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Government to announce that household charge can be paid at Post Offices

first_img Pinterest Need for issues with Mica redress scheme to be addressed raised in Seanad also Twitter Government to announce that household charge can be paid at Post Offices Pinterest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By News Highland – March 7, 2012 WhatsApp Facebook Facebook Google+ Dail hears questions over design, funding and operation of Mica redress scheme center_img News WhatsApp Previous article30 schools to lose a teacher in Donegal this year – O’DomnhaillNext articleJoe McHugh claims people want to pay Household Charge in the Post Office News Highland Man arrested in Derry on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences released Twitter Minister McConalogue says he is working to improve fishing quota Google+ 70% of Cllrs nationwide threatened, harassed and intimidated over past 3 years – Report It’s expected that the Government will announce in the coming days that the household charge will be able to be paid in Post Offices.Currently the tax could only be paid at Council offices.Donegal North East Deputy Joe McHugh says by letting the tax be paid at Post Offices the Government are not trying to get more people to pay the charge………[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/joe530.mp3[/podcast] Dail to vote later on extending emergency Covid powerslast_img read more

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More record heat in the Southwest as storms target Plains

first_imgABC News(NEW YORK) — The Southwest likely will roast again on Thursday as severe weather settles into the Plains.Storms on Wednesday moved through the western Plains and Southeast, delivering damaging winds, large hail and flash flooding.In parts of South Carolina, as much as 5 inches of rain has fallen in the last 24 hours, with flooding north of Charleston. A local daycare facility had to be evacuated as wind gusts of up to 60 mph uprooted trees and knocked out power in Georgia as well. Baseball-sized hail was seen in Wyoming and Colorado.Thursday’s strongest storms again will be in the Plains, with areas from the Dakotas down to Kansas possibly seeing damaging winds, hail or isolated tornadoes.San Francisco on Wednesday reached a high of 94 degrees, shattering the city’s previous daily record of 85. Oakland also reached 94, also a record, and it was 100 in Napa.In Arizona, Yuma tied a record high at 115.Some areas of California desert could see 120 degrees on Thursday as Sacramento could reach 106.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Top Elections Official, Is Under Fire

first_imgBut the strategy also carries some risk. Telling Trump supporters the election process is rigged in Georgia could dissuade them from voting in the runoffs. And the anger over Mr. Raffensperger’s treatment is simmering among some longtime Republicans. The result was record turnout in Georgia and smooth in-person voting on Nov. 3.Andrea Young, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Georgia, praised Mr. Raffensperger’s handling of this year’s general election and characterized this week’s criticism as “voter suppression 2.0.”“As a child of the South,” she said, “it just sounds like too many Black people voted and we don’t like it.”But now those numbers are being questioned. Mr. Raffensperger said he only wanted to inspire trust in the system, even as it appeared to be slipping away.“At the end of the day, half the people will be happy. Half the people will be sad,” he said. “But what our goal is, is that 100 percent of the people have confidence in the result of the elections.”Richard Fausset reported from Atlanta, and Stephanie Saul from New York. Danny Hakim contributed reporting from New York. Now Mr. Raffensperger, a civil engineer and a numbers guy who received high marks from national experts on the smooth election operations in Georgia on Nov. 3, finds himself defending an electoral process that he said has no reason to be mistrusted.- Advertisement – Criticism has come from Mr. Trump and the state’s senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are each facing competitive January runoffs that could determine control of the Senate. The senators declared in a joint statement on Monday that Mr. Raffensperger had “failed the people of Georgia” and did not deliver “honest and transparent elections.”“I was fully expecting it to come from the one side,” Mr. Raffensperger said of the criticism. But, he added, “not from your own ranks.” It was a twist that few saw coming.- Advertisement – ATLANTA — Brad Raffensperger, the beleaguered top elections official in Georgia, considers himself the most loyal of Republicans. There was no question which candidates he would support in last week’s election.“I’ve only ever voted for Republicans,” Mr. Raffensperger said in an interview in his office at the State Capitol on Tuesday. “I’ve been a Republican, or conservative, you know, since I was a teenager.”- Advertisement – Shortly after Ms. Abrams’s loss, an organization she founded, Fair Fight Action, filed a lawsuit that claimed the state had dropped more than 100,000 inactive voters from its rolls. As a result of the lawsuit, 22,000 were reinstated.Last year, state lawmakers passed legislation that lengthened how long registered voters could be inactive before their names could be purged. The Legislature also virtually eliminated a rule that signatures on voter registration cards had to be matched to other records.Fair Fight Action has continued to take a central role in criticizing Mr. Raffensperger’s election policies in a state where Republican dominance has been challenged by a resurgent Democratic Party, fueled in part by changing demographics.In April, Lauren Groh-Wargo, Fair Fight Action’s chief executive, criticized Mr. Raffensperger after he announced the creation of an absentee ballot fraud task force, anticipating the widespread use of such ballots during the pandemic.When Mr. Raffensperger took office last year, he inherited litigation that challenged the safety of the state’s voting machines, claiming they were vulnerable to hacking, and was charged with introducing a new system. Its complexity — combined with no-shows by hundreds of poll workers who feared catching the virus — led to a meltdown during Georgia’s primary in June, with machine malfunctions and long lines. This week, other Republicans have also raised questions about the election process that Mr. Raffensperger has overseen. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican and the former secretary of state, said Mr. Raffensperger needed to take “a serious look” at allegations of irregularities. All members of the 2021 House Republican delegation from Georgia made a similar request. Updated Nov. 11, 2020, 7:48 p.m. ET – Advertisement – In his office on Tuesday, Mr. Raffensperger, a tall, silver-haired man with an austere mien, seemed both calm and cautious as he described Georgia’s predicament — as well as his own. Sometimes he looked to Jordan Fuchs, the deputy secretary of state, who reminded him of the first words of answers they had apparently rehearsed.Asked if he thought he was being thrown under the bus by fellow Republicans, he took what seemed like subtle digs at Mr. Trump, who on Wednesday was trailing Mr. Biden by about 14,000 votes in Georgia, and Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue.“Well, in Georgia, you have to win over 50 percent, and then you’re not in a runoff,” he said of the senators. “And if you win big, this wouldn’t be an issue.”The attacks on Mr. Raffensperger have cracked the facade of Republican unity before some of the most important runoff elections in recent American history. They also appear to be a way for Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue to curry favor with Georgians who, like the senators, are devoted fans of the president and outraged about the vote count. Hoping to avoid a similar disaster during the general election, county officials, aided by the state and nonprofit groups, began a massive poll worker recruitment effort and Mr. Raffensperger vowed to send technicians to every polling site on Election Day. Voters across Georgia were inundated with the message that they should vote by absentee ballots or at early voting sites. Leo Smith, a consultant with Mr. Raffensperger’s office and a former director with the state’s Republican Party, called the criticism of the Georgia vote “an insult to those hard-working, committed Republicans who oversaw the election.” In an interview, Mr. Smith described Mr. Raffensperger’s critics as “people who were caught in this poor leadership from a petulant president who has lost, and is using his loss to bully other Republicans into complying with conspiracy theories about voting.”Mr. Raffensperger, 65, began his political career on the City Council in the affluent northern Atlanta suburb of Johns Creek. In public, he exhibits a kind of punctilious blandness, with a voice that rarely rises above the dispassionate tone of a functionary behind the desk at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.Even so he is considered highly ambitious, and observers note that Mr. Kemp showed how the secretary of state’s office could be used as a springboard. Indeed, since taking office in January 2019, Mr. Raffensperger, the secretary of state, has been a target for Democrats in Georgia’s high-stakes, passionate and bitterly partisan voting wars.In his nearly two years on the job, he has championed policies to guard against a threat of voter fraud that Democrats say hardly exists. He has been the subject of multiple lawsuits, and of television ads blaming him for presiding over a botched June primary that left voters waiting for hours in long lines. Democrats have also accused him of “state sponsored voter intimidation.” The Trump campaign, however, has continued to claim that much went wrong in Georgia’s elections, part of a broader narrative of national voter fraud that has been almost uniformly rejected by elections officials from both parties.On Tuesday, the campaign and the Georgia Republican Party sent Mr. Raffensperger a letter claiming “hundreds of reports of voting discrepancies,” including “tens of thousands of ballots being unlawfully counted.”The letter demanded, among other things, a hand recount of the nearly five million votes cast. It also asked that Mr. Raffensperger “trace the chain of custody of the ballots from printing to sending, from receipt to counting” in an election that, because of the coronavirus pandemic, involved hundreds of thousands of mail-in absentee ballots — not unlike the situation in dozens of other states.On Wednesday morning, Mr. Raffensperger announced a hand recount of ballots in all 159 counties, an order that applies only to the presidential ticket. Even if Mr. Trump were to win Georgia, Mr. Biden has already won the national election. Mr. Raffensperger said he had no plans to step down, and emphasized that the statewide vote count was legitimate. There may have been “isolated incidents” of irregularities, he said in the interview this week, and his office was investigating those.“But we have not heard of any widespread voter fraud,” he said. After his City Council stint, Mr. Raffensperger, who is married and has two living adult sons and a third who died in 2018, spent a few years in the State Legislature. In his 2018 bid for the secretary of state, he lent his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars, telling voters he would focus on “protecting our elections,” particularly from immigrants who entered the country illegally.He did not garner more than 50 percent of the vote and ended up in a runoff with a Democrat, former U.S. Representative John Barrow, at a time when much of the nation had begun asking whether Georgia’s election system was truly fair.A few weeks earlier, Stacey Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party, had narrowly lost to Mr. Kemp in her bid to become the state’s first Black governor. Along the way, she and her supporters had argued that Mr. Kemp had been helped by voter suppression tactics he had engaged in as secretary of state.last_img read more

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Mickelson says he’s cooperating in trading probe

first_imgPhil Mickelson adjust his hat as he walks off the first tee during the third round of the Memorial golf tournament Saturday, May 31, 2014, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Hall of Fame golfer Phil Mickelson confirmed that FBI agents investigating insider trading approached him this week at the Memorial Tournament. The five-time major champion said Saturday he has done “absolutely nothing wrong.”A federal official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press the FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are analyzing trades Mickelson and Las Vegas gambler Billy Walters made involving Clorox at the same time activist investor Carl Icahn was attempting to take over the company.The official was unauthorized to speak about the ongoing investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity. Reports of the investigation appeared in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.Smiling as he stood before a room packed with reporters and cameras, Mickelson said the investigation had not been a distraction until FBI agents approached him after his opening round Thursday. He did not offer any other details, including his relationship with Walters or any stock advice he might have received.He said it would not affect his preparations for the U.S. Open in two weeks, the only major he lacks for the career Grand Slam.“It’s not going to change the way I carry myself,” Mickelson said after an even-par 72 at Muirfield Village left him far behind the leaders. “Honestly, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not going to walk around any other way.”The federal official told the AP that Mickelson and Walters placed their trades about the same time in 2011. Federal investigators are looking into whether Icahn shared information of his takeover attempt of Clorox with Walters, and whether Walters passed that information to Mickelson.The New York offices of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI declined to comment.The newspaper reports said federal officials also were examining trades by Mickelson and Walters involving Dean Foods Co. in 2012.After a brief interview, Mickelson stepped outside and signed autographs for about 20 minutes, like it was any other day at a tournament. Fans were supportive as ever on the golf course, and Mickelson gave away so many golf balls to children and his caddie asked a tour official to retrieve more balls from his locker when they reached the turn.He had released a statement early Saturday, and said that he wouldn’t release details.“I can’t really go into much right now, but as I said in my statement, I have done absolutely nothing wrong,” Mickelson said. “And that’s why I’ve been fully cooperating with the FBI agents, and I’m happy to do in the future, too, until this gets resolved.”He declined to answer questions about his relationship with Walters, who owns several golf courses. And when asked whether Walters advised him to invest in Clorox or Dean Foods, Mickelson matter-of-factly replied to a Wall Street Journal reporter, “You should know. You wrote the article.”Icahn, 78, is one of Wall Street’s most successful corporate raiders, famous for buying stock in underperforming companies, pressuring them to reform and selling out for a fat profit. In recent years, his targets have included Apple Inc., eBay and Dell Inc. His efforts have made him one of America’s richest people: Forbes magazine puts his net worth at more than $20 billion, making him the 18th-wealthiest American.In the 1980s, he pioneered so-called greenmail raids in which financiers threatened companies with hostile takeovers unless they were paid a premium to go away.Walters is a legendary figure in sports betting circles, widely feared by sports book operators as one of the few people who can consistently win. He’s bet millions on Super Bowls alone, and told “60 Minutes” in a 2011 profile that he has never had a losing year. An early user of computer data, Walters was one of the few bettors whose opinion was so respected that he could move point spreads if it was known what side he was betting on.Walters and a group of bettors dubbed The Computer Group were indicted in the mid-1980s for running what prosecutors said was a bookmaking operation, but were acquitted at trial. Walters was also indicted on money laundering charges in 1998 and had $2.8 million in cash confiscated from a safe deposit box, but the charges were later dismissed and the money returned.Walters was also a high stakes gambler on the golf course, regularly playing celebrities or PGA Tour pros for cash. He told Golf Digest that he once lost a $2 million bet and once made a 40-foot putt worth $400,000. Walters teamed up with touring pro partner Fredrik Jacobson to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by 10 strokes in 2008 while playing as an 11 handicap.Walters also owns golf courses and auto dealerships. Politically connected in Las Vegas, Walters is also known for his philanthropy, particularly toward Opportunity Village, which trains developmentally disabled adults.Mickelson, 43, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011. He goes to the U.S. Open next month in North Carolina with a chance to become only the sixth golfer to capture all four major championships. He has not won since the British Open last summer in Scotland.Mickelson has long had a reputation to gamble, though he has said he scaled back his habit after his son, Evan, was born in 2003 following a troublesome pregnancy. The most publicized payoff was when Mickelson and friends won $560,000 on a preseason bet (28-1 odds) that the Baltimore Ravens would win the 2001 Super Bowl.On the golf course, he has a long history of playing money games during the practice rounds. He occasionally gets a group of players and caddies together for dinner and small wagering during the NBA and NHL playoffs, and prominent fights.A year ago, Mickelson was criticized for public comments that tax increases in California kept him from being part of the San Diego Padres’ new ownership group and might cause him to leave his native state. He said his federal and state taxes amount to over 60 percent.___Associated Press writer Tom Hays in New York, Associated Press writers Paul Wiseman and Eric Tucker in Washington, AP Sports Writer Tim Dahlberg in Las Vegas and AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.last_img read more