What would a Sen. Beto O’Rourke mean for Texas’ business community?

But nowhere is the business divide sharper than over O’Rourke’s opposition to the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Republicans passed last year.

Cruz offers O’Rourke’s position as proof of a “left-wing activist agenda,” saying the revamp is already paying off for businesses and individuals. Moseley, the Texas Association of Business president, also said the Democrat’s vote is likely a deal breaker for many business leaders.

O’Rourke is unmoved, casting the tax cuts as debt-laden gifts that “disproportionately flow to corporations that are already sitting on record piles of cash and the already wealthy.”

“I believe not in investing in corporations and in special interests,” he said last month. “I believe in investing in people.”

O’Rourke explained that corporations “absolutely” can be job creators and provide important goods and services. But he said he’s “with the people who created the value for those corporations,” offering AT&T and its workers as an example.

The telecom giant will “enjoy tens of billions of dollars in savings from this tax bill that was written to their benefit,” he said. Their employees, by comparison, received “measly” $1,000 bonuses, he said, noting that AT&T also laid off hundreds of employees in the overhaul’s wake.

Cruz said O’Rourke’s position smacks of what he called the “elite, out-of-touch perspective” of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that the bonuses amounted to “crumbs.”

An AT&T spokesman, asked for comment, said that “with tax reform in mind,” the company paid $200 million in bonuses, made an $800 million contribution to the company’s employee and retiree medical trust and donated nearly $100 million to the company’s charitable foundation.

But O’Rourke said the bottom line is that he will stand up for Texas companies in Washington only “if it’s good for their employees, if it’s good for the economy, if it’s good for Texas.”

“I want corporations to be successful,” he said. “But that success has to flow to the people who created the value in the first place.”

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A mom tweeted about her son’s dating life and turned him into the #HimToo poster boy


The subject of a viral #HimToo meme has come forward, saying he had no part in his mother’s tweet.

Pieter Hanson was mortified after learning his mom wrongly tweeted about his dating life and turned him into a viral sensation.

Even more: A cheeky photo of Hanson in his Navy uniform was making the rounds online, because — thanks to mom — he had just become the poster boy for the #HimToo movement, a hashtag appearing to oppose the #MeToo movement. 

“This is MY son,” his mom wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “He graduated #1 in boot camp. He was awarded the USO award. He was #1 in A school. He is a gentleman who respects women. He won’t go on solo dates due to the current climate of false sexual accusations by radical feminists with an axe to grind. I VOTE. #HimToo.”

USA TODAY talked with his brother, Jon Hanson, to learn more about what went down. Here’s what he told us:

– Their mother (who the brothers aren’t naming) has since deleted the tweet and disabled her account

– Monday night, 32-year-old Pieter texted the tweet to his brother, Jon, who like most brothers responded to the “ridiculous tweet” with laughter. Then, according to Jon, he hopped online to save his brother’s reputation in a series of tweets. He said Pieter is indeed single but “ready to go on solo dates.”

– Pieter then created a Twitter account to have his say on the platform, with the appropriate handle: @thatwasmymom, Jon tweeted.

“That was my Mom,” Pieter tweeted. “Sometimes the people we love do things that hurt us without realizing it. Let’s turn this around. I respect and #BelieveWomen . I never have and never will support  #HimToo . I’m a proud Navy vet, Cat Dad and Ally. Also, Twitter, your meme game is on point.”

The meme game he’s referencing is the many “This is MY son” copycat tweets that featured photos of everyone from celebrities to members of the Trump family.

Jon told USA TODAY their mom meant well, but was totally wrong. She has embarrassed her sons in the past on at least one Facebook post about their dating life, but never got political and never went viral — until now.

“I don’t think she understands,” Jon said. “Trying to explain this to our parents has not worked out well. They don’t get it.”

Meanwhile, Pieter is taking the viral whirlwind in stride, using his internet fame to share photos of his cats and ask people to donate money to charity. 

Pieter is also a student at University of Central Florida, a server and works at a home brew shop, Jon said. He’s hoping to open his own brewery one day. 

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/10/09/himtoo-poster-boy-mom-turned-him-viral/1577662002/

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Turkey seeks details on Saudi movements amid probe of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance

Turkish investigators probing the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were checking flight records and surveillance video seeking to trace the movements of suspected Saudi agents believed to be at the center of the mystery.

A week after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a growing front of diplomatic pressure and forensic efforts has produced sweeping suspicions but no definitive clues to Khashoggi’s fate.

Turkish investigators think Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after he entered the consulate on Oct. 2 and his body later removed from the premises, according to a U.S. official and sources close to the investigation.

The Saudi government denies any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, another possible layer in the investigation emerged with a report by the newspaper Sabah — a pro-government Turkish publication with connections to President Recip Tayyip Erdogan — of two private jets arriving from Saudi Arabia on the day Khashoggi was last seen.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it now wants to inspect the consulate in Istanbul’s Levent district and walk the same steps taken by Khashoggi, a writer and critic of Saudi Arabia’s leadership.

A statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saudi authorities were “open to cooperation” and would allow an examination of the consulate’s grounds. It was not clear when the search would take place.

The Washington Post published Monday an image from a closed-circuit television camera that a person close to the investigation said showed Khashoggi’s last known seconds in public — as he was stepping through a door to enter consulate for an appointment to get administrative documents for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

Turkish investigators also are trying to nail down the exact movements of 15 Saudi nationals who arrived in Istanbul the same day and are suspected of having a role in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

A report in Sabah said the team members arrived from Riyadh, the Saudi capital, in two private Gulfstream IV airplanes on Oct. 2. One plane, with nine passengers, landed before Khashoggi entered the consulate about 1 p.m., and the other plane, with six passengers, arrived later, according to the flight manifests, the newspaper reported.

The veracity of the report could not immediately be confirmed, but a person with knowledge of the investigation corroborated some of its details.

“The team that arrived with the first plane checked in and left their belongings at two separate hotels near the Saudi Arabian Consulate,” the Sabah report said. “Those who arrived with the second plane went directly to the consulate and returned to the airport.”

Two and a half hours after Khashoggi entered the consulate, six vehicles left the site, Sabah reported.

“There were 15 Saudi officials and intelligence workers in the vehicles. A Mercedes Vito with tinted windows and another vehicle went to Consul-General’s Mohammad al-Otaibi’s residence 200 meters away” and stayed at Otaibi’s residence for four hours, the report continued.

Turkish employees at Otaibi’s residence were “hastily” told to leave that day, the report added.

Both planes left Istanbul that evening. One stopped in the United Arab Emirates, and the other stopped overnight in Egypt, according to the report.

It added that investigators were examining security cameras near the hotels, tracking the movements of the vehicles and also looking into the possibility that Khashoggi was abducted with the help of another country’s security services.

The mystery has captured growing international attention because of Khashoggi’s prominence and an ongoing feud between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both of which are regional powers.

On Tuesday, President Trump, a close ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said he would be talking to the Saudi government “soon” about Khashoggi, who has contributed to The Washington Post’s Global section.

“I know nothing” other than what had been reported about the case, Trump added.  

In another sign of the growing global interest, the BBC took the unusual step of broadcasting off-the-record comments Khashoggi made during an interview with the broadcaster three days before his disappearance.

“We wouldn’t normally broadcast an off-air conversation, but we’ve decided to make an exception, in light of the current circumstances,” the BBC said in a note published on its website.

In Geneva, U.N. officials expressed “grave concern” over Khashoggi’d status and called for an international investigation.

“Those responsible — perpetrators and masterminds — should be identified and brought to justice,” said a statement by three U.N. officials, including Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on summary executions.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, also told reporters in Lisbon that Europe expects “a full-out investigation and full transparency from Saudi authorities on what happened,” the Reuters news agency reported.

In London, the British Foreign Office issued a warning to Saudi Arabia of diplomatic fallout if the allegations prove to be true. “Friendships depend on shared values,” said the statement.

Saudi officials have called the accusations “baseless” and “outrageous.”

“We have seen over the last few days various malicious leaks and grim rumors flying around about Jamal’s whereabouts and fate,” the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, said in a message to journalists late Monday.

“The reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Consulate in Istanbul or that the Kingdom’s authorities have detained him or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless,” the message said.

“The first reports out of Turkey were that he exited the Consulate and then disappeared,” the statement added. “The accusations changed to the outrageous claim that he was murdered, in the Consulate, during business hours, and with dozens of staff and visitors in the building.”

“I don’t know who is behind these claims,” he said. “Nor do I care frankly.”

Erdogan demanded Monday that Saudi Arabia prove that Khashoggi left the consulate on his own, as Saudi officials have repeatedly asserted.

His comments were the most direct suggestion yet about potential Saudi culpability in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“Do you not have cameras and everything of the sort?” Erdogan asked of Saudi consular officials during a news conference in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. “They have all of them. Then why do you not prove this? You need to prove it.”

In the past, Erdogan himself has faced international denunciations over the treatment of Turkish journalists, who have been jailed or forced out of their jobs by his government.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that “we have seen conflicting reports on the safety and whereabouts” of Khashoggi.

Repeating Trump’s expression of “concern,” Pompeo, who had just returned from a trip to Asia, called on the Saudi government “to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation.”

The Khashoggi case has provoked disquiet in Congress, even among those supportive of Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration’s close relationship with its monarchy.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) sent a letter Tuesday to the Saudi ambassador in Washington dismissing Saudi claims that Khashoggi left the consulate under his own power and demanding answers about his disappearance.

“This incident hangs heavy over the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and needs to be resolved as honestly and as soon as possible,” Graham wrote.

In a telephone interview later, Graham said he had not received a reply from the ambassador or any information from the Trump administration.

“All I can say is, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to be concerned,” he said.

The Saudis have been a “good ally” in the Middle East, even if some values are not shared between the U.S. and Saudi governments, Graham said. But if “the allegations that the Saudi government mistreated this man for his dissident voice are proven true, that would be a game-changer for me.” He declined to speculate on what actions might be taken.

Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report.

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Couple Arrested In Mexico With Body Parts In Stroller May Have Killed 20 Women

(CNN) — A couple arrested in Mexico while pushing a baby stroller filled with human body parts may have killed up to 20 women, according to the chief investigator on the case.

The man and woman were detained Thursday in the Mexico City suburb of Ecatepec on suspicion of murdering 10 female victims. However, the male suspect has since claimed that they are responsible for twice as many deaths.

Police arrested the pair, identified only as “Juan Carlos N.” and his wife “Patricia “N.,” during an investigation into the disappearance of three women and a 2-month-old baby. The man gave detailed accounts of the original 10 deaths. He also told police that he and his wife had killed a further 10 people, according to State of Mexico Prosecutor Alejandro Gomez and reported by AFP.

Police found eight plastic buckets full of dismembered body parts and cement in the couple’s house, Gomez revealed in a Facebook post on Sunday. More remains were found in a refrigerator, wrapped in plastic bags. Tests are now being carried out on the grisly evidence.

The couple, who live with their three children, were arrested while pushing the baby carriage through Ecatepec. The police had expected to find the missing baby inside, but instead found human remains.

It is now down to the prosecution to establish whether these claims are founded or whether they are just boasts by a “psychopath” or “serial killer,” according to Gomez.

“He described it in a completely natural way … I would say he actually seemed happy to have done this,” Gomez told Mexican radio network Formula, AFP reported. “He wants people to see his picture, to know his name … I would obviously classify this person as a murderer, a serial killer.”

The suspect also admitted to selling the 2-month-old baby of one of their victims, Reuters reported.

The grim case has sent anger and shock through Mexico. Hundreds of people protested in Ecatepec on Sunday, AFP reported. Demonstrators carried candles and white flowers to demand action by authorities on deadly violence against women and girls.

In 2016, seven women and girls were killed in Mexico every day, according to UN Women figures.

A 2017 report from Mexico’s Interior Department, the National Women’s Institute and UN Women found that 52,210 killings of women were recorded between 1985 and 2017. Nearly a third occurred in the last six years of that 32-year period.

(The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)

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Google Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL starts at $799, rock a notch and two selfie cameras

No more leaks! Google’s new Pixel phones have finally been unveiled. The Pixel 3 will start at $799 and £739 while the Pixel 3 XL starts at $899 and £869. The Pixel Stand, a wireless charger that works with the phones, will sell for $79 and £69. US residents can preorder the phones now with shipping starting on Oct. 17. People in the UK can preorder now with phones arriving Nov. 1. More markets will be added Nov. 1.

Google formally showed off the new flagship phones on Tuesday after weeks of leaks, including a full unboxing video from Engadget. Google even teased the leaks in a tweet, writing, “so you think you know…”

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Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL’s cameras aim to raise the bar…


The Pixel 3 will challenge the best phones on the market with Google’s greatest weapon: artificial intelligence. The AI features unveiled at the event give Google something new to crow about. After all, many of the phone’s hardware specs — like the 5.5-inch and 6.3-inch displays on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, respectively, and 64GB and 128GB storage options — had already been leaked.

Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of hardware, started the event by showing off all the AI tools the Pixel 3 will be able to use with the help of Google Assistant. 

“They come at the intersection of AI, software and hardware working together,” he said. “This approach is what makes Google’s hardware experience so unique and it unlocks all kinds of helpful benefits.”

He talked up the Pixel 3’s ability to improve the phone’s camera by using AI relying on data gathered from millions of Google Image searches.

“Pixel’s camera completely rethinks how images are captured,” Osterloh said. “We can trace that intelligence back to Google Images.”

In a blog post, Google called the Pixel 3 the “most helpful device in your life,” pointing out that Assistant can answer while the phone is charging and the camera is designed so that it “won’t miss a shot.”

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Google unveils the Pixel 3, Pixel Slate and Home Hub


The camera comes with a feature called Top Shot, which uses AI to pick the best moments to take a picture. Other features include Night Sight, used in low-light settings without a flash, and Super Res Zoom, which improves zooming without losing image quality. 

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL come in three colors, each with cheeky names: Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink. The phones have glass backs with matte and glossy textures in two-tone backing. 

Both phones are larger than last year’s models, with the Pixel 3 at 5.5 inches and the Pixel 3 XL at 6.3 inches.

The Pixel 3 has two front-facing cameras to fit more details in the frame, which will be particularly useful for group selfies. Google said the second camera captures “184 percent more of the scene” as the iPhone XS, so if you need a wide angle the Pixel 3 might be your best bet. 

Google Pixel 3 Top Shot

Google Pixel 3 comes with a feature called Top Shot to prevent some bad photos.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be Google’s third time at bat against hardware rivals such as Apple, Samsung and Amazon. Google unveiled its first Pixel phones in 2016, signaling the company was investing more in its own branded hardware to compete with Apple and Samsung in the premium segment. It’s now one of the premier Android smartphones despite a deeper bench of phone makers in the market. 

Since then, the company has invested more heavily in its Made by Google device lineup, which includes everything from virtual reality headset Daydream to its Chromecast video and audio streaming dongles.

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Google’s Pixel 3 Top Shot feature picks the best photo


The goal is to compete with Apple, Samsung and Amazon in an effort to get its gadgets into your pocket and home. Specifically, Google has been pushing its Assistant software, a digital helper akin to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, in a quest to meet users — and their data — everywhere in their daily lives.

In May, Google said 500 million devices with Assistant on them had shipped globally. The devices include speakers, phones and TVs. The company also said Assistant now partners with 5,000 household connected devices, up from 1,500 in January.

Google wants to sell you phones and smart speakers because it knows people are searching in ways very different from desktop queries to google.com. They’re asking their Google Home devices to play curated playlists or using maps on their smartphones to navigate to their favorite restaurants. 

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Google Pixel 3 can screen your calls


The more Google knows about you and your interests, the more valuable its ads become to marketers who pay the company to target potential buyers based on their likes, dislikes, age, interests and location. The company rakes in about 90 percent of its $100 billion in annual sales from advertising.

First published Oct. 9, 5 a.m. PT. 
Updates, 8:23 to 9:10 a.m. PT: Added more details on the Pixel 3, information from Google’s blog, prices, details on the Group Selfie Cam and release dates.

Pixel 2 review: It still has an amazing camera, but its followup is expected soon.

iPhone XR hands-on: Apple’s most colorful iPhone is also its cheapest.

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US economists win Nobel for work on climate change, innovation

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Americans William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, pioneers in adapting the western economic growth model to focus on environmental issues and sharing the benefits of technology, won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday.

In a joint award that turned the spotlight on a rapidly shifting global debate over the impact of climate change, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the duo’s work was helping to answer basic questions over how to promote long-term, sustainable prosperity.

Romer, of New York University’s Stern School of Business, is best known for his work on endogenous growth, a theory rooted in investing in knowledge and human capital. He said he had been taken by surprise by the award, but offered a positive message.

“I think one of the problems with the current situation is that many people think that protecting (the) environment will be so costly and so hard that they just want to ignore them,” he told a news conference via telephone. “We can absolutely make substantial progress protecting the environment and do it without giving up the chance to sustain growth.”

He told reporters he had long ago decided he would never seek to win the prize because doing so can “tear you apart.” He initially missed the early morning call from Sweden telling him he won before calling back, when he was asked if would accept the prize.

“‘I didn’t ever want it, but, yeah, I’ll accept!’” he recalled replying at a separate news conference later at New York University.

Hours before the award, the United Nations panel on climate change said society would have to radically alter the way it consumes energy, travels and builds to avoid the worst effects of global warming. The panel declined to comment on Monday’s award.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called climate change a hoax, and last year announced that he would withdraw the United States from a global pact to combat it reached in 2015, calling the deal’s demands for emissions cuts too costly.

Nordhaus, a professor of economics at Yale University, was the first person to create a quantitative model that described the interplay between the economy and the climate, the Swedish academy said.

“We overslept and when we got up, I got a nice call from my daughter,” Nordhaus told Reuters at his home in New Haven, Connecticut. “She said, ‘Dad, you won. It’s so nice.’ It was a really lovely call. It’s a nice way to find out.”

He said he was being honored for his work on carbon tax as a mechanism to reduce global warming. “It was for work on one of the most important problems the globe faces, which is climate change,” he said. “I’ve been working on that for almost 40 years, and the time’s ripe.”

A combination picture shows William D. Nordhaus (L) and Paul Romer, who have won the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize. CNW/BBVA Foundation Award to William Nordhaus/NYU Stern School of Business/via REUTERS


Nobel committee chair Per Stromberg told Reuters Monday’s award was honoring research into “two big global questions”: how to deal with the negative effects of growth on the climate and “to make sure that this economic growth leaves prosperity for everyone.”

Romer had shown how economic forces govern the willingness of firms to innovate, helping some societies grow many times faster than others. By understanding which market conditions favor the creation of profitable technologies, society can tailor policies to promote growth, the academy said.

Romer’s career has taken him outside the academic world. While on leave from the Stern School, he served as chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank until early this year.

His work on endogenous growth theory is not universally admired.

Fellow Nobel economics Laureate Paul Krugman told the New York Times in 2013 that too much of it involved “making assumptions about how unmeasurable things affected other unmeasurable things.”

Monday’s award of the last of the 2018 Nobels took place less than a month after the 10th anniversary of the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

That triggered an economic crisis from which the world’s financial system is arguably still recovering.

Interest rates remain at or close to record lows in many major economies, including Sweden, where they have languished below zero since early 2015.

Worth 9 million Swedish crowns ($1 million), the economics prize was established in 1968. It was not part of the original group of five awards set out in Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel’s 1895 will.

The physiology/medicine, physics, chemistry and peace prizes were awarded last week.

This year’s proceedings have been overshadowed by the absence of the literature prize, postponed to give the Swedish Academy time to restore public trust after a sexual assault scandal.

Slideshow (18 Images)

Nobel laureates graphic tmsnrt.rs/2y6ATVW

Reporting by Simon Johnson, Niklas Pollard; Additional reporting by Daniel Dickson, Helena Soderpalm and Anna Ringstrom in Stockholm and Jonathan Allen and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; editing by John Stonestreet and Nick Zieminski

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