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China sanctions 2 US defense companies and says they support arms sales to Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — China on Thursday announced rare sanctions against two U.S. defense companies over what it called their support for arms sales to Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy Beijing claims as its own territory to be recovered by force if necessary. The announcement freezes the assets of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems held within China. It also bars the companies’ management from entering the country. Filings show General Dynamics operates a half-dozen Gulfstream and jet aviation services operations in China, which remains heavily reliant on foreign aerospace technology even as it attempts to build its own presence in the field. The company also helps make the Abrams tank being purchased by Taiwan to replace outdated armor intended to deter or resist an invasion from China. General Atomics produces the Predator and Reaper drones used by the U.S. military. Chinese authorities did not go into details on the company’s alleged involvement with supplying arms to Taiwan. Beijing has long threatened such sanctions, but has rarely issued them as its economy reels from the COVID-19 pandemic, high unemployment and a sharp decline in foreign investment. “The continued U.S. arms sales to China’s Taiwan region seriously violate the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, interfere in China’s internal affairs, and undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It insists that the mainland and the island to which Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces fled amid civil war in 1949 remain part of a single Chinese nation. Sanctions were leveled under Beijing’s recently enacted Law of the People’s Republic of China on Countering Foreign Sanctions, aimed at retaliating against U.S. financial and travel restrictions on Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in mainland China and Hong Kong. General Dynamics fully owned entities are registered in Hong Kong, the southern Chinese semi-autonomous city over which Beijing has steadily been increasing its political and economic control to the point that it faces no vocal opposition and has seen its critics silenced, imprisoned or forced into exile. The two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. China has threatened action against foreign companies and governments that aid Taiwan’s defense and the U.S. military presence in the region, leading to commercial boycotts and diplomatic standoffs. China banned American firms Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Missiles & Defense from the Chinese market in retaliation for the use of one of their planes and a missile to shoot down a suspected spy balloon that flew over the continental United States last year. Similar balloons have frequently been discovered floating over Taiwan and into the Pacific Ocean. Despite their lack of formal diplomatic ties — a concession Washington made to Beijing when they established relations in 1979 — the U.S. remains Taiwan’s most important source of diplomatic support and supplier of military hardware from fighter jets to air defense systems. Taiwan has also been investing heavily in its own defense industry, producing sophisticated missiles and submarines. China had 14 warplanes and six navy ships operating around Taiwan on Wednesday and Thursday, with six of the aircraft crossing into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone — a tactic to test Taiwan’s defenses, wear down its capabilities and intimidate the population. So far, that has had little effect, with the vast majority of the island’s 23 million people opposing political unification with China.

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Judge rejects defense efforts to dismiss Hunter Biden’s gun case

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Delaware refused Friday to throw out a federal gun case against Hunter Biden, rejecting the president’s son’s claim that he is being prosecuted for political purposes as well as other arguments. U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika denied defense efforts to scuttle the prosecution charging Hunter Biden with lying about his drug use in October 2018 on a form to buy a gun that he kept for about 11 days. Hunter Biden’s lawyers had argued the case was politically motivated and asserted that an immunity provision from an original plea deal that fell apart still holds. They had also challenged the appointment of special counsel David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, to lead the prosecution. Noreika, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, has not yet ruled on a challenge to the constitutionality of the gun charges. Hunter Biden faces separate tax counts in Los Angeles alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in taxes over three years while living an “extravagant lifestyle,” during his days of using drugs. The judge overseeing that case refused to dismiss the charges earlier this month. Biden has pleaded not guilty in both cases. A representative for his legal team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. The president’s son has acknowledged struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine during that period in 2018, but his lawyers have said he didn’t break the law and another nonviolent, first-time offender would not have been charged. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell had argued Hunter Biden was “selectively charged” for improper political purposes. They argued that Weiss “buckled under political pressure” to indict the president’s son amid criticism of the plea deal from Trump and other Republicans. Norieka said in her ruling that Biden’s team provided “nothing concrete” to support a conclusion that anyone actually influenced the special counsel’s team. “The pressure campaign from Congressional Republicans may have occurred around the time that Special Counsel decided to move forward with indictment instead of pretrial diversion, but the Court has been given nothing credible to suggest that the conduct of those lawmakers (or anyone else) had any impact on Special Counsel,” the judge wrote. “It is all speculation.”

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PM says will relish kaladi after victory

Excelsior Correspondent UDHAMPUR, Apr 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi also touched many local issues during the rally at Modi Ground in Udhampur. He said when he visits Udhampur again after the victory of BJP candidate Dr Jitendra Singh, he will relish Udhampur’s Kaladi. The Prime Minister slammed the Congress for delaying the Shahpur-Kandi dam’s completion saying “the water of our Ravi river was flowing to Pakistan while our farmers in Samba and Kathua were suffering”. Modi fulfilled the guarantee to farmers as thousands of them are going to benefit from the completion of the dam, which will also illuminate the houses here. He called upon the electorate to make Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma victorious with record margins. Meanwhile, Dr Jitendra Singh has expressed thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Udhampur to address an election rally. In a post on X, Dr Jitendra Singh wrote the massive rally at Udhampur will boost morale of the people.

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Three Jewish lawmakers turn down Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s invitation to discuss antisemitism

At least three Jewish lawmakers and several Jewish organizations are declining Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s invitation for a Monday roundtable to discuss antisemitism over what they describe as “disrespect and lack of concern for the Jewish community.” In a letter sent Friday declining the invitation, Chicago Ald. Debra Silverstein, 50th Ward, state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz, and Rep. Bob Morgan pointed to Johnson’s tie-breaking vote in support of a resolution calling for a cease-fire in the ongoing war in Gaza as one example of Johnson’s “stunning failure in leadership.” The letter went on to cite Johnson’s support for Chicago Public School students walking out in support of a cease-fire, among other reasons, as more evidence of their dissatisfaction with Johnson’s support of the Jewish community. “True change can only start at the top. Before calling for a roundtable on antisemitism, a true leader should begin by demonstrating a modicum of empathy for the Jewish community — we have seen none of that,” the letter read. Representatives for the Jewish United Fund and Anti-Defamation League Midwest confirmed they were invited to Monday’s roundtable and also declined to attend. At least one progressive Jewish group that has supported calls for a cease-fire, Jewish Voice for Peace, confirmed they will be attending Monday’s roundtable. Silverstein and Jay Tcath, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund, said they requested a full list of invited attendees but did not get a response from the mayor’s office. “We have no idea who’s going to be there and who’s not. It just seems to me like a little bit of a hollow offer to try to save face with the Jewish community,” Silverstein said in an interview with WBEZ. “His message is transparency and communication and it’s greatly lacking.” A spokesman for Johnson said the mayor’s office has no comment. Goals of the roundtable included informing the mayor’s policies to address antisemitism and for the Johnson administration to share its approach for engaging the Jewish community, Tcath said. But he said his group was concerned the invitation was not sincere, and that the meeting would have been used to “simply check off that he reached out and had this meeting, and that business would continue as usual.” “Based upon our experiences the last six months, there wasn’t trust that it would be a productive use of our time,” Tcath said, “and that we wouldn’t be exploited for his own political posturing.” Johnson came out in support of a cease-fire in January, condemning the actions of Hamas while also calling for the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians to stop. A week later, a divided City Council faced hours of tense debate over a resolution that called for a permanent ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, and “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.” The resolution, sponsored by progressive council members, only passed after Johnson cast the tie-breaking vote. Silverstein, the City Council’s lone Jewish member, voted against the resolution and argued at the time it didn’t call strongly enough for the unconditional release of Israeli hostages, among other reasons. Silverstein said she has not spoken with the mayor since that vote. Johnson this week renewed his call for peace as the Israel-Hamas war continues. “The past six months of news have been devastating. But we continue to pray for the families who are experiencing violence everywhere,” Johnson said at the event, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “And whether it’s Wadea or those who are losing their lives to violence in Chicago, the families who are grieving for loved ones in Gaza and the families who are grieving for loved ones in Chicago, we grieve together.” Last year, the City Council passed another controversial resolution, sponsored by Silverstein, nearly a week after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. That resolution condemned the attack and declared solidarity with Israel. “I really think he needs to show us something that he really is intending to learn something,” Silverstein said, “because I’m not feeling it right now and neither is my community.” Tessa Weinberg covers city politics and government for WBEZ.

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How to get a last-minute tax filing extension

Tax season, beloved by few and dreaded by many, comes to a close on Monday. For some tardy filers, though, the task will just be getting started. Up to one in three Americans waits until the last minute to file their taxes, according to a 2021 survey by IPX 1031. That amounts to tens of millions of people. A portion of them will realize that they do not have enough time to submit their taxes by the end of Tax Day. Luckily, the Internal Revenue Service offers the opportunity to file for an extension. ALSO SEE: IRS to open its free tax filing site to more new users Here’s what to know about whether to file for an extension, what it requires and how long it lasts: What are the benefits of filing a tax extension? A tax extension pushes back the filing deadline, affording taxpayers additional time to get their submission in order. An extension, however, does not allow filers to delay payment. If a filer thinks he or she might owe the government money, then the person must hand over the estimated amount by April 15. If not, the filer stands at risk of paying penalties and interest. RELATED: Tax tips: What to know before filing for the 2023 season When estimating how much they owe, filers should keep in mind changes to the tax code, such as updated tax brackets and new tax credits. Knowledge of those rules can help filers optimize their tax refund. If a filer forgoes an extension and files late, the person risks additional fees for the tardy submission. The penalty amounts to 5% of the taxes owed for each month that the filing is late, up to a maximum of 25%. Under such circumstances, the IRS mails a letter or notice alerting the filer of a late fee. How do you file a tax extension? Before filing an extension, a taxpayer can check to see if he or she qualifies for an automatic extension. That option is available to people who live in a federally declared disaster area, members of the military stationed abroad or in a combat zone and citizens living outside the U.S. Otherwise, an extension can be submitted in one of three ways. First, if an individual opts to pay the anticipated amount owed, he or she can check off an extension-request box in the IRS online payment portal. RELATED: Change in pension withholdings lead to some state retirees owing IRS thousands: ‘Flabbergasted’ Alternatively, a filer can submit an online extension request through the government’s free service, IRS Free File. Finally, the taxpayer can always go about it the old-fashioned way by mailing the extension. Such filers should fill out the Form 4868 and send it to an address listed on the IRS website. The form requires filers to estimate the amount of tax owed for the filing year. Tax professionals can also assist filers in obtaining an extension. The extension request must be submitted by the end of the day on April 15. How long does a tax extension last? A tax extension lasts six months, meaning those who obtain an extension will be allowed to submit their tax forms without penalty until Oct. 15. Some may not want their tax season to end before that, however. They’re welcome to file taxes at any point over the six-month period.

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What does your horoscope say about you today: Saturday, April 13

It’s a laidback kind of Saturday – one that’s great for relaxing and puttering around the house. We’re encouraged to take time out to nurture and nourish ourselves on the inside and out, especially if we’re feeling tired or moody. For those of us who might be craving something more to do, the current cosmic weather is also perfect for getting together with close friends and loved ones for family-friendly activities, like a sporting event or a meal. As the Mercury retrograde continues, we’re encouraged to take time out of our busy schedules to reconnect with those who are near and dear to our heart. ARIES(March 21 to April 19)Being at home relaxing or spending quality time with family might be more appealing than going out or doing much else. TAURUS(April 20 to May 20)You might get a lot of joy out of taking a class or workshop today. What are you interested in learning? GEMINI(May 21 to June 20)Don’t feel pressured to make a big decision until you’re sure of what you want. CANCER(June 21 to July 22)Listen to your body. It knows exactly what you need. LEO(July 23 to Aug. 22)You might need some time alone today. Enjoy the solitude. VIRGO(Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)You can count on your friends for love and support. Reach out to them. LIBRA(Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)Expect a productive day ahead. You can make a sizeable dent in your to-do list. SCORPIO(Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)Let the spirit of adventure and exploration guide you today. See where it takes you. SAGITTARIUS(Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)Prioritise your emotional well-being. You can use some R and R. CAPRICORN(Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)You can benefit a great deal from teamwork. Partner up or form a group to get things done quicker. AQUARIUS(Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)This could be a good time to start a cleaning or organising project. PISCES(Feb. 19 to March 20)Engage with the more playful side of life. Focus on fun! FOR TODAY’S BIRTHDAY You possess an immense amount of inner strength. You don’t shy away from a challenge or give up after a setback. You keep going until you get exactly where you want to be. Your bravery is admirable, as is your passion. You’re deeply loyal to the people you love, and you exude warmth and kindness. When you trust your gut, you tap into your innate power, giving you the ability to do just about anything. This year, home and family will play a prominent role in your life. Perhaps you’re ready to move, put down roots or connect deeper to your lineage.

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Eleanor Coppola, matriarch of a filmmaking family, dies at 87

Eleanor Coppola, who documented the making of some of her husband Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic films, including the infamously tortured production of “Apocalypse Now,” and who raised a family of filmmakers, has died. She was 87. Coppola died Friday at home in Rutherford, California, her family announced in a statement. Eleanor, who grew in Orange County, California, met Francis while working as an assistant art director on his directorial debut, the Roger Corman-produced 1963 horror film “Dementia 13.” (She had studied design at UCLA.) Within months of dating, Eleanor became pregnant and the couple were wed in Las Vegas in February 1963. Their first-born, Gian-Carlo, quickly became a regular presence in his father’s films, as did their subsequent children, Roman (born in 1965) and Sofia (born in 1971). After acting in their father’s films and growing up on sets, all would go into the movies. “I don’t know what the family has given except I hope they’ve set an example of a family encouraging each other in their creative process whatever it may be,” Eleanor told The Associated Press in 2017. “It happens in our family that everyone chose to sort of follow in the family business. We weren’t asking them to or expecting them to, but they did. At one point Sofia said, ‘The nut does not fall far from the tree.’” Gian-Carlo, who’s seen in the background of many of his father’s films and had begun doing second-unit photography, died at the age of 22 in a 1986 boating accident. He was killed while riding in a boat piloted by Griffin O’Neal, son of Ryan O’Neal, who was found guilty of negligence. Roman directed several movies of his own and regularly collaborates with Wes Anderson. He’s president of his father’s San Francisco-based film company, American Zoetrope. Sofia became one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of her generation as the writer-director of films including “Lost in Translation” and the 2023 release “Priscilla.” Sofia dedicated that film to her mother. In joining the family business, the Coppola children weren’t just following in their father’s footsteps but their mother’s, too. Beginning on 1979’s “Apocalypse Now,” Eleanor frequently documented the behind-the-scenes life of Francis’ films. The Philippines-set shoot of “Apocalypse Now” lasted 238 days. A typhoon destroyed sets. Martin Sheen had a heart attack. A member of the construction crew died. Eleanor documented much of the chaos in what would become one of the most famous making-of films about moviemaking, 1991’s “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse.” “I was just trying to keep myself occupied with something to do because we were out there for so long,” Eleanor told CNN in 1991. “They wanted five minutes for a TV promotional or something and I thought sooner of later I could get five minutes of film and then it went on to 15 minutes.” “I just kept shooting but I had no idea … the evolution of myself that I saw with my camera,” continued Eleanor, who ended up shooting 60 hours worth of footage. “So, it was a surprise for both of us and a life changing experience.” Eleanor also published “Notes: On the Making of ‘Apocalypse Now’” in 1979. While the film focused on the film set tumult, the book charted some of Eleanor’s inner turmoil, including the challenges of being married to a larger-than-life figure. She wrote of being a “woman isolated from my friends, my affairs and my projects” during their year in Manilla. She also frankly discusses Francis having an extramarital affair. “There is part of me that has been waiting for Francis to leave me, or die, so that I can get my life the way I want it,” wrote Eleanor. “I wonder if I have the guts to get it the way I want it with him in it.” They remained together, though, throughout her life. And Eleanor continued to seek out creative outlets for herself. She documented several more of her husband’s films, as well as Roman’s “CQ” and Sofia’s “Marie Antoinette.” She wrote a memoir in 2008, “Notes on a Life.” In 2016, at the age of 80, Eleanor made her narrative debut in “Paris Can Wait,” a romantic comedy starring Diane Lane. She followed that up with “Love Is Love Is Love” in 2020. Eleanor had initially set out only to write the screenplay to “Paris Can Wait.” “One morning at the breakfast table my husband said, ‘Well you should direct it.’ I was totally startled,” Eleanor told The AP. “But I said ‘Well, I never wrote a script before and I’ve never directed, why not?’ I was kind of saying ‘why not’ to everything.”

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Golden Bachelor’ split! What went wrong?

LOS ANGELES — Bachelor Nation is still trying to recover from the bombshell news that “Golden Bachelor” couple Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist are divorcing after only about 3 months of marriage. The couple told ABC’s Juju Chang “We’ve had a number of heart-to-heart conversations and we’ve looked carefully at our situation, our living situation and so forth, and we’ve kind of come to the conclusion mutually that it’s probably time for us to dissolve our marriage.” They insisted they’re still in love, and to drive that point home, they held hands throughout their Good Morning America interview. So, what went wrong? Theresa and Gerry told Juju that they are both dedicated to their grown children and grandchildren and they felt it was best to live apart. Having those important conversations with a potential partner was important to Gerry from the very beginning. On The Red Carpet spoke to Gerry several times over the course of his “Golden Bachelor” journey including just before he left for hometown dates. “I can’t say I’ve found the one, but I’ve found the few. And with the help of hometowns and seeing the lifestyles and seeing all the women that I’m down to in a more relaxed setting, I think that’s going to help me make good decisions,” Gerry said. “One of the first things I looked for was a sense of humor, the woman’s ability to laugh at herself, even to laugh at me,” Gerry revealed at the show’s premiere event in September. “I was looking for the person that would be a full-fledged 50-50 partner with me, not someone that would walk a step behind and make me take the lead all the time.” Theresa seemed to be just that. She was able to calm Gerry’s nerves after a harrowing drive to their one-on-one date at a diner, where they bonded over the losses of their spouses and they encouraged viewers to not stop believing in love. Viewers saw that bond grow through the season. At the “Women Tell All” taping, Gerry revealed what was ahead on overnight dates and why they were so important to him. And it’s not the NSFW reason! “I will tell you, the overnights were a watershed moment for me. When you’re off camera and you don’t have microphones listening, and you can have those discussions that you can’t have in front of other people, it’s much easier to learn about someone and make decisions.” Was their living arrangement – and how they’d handle being near their respective families – something Gerry and Theresa spoke about on their overnight date? It seemed both Gerry and Theresa were all in during the finale in November. Theresa told Gerry, “The best is yet to come,” and as he got down on one knee, Gerry proclaimed, “You’re the person I can’t live without.” The two announced on “After The Final Rose” that they were getting married January 4. “This show has touched so many lives and we feel that we’ve really made a difference in people’s lives and we want to bring them along for this ride,” Theresa told On The Red Carpet when we checked in with them in December. More than seven million viewers watched as Theresa and Gerry exchanged their vows in a ceremony officiated by former contestant Susan Noles. Theresa and Gerry seemed like the picture of wedded bliss at the “After The Final Rose” live show for “The Bachelor’s” latest lead, Joey Graziadei. And just last week, at an event for Hulu on Disney+, Theresa updated On The Red Carpet on married life. “Wonderful! We’re just so happy. We’re with our families, we just came from filming something together.” That something is “Celebrity Family Feud.” No word yet on when, or if, that episode will air. And as we digest the news of their split, Gerry and Theresa want people to know that the love is not gone. “There’s no doubt in my mind. I still am in love with her, I root for her every day,” Gerry said to Juju Chang. Theresa also said she doesn’t want people to be discouraged by this news. “I don’t think we can tell you how many people told us that it gave them so much hope. We want none of that to change for anybody.”

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Real Betis snap four-game Spanish league losing streak

Camera IconReal Betis teammates congratulate Nabil Fekir (centre) on his goal against Celta Vigo. (EPA PHOTO) Credit: EPA Real Betis snap four-game Spanish league losing streak Staff WritersAPApril 13, 2024 6:37AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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Harford County, Maryland: Your new favorite road trip

“We’re offering this familiar product, meaning a slushie, which you go to 7-Eleven and you’d see the blue raspberry or the Coca-Cola slushie and you’d pump it in and drink it when you were 15 on your bicycle,” Durkin said. “I have that memory and then I was like, ‘Oh, I can make these really healthy ones.'” Breezy’s will be open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays at 2235 Washington Ave. Durkin said he’ll also make the space available to rent for private events, and he’d also eventually like to offer cooking classes. “I really just wanted a meeting place. I love Philadelphia, I’m investing in it, I love this neighborhood,” Durkin said. “It’s influenced me and my life and I want to have a place where people are welcome and can come in, grab a sandwich, grab a drink and have a conversation.”

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