defeated, according to his official website. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used a speech to members of Rouhani's cabinet to call for support for the government and action against alleged financial crime to ease popular concerns fueled by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from world powers' 2015 deal with Iran on its nuclear program. The likely return of U.S. economic sanctions has triggered a rapid fall of Iran's currency and protests by bazaar traders usually loyal to the Islamist rulers, and a public outcry over alleged price gouging and profiteering. Khamenei said "the government's economic team is the axis of all activity in the country, calling all the bodies to coordinate with it," the website reported. "(He) advised state radio and TV to reflect a correct image of government activities." Hardline conservatives close to Khamenei control powerful bodies including state media which has often criticized the government of Rouhani, a pragmatist who has long sought more open economic relations with the outside world. "I strongly believe that if the government takes the necessary measures, it will be able to overcome problems and defeat the U.S. conspiracy," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a meeting with Rouhani and his cabinet, according to his website. Khamenei called for strengthening the private sector while taking "decisive action" against economic crime such as money-laundering and smuggling of goods, blamed on those profiteering from the economic crisis in the country. Separately, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said special prosecutors would swiftly deal with economic crime, including profiteering from foreign exchange and gold dealings, illegal imports of luxury cars and price gouging on imported goods such as mobile phones, state media said. In late December, demonstrations which began over economic hardship spread to more than 80 Iranian cities and towns. At least 25 people died in the ensuing unrest, the biggest expression of public discontent in almost a decade. Demonstrators initially vented their anger over high prices and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Khamenei to step down.

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Suspected suicide blast hits Afghan capital Kabul

An apparent suicide attack close to a government ministry in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday killed at least five people as staff were leaving the office in the evening rush hour, officials said. A police spokesman said the explosion was believed to have been caused by a suicide attacker but had no further details. Fraidoon Azhand, a spokesman at the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development confirmed the attack had happened and said initial information suggested that at least five people had been killed. "Apparently a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest at the gate of our ministry. The target was our staff who were leaving to their homes," he said. The attack was the latest in a seemingly unending series of blasts against civilian targets in Kabul and other major cities including Jalalabad, which has seen three major attacks in the past two weeks alone. Earlier on Sunday, the United Nations reported a record number of civilian deaths from the conflict in Afghanistan with a 22 percent jump in casualties from suicide attacks during the first half of the year.

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Cops and protesters scuffle after man fatally shot by Chicago police officer

CHICAGO — Police scuffled with demonstrators Saturday evening in the nation's third-largest city, hours after a Chicago police officer fatally shot a man on the city's South Side. Officers were struck by rocks and bottles as dozens of demonstrators gathered near the crime scene Saturday, according to police. Four demonstrators were arrested late Saturday as police cleared the crime scene, said Anthony Guglielmi, the police department's chief spokesman. Fred Waller, chief of the department's patrol division, said three or four officers were injured. It was not immediately clear what charges the arrested demonstrators face. Video posted on social media appeared to show multiple officers drag one man at the scene. Protesters chanted "murderers" and "no justice, no peace" at officers.

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No one missed the United States at this World Cup, and the U.S. team missed an opportunity

MOSCOW – The World Cup didn’t miss the United States. No one in Moscow was dipping hot dogs into their borscht and sipping Bud Lights as a show of sympathy. There were no Stars-and-Stripes T-shirts hidden beneath replica jerseys of teams that, you know, actually bothered to show up and take part in the tournament. Why would they? Sympathy doesn’t appear in the soccer lexicon. Every nation has suffered its share of soccer pain -- even the countries who have won the World Cup multiple times -- and there is no room left in any soccer fan’s strafed psyche for feeling sorry for anyone else. If heavyweights such as Italy, the Netherlands, Chile and Ghana weren’t going to be wept over, then the Americans weren’t either. Besides, the U.S. has a bigger, more immediate and closer-to-home problem to fix right now. Not only did the wider world not miss the Americans at the World Cup, plenty of Americans got over the initial shock far quicker than they might have expected. Television ratings would naturally have been given an upward bump by a few USA matches, but do you hear any voices suggesting that the event has been spoiled because of the farcical catalog of failure that led to the team’s qualifying exit? The last time the squad did not make the World Cup was 1986, and such was the status of stateside soccer at the time that barely anyone noticed. They noticed this time, yet while the audience was aware of the absence, any tears were shed last October, when the U.S. lost to a hopelessly out-of-form Trinidad and Tobago and got bounced. Over the past month, Americans have learned to enjoy a World Cup featuring no American team. For U.S. Soccer, that is a problem, although by no means an unfixable one. MORE: Croatia has World Cup's oddest fashion statement MORE: Can England's World Cup run really be considered a success? The issue is one of relevance. As with any group not good enough to push its way into one of the 32 spots in the field, the USA became a soccer afterthought this summer. While millions of fans from its precise target audience were consuming live games, reading and commenting about them -- and finding new players to swoon over -- the national team was out of the discussion. It now needs to earn its way back, and it is a position that won’t be automatically handed over. American soccer fans new and old cast their allegiance elsewhere this World Cup and found that the experience was just fine. Whether it is OK for a soccerphile to support another country in the first place is a matter for another debate and another time, but that’s what happened. Supporters in the U.S. glued themselves to a tournament that featured goals, drama, star power, excellence and zero American involvement and found it to their liking. Now the battle for the U.S. men’s program is to win back that emotional investment. It needs to re-earn the right to have people care. It needs to show enough emotional attachment itself to prove worthy of the emotions of the country’s sporting feelings. Christian Pulisic’s tears at the close of the qualifying campaign were heartfelt and genuine, but over the course of the previous year, there simply weren’t enough guys who cared deeply enough to perform well enough. The fight for America’s soccer soul is a thorny one. For a large portion of fans, the scrap is won by European club teams, who captivate the attention span of their American followers more than the national side ever will. Yet there is a patriotic spirit always ready to explode within the U.S., one shown during the 2010 and 2014 campaigns, but one that needs to be nurtured and rewarded and not taken for granted. It is a tough job now. Soccer only gets America’s somewhat-undivided attention once every four years, and the USA wasn’t invited to give its promotional pitch this time. Somehow, over the coming years, the national team has to find ways to get old fans re-engaged and new supporters enlisted, all while tussling for airtime with everything else going on in athletics. Because the reality is that while the U.S. has grown up as a soccer nation and is a more involved member of the global game’s community than in the past, it wasn’t missed here at all – it just missed an opportunity.

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Steve Bannon says: now is the moment for Boris Johnson to challenge UK PM May

U.S. President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon believes now is the time for Boris Johnson to challenge British Prime Minister Theresa May for her job, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Saturday. Johnson, who led the main Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, resigned as foreign minister on Monday over May's strategy which he said was killing the "Brexit dream" with self-doubt. "Theresa May has got a lot of great qualities – I am not sure if it is the right leader at the right time," Bannon, Trump’s former strategist and a key player in his 2016 election campaign, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying. May's government was rattled by the departures of Johnson and her chief Brexit negotiator David Davis just days after she appeared to have gained the support of her cabinet for her strategy at a meeting at her Chequers country residence. Asked if now was the moment for Johnson to lead the country, Bannon, who was fired by the White House in August 2017, said: "I believe moments come. It is like Donald Trump... people dismissed him." "Now is the moment," The Telegraph quoted him as saying. "If Boris Johnson looks at this... There comes an inflection point, the Chequers deal was an inflection point, we will have to see what happens." Trump, in an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper published just hours before he was due to have lunch with May, directly criticized May's Brexit strategy and heaped praise on Johnson, saying he "would be a great Prime Minister." The U.S. president later said he hoped for a great trade deal with Britain after Brexit. [nL8N1U816A] [nL8N1U91B3] On Friday The Telegraph said Johnson had re-joined the newspaper as a columnist with effect from Monday.

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Turkey's Erdogan says Syrian government forces targeting Idlib could destroy accord: source

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday an accord aimed at containing the Syrian conflict could be destroyed if Syrian government forces target the Idlib region, a Turkish presidential source said. The two presidents spoke by telephone after the Syrian government raised the national flag on Thursday over areas of Deraa in the southwest that was in rebel hands for years. The source said Erdogan voiced concern about the treatment of civilians there. "President Erdogan stressed that the targeting of civilians in Deraa was worrying and said that if the Damascus regime targeted Idlib in the same way the essence of the Astana accord could be completely destroyed," the source said. With help from Russia and Iran, President Bashar al-Assad has now recovered most of Syria but anti-Assad rebels still control Idlib in the northwest, while a Kurdish-led militia controls the northeast and a large chunk of the east. Turkey has set up a series of observation posts in Idlib as part of a deal which it reached last year with Russia and Iran in the Kazakh capital Astana to reduce fighting between insurgents and the Syrian government in de-escalation zones. Erdogan said the avoidance of "negative developments" in Idlib was important in terms of encouraging rebel groups to attend a meeting in Astana planned for July 30-31, according to the source. Separately, the Kremlin confirmed in a statement Putin's phone conversation with Erdogan on Saturday and said they had discussed joint efforts to solve the Syrian crisis.

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When it comes to NATO, Trump has it half right

President Trump swept into Brussels this week like some rich, nutty uncle who had to be invited to the wedding, despite flaming all his relatives on the family Facebook page, because he’s paying for the caterer and the band. Even before the food came out, Trump again blasted America’s staunchest allies as a bunch of worthless sponges and accused Germany of being under Russian control. That’s quite a toast. How reviled is Trump in Europe? Put it this way: When you’re searching the crowd for someone to sit with and are super-relieved to see the Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan waving you over, you’ve got some work to do. Just because you’re boorish, though, doesn’t mean you’re completely wrong. Heckle me for saying so, but I happen to think Trump has a serious point when it comes to modernizing the decades-old arrangement between the United States and its European allies. And I’m willing to grant that sometimes diplomacy requires a less-than-diplomatic approach. The question is to what end. Because if you’re going to make the case that America is wasting too much money to defend foreign borders, then it seems to me you also ought to have a pretty good argument for how reversing that policy can help us here at home. To be clear, nobody sane should be talking about disbanding NATO. The threat of Russian expansionism, as ever, remains, and America’s interest in the security of Europe is vital still. But the balance of responsibility for that security could probably stand to be updated. For those of you too young to remember Boris Yeltsin standing on the tank (he was known to be a drinker, but this was a different kind of disorderly conduct), the mutual defense pact among free countries in Europe and North America goes back almost 70 years, to the dawn of the Cold War, when our European allies were still rising slowly from the dust of the Second World War. For several decades afterward, the United States bore the necessary burden, to use President Kennedy’s phrase, of defending Europe — and much of the world — from Soviet aggression.

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Justice Dept. tries again to get AT&T-Time Warner stopped, threatening new AT&T WatchTV

The Justice Department is appealing a federal judge's approval last month of AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, a deal that was expected to usher in a wave of media and telecom mergers designed to counter the growing heft and influence of Netflix, Amazon and Apple. AT&T announced the deal in October 2016, but the U.S. government sued to block the merger in November 2017, saying one company having so much power over both how Americans get their entertainment (AT&T provides broadband as well as owns satellite TV service DirecTV) — and what they watch — would hurt consumers. But Judge Richard Leon approved the deal last month after a six-week trial ended in April, ruling the government had not adequately made the case the combination of a telecom distributor with a network of TV studios and channels would hurt competition. The DOJ's move, announced Thursday, goes against Leon's advice, which discouraged the agency from seeking a stay. "I do not believe that the Government has a likelihood of success on the merits of an appeal," he said in his June 12 ruling. "The Government has had this merger on hold," he wrote, as "the video programming and distribution industry has continued to evolve at a breakneck pace." The Justice Department offered no additional comment beyond its filing Thursday. AT&T, however, did have some comments harkening back to the judge's ruling. “The Court’s decision could hardly have been more thorough, fact-based, and well-reasoned," said AT&T General Counsel David McAtee. "While the losing party in litigation always has the right to appeal if it wishes, we are surprised that the DOJ has chosen to do so under these circumstances. We are ready to defend the Court’s decision at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.”

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Video emerges of George Clooney scooter accident in Italy; actor released from hospital

George Clooney was briefly hospitalized in Italy Tuesday after his scooter collided with a car. The 57-year-old actor was riding a scooter in Olbia on the island of Sardinia when a Mercedes cut across his path and caused a collision, throwing Clooney over the top of his scooter, according to the Associated Press. He was taken to a hospital in Olbia, but his injuries were not serious and he was discharged. “George was treated and released from an Olbia hospital," his representative Stan Rosenfield told USA TODAY. "He is recovering at home and will be fine.” Surveillance video of the crash was obtained late Tuesday by the newspaper Corriere della Sera, the AP reports. It shows a blue Mercedes veering into oncoming traffic, apparently to turn into a residential compound near Olbia.

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Trump administration says it may not meet deadline to reunite separated families

The Trump administration argued in a court hearing Friday that it may not be able to fully comply with a federal judge's order to reunite nearly 3,000 children separated from their parents by the end of the month. The administration must reunite about 100 children under age 5 by Tuesday, and all other minors by July 26. But government lawyers said there is too much work to do and too many questions about the judge's order to meet his strict deadlines. During the hearing, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian said the government is stuck between the court's strict deadlines and legal requirements that children in government custody be released only into safe environments. "There really has been a massive effort on the part of the government to get the resources in place on the ground to make reunification happen in accordance with the court’s order," Fabian said. But, "there's always going to be tension between a fast release and a safe release." The request for more time came a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar held a conference call where he assured reporters that the administration would reunite all the children that had been separated. Azar criticized the ruling, but vowed to meet the court-imposed deadlines.

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Diaper-clad 'Trump Baby' blimp to fly over London during president's visit

LONDON – An inflatable blimp of President Donald Trump wearing a diaper, clutching a cellphone and throwing a temper tantrum has been given approval to fly near Britain's Parliament here during the U.S. president's visit to the United Kingdom next week. London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Thursday authorized the 19-foot-high orange balloon's flight path during Trump's three-day visit that begins July 13. It will be allowed to fly for two hours next Friday morning in central London at the same time as a "Stop Trump" demonstration takes place that is expected to draw thousands of people. Khan's office said the "Mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands this can take many different forms." London city officials previously turned down permission sought by the group behind the blimp, named "Trump Baby," after more than 10,000 people signed a petition and contributed to a crowdfunding campaign to pay for it. It will be anchored to a spot in Parliament Square Gardens and not allowed to fly higher than 100 feet. Big Ben, the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster across from Parliament Square Gardens, is 315 feet tall.

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Scott Pruitt resignation: Hollywood takes a few parting shots at scandal-plagued EPA chief

Can you remember a time when the resignation of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency qualified as major breaking news? Social media took notice Thursday afternoon when President Trump announced he'd accepted the resignation letter of Scott Pruitt, whose entire 16-month EPA tenure has been awash in ethics scandals over his profligate spending and the misuse of employee hours spent on personal projects, like pursuing a Chik-Fil-A franchise for his wife. Critics in Hollywood and the news media couldn't help taking a few parting shots at Pruitt. A sampling: After reading the resignation letter, MSNBC host Chris Hayes observed, "On top of everything else, we now learn that Scott Pruitt is a terrible writer." "Scott Pruitt, you will not be missed," wrote "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, who signed his tweet, "Sincerely, all forms of animal and plant life."

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Scarlett Johansson faces casting backlash, this time for playing a transgender man

Scarlett Johansson is again at the center of a casting controversy, this time for accepting a role to play a transgender man. She's joining director Rupert Sanders to star in "Rub & Tug," a film based on the true story of transgender massage parlor owner Dante "Tex" Gill, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety have reported. Sanders previously directed Johansson in 2017's "Ghost in a Shell," another controversial role, in which she starred as the Japanese manga character Major Motoko Kusanagi. Johansson released a statement to Bustle via an unnamed representative: "Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman's reps for comment." For reference, those three cisgender actors played transgender characters in "Transparent," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Transamerica," respectively. USA TODAY has reached out to Johansson's and Sanders' representatives for comment.

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Egypt's Sisi, facing online backlash, says country is on the 'right track'

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday Egypt was on the "right track" to rebuild its economy after years of instability that had nearly brought the country to its knees. Speaking on the anniversary of 2013 mass protests that helped propel him into power, Sisi said Egypt had faced challenges, including political instability, armed insurgency and an economic meltdown since 2011 protests forced President Hosni Mubarak from power after more than 30 years in office. "I tell you in all objectivity, every Egyptian man and woman is entitled to feel proud for what his country has achieved in facing the three challenges, and in record time," Sisi said in a televised speech. Sisi, who was elected for a second term in March, has been pushing ahead with economic reforms required under a three-year, $12 billion IMF loan that have left many of Egypt's 100 million people struggling to make ends meet. [nL8N1TL2RJ] Spurred by the painful reforms, an online campaign calling for Sisi to step down has gathered momentum in recent weeks. "The results that have been achieved until now indicate we are on the right path," Sisi said, citing positive economic indicators, including a record $44 billion in foreign reserves and economic growth of 5.4 percent. Human rights groups accuse Sisi of presiding over a crackdown on dissent as he pushes ahead with the reforms, that have included raising prices for fuel, electricity and public transportation. The Egyptian military and security forces, under Sisi's orders, have been conducting a major operation in Sinai this year, trying to crush Islamist militants behind a wave of attacks that had killed hundreds. Analysts say the reforms have eroded his once soaring popularity, but to what extent is hard to gauge since scores of websites have been banned in the past year and opponents rounded up, often on charges of spreading fake news.

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Republicans are 'mad even when they win,' Obama tells donors at Beverly Hills fundraiser

Former President Obama was apparently willing to give up the name ‘Obamacare’ for the sake of Healthcare. the Hill reports. Veuer's Sam Berman has the full story. Buzz60 Former President Barack Obama had some choice words for both Republicans and Democrats at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Beverly Hills, California. "Enough moping," Obama told the more than 200 Democratic donors who attended the Thursday event, according to CNN. He told the crowd they were "right to be concerned" about the state of American politics, but stressed that it was not enough to watch and lament the latest developments. "If you are one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you are saying, 'Civilization is collapsing,' and you are nervous and worried, but that is not where you are putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don't actually think civilization is collapsing, or you are not pushing yourself hard enough," the 44th president said, according to CNN. "And I would push harder." Obama told the assembled contributors they also need to do more than pay to attend fancy fundraisers.

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100-year-old mother meets 79-year-old daughter for the first time: 'It was a miracle'

It was an emotional family reunion on Sunday in Florida: A 79-year-old daughter met her 100-year-old birth mother for the first time, both having been told decades ago that the other had died. For years they've lived less than 100 miles apart along the Florida coast, not knowing about each other until a recent DNA test and the dedication of family members brought them together. Joanne Loewenstern, 79, found out at the age of 16 that she was adopted. She was told her birth mother had died soon after she was born, according to WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach. Caretakers of Lillian Ciminieri, 100, believe she spent her life thinking her daughter had died at birth, according to a video of the reunion. Ciminieri once went by "Lillian Feinsilver," the name Loewenstern was given as her birth mother's name, according to the Washington Post. Thanks to the detective work of family members documented by the Post, mother and daughter reunited after a DNA match on Ancestry.com. The website offers DNA services designed to help users discover their family history. "It was a miracle in our view," Elliot Loewenstern, Joanne's son, told USA TODAY in a written message. "Unbelievable." ► June 29: Teen helps blind and deaf man on flight ► June 27: Teacher's final gift was to help children in need When the two met in Port St. Lucie, Florida, they were about 1,000 miles away from where they were separated 79 years ago: New York City. The mystery of her birth mother haunted Loewenstern throughout her life. "Many nights I sat and cried," Loewenstern told WPTV. She didn't fully believe that her mother had died at a Bronx hospital in 1938, as she was told. “I had a feeling she was alive somehow,” The Post quotes Loewenstern as saying. “I just felt that I didn’t believe it for some reason.” Details of how and why the separation occurred are still unknown. "We don’t know what happened officially because this is all new to us and we aren’t alive at that time," Elliot Loewenstern said. The reunion brought relief and closure to Loewenstern and her family. "This is incredible and my mother can finally put to bed her question of who am I? God truly works in mysterious ways and today was massive," Elliot Loewenstern wrote on Facebook after the reunion. Mother and daughter spent time coloring together when they met. One of the pictures: Flip-flops and sunglasses, that Loewenstern inscribed with a message. She promised to keep in touch, to have a relationship with her long-lost birth mother. "Love your daughter, Joanne," she signed the picture.

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'Most dangerous person I've ever dealt with': Lawyer feared newspaper murder suspect

Brennan McCarthy spent years staring out the window, expecting one day to see Jarrod Ramos coming for him. In his 19 years of practicing law, McCarthy, an attorney in Annapolis, Maryland, said he never came across any person who frightened him as much as Ramos. That same man is now charged with killing five people at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis on Thursday. "Of the thousands of people I’ve dealt with in court, this guy stuck," McCarthy told USA TODAY. "I was extremely scared that he was going to do something to me and my family." McCarthy says he became a target of Ramos' rage after representing a woman in 2011 who accused Ramos of stalking her and threatening her online. The woman told McCarthy that Ramos, who had gone to the same high school as she did, had been harassing her online since 2009. McCarthy described it as the "worst case of harassment and stalking I have ever encountered in my career." "He was communicating by telephone, by text, by Facebook, by instant messaging, and he was just saying outrageous things like, ‘you should kill yourself,'" McCarthy said. "He wrote to her work saying, 'She is a bipolar drunkard and you should fire her.' She actually lost her job." Ramos pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and was sentenced to probation. Shortly after that, the Capital Gazette ran a column, "Jarrod wants to be your friend," which used Ramos' case to warn readers of the dangers of sharing personal details with people online. McCarthy said Ramos was furious about the article, insisting he was simply stating facts about the woman and that he had done nothing wrong. In 2013, Ramos contacted the woman he had been found guilty of stalking. He demanded that she share with him all material she had on his case as part of a defamation lawsuit he filed against the newspaper.

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White House press secretary says asked to leave restaurant for working for Trump

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Saturday that she had been asked to leave a Virginia restaurant the night before because she worked for President Donald Trump. "Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left," Sanders said on the official Press Secretary Twitter account. "Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so," Sanders said. The Red Hen could not immediately be reached and their website did not appear to be working. A number of people criticized the restaurant for the move on the it's Yelp page. Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters at a Mexican restaurant in Washington D.C. Protesters yelled "Shame! Shame!" and it came as the Trump administration defended its hardline immigration policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Americans own nearly half world's guns in civilian hands: survey

Americans make up 4 percent of the world's population but owned about 46 percent of the estimated 857 million weapons in civilian hands at the end of 2017, a survey showed on Monday. The Small Arms Survey, an independent global research project based in Geneva, Switzerland, found that there were more than 1 billion firearms in the world, of which civilians owned 85 percent, while the rest were held by militaries or law enforcement agencies. The number of guns owned by civilians globally rose to 857 million in 2017 from 650 million in 2006, the survey said. There were 120 guns for every 100 U.S. residents in 2017, it found, followed by Yemen with nearly 53 firearms per 100 people. "The biggest force pushing up gun ownership around the world is civilian ownership in the United States. Ordinary American people buy approximately 14 million new and imported guns every year," survey author Aaron Karp told reporters. "Why are they buying them? That's another debate. Above all, they are buying them probably because they can. The American market is extraordinarily permissive," he told a news conference at the United Nations in New York. The Small Arms Survey said civilian firearms registration data was available for 133 countries and territories, but only 28 countries released information on their military stockpiles and law enforcement agencies. Karp said every figure published by the survey for 230 countries and territories "includes some degree of estimation.

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Musk's Boring Company wins bid to build high-speed system in Chicago

The City of Chicago has selected billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's The Boring Company to build a high-speed underground commuter system from the Loop to O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest, media reported on Wednesday. The system will be comprised of 16-passenger vehicles that will travel up to 150 miles (240 km) per hour through a tunnel that will cut the current 30 to 45-minute trip between the airport and Chicago's business district down to 12 minutes, according to Boring's website. The Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg first reported the deal, citing unnamed sources. Reuters has not been able to reach the city or the company for immediate comment. Boring has promised that the project will be "100 percent privately funded". Musk and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are expected to announce the proposal on Thursday in Chicago, the Tribune reported. The deal comes about a month after Musk unveiled a plan to burrow a high-speed network of "personalized mass transit" tunnels under Los Angeles that he said could be built without disturbance or noise at the surface. Boring's effort to win fast-track city approval of a 2.7-mile-long tunnel beneath a busy stretch of Los Angeles' West Side has drawn a court challenge from two neighborhood organizations. Resistance to his tunneling project marks a somewhat new type of challenge for Musk. Opponents say the exemption Boring seeks from a lengthy environmental review of the Los Angeles test tunnel violates state law forbidding such waivers for large-scope projects on a piecemeal basis. The Chicago and Los Angeles projects come as Musk wrestles with production problems for the rollout of his highly anticipated Model 3 sedan at Tesla , with some investors concerned his overlapping leadership roles at Boring and his rocket-building firm SpaceX has him spread too thin. "We're taking a bet on a guy who doesn't like to fail — and his resources. There are a bunch of Teslas on the road. He put SpaceX together. He's proven something," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said of Musk, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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