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Police: Shooter targeted 3 victims in gated LA community
Police: Shooter targeted 3 victims in gated LA communityLOS ANGELES (AP) — One of three men who were shot to death at a home in a gated Los Angeles community likely allowed the shooter inside, authorities said Tuesday.

Man Charged with Pulling Gun on Couple in MAGA Hats
Man Charged with Pulling Gun on Couple in MAGA HatsA Tennessee man was arrested Tuesday for pulling a gun on a couple who were wearing the Make America Great Again hats popularized by Donald Trump's presidential campaign.James Phillips, 57, of Cottontown, Tenn., was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment after he reportedly pulled the gun in a Kentucky Sam’s Club store amid an argument, according to his arrest citation. Phillips allegedly told the woman, "It's a good day to die, b****," and exchanged obscene hand gestures with the man. He said he did so because of their hats.Phillips, who wore a hat indicating he was a military veteran, has a concealed-carry permit for his gun.The incident comes amid the continuing controversy over Empire actor Jussie Smollett's claim that he was beaten and left with a noose around his neck by two men shouting pro-Trump slogans, which has been increasingly scrutinized as a possible hoax.

Arrests made in decades-old killings of 2 California kids
Arrests made in decades-old killings of 2 California kidsSANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities said Wednesday that they solved two decades-old cold cases that stunned Southern California, arresting suspects in the separate killings of a boy and a girl who disappeared while walking home from school.

Richard Branson and Nicolas Maduro to stage rival border concerts amid Venezuela crisis
Richard Branson and Nicolas Maduro to stage rival border concerts amid Venezuela crisisVenezuela's government will stage two concerts on the Colombian border this weekend to compete with a "Live Aid"-style show announced by British billionaire Richard Branson to raise funds for food and medicine for the South American country. Increasingly internationally isolated President Nicolas Maduro, who denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, says Western relief efforts coordinated by the opposition are part of a US-orchestrated coup to overthrow him. Branson said last week he was organising a concert on February 22 to raise funds for aid for Venezuela in the Colombian border city of Cucuta, where donations provided by the United States and others are already being stockpiled. The move has evoked comparisons to Irish rock star Bob Geldof’s global Live Aid concert to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Branson has said he wants to raise $100 million in 60 days. Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said on Monday that the government was also planning concerts on February 22 and 23, on the Simon Bolivar bridge connecting the country with Cucuta, with the slogan "nothing for war, hands off Venezuela". Workers begin to assemble stages for a Live Aid-style concert organised by British billionaire Richard Branson Credit:  LUIS ROBAYO/ AFP The government would also hand out food to poor residents of Cucuta this weekend, he said in televised statements - a "cynical" move, according to opposition leader Juan Guaido, given shortages of food in Venezuela. Guaido last month invoked constitutional provisions to assume the presidency, arguing Maduro was re-elected in a sham election, and has since been recognised as Venezuela's legitimate leader by dozens of nations. He said on Monday that the government's statements would not alter the opposition's plans to bring in aid from neighboring countries via land and sea on Saturday with the help of volunteers nationwide. United through music, we can make a huge difference and help bring an end to the needless suffering of millions https://t.co/FJ60thvXJtpic.twitter.com/qQNPHpg73M— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) February 15, 2019 "This does not in the slightest change our plan to generate pressure, to ensure the arrival of the aid," Guaido said at a news briefing. "If it doesn't enter on the twenty-third, it will enter on the twenty-fourth, it will enter on the twenty-fifth" of February. The opposition has urged the military, which remains loyal to Maduro, to let the aid in. Analysts say that would seriously undermine Maduro's authority and could lead to his ouster. In a speech late on Monday, US President Donald Trump warned members of Venezuela's military who are helping Maduro to stay in power that they are risking their future and their lives and urged them to allow humanitarian aid into the country.

Aurora warehouse where 5 killed won't reopen until next week
Aurora warehouse where 5 killed won't reopen until next weekAURORA, Ill. (AP) — The suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse where five people were fatally shot won't reopen until next week, but its doors will be open to support workers, company officials said Monday.

Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock Market
Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders Have a Plan to Kill the Stock MarketSenators Chuck Schumer of New York and Bernie Sanders of Vermont want to penalize “self-indulgent” corporations that buy back their own stock. In a recent article in the New York Times, they argued that when companies repurchase shares, not only do the vast majority of Americans not benefit, but income inequality is exacerbated since only wealthy shareholders and corporate management profit.Despite decades of extraordinary success that the United States has enjoyed and that we enjoy today, Schumer and Sanders believe that something sinister is taking place in the corporate world. They call buybacks a form of “corporate self-indulgence.” Why? Because> corporate boardrooms have become obsessed with maximizing only shareholder earnings to the detriment of workers and the long-term strength of their companies. . . . Companies, rather than investing in ways to make their businesses more resilient or their workers more productive, have been dedicating ever larger shares of their profits to dividends and corporate repurchases.Now even some Republicans are getting on board. Florida senator Marco Rubio has suggested changes in the tax law to discourage buybacks because he says they “inflate” the prices of stock “at the expense of future productivity & job creation.”These senators don’t seem to fully understand that the purpose of a business is to allocate resources in a way that maximizes per share results over the long run. To think that this can be achieved at the expense of workers, at the expense of investing in research, at the expense of developing new and better products, at the expense of investing in equipment to both lower the cost and increase the quality of production, etc. is sophomoric. This underscores their lack of knowledge about investing and financial markets.Companies have several options with regard to the use of excess cash. They can (1) retain the funds in the company, (2) invest in the capital needed to grow the company, (3) make acquisitions, (4) pay out the excess cash in the form of dividends, or (5) repurchase shares from existing shareholders.These senators see little value in share buybacks, but they should listen to Warren Buffett, who is unequivocally a long-term investor. His financial success is a result of making exceptional long-term investments in resilient companies. Unlike Schumer and Sanders, Buffett is an enthusiastic proponent of utilizing excess cash to repurchase shares when conditions are favorable (or opportune).Here is what he said in his 1984 annual report: “The companies in which we have our largest investments are all engaged in significant share repurchases at the times when a wide discrepancy exists between price and value.” He has made this point repeatedly throughout the years. These companies repurchase shares and continue to grow, continue to invest in research, in capital that will improve the quality and lower the cost of products. He has even bought back $1 billion of shares of his own company, Berkshire Hathaway, not because he is “self-indulgent” but because he thinks the firm is undervalued.Schumer and Sanders—and in some cases they are joined by Rubio—provide two main reasons we are in a stock buyback “crisis”:> First, stock buybacks don’t benefit the vast majority of Americans.> > Second, when corporations direct resources to buy back shares on this scale, they restrain their capacity to reinvest profits more meaningfully in the company in terms of R&D, equipment, higher wages, paid medical leave, retirement benefits and worker retraining.The first point is utter nonsense. More than 100 million average Americans own stock. Americans invest in mutual funds and index funds and buy and sell stock every day. Tens of millions more have 401K plans, and most union pension funds have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in stocks.The second point is equally absurd. A corporate board of directors is elected by shareholders, the owners of the company. When a board makes the decision to repurchase shares, it is a sign of confidence in the firm’s long-term profitability. It raises share values, which obviously benefits shareholders and puts firms in better financial shape — which also benefits the employees. Essentially, Schumer and Sanders believe, and Rubio seems to believe, that they have the right to tell the owners of a corporation the best way to allocate their profits.Studies show that firms that buy back their own shares have strong long-term growth.Consider Apple. It has become the most valuable company in the world. This exceptional success was achieved because of the enormous investments they made to develop revolutionary products. Companies cannot develop revolutionary products by underpaying talented workers or without investing billions of dollars in research, factories, and equipment. Not incidentally, Apple has repurchased billions of dollars of its own stock.The hyper-competitiveness and efficiency of U.S. companies is a major reason that unemployment is at a near 50-year low. Today, no company can survive if its workers are treated poorly. Walmart, which Schumer and Sanders attacked in their article, and many other companies recently raised their wage rates substantially, starting with entry-level positions.What is most disturbing about Schumer and Sanders’s proposal is their hubris in believing that they know how every company should handle its excess cash better than the CEOs, the boards of directors, and shareholders do. That is a rather all-encompassing statement. One would be hard-pressed to find a more vivid example of what Friedrich Hayek called “the fatal conceit,” the distorted notion that one knows more than is knowable. Would Buffett invest in a company if Schumer and Sanders were in charge of allocating its resources?We doubt it. Who in their right mind would?If approved, what Schumer and Sanders propose would not only hurt U.S. companies. It would harm the entire U.S. economy and financial system. It would raise the cost of capital for companies. What they advocate would tell domestic and foreign investors that our government is interfering with how companies allocate their resources.What is the difference between going after a large company with lots of shareholders and a small company with one owner? How long before Senators Schumer and Sanders tell the tire-shop owner that he has not paid his employees enough and that therefore he has withdrawn too much of the profit as an owner distribution?Every shareholder and business owner in America should rise up in loud protest against what these senators are proposing.Thomas A. Smith is the president of the Smith Foundation and ran a successful investment company for 40 years. Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks.

Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: U.N.
Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: U.N.After weeks of diplomacy, the United Nations said on Sunday the parties had reached agreement on phase one of a troop redeployment. "With the beginning, possibly even today or tomorrow, of the implementation of that part of the Hodeidah agreement we now have the opportunity to move from the promise made in Sweden to hope now for Yemen," Griffiths told the 15-member council. Under phase one, the Houthis would withdraw from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef, used for grains, and Ras Isa, used for oil.

Barack Obama Manages to Work in a Michelle Obama Compliment in a Discussion About 'Being a Man'
Barack Obama Manages to Work in a Michelle Obama Compliment in a Discussion About 'Being a Man'He also introduced NBA star Steph Curry as "Ayesha's husband"

Airlines begin waiving change fees for new winter storm
Airlines begin waiving change fees for new winter stormSouthwest Airlines had already started waiving rebooking fees ahead of the new storm. It’s likely that others would do the same as forecasts solidified.

10 of the Best Car-Upholstery Cleaners Tested
10 of the Best Car-Upholstery Cleaners Tested

Designer Karl Lagerfeld to be cremated without ceremony
Designer Karl Lagerfeld to be cremated without ceremonyKarl Lagerfeld will be cremated without ceremony and his ashes are likely to be scattered with those of his mother and lover, his label said Wednesday. "His wishes will be respected," a spokeswoman for his Karl Lagerfeld brand told AFP a day after the legendary designer died at the age of 85. Lagerfeld had previously said that his ashes would be mixed with those of his longtime lover, the French dandy Jacques de Bascher, who died of AIDS in 1989.

A tax service turned away a gay couple. Both sides claim discrimination
A tax service turned away a gay couple. Both sides claim discriminationThis is latest in debate over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act on whether businesses can refuse service based on religious beliefs.

Pence and Biden in Munich: Stark contrast shows how Trump is ruining relations with Europe
Pence and Biden in Munich: Stark contrast shows how Trump is ruining relations with EuropeFormer ambassador: We're safer in NATO than outside it, but Donald Trump doesn't seem to realize that and is separating us from our closest allies.

France shaken by outbreak of anti-Semitic violence and abuse
France shaken by outbreak of anti-Semitic violence and abuseThe problem was starkly underlined on Tuesday with the discovery of more than 90 graves in a Jewish cemetery in eastern France desecrated with swastikas and other abuse. "Whoever did this is not worthy of the French republic and will be punished," declared President Emmanuel Macron as he paid homage at the site. "We'll take action, we'll apply the law and we'll punish them." Politicians from across the spectrum will join marches against anti-Semitism across France on Tuesday evening, including in Paris.

Pakistan Vows Retaliation If India Launches Military Strikes
Pakistan Vows Retaliation If India Launches Military Strikes“Pakistan will not think of retaliation, Pakistan will retaliate,” Khan said in a televised speech on Tuesday. Tensions between the historic arch-rivals have been high since a militant car bombing, claimed by a Pakistani-based group Jaish-e-Mohammed, on Feb. 14 in Kashmir killed 40 members of India’s security forces -- the deadliest strike in the region in decades.

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