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  • Bloomberg pledges $70 billion to bolster black America in new plan

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    Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his presidential campaign's plan for bolstering economic opportunity for black Americans.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:00:21 -0500
  • Virginia on edge as pro-gun activists seethe over governor’s state of emergency

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    Moments after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam approached the podium at the state capitol building on Wednesday to announce that he was issuing a temporary state of emergency ahead of a gun rights rally on Monday in Richmond, the angry comments started pouring in. What started in November as a fight between rural Virginia gun owners and newly elected Democratic lawmakers seeking to propose gun control legislation has since been warped and amplified by extremist groups which, for different reasons, have sought to exploit real tensions around Virginia’s gun debate to advance their own agendas.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:05:00 -0500
  • Leopard runs into house before being captured in south India

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    A leopard that ran into a house and sparked a frantic search and a frenzy of attention in southern India on Monday has been caught and tranquilized. The big cat emerged from the Kamdanam forest and ran into a house in Shadnagar town in Telangana state, said Dr. Mohammad Abdul Hakeem, a wildlife official. Deadly conflict between humans and animals has increased in recent years in India largely due to shrinking forest habitats and urban expansion.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:15:50 -0500
  • Five die in Russian hotel after boiling water floods basement

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    Five people, including one child, were killed in the Russian city of Perm on Monday when a hot water pipe exploded in the night and flooded a basement hotel room with boiling water. At least three other people were taken to hospital with burns after the incident in the Mini Hotel Caramel, which is located in the basement of a residential building, the region's investigative committee said. A doctor treating the victims, Andrei Babikov, said a 33-year-old woman had burns covering 35% of her body.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:33:13 -0500
  • Japan Planned to Attack Pearl Harbor (Yes, Again)

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    Why didn't it?

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 03:46:00 -0500
  • Ex-Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line workers reveal the things they couldn't live without on board

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    Workers for cruise lines like Carnival and Norwegian might be away from home for over six months, so they need to be thoughtful about what they pack.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:35:05 -0500
  • White House Will Say That Democrats Trying to Overturn 2016

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    (Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s legal team says Democrats mounted a “brazen” bid to overturn the 2016 election, echoing the president’s aggressive posture in the first formal White House response to impeachment proceedings in the U.S. Senate.Two people close to the team previewed how Trump’s lawyers plan to mount his defense over the coming weeks, largely tracking public statements the president and his aides have given during the process.The officials spoke in a call with reporters conducted on the condition of anonymity before the six-page filing was released on Saturday That document will be followed on Monday by the team’s complete legal brief in which they expand on their arguments.At almost the same time Saturday, the House impeachment managers filed a 111-page brief saying the president’s pattern of misconduct made him a “threat to the nation and the rule of law.” The document includes evidence the managers said “overwhelmingly” showed Trump guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.The White House filing denounced the House Democrats’ process as fundamentally unfair and the articles of impeachment as unconstitutional.The document also seemed addressed as much to the president’s political supporters as it is to the U.S. Senate, arguing that the impeachment trial was “a brazen and unlawful attempt” to invalidate the votes of Americans in the 2016 election and to meddle in the 2020 election.Trump is facing two articles of impeachment stemming from efforts to persuade Ukraine to undertake an investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden.In the impeachment resolution sent to the Senate, the House of Representatives charges that Trump “solicited interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming presidential election by pressuring the government there to publicly announce the investigation.Impeachment Trial Deadlines Will Hint at Trump’s DefenseThe House also alleges that Trump conditioned $391 million in foreign aid on Ukraine’s public announcement, compromising “the national security of the United States and undermined the integrity of the United States democratic process.”The people familiar with the president’s legal strategy said the filing was intended to challenge both the merits and constitutionality of the impeachment arguments.“The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever, let alone high crimes or misdemeanors,” the team says in the filing.Trump and his lawyers have said repeatedly no such arm-twisting occurred, noting that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy denied the existence of a pressure campaign and stressing that foreign aid was eventually delivered to Ukraine despite the government never announcing an investigation into the Bidens.The White House also argued that the president was justified in asking Ukraine to investigate possible corruption, and that his responsibilities required the president to be a good steward of public funds.This week the non-partisan Government Accountability Office said it was illegal for Trump to withhold military aid to Ukraine -- a conclusion Trump’s legal team said it “obviously” disagrees with.Here’s the Story on Impeachment, Trump and Ukraine: QuickTakeSeparately, the impeachment resolution accuses the president of obstructing Congress because he instructed Executive Branch agencies and officials not to comply with the House of Representatives’ investigation into the Ukraine matter.A number of key witnesses -- including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney -- did not comply with subpoenas or requests for testimony during the inquest, leaving Democrats without concrete proof that Trump himself had directly ordered the withholding of aid unless Ukraine launched the Biden investigations.“Through these actions, President Trump sought to arrogate to himself the right to determine the propriety, scope, and nature of an impeachment inquiry into his own conduct,” the House argued in its impeachment resolution. The House said “no President has ever ordered the complete defiance of an impeachment inquiry or sought to obstruct and impede so comprehensively.”The White House argues that Trump was relying on long-standing and bipartisan notions of executive privilege, and that the president has an institutional right to protect internal deliberations.The White House also chided Democrats for voting on impeachment before legal challenges to the ignored subpoenas could be completed, suggesting that the obstruction charge was little more than political pretenseOnce the trial brief is filed, Trump’s legal team will go live with its defense as the impeachment trial begins in earnest next week. The president’s legal team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the Trump’s private attorney, Jay Sekulow.They’ll be joined by former Clinton impeachment prosecutor Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, the law professor and constitutional rights expert who gained notoriety for his efforts to defend high-profile men accused of harming women, including O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein.Former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, Trump private attorney Jane Raskin, former independent counsel Robert Ray, and Eric Herschmann, a partner at a law firm who has represented Trump in numerous cases in recent years, round out the president’s team.The people familiar with the president’s strategy said the current plan for the trial was for Cipollone to lead off the president’s defense, with Sekulow following him. Other members of the legal team expect to give discrete presentations on specific topics.Seven House Democrats -- iincluding Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler -- have been appointed by the House to present their case. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will oversee the proceedings, and swore in senators as jurors last week.Those familiar with the president’s strategy described the calling of witnesses as a two-way street, saying they expected to be able to call individuals they wanted to testify if senators voted to compel White House officials to speak.The trial is expected to begin in full on Tuesday, with a vote on rules including how many hours each side has to make their case.Democrats are preparing to force a vote at the outset to call witnesses, including Mulvaney, Bolton, Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey and Mulvaney senior adviser Robert Blair.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to decide that issue at a later time, and appears to have the votes to withstand the bid by Democrats.Trump’s chances of actual removal remain slim, as 67 senators are needed to remove him from office - meaning 20 Republicans would need to cross party lines to convict the president.(Updates with White House tweets, adds reference to House legal brief in fourth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Ros KrasnyFor 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.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 18:17:34 -0500
  • ICE ups ante in standoff with NYC: 'This is not a request'

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    Federal authorities are turning to a new tactic in the escalating conflict over New York City's so-called sanctuary policies, issuing four “immigration subpoenas” to the city for information about inmates wanted for deportation. “This is not a request — it's a demand,” Henry Lucero, a senior U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, told The Associated Press. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration said Saturday the city would review the subpoenas.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 19:23:51 -0500
  • Angola vows to bring back billionaire dos Santos over graft claims

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    Angolan prosecutors vowed on Monday to use "all possible" means to bring back Isabel dos Santos, the former president's billionaire daughter, after thousands of leaked documents revealed new allegations she siphoned off hundreds of millions in public money. Dubbed Africa's richest woman, dos Santos is accused of using her father's backing to plunder state funds from the oil-rich but impoverished southern African country and -- with the help of Western consulting firms -- move the money offshore. "We will use all possible means and activate international mechanisms to bring Isabel dos Santos back to the country," prosecutor general Helder Pitra Gros told public radio.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:46:09 -0500
  • The Wuhan Pneumonia Crisis Highlights the Danger in China's Opaque Way of Doing Things

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    Downplaying the spread of a deadly new virus is a dangerous strategy

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 05:17:48 -0500
  • Bodies of Ukrainian victims of Iran plane crash returned home

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    The bodies of the 11 Ukrainian citizens who died when a passenger plane was accidentally shot down by Iran this month were brought back to Ukraine on Sunday in a solemn ceremony at Kiev airport. All 176 on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight from Tehran to Kiev were killed when the Boeing 737-800 was shot down on Jan. 8, at a time when Iran was on high alert for a U.S. attack. Nine of the Ukrainian citizens were crew members.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:30:30 -0500
  • Illegal crossings plunge as US extends policy across border

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    Adolfo Cardenas smiles faintly at the memory of traveling with his 14-year-old son from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border in only nine days, riding buses and paying a smuggler $6,000 to ensure passage through highway checkpoints. Father and son walked about 10 minutes in Arizona's stifling June heat before surrendering to border agents. Instead of being released with paperwork to appear in immigration court in Dallas, where Cardenas hopes to live with a cousin, they were bused more than an hour to wait in the Mexican border city of Mexicali.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:24:36 -0500
  • El Chapo 701 craft lager coming soon thanks to drug lord's daughter

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    The mug shot of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, imprisoned leader of the ruthless Sinaloa Cartel, is not just for police blotters anymore.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:23:33 -0500
  • Russia Is Worried About Britain's Astute-Class Submarines

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    The class seems to have overcome its technical and financial problems, although the lingering impact of those issues could affect not only future classes of SSNs, but also the UK’s commitment to building a new class of SSBNs.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 01:30:00 -0500
  • You Should Get an Electric Fireplace

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    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:00:00 -0500
  • Facebook removes 'coordinated' posts backing ex-marine implicated in Ukraine plot

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    Facebook has removed a series of apparently coordinated posts defending Robert Hyde, a Republican candidate for congress who has been implicated in the Ukraine scandal that led to Donald Trump being impeached.Last week Lev Parnas, a business associate of Mr Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, said Mr Hyde had claimed to be carrying out surveillance on the then US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:50:48 -0500
  • Prince Harry banned from wearing military uniform after stepping back from armed forces

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    Harry, Duke of Sussex, will be barred from wearing his military uniform after he agreed to step back from his armed forces appointments.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:06:10 -0500
  • Ten killed in seating collapse at Ethiopian festival

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    At least ten people were killed Monday and scores injured when a seating area collapsed during a major Orthodox Christian celebration in Ethiopia, with fears the death toll could rise. The accident occurred just before 8am (0500 GMT) Monday in Gondar, a historic city in the country's north, where every year more than a million people gather for the epiphany festivities known as Timkat. Two doctors at the University of Gondar Hospital told AFP that 10 people died when the spectator stands gave way suddenly at Fasilides' Bath, where thousands typically gather to watch worshippers plunge into the holy waters.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 09:58:12 -0500
  • Report Warned of Threat to U.S. Troops in Germany: Newsweek

    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. received intelligence about a potentially imminent attack being planned against military personnel stationed in Germany, Newsweek reported, citing a memo it saw.The 66th Military Intelligence Brigade received third party information stating that a possible attack could occur against soldiers at either Tower Barracks in Grafenwohr or Tower Barracks, Dulmen; the exact location, date and time of possible attack was unknown Information was marked unclassified and from a senior U.S. intelligence official “The source of information stated the attack would be carried out by an unknown Jordanian extremist currently located in Germany near an unknown military base,” the report saidU.S. Army Europe confirmed to Newsweek that a potential threat was identified and investigated last night “German and US officials were consulted and no imminent threat was found to exit”To view the source of this information click hereTo contact the reporter on this story: Nathan Crooks in Miami at ncrooks@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at stong41@bloomberg.netFor 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.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:00:33 -0500
  • Police fire tear gas to disperse thousands in central Hong Kong

    Police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters who gathered in a central Hong Kong park but later spilled onto the streets, briefly barricading roads and spray-painting buildings. Out in numbers before the demonstration began, police intervened promptly when the rally turned into an impromptu march. Several units of police in riot gear were seen chasing protesters and several arrests were made.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 03:08:35 -0500
  • Trump's Russia adviser 'escorted from White House' amid investigation

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    President Trump's latest Russia expert has reportedly been escorted from the White House amid claims of a security-related investigation.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:06:55 -0500
  • The 25 Best PSP Games

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    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:00:00 -0500
  • 2 more Puerto Rico officials fired after warehouse break-in

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    Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired the heads of Puerto Rico’s housing and family departments Sunday in the latest fallout over the discovery of a warehouse filled with emergency supplies dating from Hurricane Maria. The removal of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar came a day after the governor fired the director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency. Vázquez fired him hours after a Facebook video showed angry people breaking into the warehouse in an area where thousands have been in shelters since a recent earthquake.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:57:22 -0500
  • China Thinks It Can Nuke American Cities. Should We Worry?

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    World War III is no joke...

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 17:00:00 -0500
  • Germans are slamming Elon Musk's plans to clear 740 acres of forest for a $45.36 million Tesla factory

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    "I am not against Tesla," one activist said. "But it's about the site; in a forest area that is a protected wildlife zone. Is this necessary?"

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:36:33 -0500
  • Body of woman who was missing for almost 6 years found in car submerged in NJ river

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    Vanessa Smallwood of Maple Shade, N.J., was 46 at the time of her disappearance. She was identified in a statement from New Jersey State Police.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:10:56 -0500
  • 2 more bodies found at Tijuana home where US couple buried

    Mexican authorities say they have discovered two more bodies at a house in Tijuana where a couple with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship were found buried, allegedly by their son-in-law. The attorney general's office for the state of Baja California, just south of San Diego, California, said late Saturday the second set of bodies —one male and the other female— are in a state of advanced decomposition. The suspect was deported from the U.S. in 2012 and had been living at a property in Tijuana owned by his in-laws.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:44:55 -0500
  • Evacuation crackdown ordered as Philippine volcano 'recharges'

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    Philippine authorities ordered a crackdown Monday on evacuees' daily visits to their homes in the danger zone around Taal volcano as scientists warned it could be "recharging" for a more powerful explosion. More than 110,000 people have taken refuge in evacuation centres since Taal burst to life a week ago, but many hard-hit towns have let residents back for hours each day to fetch items, feed livestock and clean up their houses. "We are directing DRRMCs (civil defence officers)... not to allow anyone to enter the danger zone," said Epimaco Densing, undersecretary for the Department of Interior.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:42:11 -0500
  • 'I stayed alive to tell' - Auschwitz's dwindling survivors recount horrors of Nazi death camp

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    A strip of skin tattooed with the Auschwitz death camp number 99288 sits in a silver frame on a shelf in Avraham Harshalom's living room. As the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation on Jan 27, 1945, nears, Harshalom, 95, is very clear about why he kept it. Harshalom is one of some 200,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:14:38 -0500
  • ‘OK, Now What?’: Inside Team Trump’s Scramble to Sell the Soleimani Hit to America

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    In the hours after the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, U.S. officials in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department worked overtime on assembling a plan to handle the fallout, only to watch senior administration officials and the president himself scuttle their effort in real time on national television. The ensuing days became a mad dash to reconcile the intense intra-administration tensions over what the intelligence actually said about Iranian plots, and how best to sell their case to the American public. At the very top was a president who stewed and complained to staff about how the killing he’d just ordered might negatively affect his re-election prospects and ensnare him in a quagmire in the Middle East of his own creation.The plan to take out Soleimani had been approved months earlier by President Donald Trump after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton pushed for more to be done to manage Iran’s aggression in the Middle East. But the president for years tried to avoid a direct military confrontation with Tehran, and hitting Soleimani was a move that could edge the two countries closer to war.When an American contractor was killed in Iraq in late December, President Trump’s national security team presented him with a slew of options on how to respond, and killing Soleimani was on the list. National security advisers reminded the president that he had publicly drawn a line in the sand, saying that if the regime killed Americans there would be severe consequences. Still, the strike was a departure from the regular Trump playbook and officials knew it would take a robust effort to explain not only the reasoning behind the attack but also the administration’s goal on Iran.“There was this sudden nature about it all. Yeah, it had been in the works for some time. But it didn’t feel like we were all thinking the same on how to move forward,” said one U.S. official, referring to the strike on Soleimani. “It was like, ‘OK, now what?’” For more than a week, Trump, Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and officials from the national security community, including at the Pentagon, held twice-daily meetings and conference calls to make sure all government agencies were on the same page regarding messaging, according to two individuals familiar with those conversations.Despite that effort, what resulted appeared to be an uncoordinated effort to justify an action by national security officials who were varied in their answers about the pre-strike intelligence and who struggled to define the administration’s strategy on Iran post strike.That internal confusion on how to re-frame the administration’s approach to dealing with Iran led to weeks of what appeared to be frequent mixed messaging, critiques about the administration's apparent lack of strategy, calls from Congress for more robust intelligence briefings—and allegations that Trump and his lieutenants were actively misleading a nation into a sharp military escalation.This article is based on interviews with 10 U.S. government officials and several former administration officials. The State Department and White House House did not comment on the record for this story.Worry over the “counterpunch”For several days following Soleimani’s assassination, Pentagon officials warned Trump and his national security advisers that Iran had a variety of responses it could carry out to make the Americans pay. Among them, sources said, were Iranian attacks on senior U.S. military officers overseas, or violence targeting American outposts in countries like Iraq. Their bottom line was that Iran would hit back, and hit back hard. The president worried aloud to his team about how the strike could impact the way voters viewed him in the upcoming election. After all, avoiding costly foreign wars in the Middle East had been one of the key promises— and points of contrast—he made as a candidate in 2016. One official told The Daily Beast that in meetings at the White House Trump was “preoccupied” with ensuring that his public statements on Iran—notably that he would not drag the U.S. into a war with the country—would hold following the assassination. Once Soleimani was gone, Trump was adamant that the administration “get things back to normal” with Iran, one official told The Daily Beast. According to another U.S. official, senior administration officials, including President Trump, were framing the strike as a de-escalatory measure even before the attack was ordered. The idea was that if the U.S. didn’t hit Soleimani, more people would die because Iran would continue to carry out attacks in the region.Trump’s insistence on returning to “normal” with Iran directly after he ordered the death of the Islamic republic’s top military leader underscores this president’s wild vacillations between diplomatic overtures and teasing violent retribution, where a call for peace one moment could be followed by a threat to destroy Iranian cultural sites—a tactic that is considered a war crime under international law.The president inquired about this not long before greenlighting, then abruptly calling off, military strikes on Iran that he approved knowing the body count was estimated to be high.And even as he publicly celebrated this massive escalation with Iran and aggressively campaigned on, and fundraised off of, his decision, Trump continued to lament privately to close allies that it would be “crazy” to plunge America into another invasion or full-blown war in the Middle East, according to two people who spoke to Trump in the days following the Soleimani hit.He then pledged he would not “let it happen” on his “watch.” Of course, none of the president’s stated reservations about starting a new war, or his stated desire to bring soldiers home, kept him and his administration from deploying thousands more American troops to the region as the U.S. and Iran walked up to the brink of all-out warfare early this month.The Soleimani strike, though, forced the president to pause, even just briefly, to consider whether what he had ordered would have lasting, irreversible consequences—repercussions he’d never meant to bump up against.“You know, he's sincerely grappling with this, which is good. I mean, war should be hard and we should grapple with it. I just don't want any one person to say, okay, I've grappled with it we should do it,” Sen. Tim Kaine told The Daily Beast in an interview about the escalating tension in Iran. Since the Soleimani strike, the Virginia Democrat has led a bipartisan push in the Senate to rein in Trump’s authority to wage war in Iran without congressional approval. “If I were president I shouldn't have the ability to just on my own say, let’s do this,” Kaine added. “It should be deliberative, because that's what the troops and their families deserve.”President Trump’s concerns were fed, in part, by comments from lawmakers and other analysts that the strike on Soleimani could lead quickly to a major, sustained conflict.“We need to get ready for a major pushback. Our people in Iraq and the Middle East are going to be targeted. We need to be ready to defend our people in the Middle East,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in an interview with The Daily Beast the night of the strike. “I think we need to be ready for a big counterpunch.”“Overselling the intel”In the first week after the Jan. 3 strike, officials appeared on television and radio shows in an attempt to frame the Soleimani strike as an act of de-escalation. Just hours after the strike, Brian Hook, the special representative for Iran, went on BBC World Service radio saying that killing Soleimani was designed to “advance the cause of peace.”Officials at the State Department, in coordination with the White House, drafted talking points advising those who would appear in the media to underscore Soleimani’s “malign activities” and his role in killing American troops over the years, according to two U.S. officials. But the White House wanted to advance a different argument—one that wasn’t about what Iran had already done, but what U.S. officials claimed Iran was about to do. They said the U.S. killed Soleimani because he was planning “imminent” attacks that would harm American interests. That talking point in particular was emailed out to officials across the Pentagon, White House, and State Department, and even to several GOP lawmakers’ offices repeatedly the week of the strike, according to several officials who spoke to The Daily Beast. It became, for a time, the central rationale the administration offered for the assassination. On the night of the hit, the Pentagon said only that Soleimani was “actively developing plans” for an unspecified attack. By Sunday Jan. 5, Pompeo said on several morning talk shows that there were actually “constant threats” from Iran, rather than a specific one the strike preempted. And officials told a varying story about how many Americans could be killed. That next week, in briefings to Congress, the administration struggled to explain what exactly the alleged “imminent” attack was. Senators left a closed-door briefing Wednesday, Jan. 8, unconvinced, angry, and warning that the intelligence put forward did not match how senior officials described it. And when the dissatisfied lawmakers pressed for a clearer picture, Graham ended the briefing even though several members had yet to ask their questions.“It was right when things were really starting to get heated and Graham just said something like, ‘Hey don’t you all have to get back to the White House?’,” the source said.For Kaine, the problem wasn’t the intel, it was some of the messengers. “I think the intel has been strong. But I think some of the political people have been overselling the intel,” said Kaine. “What I heard of the political folks doing seems to me to be significantly beyond what the intel says.”Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a member of the House intelligence committee who received a separate classified briefing on the Soleimani strike, said he “saw nothing related to imminence.”“To exaggerate your view of what intelligence means is dangerous,” he told The Daily Beast. “This was either a misrepresentation or a degree of incompetence in analyzing the intelligence.”Senators were also displeased with how the administration’s briefers, including Pompeo, answered questions about Iraq and its parliament vote to oust American troops from the country after the Soleimani assassination. According to two people in the room, the briefers dismissed questions about the Baghdad vote, telling lawmakers “don’t worry about it,” according to an individual who was in the room. “One of them said ‘that’s just how the Iraqis talk. We will take care of it.’”“When you take strikes… in Iraq over their objections, there’s going to be consequences to that. And that’s the kind of thing where you got to be thinking down the board. If they object to us using Iraq as a field of battle… but we’re saying yeah, we’re doing it anyway. Well, what do you think is going to happen?” Kaine told The Daily Beast in reference to the briefing. “I certainly didn't get much sense that they had thought through, like, oh, they are probably going to kick us out of the country.”Trump on Jan. 9 told reporters that the intelligence actually showed that Iran was “looking to blow up our embassy.” The next day, he went bigger in a Fox News interview, saying that there “probably would’ve been four embassies.” But two days after that, on Jan. 12, Trump’s claim was put into question by his own defense secretary. In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Mark Esper conceded that he had not in fact seen a piece of intelligence “with regard to four embassies.” But, in an apparent attempt to cover for Trump, Esper said the president “believed that it probably and could have been attacks against additional embassies.”According to two officials who spoke to The Daily Beast, Trump was outwardly frustrated by critiques of his embassy claim, telling his close confidants that he was furious with Esper’s performance on CNN.Lawmakers on Capitol Hill called on the Trump administration to explain the president’s remarks, demanding briefings with Pompeo and other administration officials—which were scheduled this week and then canceled without explanation. According to two senior U.S. officials, Trump and Pompeo spoke about the need to avoid answering more questions about the embassy threats.“This whole episode has been one of mixed messages. Mixed messages is a function of no real strategy,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “When you don’t have a strategy, you get all sorts of confusing events on top of each other.”“Aggressive opinions”Officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said part of that confusion on messaging came as a result of abundant input by GOP lawmakers with “aggressive opinions on how to handle Iran,” as one official put it. In the days after the assassination, Trump spoke with Republican leaders in the Senate and the House, picking their brains on how to redefine the administration’s years-long policy of maximum pressure—a campaign to wage economic warfare on Tehran. Some of those same senators had publicly and behind closed doors denounced the administration’s maximum pressure campaign. They argued that the campaign wasn’t doing enough to change Iran’s behavior. In the days leading up to the strike, Graham spoke with President Trump. “I won’t get into the details,” Graham told The Daily Beast. “But he told me Soleimani was a target and that they had caught him red-handed.” Graham said he had advocated for the president to take a tougher military stance against Iran following the attacks on the Saudi oil refineries in September.“I didn’t have any specific targets in mind,” Graham said. “I just thought we needed to be doing more.”Several national security officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said there was a push by GOP lawmakers, including Graham, in the days after the strike to fundamentally re-vamp the administration’s maximum pressure campaign by adding a military component.“If there are any more threats against Americans or our interests then we should hit refineries and oil infrastructure inside Iran,” Graham said. “The military option should be on the table.” The campaign was not initially designed to include military power as a form of maximum pressure, according to two former Obama administration officials. Instead, its architects envisioned it as a means of economic strangulation, whereby Iran would be put under such crippling sanctions that it would opt to transform its foreign policy and take an unspecified grand bargain that the administration began offering after abandoning the nuclear deal in 2018. Graham told The Daily Beast that he is working on an alternative to the Obama administration's 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “I'm not surprised the President has close relationships with these folks,” Kaine told The Daily Beast, referring to GOP lawmakers. “But it makes me nervous. Rather than senators pressuring the president, hey, go after Iran, let them make the case on the floor of the Senate.”After two weeks of shifting talking points on Iran, re-defining the administration’s policy, Pompeo seemed to edge the closest to articulating a clear response on the administration’s policy when he appeared for a speech at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University on Jan. 13.“President Trump and those of us on his national security team are re-establishing deterrence… against Iran. The goal is twofold. First we want to deprive the regime of resources. And second we just want Iran to act like a normal nation,” he said, sighing. “Just be like Norway.”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.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:04:26 -0500
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar Says ‘We Must Stop Detaining’ Illegal Immigrants

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    “This should never be the case,” she wrote. “The cruelty of our immigration system becomes clearer every day. We must stop detaining immigrants and start giving them pathways to citizenship.”

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 05:26:00 -0500
  • Archie's future: Rubbing shoulders with well-heeled expats at international school rather than Eton?

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    When Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor was christened in a small, closed ceremony last year, his parents made it clear that they wanted to raise him as a “private citizen.” He did not assume the title of Earl of Dumbarton and he is not a Prince. The seventh in line to the throne is simply ‘Master’ Archie.  After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to quit The Firm and relocate to Canada, questions have been raised about the young child’s future. Already there is disquiet inside Buckingham Palace, with the Queen upset that Archie has not even been in the country for the last two months, missing out on his first Royal Christmas at Sandringham.  “She will be very sad to have barely seen Archie, and that he will miss out on growing up with his cousins and wider family,” a source told the Sunday Times. “Where will Archie’s heritage and roots be?” said another. “The fact Archie isn't Earl of Dumbarton or styled HRH makes me wonder whether this wasn't already part of a wider masterplan,” said Majesty magazine’s Managing Editor, Joe Little. Archie made his first Royal trip in September, visiting Cape Town, South Africa Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA In British Columbia there is a wealth of private schools and a strong British expat community. “There are a number of boarding schools that exist in the area that draw students from around the world,” said Vancouver-based fundraising consultant Jeff Sodowsky. "British Columbia and particularly the Lower Mainland is such an international population, definitely from around the world, but there's a history and culture of original British Columbia families that all invested as pioneers in making the city and the area better,” he added. If Archie is to be educated in Canada, it would break a long tradition of British Royals at British schools. The Duke of Sussex spent his pre-prep years at the private Wetherby School in Notting Hill, followed by Ludgrove School and then Eton College, where he boarded between the ages of 13 and 18. Archie’s grandfather, Prince Charles was educated at Cheam and Gordonstoun schools, which his father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had also attended as a child. Canada has 91 independent schools, including the £41,000-a-year Lakefield College School, where Prince Andrew studied in 1978. Cheshire-based education expert and author Edward Williams told the Daily Mail that the idea of having Archie in two separate schools - one in the UK and one in Canada - is “untenable”. “Students of any age crave consistency, structure and discipline, he said. “It's necessary not just for their academic growth but their social and emotional health. “Canada is very well provided for in terms of education, but there are rather fundamental differences. Depending on where they settle, there can be issues regarding which age they start; in the UK it's four but in Canada it is five or six, meaning practically that when Archie started he would be persistently either a year ahead or behind his peers.”

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:47:31 -0500
  • Boeing goes from bad to worse

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    The smartest insight and analysis, from all perspectives, rounded up from around the web:Amazingly, Boeing's reputation has managed to hit a new low, said Natalie Kitroeff at The New York Times. The company released a catastrophically damning trove of documents to congressional investigators last week that included "conversations among Boeing pilots and other employees about software issues and other problems with flight simulators" for the 737 Max, the plane involved in two fatal crashes. Employees distrusted the plane and the training pilots would get to fly it. "Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft?" asked one in an email exchange. "I wouldn't." Another said the Max was "designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys." The messages "further complicate Boeing's tense relationship" with the Federal Aviation Administration, which can't be pleased to read the disdain with which Boeing treated regulators. "I still haven't been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year," one employee said in 2018. The memorably incriminating quotes aren't even the worst part here, said Dominic Gates and Steve Miletich at the Seattle Times. Boeing might say these were just employees blowing off steam, but there's no way to explain away more "sober" internal emails that show "a culture that prioritized cost cutting over everything else."The fact that we're finding out about this now underlines "deep-rooted cultural problems at Boeing," said Brooke Sutherland at Bloomberg. The company claims it brought these documents to the FAA in December as a "reflection of our commitment to transparency." Please. That was nine months after the agency grounded the Max. "It defies reason that no one at Boeing knew that the company was sitting on another mountain of troubling messages." After this episode, it's going to be even harder to win back public confidence in the Max, said David Gelles in The New York Times. "According to Boeing's own research, 40 percent of travelers are unwilling to fly" on the Max — if it ever returns to service. Boeing once "represented the pinnacle of engineering," but its relentless focus on safety gave way to "obsessing over the bottom line." Said Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the heroic pilot who landed a plane on the Hudson River, "We've seen this movie before, in places like Enron."That's right, said Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times, and just like at those places you need to lay the blame at the feet of the board of directors. The root of this crisis can be traced back to 2011. "Under explicit pressure from the board" to find a cheap way to build a new plane, then-CEO James McNerney decided to modify the aging 737 design instead of "designing a new aircraft from the ground up." At least seven of Boeing's 13 current board members were there in 2011 — including David Calhoun, the new CEO. This is a board full of celebrities, such as former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Yet it has nobody with any aerospace engineering experience, since the departure of Dennis Muilenburg. Boeing says it will require "safety-related experience as one of the criteria" for choosing future directors. That invites the question: "Why only now?"This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, try the magazine for a month here.More stories from theweek.com Trump's legal team calls on Senate to dismiss impeachment charges 5 scathingly funny cartoons about the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren feud The images of Australia's storms are downright apocalyptic

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:00:02 -0500
  • The US Air Force recently acquired a new $64 million Gulfstream private jet for VIP government officials — see inside

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    The US president isn't the only government official that flies in a VIP plane operated by the US Air Force.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 08:53:00 -0500
  • Pair of storms to unleash rain, snow across Middle East this week

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    More unsettled weather is set to grip the Middle East this week after several storms have battered the region in recent weeks.The first of two storms to impact the area this week has dampened locations from the Mediterranean coast to Iraq on Monday. This slow-moving system will continue to bring wet weather to the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.The steadiest rainfall is expected from northern Israel and Lebanon into southern Syria and central Iraq. Downpours are possible in Beirut, Damascus, Homs and Baghdad. Rain will also spread into the lower elevations of western Iran with snow falling in the mountains. In the higher terrain of Lebanon and Syria, snow accumulation can be expected.On the southern side of this storm, showers may briefly dampen southern Jordan, far northern Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Tuesday into Wednesday. This storm will then push into eastern Iran with rain and high-elevation snowfall on Thursday.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APPA second storm will race southward from Turkey into the Middle East late Thursday into Friday, bringing soaking rain and mountain snow to Syria, Lebanon and Israel on Thursday night through Friday morning.The storm will then lash Jordan, Iraq and northwest Iran on Friday with impacts continuing into Friday night in Iraq and Iran.Local downpours and high-elevation snowfall may result in travel impacts across the region, before drier weather builds across the Middle East this weekend.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 11:10:00 -0500
  • MS-13 inmates sent to restricted unit after prison stabbing

    The federal Bureau of Prisons is moving some MS-13 gang members in its custody into more restricted housing at certain high-security facilities across the U.S. after a gang stabbing in a Virginia prison, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Saturday. A brawl broke out Wednesday at the prison known as USP Lee between the MS-13 leader and a fellow inmate associated with the Mexican Mafia, and the gang member was stabbed, the people said. The Bureau of Prisons said in a statement that the inmate was injured but survived the attack.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 16:59:13 -0500
  • Document trove shows how 'Africa's richest woman' stole fortune: ICIJ

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    An award-winning investigative team published a trove of files Sunday allegedly showing how Africa's richest woman syphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts. The New York-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked with newspapers such as Munich's Suddeutsche Zeitung to reveal the "Panama Papers" tax haven scandal in 2016. Its latest series called "Luanda Leaks" zeros in on Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of former Angola president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 22:26:52 -0500
  • Philippine military says 5 Indonesians kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants

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    Eight Indonesians were abducted in Sabah on Thursday. Three were released, while the remaining five were probably brought by their captors to the southern Philippine province of Sulu, said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 06:16:47 -0500
  • Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine

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    The Iranian official leading the investigation into the Ukrainian jetliner that was accidentally shot down by the Revolutionary Guard appeared to backtrack Sunday on plans to send the flight recorders abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv. The same official was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday as saying the recorders would be sent to Ukraine, where French, American and Canadian experts would help analyze them. Iranian officials previously said the black boxes were damaged but usable.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 04:50:44 -0500
  • North Korea Picks Army Man Who Led Korean Talks as Top Envoy

    (Bloomberg) -- North Korea named a former army officer who led military and high-level talks between the two Koreas as its top diplomat, Yonhap News reported, in a move that could change the course of stalled nuclear negotiations between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.Foreign envoys in Pyongyang were notified late last week that Ri Son Gwon replaced Ri Yong Ho as foreign minister, Yonhap said, citing various sources it didn’t identify. Ri Yong Ho had served as the top diplomat since 2016.South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a text message that the government is trying to confirm whether the foreign minister was replaced and Ri Son Gwon’s official title has been changed. The move, which is yet to be announced in North Korea’s state media, is likely to be confirmed to resident diplomats at an event scheduled for Jan. 23 in Pyongyang, NK News reported separately.Ri Son Gwon, former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, became known to South Koreans after he led a delegation to high-level inter-Korean talks in January 2018. He was accused of being rude to a visiting group of South Korean conglomerate chiefs later that year, appearing to rebuke them for not taking enough action to boost business development between the two sides.The apparent replacement comes days after the isolated nation publicly declared that it won’t rely on its leader’s personal relationship with Trump as it doesn’t intend to trade its nuclear weapons for a halt in sanctions.Since the failure of working-level denuclearization talks in October in Stockholm, Pyongyang hasn’t responded to Washington’s continued demands for another talk and instead stepped up tensions verbally and with weapons tests.‘Crucial’ TestMost recently, it said late last year that it successfully conducted a “crucial” test at a long-range projectile launch site and had boosted its nuclear-deterrent capabilities, without elaborating on details.Kim declared in a speech at the start of the year that a lack of U.S. response in nuclear talks meant he was no longer bound by his pledge to halt major missile tests and would soon debut a “new strategic weapon.” Declining to go into detail, Kim also left the outside world guessing what “new path” he will take, and how he will deal with the U.S. in 2020.Ri Son Gwon served as a senior colonel in 2010 and last appeared in the North’s state media when the KCNA reported in April he was elected as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee along with Choe Son Hui, first vice-minister of foreign affairs. He previously also led a working-level military dialogue between the two Koreas in 2011.Ri has no direct experience of dealing with the U.S., nor is an official with the traditional elite-diplomat background, said Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, casting doubts over a possible breakthrough in the U.S.-North Korea talks.“I think the North will take a harder line against the U.S.,” Cheong said. It “will be under greater influence of the military, which has urged to strengthen its position as a nuclear power,” he said.The replacement of foreign minister also coincides with Seoul’s sudden turn to improve inter-Korean ties as the Kim-Trump talks for denuclearization remain in deadlock and rising cracks in South Korea’s relations with the U.S.South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would help on projects such as individual tourism with North Korea if they require approval from the United Nations to exempt them from sanctions. His Unification Ministry later said the government is considering allowing South Korean individuals to travel to North Korea to expand inter-Korean exchanges in the private sector.U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said such a push by Seoul should be discussed with the U.S., and his comment was immediately denounced by Moon’s office as “very inappropriate.”(Updates with comments from South Korea’s Unification Ministry and analyst from third paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Virginia Van Natta, Jiyeun LeeFor 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.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 03:49:01 -0500
  • China Has Been Watching America, And Now Has Special Forces Of Its Own

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    America heavily relies on its elite special forces.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 21:00:00 -0500
  • A photo of petrified wood in Arizona went viral and it only took 225 million years

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    A photo of a piece of petrified wood has been shared across the Internet, but no one knows who took it or why it's such a rock star.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:24:13 -0500
  • A startup company took billions of photos from Facebook and other websites to create a facial-recognition database, and hundreds of law-enforcement agencies are using it

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    Law enforcement is using a database of billions of photos scraped from social media sites, likely against policy, by an unknown startup company.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 16:54:38 -0500
  • Women rarely regret decision to get abortion

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    Five years after an abortion, most women still say it was the right decision even if they struggled with their choice at the time, a U.S. study suggests. "We found no evidence of emergent negative emotions about the abortion over the five years," said study leader Corinne Rocca of the University of California, San Francisco. Opponents of abortion have argued against legal access to these procedures in part because of concerns that abortion harms women by causing negative emotions and regret, researchers note in Social Science and Medicine.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:17:30 -0500
  • Cult slayed pregnant woman and five of her children in Panama

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    A religious sect whose members believed to be “anointed by God” forced a pregnant woman and five of her children to walk through fire as part of a cult ritual, according to local residents.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:14:25 -0500
  • Photos surface showing convicted Nazi guard Demjanjuk at Sobibor

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    New photos have emerged which for the first time show convicted Nazi guard John Demjanjuk at the Sobibor death camp, a Berlin archive confirmed Monday, although he always denied ever being there. Ukrainian-American Demjanjuk was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of nearly 30,000 Jews at Sobibor by a German court in 2011. According to the Berlin-based Topography of Terror archive, photos of Demjanjuk are among a newly discovered collection of more than 350 snaps which give "detailed insight" into the camp in German-occupied Poland.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:36:42 -0500
  • ‘A Defining Moment.’ An Indian State’s Decision to Challenge the Country's Controversial Citizenship Law Signals a Growing Divide

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    Kerala's lawsuit argues that the Citizenship Amendment Act is "discriminatory" and runs counter to the Indian constitution's secular principles.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:47:51 -0500
  • US seeks to deport Honduran mom, sick children to Guatemala

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    The U.S. government says it will deport a Honduran mother and her two sick children, both of whom are currently hospitalized, to Guatemala as soon as it can get them medically cleared to travel, according to court documents and the family’s advocates. The family’s advocates accuse the U.S. of disregarding the health of the children, ages 1 and 6, to push forward a plan currently being challenged in court to send planeloads of families to different countries so that they can seek asylum elsewhere. Both children have been hospitalized in recent days in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

    Sat, 18 Jan 2020 20:20:21 -0500
  • Iran Threatens Non-Proliferation Treaty Exit Over European Move

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    (Bloomberg) -- Iran will withdraw from a major non-proliferation treaty if European nations attempt to refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council over its infringements of the 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s foreign minister said.The U.K., France and Germany said last week they would trigger the accord’s dispute resolution mechanism, which could eventually mean the matter being referred to the Security Council. The move inflamed tensions with Tehran, which is locked in an economic confrontation with the U.S. that this month sparked a military exchange.“If Europeans continue their untenable conduct or send Iran’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council, we will withdraw from the N.P.T.,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told lawmakers, referring to the international treaty to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, the official parliamentary news service ICANA reported.Iran was an early signatory of the 1970 treaty, which was designed to eventually lead to disarmament. Non-nuclear weapons states that are signatories, including Iran, agree not to pursue weapons and to only develop peaceful atomic technology.Earlier on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran is planning “one last step” in its gradual draw-down from complying with the nuclear deal, raising the possibility that it’s close to announcing a complete withdrawal from the embattled international accord. The final measure will have “more effective consequences,” Mousavi said.Iran has been gradually reducing its compliance with the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, since U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it and began reimposing sanctions on the country’s economy.Earlier this month, Iran announced it’s no longer observing limits on uranium enrichment or research and development activities, but insisted it was still working within the parameters of the deal and would continue cooperating with United Nations nuclear inspectors.President Hassan Rouhani last week said all the steps could still be reversed as soon as Europe was able to commit to the agreement and take concrete steps allowing Iran to sell oil.Days before European nations turned up pressure on the Islamic Republic, the U.S. and Iran came to the brink of war after Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. As Iranian forces launched retaliatory attacks on U.S. facilities in the Middle East, they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner over Tehran, triggering protests against the regime.Britain has also infuriated Iran’s government by proposing that the current accord be replaced with a “Trump deal.” Mousavi said that while Iran remains open to talks with the EU on the future of the agreement, the Islamic Republic won’t agree to any proposals from either the bloc or the U.S. for an alternative to the existing deal.(Updates with Zarif comments)To contact the reporter on this story: Arsalan Shahla in Tehran at ashahla@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Paul AbelskyFor 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.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:30:51 -0500
  • Turkey Alone Cannot Save Its Allies in Libya's Civil War

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    Too little aid, too late.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:00:00 -0500
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