Taste Of Their Own Medicine: Hamas Militant Killed By Suicide Bomber In Gaza

A suicide bomber blew himself up in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing a Hamas militant who was trying to stop the attacker from crossing into Egypt, Hamas announced.

It marked the first time that Hamas, which has carried out dozens of suicide attacks over the years targeting Israelis, was itself struck in such an assault. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said five other Hamas security forces and an accomplice of the bomber were wounded.

The ministry described the assailant and his colleague as “ideologically deviant” — a term Hamas uses to describe members of the Islamic State group and other extremists. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Read more at ABC NEWS.


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Lawsuit: Poland Spring Water Is Committing ‘Colossal Fraud’

A lawsuit claims that Poland Spring Water is deceiving consumers with evergreen labels that say their bottle contains “100 percent natural spring water” that hails from Maine.

The class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Connecticut claims that parent company Nestle Waters North America is bottling common groundwater that doesn’t meet the federal definition of spring water.

A Nestle Waters representative says the water meets all relevant federal and state regulations for spring water.

Nestle Waters settled a 2003 Connecticut lawsuit claiming Poland Spring’s water was not sourced deep in the Maine woods.

The lawsuit comes as the Stamford, Connecticut-based company embarks on an expansion in Maine amid rising demand for bottled water.

Nestle is seeking state approval to source water from a public water district well in Lincoln.


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Major Travel Websites Blacklist Swiss Hotel Accused of Antisemitism by Jewish Guests

Travel industry giants moved quickly on Thursday to distance themselves from a hotel in the Swiss Alps accused of discriminating against Jewish guests over access to its swimming pool and kitchen areas.

After the revelation on Monday that Ruth Thomann — the owner of the Paradies hotel in the Alpine resort of Arosa — had placed signs specifying that “Jewish guests” needed to shower before entering the swimming pool and could access the kitchen refrigerator where kosher food is stored for just two hours each day, vacation and travel websites began removing the hotels’ listing.

Booking.com – which regularly ranks at number one in rankings of travel sites — said it was removing the Paradies from its listings. “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” a spokeswoman for the site said. “We can confirm that the property in question is no longer available on Booking.com.”

Attempts to make a booking at the Paradies through Priceline.com, another popular site, were met with the automatic response that “The hotel you requested is unavailable, however here are others you may like.” The Paradies is also now absent from a comprehensive list of hotels in and around Arosa available on Expedia.com.

Shimon Samuels — the international affairs director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who alerted Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans to Thomann’s actions — praised “a path-breaking step against discrimination by the travel industry.”

“We are very familiar with the indiscriminate welcome and hospitality of hotels in the region, and know what shame such incidents as this case in Arosa bring to them,” Samuels told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

“Bigots probe the first line of prejudice appeasement,” Samuels observed. “Unless publicly condemned and penalized, its acceptability will spread exponentially.”

“No matter whom the target — Jews, Muslims, Roma, the LGBTQ community — our reaction would have been the same,” Samuels continued.

In an interview with The Algemeiner on Monday, Thomann conceded that she had “used the wrong words” in placing the signs. Asked if she understood why such signs are deeply offensive, Thomann responded, “I can understand, but I will have lots of Jewish guests next year.”

The Algemeiner     .     Ben Cohen


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New York – HuffPost Bannon Headline ‘Goy, Bye!’ Creates Backlash

New York — HuffPost chose a questionable headline for its article about White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon leaving his position. “Goy, bye!” read the homepage of the news site. The unusual choice of words was a combination of the Yiddish word for a non-Jew and a lyric in Beyonce’s “Lemonade” song in which the […]

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Washington – Soothing The Nation? Trump Struggles Like No Other President

Washington — For Susan Bro, mother of the woman killed at a rally organized by white supremacists, the president of the United States can offer no healing words. She says the White House repeatedly tried to reach out to her on Wednesday, the day of Heather Heyer’s funeral. But she’s since watched President Donald Trump […]

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EpiPen Maker Finalizes Settlement For Government Overcharges

EpiPen maker Mylan has finalized a $465 million government agreement settling allegations it overbilled Medicaid for its emergency allergy injectors for a decade — charges brought after rival Sanofi filed a whistleblower lawsuit and tipped off the government.

It’s the second settlement with the Department of Justice that Mylan has made since 2009 for allegedly overcharging the government for its medicines.

A prominent senator and a watchdog group both criticized the latest settlement for being far smaller than the amount Medicaid was overcharged.

Mylan NV, technically based in England but with operational headquarters near Pittsburgh, became a poster child for pharmaceutical industry greed for hiking the list price of EpiPens repeatedly. It raised the price per pair from $94 in 2007 to $608 last year, while experts estimate it costs less than $10 to produce one EpiPen.

Last September, a House panel grilled Mylan CEO Heather Bresch about the skyrocketing cost of the devices, which patients inject in the thigh to stop a runaway allergic reaction to foods such as nuts and eggs or insect bites and stings.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice disclosed that its EpiPen case began when Sanofi-Aventis US LLC filed a lawsuit against Mylan under the False Claims Act.

The law allows individuals and companies to sue on behalf of the government over improper charges to government programs and to receive a share of any money recovered. Sanofi is to receive about $38.7 million. The federal government and all 50 states will split the bulk of the settlement.

Sanofi made a rival auto-injector called Auvi-Q. The French drugmaker recalled nearly 500,000 of its devices from the market in 2015, due to some not administering the correct dose of the hormone epinephrine to reverse a severe allergic attack.

EpiPens have long dominated the market and continue to do so, between their name recognition and deals Mylan has made to get preferable or exclusive coverage from insurers and prescription benefit managers.

According to the Justice Department, Mylan paid Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program for the poor and disabled, too-low rebates for EpiPens by improperly classifying the brand-name product as a generic. Drugmakers are required to pay Medicaid rebates of 13 percent for generic products it purchases, versus a 23.1 percent rebate for brand-name drugs, which cost far more.

EpiPen has been incorrectly classified since late 1997 as a generic product under Medicaid. Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007 and didn’t change its classification.

In addition, Mylan wasn’t paying Medicaid a second rebate required whenever a brand-name drug’s price rises more than inflation, which averaged less than 2 percent a year from 2007 through 2016.

Last fall, members of Congress grilled the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid about the discrepancies and whether it was taking any action. Announcement of a tentative $465 settlement soon followed, which upset some critics.

“DOJ is letting Mylan get off on the cheap for ripping off the government, and with no admission of wrongdoing,” Robert Weissman, president of the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen, said in a statement Thursday.

Weissman and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, both noted that the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General’s investigated and concluded that Medicaid programs paid Mylan $1.27 billion more than they should have between 2006 and 2016.

“It looks like the settlement amount shortchanges the taxpayers,” wrote Grassley, who authored parts of the False Claims Act. “The Justice Department doesn’t say how it arrived at $465 million. … Did the Justice Department consider the inspector general estimate?”

In the finalized settlement, Mylan agreed to enter a corporate integrity agreement requiring it to have intensive outside scrutiny of its pricing practices with Medicaid for five years.

Such agreements are commonplace when drugmakers settle fraud charges with the government, but they don’t always prevent future misconduct.

Mylan was one of four companies that in October 2009 settled charges they didn’t pay appropriate rebates to state Medicaid programs for multiple medicines. The companies paid back a combined total of $124 million.


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WATCH: Gingrich Warns: Trump Presidency Is In Jeopardy

Gingrich, who has consistently been one of Trump’s most optimistic supporters, said Friday morning that Trump is more isolated than he realizes and needs to make “serious changes” if he’s going to have a stable presidency.

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GOP Rep. Rohrabacher: Assange Says He Has Proof Russia Didn’t Hack DNC

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for three hours in London Wednesday and said the controversial document leaker claims to have proof Russia was not behind the Democratic National Committee email hacks.

“He reaffirmed his aggressive denial that the Russians had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC during the election,” Rohrabacher told the Orange County Register about meeting with Assange. “He has given us a lot of information. He said there’s more to come. We don’t have the entire picture yet.”

Rohrabacher added that he believes the information Assange shared with him “will have an earth-shattering political impact.” Read more here.






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New York – NYC Subway Tiles To Be Altered Over Confederate Flag Concern

New York — Transit officials have decided to alter subway station tiles that have a cross-like design similar to that of the Confederate flag. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is modifying the tiles at the 40th Street entrance to the Times Square subway stop to avoid any confusion about their meaning, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said […]

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GOP Senator Says Trump Hasn’t Shown Stability, Competence

A prominent Republican senator delivered a stinging rebuke Thursday of Donald Trump’s short time in office, declaring he has not shown the stability or competence required for an American president to succeed.

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said Trump “recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.” During comments to local reporters after a speech to the Chattanooga Rotary Club, Corker called for “radical changes” in how the Trump White House operates.

Separately, Republican Sen. Tim Scott told a newspaper in his home state of South Carolina that Trump’s heavily criticized response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, “complicates this administration’s moral authority.”

Corker’s remarks, which were posted on Facebook, came two days after Trump declared at a New York press conference that white supremacists don’t bear all the blame for the melee in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed after being struck by a car driven into a crowd. Trump triggered a firestorm of protest, with a number of Republicans criticizing him for giving weight to the complaints of white nationalists by refusing to definitively condemn them.

Corker has sought to be a strong supporter of Trump’s, particularly on foreign policy matters. He was considered as a candidate for secretary of state in the Trump administration before Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive officer of Exxon-Mobil, was picked for the job.

But Trump’s impulsive and often bombastic style has complicated the relationship for Corker and other congressional Republicans. A few months ago, following reports that Trump had disclosed highly classified information to a pair of Russian diplomats in the Oval Office, Corker said the White House was “in a downward spiral.”

But Corker in recent weeks had largely declined to answer questions about Trump’s tweets or other political drama, telling reporters covering Congress that he was focused instead on matters of policy.

He elected to weigh in Thursday, however. Noting that the country is polarized, Corker said, “Helping inspire divisions because it generates support from your political base is not a formula for causing our nation to advance, our nation to overcome the many issues that we have to deal with right now.”

Corker said, “The world needs for our president to be successful,” and said he’s hopeful Trump will do what’s necessary to bring out the best in people, regardless of their political affiliations.

Trump, he said, needs “to take stock of the role that he plays in our nation and move beyond himself, move way beyond himself, and move to a place where daily he’s waking up thinking about what is best for our nation.”

Corker also defended his Republican colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona. On Twitter Thursday, Trump called Flake “toxic” while praising his primary election opponent.

Flake is “one of the finest best human beings I’ve ever met,” Corker said. He said the White House would be well served to embrace Flake because of his substance and character. Flake has a “conscience and is a real conservative,” according to Corker.

Scott is the Senate’s only black Republican. He told The Post and Courier of Charleston that Trump erred by drawing a “moral equivalency” between the white supremacists and counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville.

“I think you are either missing four centuries of history in this nation or you are trying to make something what it’s not,” Scott said.

Trump’s controversies have compromised the GOP’s ability to get things done on health care, taxes and financial regulations and have put Republicans in a “precarious position,” Scott told the newspaper.


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