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  • Impeachment trial fallout: Trump could get his wish — to hurt Biden

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    Details about Hunter Biden could complicate life for Joe Biden — exactly what Trump was trying to do with his Ukraine scheme last summer.  

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:20:45 -0500
  • Putin to meet mother of Israeli backpacker jailed over hash

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to meet with the mother of an Israeli tourist who was jailed in Russia for carrying a few grams of hashish, the Kremlin said Wednesday. The Russian leader is set to meet with Naama Issachar's mother while he is visiting Israel on Thursday, Putin adviser Yuri Ushakov said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land, are also taking part in the meeting that will focus on “the humanitarian aspect” of the case, Ushakov told reporters Wednesday.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:49:01 -0500
  • Police: Mom accused of killing her 3 kids said she smothered them while singing

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    A probable cause document doesn’t provide a possible motive for the brutal killings that Rachel Henry is charged with.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 19:22:53 -0500
  • Wuhan, China, is about to be quarantined as the coronavirus outbreak grows. The city has 3 million more residents than New York City.

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    Since December, there have been 544 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus and 17 deaths. Local authorities just issued quarantine orders in Wuhan, China.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:13:00 -0500
  • China Tries to Ease Concern U.S. Trade Deal Hurts Other Nations

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng told the World Economic Forum that the country’s trade deal with the U.S. won’t hurt rival exporting nations as complaints mount from governments that were left out of the agreement.In the most high-profile remarks on the country’s economic policy since the accord was signed last week, Han said that its commitment to buy more from the U.S. is in line with its World Trade Organization obligations and won’t squeeze out other imports. Han also pledged to lower barriers for foreign investors as he set out the case for China’s engagement with the global economy.“China will open its door wider,” Han told an audience in Davos, Switzerland. “Though facing some protectionism from some countries, the determination to open up will not waver.”The speech comes less than a week after Chinese President Xi Jinping sealed a “phase one” deal intended to de-escalate a trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump. The accord saw China commit to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S.“The phase-one trade deal is good for U.S., China and the world,” Han said. “China’s increasing purchases of U.S. goods are in accordance with WTO guidelines and will not impact its imports from other countries.”Han made the comments just as Trump gave his own speech in Davos, in which the U.S. president claimed credit for overseeing an economy enjoying its longest expansion yet, with an unemployment rate that fell to a five-decade low after tax cuts, deregulation and improved trade deals. He also spoke of his close relationship with Xi.“He’s for China and I’m for the U.S., but other than that, we love each other,” he said.Under the agreement, China will boost purchases of U.S. manufactured goods, agricultural products, energy and services over the next two years. Critics say such pre-determined demand can have adverse consequences elsewhere.‘Managed Trade’”The real problem with managed trade is that it may divert, rather than expand, international commerce,” Chad Bown, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in a report released Tuesday. “For example, China could purchase more American soybeans by cutting back on imports of oilseeds from Brazil.”Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy said China’s pledge to boost American imports could end up costing the European Union about $11 billion next year. “If trade costs and hence relative prices do not change, Chinese imports from the U.S. must come at the expense of third countries,” the institute said in a study published this week.Last week, EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan said his team will scrutinize whether China’s pledge is allowed under the WTO.“We haven’t analyzed the document in detail, but we will and if there’s a WTO-compliance issue of course we will take the case,” Hogan told a conference on Thursday in Washington.Separately, Australia is pushing China for the same dairy concessions that the U.S. received, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. As part of phase one of the deal, the U.S. secured regulatory breaks on dairy products shipped to China, barriers that have hampered Australian exporters, the newspaper reported last week.To contact the reporters on this story: Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.net;Crystal Chui in Zurich at tchui4@bloomberg.net;Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at bbaschuk2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Ben Sills, Brendan MurrayFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:53:10 -0500
  • Study This Picture: These Chinese Anti-Ship Missiles Are a Real Big Problem

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    Here's what they can do.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:11:00 -0500
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's move to Canada could influence Archie's accent

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    Harry and Meghan's plan to split their time between the UK and Canada might mean that Archie won't have his father's English accent.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:53:07 -0500
  • Iran calls on Saudi Arabia to work together to resolve issues: IRNA

    Iran said on Wednesday that Tehran and its regional rival Saudi Arabia should work together to overcome problems, the state news agency IRNA quoted Iranian president's chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi as saying. "The relations between Iran and its neighbor Saudi Arabia should not become like the relationship between Tehran and the United States ... Tehran and Riyadh should work together to resolve their problems," Vaezi said.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 05:45:48 -0500
  • Huawei CFO lawyers say her alleged crimes no crime in Canada

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    Lawyers for a senior executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei argued Tuesday that allowing her extradition to the United States would result in Canada bowing to foreign law. This week's hearings deal with the question of whether the U.S. charges against Meng Wanzhou are crimes in Canada as well. Canada does not have similar sanctions on Iran.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:42:22 -0500
  • Steyer on Trump: As long as he's tweeting at me, he's scared of me

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    The billionaire running for the Democratic nomination responded to comments from the president calling him a "major loser."

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:14:12 -0500
  • Indonesia detains American journalist over visa regulations

    An American journalist is facing up to five years in an Indonesian jail and a fine on charges of violating immigration regulations, a lawyer and officials said Wednesday. Philip Jacobson of California was detained Tuesday in Palangkaraya city on Borneo island. The government has promised to ease visa restrictions for international media since President Joko Widodo took office in 2014.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 08:13:58 -0500
  • California Man Accused of Killing 3 Teens After 'Intentionally' Ramming Them With His Car

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    Anurag Chandra, 42, is facing 3 murder charges

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:39:02 -0500
  • 2 inmates were killed Monday night at an understaffed Mississippi prison

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    Two inmates were killed Monday night at an understaffed Mississippi prison that has been shaken by other deadly violence in recent weeks. The state Department of Corrections confirmed the deaths Tuesday but did not immediately release the names of the latest inmates killed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. The department said it is investigating the deaths.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:32:51 -0500
  • Brexit Deal Clears U.K. Parliament, Ending Years of Deadlock

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    (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal cleared its final hurdles in Parliament, bringing the crisis that paralyzed U.K. politics since the country voted to leave the European Union almost four years ago to a close.The passage of the law vindicates Johnson’s gamble to call an election last month in which he asked voters to back his blueprint for leaving the bloc on Jan. 31. His 80-seat majority in the elected House of Commons meant he could sweep aside objections from pro-EU politicians in the upper chamber of Parliament, the Lords, and break the deadlock that cost his predecessor, Theresa May, her job last year.“At times it felt like we would never cross the Brexit finish line, but we’ve done it. Now we can put the rancour and division of the past three years behind us,” Johnson said, according to an emailed statement.Later Wednesday, members of the unelected House of Lords formally dropped their opposition and accepted the legislation as approved by the Commons. The bill will now go to Queen Elizabeth II who will sign it into law, putting Britain on track to leave the EU in nine days’ time.The agreement with the EU will now need to be formally ratified by the European Parliament on Jan. 29, before the U.K. leaves the bloc at the end of the month. Britain will then enter a transition period, scheduled to last until the end of the year, during which it will continue to be bound by EU laws until it negotiates a new trade deal with the remaining 27 member states.Johnson is expected to sign the agreement in the coming days, and the European Council and Commission presidents may sign it Friday in Brussels, according to a U.K. government official.U.K., EU Draw Battle Lines as the Hard Part of Brexit Begins“We’re in a very happy position in that we leave the EU in a position of absolute grace and uniformity,” Johnson said as he answered questions from the public about the future negotiations with Brussels on Facebook. “We are in perfect alignment with our EU friends and partners.”Looking ahead, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid acknowledged Johnson’s Dec. 31 deadline for reaching a new trade deal with the EU was “tight.”“Both sides recognize that it’s a tight timetable, a lot needs to be put together in the time that we have, but it can be done,” Javid said during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And it can be done for both goods, where we want to see free trade, zero tariffs, zero quotas -- but also on services.”The House of Lords had tried to amend the Brexit legislation to enhance EU citizens’ rights in Britain, allow judges -- rather than ministers -- to decide on the use of rulings by European Courts, and to ensure unaccompanied refugee children can join family in the U.K. All the measures were rejected by the Commons. Johnson’s government rejected these changes and pushed the Lords to back down.(Adds Johnson comments from third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Lucy Meakin, Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, Ian Wishart and Jessica Shankleman.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Edward EvansFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 17:30:00 -0500
  • See This Nuke? Meet the Most Destructive Nuclear Bomb Ever Made By Man

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    Thank god the Soviets never deployed it.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:45:00 -0500
  • The brazen (and careless) Russian assassination team behind the Salisbury poisonings has been spotted in Europe, again

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    They keep failing to kill their targets. And they leave lots of evidence behind them.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:34:34 -0500
  • Russia admits its deadly Zircon hypersonic missile is suffering from 'childhood diseases'

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    The weapon which is expected to eventually arm the country's newer frigates is apparently experiencing developmental challenges.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:11:36 -0500
  • REI’s January Sale Offers 50% off Cold-Weather Outdoor Gear

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    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 10:26:00 -0500
  • Exclusive: Giuliani told U.S. his client deserves leniency for financing Venezuela's opposition - Parnas

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    At a lavish August gathering at a private estate in Spain, a wealthy Venezuelan businessman under criminal investigation in the United States introduced Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, to the father of Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido. The affair was part of a campaign for leniency for the businessman, Alejandro Betancourt, who sought to demonstrate his close ties to opposition figures looking to oust Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro - a key objective of the Trump administration. Betancourt told Giuliani he secretly helped bankroll Guaido’s efforts to take over the leadership of Venezuela, according to four people familiar with the situation, two of whom provided  details about the meeting in Spain.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:03:00 -0500
  • Saudi crown prince's WhatsApp linked to Bezos phone hack

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    The cellphone of Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was hacked in what appeared to be an attempt by Saudi Arabia's crown prince to "influence, if not silence" the newspaper's reporting on the kingdom, two U.N. human rights experts said Wednesday. The U.N. experts called for an “immediate investigation” by the United States into a report commissioned by Bezos that showed the billionaire technology mogul's phone was likely hacked after he received an MP4 video file sent from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's WhatsApp account after the two men exchanged phone numbers during a dinner in Los Angeles in 2018.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:14:04 -0500
  • Judge upholds mom charged for being topless at home

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    A judge refused to overturn part of Utah’s lewdness law Tuesday in a blow to a woman who's fighting criminal charges after her stepchildren saw her topless in her own home.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 07:00:14 -0500
  • Homeless Oakland Moms Cut Deal to Buy House They Squatted In

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    A group of homeless mothers evicted and arrested after squatting in an empty Oakland residence have reached an agreement to buy the home in a radical conclusion to a struggle that shone a renewed spotlight on the Bay Area’s dire housing shortage. The women, known collectively as Moms 4 Housing, occupied a house in West Oakland from November until Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies removed them in a pre-dawn raid on January 14. Cops also arrested two of the women, along with two men on the scene. Around the same time as that eviction raid, hundreds of supporters gathered at the house to express solidarity with the mothers’ rallying cry of “housing is a human right.” On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Moms 4 Housing announced that the women—who were released from jail last week—reached an agreement to purchase the property from its owner with the help of a local nonprofit, Oakland Community Land Trust. “This is what happens when we organize, when people come together to build the beloved community. Today we honor Dr. King’s radical legacy by taking Oakland back from banks and corporations,” said Dominique Walker, one of the mothers who was living in the home.Eviction Squad Tosses Moms on Street in Ultra-Rich Bay AreaThe house, owned by the Southern California real estate company Wedgewood, had remained empty for two years, even as homelessness in Oakland rose by nearly half in the same time period. Members of Oakland’s city council had urged the company to make a deal with the mothers to end the dispute. In a statement, the company said, “Wedgewood is thankful for the outpouring of support for our company throughout the illegal occupation of our Oakland property. We appreciate the local, state and national support for property owners as well as the public’s support for non-violent discussion and action.” Activists who worked with the mothers were quick to brandish the outcome as not just a win but a precedent they might repeat.“The moms fought for all of Oakland,” said Carroll Fife, director of the Oakland chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “Now Wedgewood has pledged to work with the City of Oakland’s Housing and Community Development Department and the Oakland Community Land Trust to negotiate a first right of refusal program for all Oakland properties they own and we will hold them to it.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:32:55 -0500
  • Halkbank Hit With U.S. Demand for Millions in Contempt Fines

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    (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s Halkbank should pay millions of dollars in fines for its continued failure to respond to U.S. sanctions-evasions charges, federal prosecutors in New York said.In a court filing Tuesday, the government asked a federal judge to impose a daily $1 million fine that would double each week the bank refuses to appear in the case.Prosecutors charged the bank in October with aiding a yearslong scheme to help Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions and access $20 billion in frozen oil revenue. Since then, the bank has refused to accept service of the indictment or answer the case, leading prosecutors to deem it a fugitive from justice.The U.S. pursuit of Halkbank, which is owned by the Turkish government, has been a sore point in relations between the two countries. Manhattan federal prosecutors previously won the conviction of a senior Halkbank executive in a case Turkish President Recep Erdogan likened to an “international coup attempt.”Read More: Halkbank Threatened with U.S. Contempt in Iran Sanctions Case“Halkbank has consistently sought to avoid responsibility for its role in a massive sanctions-evasion and money-laundering scheme that gave the Government of Iran access to billions of dollars’ worth of restricted oil proceeds,” the U.S. said in Tuesday’s filing.The U.S. argued that Halkbank improperly ignored an initial summons, “intentionally frustrated” efforts to serve the summons and indictment, attacked the charges in the press and failed to show up for a required court appearance.Andrew Hruska, a U.S. lawyer for Halkbank, didn’t immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the sanctions request.A judge in December denied Halkbank’s request that it be allowed to make a “special appearance” to argue for the charges’ dismissal without submitting itself to the court’s jurisdiction. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied the request, leaving Halkbank with a choice between answering the charges and defending against them or not participating in the case in any way.While Halkbank does almost no business in the U.S., it has some ties to the nation’s financial system, which the government could limit or sever.In its initial filing, the U.S. provided conflicting statements about the amount of the proposed fine. In one section the daily $1 million fine was said to double at the end of each week the bank fails to comply. In another section the government said the fine would double every day. In a corrected filing, prosecutors made clear the fine should double only each week.The case is U.S. v. Halkbank, 15-cr-867, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).(Updates with amount of requested fine)To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:12:56 -0500
  • Relax, Democrats: your nominee will beat Trump in the midwest

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    The rhetoric between candidates has gotten heated as the Iowa caucuses approach. But there’s no need for aggressionA weekend blizzard and a sub-zero deep freeze helped cool tempers that were reaching boiling point among Democrats. Chill, everyone. Whoever wins the nomination will beat Trump across the struggling midwest.The Sanders crowd suggested Warren was an elitist. Warren elbowed back with a gender argument. Sanders attacked Biden over social security; Biden countered that he was lying. The snake emojis are out. Old resentments over issues that can’t even be recalled are fed.The result of it all? Nobody knows.JD Scholten, running for US congress in Iowa, was in Ames on Saturday when the temperature was -4F. Hundreds came out for the Story County Democrats’ soup supper in the hometown of Iowa State University, a key territory. He asked how many were undecided. Half raised their hands.A poll one week shows Sanders on top in Iowa. A week later, another poll finds Biden leading, with Amy Klobuchar in the double digits.Warren, Sanders and Klobuchar are confined to the Senate with two weekends left to campaign ahead of the 3 February caucuses. In their absence, Pete Buttigieg is everywhere all at once, working like a beaver.Any one of them can beat Trump. The president knows it. That’s why he sent his daughter-in-law Lara Trump to Iowa to make fun of Biden’s stuttering, which endeared him even more to Iowans. Vice-President Mike Pence was dispatched to Iowa this week to shore up the evangelical vote for this philanderer of a president. The Donald himself is expected to invade Iowa just days before the caucus in hopes of changing the subject from his dismal performance. It will only serve to remind us that he was impeached for being a liar. Midwesterners cling to quaint notions of honesty.The president’s approval rating is underwater in Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. Senator Joni Ernst, the Republican senator, has gone from being very popular to being the third most unpopular senator in the country, with an approval rating of just 37%, behind only Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, according to Morning Consult. All because of Trump.Since Trump was inaugurated, corn and soybean markets have tanked. Ethanol production is stunted by Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency. Trade wars with the world, especially China, caused layoffs at John Deere in Iowa and slack sales of Harley Davidsons from Wisconsin. It will take years for export markets to recover. Some won’t. New research from the Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson reports that Iowa trailed the nation in new job creation, and that non-metro areas have lost jobs over the past decade.There is a palpable economic anxiety across the midwest that explains why Bernie Sanders surged to first place in the latest Iowa Poll, considered one of the best. Most of us recognize that 50 years of trickle-down economics is, as Tom Steyer might say, a fraud and a failure.> The voters I talk to are not paying that much attention to the intramural elbowsThat poll showing Sanders with a lead was over a week ago, a lifetime in primary politics. The voters I talk to are not paying that much attention to the intramural elbows. They expected that Sanders and Warren had to have some sort of reckoning. The spat died down as quickly as it blew up. It does not appear that Sanders has landed any real body blows on Biden. Klobuchar keeps plugging along and gaining support.Anybody who thinks they know who will win the Iowa caucuses is full of themselves. The nominee is unlikely to be identified until spring, if then, after New Hampshire and South Carolina and Nevada and the SEC Super Tuesday primaries, and California.Unless, of course, these good shooters form a circular firing squad that leaves them all walking wounded.African American voters will flood the polls in Flint, Michigan, to vote for Pete Buttigieg if he somehow can run the gauntlet. Bernie Sanders will do fine in Wisconsin, the land of famed progressive LaFollette. Elizabeth Warren has shown that she can take a punch and land a roundhouse on any man, especially a lunkhead like Trump. Amy Klobuchar will thump Trump in Iowa, and knows how to speak to a union member in Ohio wondering where the auto plant went. Pennsylvania voters will warm right up to Joe Biden. Even Michael Bloomberg could beat Trump in Colorado.So chill. Iowa has thinned a huge field and will vault four or five campaigns down the trail. The process has exposed weaknesses and identified strengths. The point is to beat the worst president in history, and the conditions are ripe to do so. Just don’t blow it. That is the main sentiment in Iowa. * Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in north-west Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. He is a Guardian US columnist and author of the book Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland, just released in paperback

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 06:00:23 -0500
  • New charge filed against Michigan lawmaker who reportedly said boys could 'have a lot of fun' with reporter

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    The sexual harassment allegation, filed by a Michigan state senator, comes as Peter Lucido faces investigation over remarks to a reporter.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:41:14 -0500
  • This 26-year-old former truck driver is running for Congress, and he's betting big that TikTok will help get him elected

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    Joshua Collins is ditching traditional ads to raise money and find volunteers through TikTok, which other politicians have been slow to adopt.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:57:52 -0500
  • Are North Korea's Vaunted Submarines Actually Any Good?

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    Let's take a look.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 04:20:00 -0500
  • Joe Biden won't testify in Trump's impeachment trial even it means John Bolton will

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    While President Trump's desire to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden launched his impeachment investigation and eventual trial in the first place, Biden is officially distancing himself from the whole thing.When asked Wednesday if he'd consider testifying in exchange for testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Biden said he wants "no part of that," per The Washington Post. It's "not an irrational question to ask," Biden conceded, but said "the reason I would not make the deal, the bottom line is, this is a constitutional issue. We're not going to turn it into a farce or political theater."Democrats, namely the House's impeachment managers, have continually pushed for the Senate to allow Bolton to testify in Trump's trial. Bolton has said he would be willing to do so, and even some Republicans have indicated their interest in hearing from him. Other Republicans have insisted they'd like to hear from Hunter Biden as well, with some saying Biden and Bolton's testimonies should be conducted in pairs.Biden's comments follow Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) assurance earlier in the day that a witness swap was "off the table," even regarding Hunter Biden.More stories from theweek.com Woman reunites with long-lost father after he's a suggested Facebook friend Several senators left the chamber in the middle of Adam Schiff's impeachment remarks The White House is arguing the impeachment articles don't include allegations of a quid pro quo because the exact words don't appear

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 17:44:00 -0500
  • 30 Doormats That Will Wow Visitors

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    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:30:26 -0500
  • S. Korea naval unit to expand operations to Strait of Hormuz

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    A South Korean anti-piracy unit has temporarily expanded its mission to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital global oil route at the center of soaring tensions between Iran and the United States. South Korea’s Defense Ministry announced the expansion Tuesday, saying it was meant to help ensure the safe passage of South Korean vessels and nationals through the waterway. South Korea has conducted anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden since 2009 and is expanding to the strait that connects the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 01:52:59 -0500
  • Macron berates Israeli security men in tussle at Jerusalem church

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    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - "Go outside," French President Emmanuel Macron demanded in English in a melee with Israeli security men on Wednesday, demanding they leave a Jerusalem basilica that he visited before a Holocaust memorial conference. The French tricolor has flown over the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem's walled Old City since it was gifted by the Ottomans to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1856. France views it as a provocation when Israeli police enter the church's sandstone complex, in a part of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:06:12 -0500
  • Mexico Senate Leader Seeks to Legalize Marijuana This Spring

    (Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s Senate is set to debate bills to legalize marijuana and regulate outsourcing in the coming period from February to April.The Senate will debate a bill co-authored by Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal to regulate planting, production, labeling, sales and distribution, and would make it free for medical use, according to a document sent by the senator’s office. It would also create the Mexican Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis to create rules for points of sale and the allowed THC contents for products.While marijuana has been increasingly legalized in the U.S., its use remains restricted in Mexico. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he’d consider legalizing the drug or regulating its use, but it’s not a priority of his security strategy, which instead focuses on rooting out corruption and providing opportunities for young people so they don’t turn to drugs and crime.Also on the list of bills to be debated this session is a justice reform that raised controversy after an initial draft included changes to the constitution to allow prosecutors to monitor phone calls and emails. Legislation to fight climate change is also on the docket, according to Monreal’s office. The Mexican Senate will take up these topics in its regular session that runs from Feb. 1 to April 30. Monreal’s Morena party holds a majority in both houses of congress.When it comes to outsourcing, Monreal has said the practice will be debated to improve its regulation. A proposed bill that would have banned outsourcing outright was postponed after business chambers raised concern about the legislation. The practice is criticized by some labor activists who say it helps businesses save money by lowering employees’ pay and benefits.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Navarro in Mexico City at anavarro30@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Case at bcase4@bloomberg.net, Dale QuinnFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:05:06 -0500
  • A college student from Iran who waited a year to be granted a student visa to the US was deported when he arrived

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    The deportation of an Iranian college student has ignited outrage from local community members as well as politicians on Capitol Hill.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 15:36:09 -0500
  • The search for Selena Not Afraid ends with 'great sadness.' Missing girl's body found near Montana rest area

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    The body of Selena Shelley Faye Not Afraid, 16, was found near the Montana rest area where she was last seen on New Year's Day, authorities said.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 08:38:53 -0500
  • The US is going after Venezuela over aircraft it says endangered US military planes

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    The US blocked planes owned by Venezuela's state oil firm on Tuesday, several of which it said were involved in unsafe encounters with US aircraft.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 16:49:43 -0500
  • Hurricane Rudy Strikes Back: Giuliani Hints At Tapes Exposing Parnas 'Lies'

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    Will the potential Trump impeachment witness hit back?

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 06:18:00 -0500
  • Fox News Host: Trump Actually Being Impeached Because He’s ‘Phenomenally Interesting’

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    Fox News host Greg Gutfeld on Wednesday argued that the real reason Democrats are impeaching President Donald Trump is that they are “boring people” and the president is “phenomenally interesting.”During the 5 PM hour, Fox News decided to air their highly rated conservative panel show The Five instead of sticking with live coverage of the Senate impeachment trial like CNN and MSNBC did.Immediately, Gutfeld blasted the proceedings by saying impeachment had become “so trivial,” flinging out an analogy about tattoos to make his case.“If you saw somebody with a tattoo you stared at it,” he exclaimed. “A war vet or a biker or possibly both but now they’re on bass players, there on sorority sisters. Tattoos can be found on middle-age suburbanites at their Peloton class. That’s what impeachment is.”Co-host Jesse Watters, meanwhile, took to taunting House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), claiming the House Intelligence Committee chairman “looks like a rotten dandelion” and is the “kind of guy that tucks his t-shirt into his mom jeans.”Moments after Watters’ juvenile insults aimed at one of the president’s favorite targets, Gutfeld further played to Trump’s ego by heaping praise upon the president while bashing Democrats.“Finally, when you watch this, it’s boring,” he declared. “That’s the real reason why they are impeaching him. These are all really boring people up against a phenomenally interesting person.”“This is a bloated cat trying to hack out an orange furball that has made their life a living hell,” Gutfeld concluded. “He’s Rocky in this fight.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 18:31:43 -0500
  • Wuhan goes on lockdown following coronavirus outbreak, but WHO isn't ready to declare global emergency

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    Wuhan, China, is on lockdown following the outbreak of a coronavirus in the city. The Chinese government decided Wednesday that it was necessary to quarantine the city, which is home to more than 11 million, by shutting down intra-city public transportation. Outbound flights and trains will also be canceled for the time being as efforts to learn more about the virus and how it spreads continue. The illness is believed to have started in Wuhan and has spread to several other countries, including a reported case in the United States. Overall, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.Despite the preventative measures being taken in Wuhan, the World Health Organization said Wednesday that it wasn't ready to declare the outbreak a global emergency. That could very well still happen -- and soon -- but at the moment things apparently aren't clear enough for the United Nations agency to issue that designation. Tim O'Donnell> Here's why the World Health Organization delayed declaring the Chinese coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency pic.twitter.com/orzgpr7kRt> > -- QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) January 22, 2020More stories from theweek.com Woman reunites with long-lost father after he's a suggested Facebook friend Several senators left the chamber in the middle of Adam Schiff's impeachment remarks The White House is arguing the impeachment articles don't include allegations of a quid pro quo because the exact words don't appear

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:31:00 -0500
  • Fifth condemned Tennessee inmate opts for the electric chair

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    A Tennessee inmate has chosen the electric chair for his scheduled execution next month, opting like four other inmates in little more than a year for electrocution over the state's preferred execution method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, is scheduled to be put to death Feb. 20 for the stabbing death of a fellow inmate decades ago while serving a life sentence for his grandmother's slaying. An affidavit signed on Tuesday said he waives the right to be executed by lethal injection and chooses electrocution.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 15:42:20 -0500
  • Kristin Smart: FBI tells mother of woman missing since 1996 to 'be ready' for developments

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    The mother of a California teenager who has been missing for more than 20 years says the FBI told her to "be ready" for imminent news about her disappearance.Hoping that police would finally be able to bring some closure to a seemingly endless investigation, Kristin Smart's mother Denise told the Stockton Record that the FBI warned that the family "might want to get away for a while" and obtain a spokesperson

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:54:35 -0500
  • 26 Coffee Makers for Every Type of Coffee Drinker

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:57:36 -0500
  • Feds: White supremacists hoped rally would start civil war

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    A hidden camera captured members of a white supremacist group expressing hope that violence at a gun rights rally in Virginia this week could start a civil war, federal prosecutors said in a court filing Tuesday.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:42:06 -0500
  • French workers turn to sabotage as transport strike flags

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    French energy workers protesting against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform plans cut power to Paris' wholesale food market on Tuesday in the latest of a series of sabotage and wildcat actions as a weeks-long transport strike loses momentum. The deliberate sabotage of power supplies underlines the determination of left-wing unions after a wave of strikes and street protests since early December failed to force Macron to back down. The hard-left CGT union's energy branch said it was responsible for an early-morning power outage at Rungis, the world's largest wholesale fresh food market.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 04:09:01 -0500
  • Tulsi Gabbard sues Hillary Clinton over Russia comment

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    Tulsi Gabbard claims Hillary Clinton's Russia comments were "retribution" for her endorsing Bernie Sanders over Clinton in the 2016 election.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 16:57:35 -0500
  • This is a rare photo of the smartphone-hacking device sold by the NSO Group, the billion-dollar Israeli spyware company accused of helping hack Jeff Bezos

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    A Business Insider photo from a security conference in Paris reveals the device NSO Group sells to its clients to carry out hacks.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:22:38 -0500
  • No Date For Phase-Two Talks With U.S., Says China Trade Team Member

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The U.S. and China haven’t set a timetable for the next phase of their trade negotiations, according to an official directly involved in the talks.The focus for now is on implementing the phase-one deal, Ning Jizhe said Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ning is the deputy head of China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, and also runs the statistics bureau.U.S. President Donald Trump has said phase-two talks will start “as soon as” the phase-one agreement “kicks in.” He has said he will travel to Beijing to begin the talks, though no dates have been announced.“I will agree to take those tariffs off if we are able to do phase two,” Trump said last week during the signing ceremony. “In other words, we’re negotiating with the tariffs.”The deal, signed by Trump and China’s top trade negotiator this month in Washington, commits China to cracking down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S. It also binds Beijing to avoid currency manipulation to gain an advantage and includes an enforcement system to ensure promises are kept.U.S.-China Trade Deal Reality Check: What’s New, What’s UnclearDoubts immediately emerged over the feasibility of increasing U.S. purchases to that level, especially if they involve diverting imports from other nations. European countries shouldn’t be worried as the deal won’t impact China’s trade relations with a third country and China still has a lot of room to import from other countries, Ning said.Vice Premier Han Zheng also used a speech in Davos, Switzerland, to reassure global leaders that the agreement wouldn’t hurt their countries’ exports to China, saying its commitment to buy more from the U.S. is in line with its World Trade Organization obligations and won’t squeeze out other imports. Han also pledged to lower barriers for foreign investors.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Sharon Chen, Daniel Ten KateFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:15:47 -0500
  • India Made a Big Mistake: Buying an Aircraft Carrier from Russia

    Golocal247.com news

    Key Point: What could go wrong? Well, everything.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 01:30:00 -0500
  • 4 killed in plane crash at Southern California airfield

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    Four people were killed Wednesday in the crash of a small airplane at a Southern California airfield, authorities said. The plane went down at Corona Municipal Airport, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, police said. Four fatalities were confirmed, the Corona Fire Department said on Twitter.

    Wed, 22 Jan 2020 16:03:40 -0500
  • Tekashi 6ix9ine won't be allowed to serve the rest of his 2-year sentence in home confinement even though his prison has a lot of Blood gang members

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    A judge dashed the controversial rapper's hopes that he could spend the rest of his two-year prison sentence away from the gang he once betrayed.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:35:54 -0500
  • Meet the General Who Ran Soleimani’s Spies, Guns and Assassins

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    They're the Quds Force officers who tracked and killed Iraqis working with the U.S.-led coalition, hunted those deemed hostile to Iranian influence through a council of assassins, and smuggled the spies, money, weapons, and secrets into Iraq that sowed chaos across the country during the American occupation. Qassem Soleimani first gained the attention of Western media through his role in instigating a campaign of covert violence against the U.S. in Iraq which cost the lives of over 600 American troops. But underneath the now famous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps icon, other officers managed the war that first made Soleimani notorious. For a period during the mid-2000s, one of those officers was Brigadier General Ahmed Foruzandeh, who rose to command the Ramazan Corps, part of the Guard’s elite Quds Force, after cutting his teeth in the unit running guerrilla warfare operations during the Iran-Iraq war.‘OK, Now What?’: Inside Team Trump’s Scramble to Sell the Soleimani Hit to America“Although Qassem Soleimani was the architect of that broader strategy, it was his lesser known lieutenants who ran and oversaw the operations,” Dr. Afshon Ostovar, a scholar at the Naval Postgraduate School, said. “Foruzandeh was one of the top Quds Force operatives in the field in Iraq, yet his name was hardly known at the time.” Declassified documents obtained by The Daily Beast through the Freedom of Information Act offer new details of Foruzandeh’s campaign of violence in Iraq during the latter 2000s. They show how Foruzandeh and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funneled guns, money, and spies into Iraq and assassinated both Americans and Iraqis. And they offer hints that the man who helped Iran kill hundreds of Americans throughout the Iraq war may not have actually retired years ago as he let on, but continued to consult for his former boss long after the war ended.Iranian and American media alike have treated Foruzandeh’s old boss, the former Quds Force commander Soleimani, with something approaching hagiography. In profiles and obituaries, he’s cast as a legendary “shadow commander” possessed of superhuman abilities and cunning, a judgment not entirely supported by Soleimani’s colleagues. By contrast, declassified documents obtained by The Daily Beast and other sources paint a more prosaic picture of Foruzandeh. Like a number of Quds Force personnel, Foruzandeh’s career in Iraq drew on nothing more mystical than relationships and experience. His first brush with the world of covert operations in the Iran-Iraq war met with middling success and the guerrilla warfare effort he supported barely moved the needle in the conflict. But by the time the U.S. showed up on Iran’s doorstep, Foruzandeh had been carrying out guerrilla warfare and covert operations across the Iran-Iraq border for nearly 20 years with some of the same people and organizations. “They clearly have, one, home court advantage. Two, these guys have been doing special operations in the region for their entire adult life and they’re veterans of the brutal Iran-Iraq war,” Doug Wise, a former CIA officer and station chief in Baghdad, told The Daily Beast of Iranian Quds Force officers who worked on Iraq. “These guys are worthy adversaries. They’re not 10 feet tall. They have human and physical limitations but extraordinary experience in conducting the operations that they were required to conduct,” Wise said. * * *“Big picture,” Col. Donald Bacon, then the chief of special operations and intelligence information for the coalition, said in a 2007 press conference, “the Ramazan Corps is the organization that does operations here in Iraq to—they use it to—they're the ones who transit in the weapons, the funding and help coordinate Iraqi militia extremists into Iran to get them training and then get them back into Iraq.”Ramazan was the Quds Force unit in charge of causing chaos in Iraq and, at least for a time, Foruzandeh was its commander. The unit, which dated back to the Iran-Iraq war, divided its forces between a handful of sub-commands along the Iraqi border. Foruzandeh had worked in Fajr command, based in Ahwaz, Iran, which handled operations in Basra and southern Iraq, working his way up to deputy commander of Ramazan.By 2007, as violence in Iraq peaked, intelligence reports surveyed Iranian covert operations in Iraq as the U.S. turned its attention away from the Sunni jihadist insurgency and towards the violence instigated by Iran and its proxies. The documents include raw reporting marked as "not finally evaluated intelligence" from sources whose motivations are described as "based on favorable experiences with U.S. forces and desire to rid Iraq of destructive foreign influences" but they track broadly with what U.S. officials have said about Ramazan Corps and its personnel.Taken together, they show a sprawling campaign of covert violence with Foruzandeh and the Ramazan Corps in charge.The documents spend considerable space detailing the elaborate process by which the Iranian-overseen “Golden Death Squad” targeted, approved, and carried out assassinations against Iraqis they viewed as obstacles. The unit, the report wrote, “consists of Iranian intelligence leadership that provide guidance and funding to Iraqis that are recruited from [Jaish al-Mahdi], Badr Corps, the Al-Fadilah Party, and other Shia Iraqi parties and militias that conduct assassination operations against former Ba'ath party members, Iraqis that are working with the [Coalition Forces], and Iraqis that are not supporting Iranian influence in Iraq.”Iranian officers shuttled Iraqi members of the assassination teams to Ahwaz, Iran, the headquarters of Ramazan’s Fajr command, for training. The 10-day long course included instruction from Iranian officers on “information collection to support the targeting of coalition forces in Iraq, assassinations, and the use of indirect fire systems such as Katyusha rockets and mortars.” Iran also trained its proxies in the use of “what is described as very sophisticated explosives that can penetrate [Coalition Forces'] armor,” an apparent reference to the notorious Iranian-made explosively formed projectiles which killed and maimed hundreds of American troops. When it came time to decide who would be killed, Quds Force officers set up a process for adjudicating assassination targets, giving Iraqi allies a role in the process, according to the documents. “Iraqis that are agents of the Iranians are allowed to produce lists of Iraqis that are to be assassinated,” it notes. “Most of these Iraqis that are authorized to make decisions regarding who is to be killed by the Golden Death Squad are members of the Iraqi government and security forces.” Meetings of the hit squad reportedly took place at the Basra governor’s office where members of Basra police intelligence would "routinely attend.”Iranian intelligence officers also nominated their own targets for assassination. Their names were handed to a member of the Iranian-backed Badr militia. The Iranian officer who passed the targets along—his name is redacted in the report—is described as “a Persian Iranian that is fluent in Iraqi Arabic and has a southern Iraqi accent due to the years he has spent in Iraq."Those slated for assassination included not just former Baathists but Iraqis who worked with the U.S.-backed coalition. The documents recount how one Quds Force officer, assigned to Ramazan’s Fajr command in southern Iraq, ran an Iraqi agent who photographed coalition informants for the IRGC. The unnamed Quds Force officer then “passe[d] the pictures to Iraqis that he tasks and funds to kill those identified by [redacted's] reporting and pictures."In at least one case, Foruzandeh reportedly intervened to help one of his militia allies after coalition officials arrested them. Mehdi Abdmehd al-Khalisi allegedly ran the Muntada al-Wilaya militia, a small, Iranian-backed Shiite militia implicated in the murder of a number of former Baathist officials and an attack on coalition troops. When coalition officials arrested al-Khalisi in 2005, senior Iraqi officials began pressuring the coalition to release him. A classified cable leaked by WikiLeaks show that informants told the U.S. that al-Khalisi had been communicating with Foruzandeh about attacks on British forces in Iraq’s Maysan governorate via encrypted telegrams as early as 2003. After his arrest, the cable says that an informant of “unknown reliability” reported that Foruzandeh “has authorized an expenditure of up to $500,000 for operations to secure Mr. al-Khalisi's release, and that senior [Iraqi Transitional Government] officials have received telephone calls from the Brigadier requesting assistance.” Along with the assassinations came Iranian weapons and trainers. Reporting by the Long War Journal first sketched out Ramazan’s “rat lines” in Iraq and documents obtained by The Daily Beast note that the unit oversaw a “complex smuggling apparatus from Ahwaz, Iran into Iraq" that included "weapons, information, financial support, and Iranian intelligence officers." The money, guns, and Iranian personnel began their journey in Ahwaz and were handed off to smugglers at the border with Iraq.Iranian intelligence officers would vet smugglers for loyalty and to ensure that they had a "pre-existing relationship with the [Iraqi border police] because of their tribal relationship"—a relationship that nonetheless "usually involves a pre-arranged bribe." Once across the border, smugglers toting money, guns, and Iranian personnel were “typically met by a reception element that represents a Shia militia group that the operation support package was built for."In the ports of southern Iraq, Ramazan agents smuggled weapons via hidden compartments in the fuel tanks of fishing boats, according to the documents. As violent as Foruzandeh’s tenure in occupation-era Iraq war was, he wasn’t entirely averse to covert diplomacy. Ahmed Chalabi, the exiled Iraqi lobbyist who helped push the Bush administration to war in Iraq, met with Foruzandeh in the spring of 2004, according to a 2008 biography of Chalabi by journalist and former Daily Beast senior correspondent Aram Roston. At the time, Chalabi had transitioned from pro-war lobbyist to an Iraqi member of parliament and was seeking to accommodate himself to Iran’s newfound influence in Iranian politics.  Some time after the meeting, the U.S. learned that Iranian intelligence had suddenly realized American spies were reading their cable traffic and had broken their codes. A few months later, American intelligence officials told The New York Times they believed Chalabi had walked into the Iranian embassy in Baghdad and blown the operation to the station chief of Iranian intelligence at the embassy. Chalabi denied any involvement in the leak but the incident led the Bush administration to end its relationship with him.* * *Foruzandeh’s father worked for the Abadan oil company and when he left the company, his family of 13 sons and daughters moved to Khorramshahr, just across the border from Basra in Iraq. His son Ahmed was an early supporter of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, a stance which earned him a stint in prison at university—thanks to the ruling Shah’s secret police—and the revolutionary bonafides that came with it when the Shah’s government was ousted.In the early days of the Islamic Revolution, Foruzandeh worked with the IRGC to identify and arrest Arab dissidents in Khorramshahr opposed to the new government. His knowledge of the area, proven commitment to the regime, and background in underground work made him a natural fit for intelligence when the Iran-Iraq war started.“After Iraq's invasion, he was the intelligence chief of the Khorramshahr unit that later played a key role in re-taking the city from the Baathists in 1982,” Amir Toumaj, an Iran researcher who’s written extensively on the Quds Force, explained of Foruzandeh. “His biography states that he started developing a relationship with Hassan Bagheri around the time of Khorramshahr's fall and sent him reports,” Toumaj says. Bagheri, the founder of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence service, was killed during the war but went on to become one of Iran’s most famous “martyrs.” His brother, Mohammad, is now Iran’s highest-ranking military officer and it was those kinds of connections that would help pave Foruzandeh’s ascent to the highest ranks of the IRGC.Trump, Iran, and Where ‘The Forever War’ Was Always HeadedLater in the war, Foruzandeh left his position in Khorramshahr’s 22nd Badr Brigade and joined the Ramazan Corps. The unit was designed to work with dissident groups in Iraq and carry out guerrilla operations behind enemy lines while the otherwise static style of trench warfare that characterized the Iran-Iraq conflict played out. At Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters, where Foruzandeh first worked, the unit carried out operations with Iraqi Shiite groups like the Badr Brigade, a group of exiled dissidents and former prisoners of war. The militia was originally “conceived by the Iranians as an adjunct to the IRGC-QF Ramazan Corps,” according to a 2005 State Department cable, and drew support from their political arm, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war, radio broadcasts from Tehran hailed operations by the “Ramazan Headquarters” which claimed assassination attempts with “Iraqi mujahidin” on Saddam’s interior minister Samir al-Shaykhali in Baghdad, the “revolutionary execution” of a Ba’ath Party official in Baghdad’s Mansur neighborhood, and having set fire to one of Saddam’s Baghdad palaces "used for pleasure by Ba'ath party officials and senior officers of that regime.”Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters and the Badr Brigade didn’t do much to change the tide of the war. It ended in a bloody stalemate in 1988, more of exhaustion than because of guerrilla daring. One of the Ramazan Corps’s most valuable relationships actually lay farther north with Kurdish forces from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The group carried out strikes deep into Iraqi Kurdish territory with Ramazan’s backing, including a 1986 raid on Iraqi oil infrastructure in Kirkuk (later memorialized in a cheesy Iranian action flick, Kirkuk Operation).But the relationships forged by Ramazan with Iraqi Shia militants would prove useful to both the Revolutionary Guards and Iran years down the road when groups like Badr took on an important role in Iraqi politics and security. When the war ended, both Ramazan Corps and Foruzandeh remained focused on Iraq, particularly during the Shia uprising against Saddam at the end of the Persian Gulf War. One Iranian news account put Foruzandeh in charge of working with Iranian-backed militias to support the uprising “in order to speed up the support of the Iraqi Mujahideen” because his unit, Ramazan’s Fajr headquarters, was closest to the revolt in Basra.There’s not much evidence about how Foruzandeh spent his time in the interim between America’s first two wars in Iraq. The most evidence available is a fragmentary report from Saddam-era intelligence documents captured by the U.S. after the war that shows Foruzandeh running an agent inside a camp for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, an Iranian dissident cult group which fought on behalf of Iraq during the war and carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Iran.* * *Not many senior Ramazan Corps veterans appear to have retired. Iraj Masjedi, another Quds Force Iraq veteran, took over as Iran’s ambassador in Baghdad in 2017. Abdul Reza Shahlai, who served in Iraq during the occupation alongside Foruzandeh, is now at 63 years old reportedly the top Quds Force officer in Yemen and was unsuccessfully targeted in a U.S. airstrike there the same night that special operations forces killed Soleimani.After the U.S. wound down its occupation in Iraq, Foruzandeh, gray-haired and portly, gave every impression of having retired and contented himself with the hobbies of old age, despite a U.S. sanctions designation on him during the war. He told an Iranian news outlet that he’d retired from the Quds Force in 2008, and was working on an oral history project about his hometown. In public, he spent his spent time shuffling between memorial ceremonies for fallen comrades. It doesn’t appear to be true.Another declassified intelligence document obtained by The Daily Beast offers hints that Foruzandeh may not have retired after all. The report, an account of senior Iranian officials’ participation in a museum project "documenting lessons learned from the Iran-Iraq war," suggests he kept at least a consulting role in Quds Force operations. In describing the background of officials present at the meeting, the report says Foruzandeh still dabbled in "management of personnel and logistic support to IRGC-QF external activities." Iran’s Khorasan province “has been recently added to his portfolio." Iran’s Khorasan province borders northwest Afghanistan and by 2013, the Obama administration had already been arguing for years that Quds Force officers were secretly supporting the Taliban in order to weaken U.S. and NATO forces in the country. There are some reasons to be skeptical of the declassified report. The sources claim that Foruzandeh was appointed a director of Iran’s Iran-Iraq war museum, but he’s not listed by the museum as an official or referred to as such in news accounts. It’s also dated around the same time Foruzandeh gave an interview to an Iranian news outlet announcing that he was working on a history project about his hometown’s role in the Iran-Iraq war.Still, other evidence suggests Foruzandeh was still in the irregular warfare business.In 2014, one of Foruzandeh’s closest colleagues in the Quds Force, fellow brigadier general and Ramazan Corps veteran Hamid Taghavi, was killed by ISIS in Iraq. The death came as a surprise, not least because Taghavi was one of the highest-ranking IRGC officers killed in Iraq since the Iran-Iraq war. Like Foruzandeh, Taghavi was also supposed to have left active duty. Instead, he was in Iraq supporting a Shiite militia loyal to Iran, Sayara al-Khorasani, and organizing Iran’s fight against ISIS.“Commander Taghavi was retired. No one thought he’d go to Iraq and be able to play a role in the mobilization and organization of the [Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units militia],” Foruzandeh told a meeting of Ahwaz city officials after his death. Taghavi’s death hit Foruzandeh hard and he would break down in tears recounting his comrade’s life when talking to reporters. In one interview, Foruzandeh suggested he’d been in contact with Taghavi by phone shortly before his death and offered advice for his work standing up pro-Iranian militias after ISIS took Mosul“He came to the place where we were stationed,” Foruzandeh said without elaborating. “We told him about the situation in Iraq, the characteristics of the conflict, the various Iraqi groups, and the challenges that existed. The Iraqi forces had deficiencies that needed to be addressed.” Taghavi was concerned about Iranian-backed militias’ performance during operations in Jurf al-Sakhar, an Iraqi town captured by ISIS and taken back during a brutal operation coordinated by the Quds Force. “He believed that unless these forces received better training they would suffer severe casualties. The casualties these forces suffered were generally due to a lack of proper military training. They didn’t know how to move, what to do when they’re under fire from the enemy, how to provide cover when attacking, or even how to clear traps and contaminants from an infected area,” Foruzandeh recalled.One of the last public glimpses of Foruzandeh comes from an unlikely source: Facebook. Foruzandeh doesn’t appear to have a profile, but his acquaintances identified him in pictures during a 2016 visit to meet with Iraqi officials from Maysan Province. The photos show a grandfatherly Quds Force officer with his trademark scowl described as an “advisor” to Iran’s Supreme Leader, a tailored visiting dignitary in a place where decades before he was once a spry, hunted guerrilla in hand-me-down fatigues.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 21 Jan 2020 04:51:31 -0500
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