Newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan thanked everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday, as their Kensington Palace residence published three official wedding photographs.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said Monday that top FBI and Justice Department officials have agreed to meet with congressional leaders and "review" highly classified…
U. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is threatening to place "the strongest sanctions in history" on Iran if its government doesn't change course.
The former President and First Lady have struck a first-of-its-kind agreement to produce a wide variety of content for Netflix.
Weeks from his North Korea summit, President Donald Trump is staring down a dealmaker's worst nightmare: overpromising and under-delivering.
Gina Haspel became the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency when she was sworn in Monday by Vice President Mike Pence at the spy agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The justices, voting 5-4, said for the first time that employers can enforce arbitration agreements signed by workers
Statement sheds light on liberation theology
The agent told the two U. S. citizens: “It has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
May 21,2018 ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens…
Syria's military announced Monday that it cleared Damascus and its suburbs of the last elements of the Islamic state militant group, ISIS. According to…
First it was catastrophic lava. Then it was sulfur dioxide. Now Big Island residents have yet another danger to worry about.
Sen. Bernie Sanders will ask Vermont to elect him to a third term in the Senate later this year. Sanders announced his plans to seek…
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The presidential election in Venezuela that concluded on Sunday was not free or fair, US Vice President Michael Pence said in a statement.
The election “victory” ensures Maduro will remain at the helm of the nation until 2025, barring regime change. Venezuela’s National Electoral Commission ( CNE), which Maduro…
President Trump tries to shift the focus of the Justice Department probe into his 2016 campaign.
Despite the government’s tough talk, a hard-hitting parliamentary report says it is business as usual for Russian oligarchs in the city’s financial “laundromat.”
President Donald Trump tweeted this on Sunday afternoon:
A group of mainly Latin American nations said the vote had not “met with the international standards of a democratic, free, just and transparent electoral process.”
Giuseppe Conte, a civil law professor with a long resume, must still be approved. But his main qualification may be his willingness to do the bidding of his backers.
Health workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo began vaccinating people Monday against an outbreak of Ebola that’s killed at least 26 people. The
The parties have until 5 p.m. May 24 for submissions before he makes a final decision on whether to intervene.
A student at Hargrave High School was arrested Monday after administrators were told he had a gun, officials said.
The case was the first in the country against a bank for actions during the global financial crisis, and the decision is a blow to British regulators.
LONDON (AP) — Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone resigned from Britain’s Labour Party on Monday, two years after he was suspended over allegations of anti-Semitism — an issue that continues to roil the left-of-center party.…
President Donald Trump stands less than one month away from making history as the first sitting US president to meet a sitting North Korean leader…
LONDON (AP) — The head of Parliament’s media committee has appealed to European lawmakers to put questions to Mark Zuckerberg on his behalf when the Facebook chief gives evidence Tuesday. Committee chair Damian Collins wrote…
The Chinese military announced the first landing of a heavy bomber on a disputed island on Friday, stating that several H-6K bombers were launched…
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Paraguay opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the second country to follow the United States in making the politically sensitive…
The monkey was cornered by officials around Monday afternoon
The GOP senator also wants a transcribed interview with the official.
Paraguay officially moved its country’s embassy to Jerusalem on Monday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Monday the government could not comment on why Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's visa was yet to be renewed.
China is planning to abandon all limits it imposes on the number of children a family can have — ending a decades-old controversial policy…
Colombo: At least five people have been killed and seven are missing as heavy rains and strong winds
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, tells Katy Tur that as the head of the executive branch, it is Donald Trump's prerogative to decide what gets investigated and what doesn’t.
The Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department has opened a probe into alleged police brutality.
Donald Trump is now hot and heavy in the trade negotiations with China, as well as Canada and Mexico in negotiating NAFTA 2.0. We are strong free traders, but we also believe that Trump's plans to negotiate better trade agreements that reduce trade barriers abroad are right on the mark. He also has to make sure those deals fully protect U. S. intellectual property, or what is commonly
TOKYO (AP) — A survey of women working for Japanese newspapers and TV networks has found 150 cases of alleged sexual misconduct reported by 35 women, about one-third of it involving lawmakers, government officials and…
DUBLIN (AP) - In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to lift the country's decades-old ban…
The Trump administration is dismissing Venezuela's presidential election as a "sham" and taking quick action to ramp up economic and diplomatic pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's beleaguered government.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers can include clauses in employment contracts that force employees to settle disputes individually with a third-party arbitrator.…
The meeting between Philippine officials and the United States Pacific Command (Pacom) chief was meant to assure the US that the Philippines has not abandoned its…
Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
President Donald Trump isn't over the 2016 election, and Hillary Clinton isn't either.
A top official at SUNY — who was recently nominated to a fellowship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — resigned Monday when he was caught lying…
Friday at “MinnRoast,” an annual song-and-skit political variety show, DNC deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) donned a blonde wig while…
Actresses Brigitte Bardot and Sophie Marceau are leading campaigns for mandatory cameras in French slaughterhouses and a ban on the sale of eggs from caged hens as France's parliament prepares to debate a food industry bill Tuesday.
Trump dined with Republican governors supportive of his immigration policies to discuss plans for border security, deporting people in the U. S. illegally.
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian president's condition has seen a "clear improvement" after he was taken to hospital with a fever, an Arab lawmaker…
Celebrating American history is racist, according to SJWs
President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy has shown few signs of progress this quarter, a U. S. government watchdog report said on Monday, despite public assertions by the U. S. military that Taliban militants were on the back foot.
Boulton said the way to grow Iowa is to "show our workforce they’re valued again."
Most power has been restored by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, after Hurricane Maria but the electricity grid remains unreliable,
Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp in the Republican gubernatorial primary, Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans are the Democrats
Multiple left-wing groups launched a movement Monday called Freedom From Facebook, which calls for the federal government to break up the social media giant.
It may be difficult for Tehran to continue pursuing oil production benchmarks in the face of possible sanctions pressure, the Iranian oil minister said.
“Senator McConnell & Speaker Ryan: If Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy,”…
A newly reported meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and an emissary for Arab princes is the first mention of a country other than Russia offering…
Italy's proposed coalition government has promised a mix of far-right, anti-establishment and eurosceptic policies, leaving the international community wondering what the future holds for the eurozone's third largest economy.
Democratic leaders in Congress are adding an anti-corruption plank to their mid-term campaign agenda, with proposals to beef-up ethics laws, protect voting rights and overhaul campaign finance.
President Trump’s $1.4 trillion tax cut could have painful consequences for the economy down the road — including a possible recession and a ballooning…
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African man,23, found guilty of ax murder of parents and brother.
WASHINGTON -- John Conyers III, the son of former U. S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, should not have his name listed on the Aug. 7…
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday he will allow legislation billed as a push against sanctuary cities to become law…
Among 10 Things to Know: Result of US-China talks: Short-term relief, long-term risks; Syrian government declares capital fully under its control; Netflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek comedian Harry Klynn, who for decades poked fun at his countrymen and their political leaders, has died at age 78 in his native city of Thessaloniki. Greek Prime Minister Alexis…
A court in the Arab Gulf state of Bahrain has revoked the nationality of nine people and sentenced them to between three and 15 years in jail, amid a yearslong crackdown on dissent.
The nation's 41st president was eager to get to Maine after enduring his wife's death and then falling ill
The government is considering ways to keep rising transport fuel prices in check, Petroleum Minister
Atop Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D. C., on one of the city's highest points sits the Russian Federation embassy.
The official judging panel for the 60th annual Miss South Africa pageant has been announced.
Three people in the southern Indian state of Kerala have died from the Nipah virus and 41 people who came into contact with them are being tested.
Clinton was accused of perjury; Trump isn't, Chabot said.
We’re in for at least four years of Donald Trump as President of the United States. That means one particularly great thing: We’re in for…
WAXAHACHIE, Texas (AP) — The Texas Department of Public Safety said it disputes allegations that one of its state troopers sexually assaulted a woman while…
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced Monday that he will allow legislation banning so-called sanctuary cities in the state to become law without his signature,…
Senate Bill No. 1390 or the Philippine HIV AIDS Policy Act of 2018 was approved on third and final reading on Monday. The bill seeks…
Catalonia’s newly elected president is showing no sign of backing down from the region’s political stand-off with Spanish authorities, insisting he wants detained former politicians to
Read more about UK ready to invest in AI for early cancer detection on Business Standard. Artificial intelligence or AI is already growing from predicting your shopping choices to aiding in larger industries including medicine. Now, the UK government has reportedly agreed to invest in the technology to spot cancer. UK Prime Minister
The mother said she did not know she was pregnant.
Social media users noticed a distinct age gap between the Chinese delegates and the American lawmakers who met them in Washington.
Army and its allies have battled for weeks to recapture tiny ISIL-held enclave in south of Damascus.
Triumphant tones coming from the White House over the weekend are inconsequential, Moody's chief economist said Monday.
I'm pushing for a showdown queen of the hill vote on four immigration bills so that we can get things settled for DACA recipients and secure our border.
Tuesday is the primary runoff election across the Houston area as voters will cast their ballot.
The messaged honored the Cuban leaders that led Cuba to its independence
Burundians overwhelmingly backed constitutional reforms that bolster President Pierre Nkurunziza's power and allow him to seek another two terms in office, results showed Monday.
Oregon lawmakers convene in Salem for a special legislative session to extend certain tax breaks.
At least 25 African migrants were rescued from a boat of the northern coast of Brazil, officials said.
Learn about the origins of the major tech company
A Turkish court on Monday handed life sentences to 104 suspects over their involvement in the July 2016 attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media reported.
Likud MK Yoav Kisch's motion comes in response to rising tensions between Israel and Turkey.
Generic Congressional question down to two points?
“It is time to hold the Israeli war criminals accountable and to bring justice to the Palestinian People,” the Negotiations Affairs Department said.
A 19-year-old Washington state felon detained and released by officers last week decided to taunt local police on their official Facebook page, which led to her Saturday arrest.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican aviation authorities on Monday announced the temporary suspension of a Mexican charter company that owned a passenger jet that crashed in Cuba, killing 110 people. The General Directorate of Civil…
CANNES, France (AP) — The Cannes Film Festival has ended, but the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza has been shook by upheaval by that could…
State and provincial regulators in the United States and Canada announced a crackdown on potentially deceitful cryptocurrency investment products on Monday.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis voiced alarm Monday at the "hemorrhaging" of nuns and priests in Italy and Europe, saying God only knows how…
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - An Australian state government has decided to legally protect rather than kill thousands of wild horses, infuriating scientists who argue the feral…
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Honduran national Sergio Neftali Mejia-Duarte will spend the rest of life in prison for transporting large amounts of cocaine into the United States, the Justice Department said in a press release on Monday.
Those who want to see President Trump’s border wall built may get a chance to help fund the project if a recently introduced bill is…
Legislation that would allow firearms to be taken from people who show unstable or potentially dangerous behavior is likely to come up for a vote later this week on Beacon Hill.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday categorically denied that he's spoken with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney about replacing Paul Ryan as House speaker before the election.
MUNCIE, Ind. — Opponents of a planned 10,000-hog feeding operation north of Muncie scolded the Delaware County commissioners on Monday, saying they were…
Sen. Vicente Sotto III assumed the presidency of the Senate on Monday, taking over from Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III in a major revamp that removed…
The Onion’s editor-in-chief Chad Nackers said that some of the Trump administration’s policies are hard to cover because they feel close to being…
Interim Michigan State University President John Engler hopes to know within a month if and how MSU tuition will be impacted by the university's $500 million legal settlement in the Nassar controversy.
Read more about Kumaraswamy to take oath as chief minister of Karnataka today at 4.30 pm on Business Standard. Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy will take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka on May 23 at 4.30 pm on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat.
Read more about Top US court to examine India power plant complaint on Business Standard. The US Supreme Court said today it will examine a complaint by Indian villagers who say they are suffering from pollution caused by a coal power plant funded by a US-based institution. The plant, owned by the Tata Group in the Indian state of
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 9, residents can meet the men and women who protect and serve the Ann Arbor community.
Japan is mulling over the introduction of tariffs on US imports in response to steel and aluminum duties imposed by President Trump. This is according to Japan’s broadcaster NHK. Tokyo's retaliatory tariffs are expected to be the equivalent value to duties imposed by Washington.
Congress is demanding answers from ridesharing companies about sexual violence on their platforms.
Wake County residents have one more chance to share their thoughts on the proposed $1.32 billion budget that takes effect July 1.
* Indeed — while legitimizing Israel’s colonization of Jerusalem, as well as the massacre in Gaza only miles away, all while proclaiming a dedication to…
APCC president N Raghuveera Reddy has alleged that the ruling parties in Andhra Pradesh and Telangan
All Chinese mosques should raise the national flag to "promote a spirit of patriotism" among Muslims, the country's top Islamic regulatory body has declared, as the Communist Party seeks to tighten its grip on religion.
LONDON—An influential group of British lawmakers criticized the U. K. government for not doing enough to clamp down on illicit Russian money Monday, as it…
The South China Morning Post, in an article on Sunday, claimed that China is rapidly building infrastructure along the de-facto border with India in order to fully assert its claims over Arunachal Pradesh (recognized as South Tibet by Beijing) by turning it into another South China Sea like scenario.
Italy’s ex-premier and leader of the Forza Italia party hopes to relive the experience of his 2015 trip to Crimea
Did the president of the United States just betray the nation’s security in return for a bribe from the Chinese government?
Praised the former leader of socialist Venezuela
Preserving and improving access to health care should be a priority for lawmakers. But a proposal now under consideration in the state Assembly would do the opposite dismantling our state’s
MANILA - The approval of the 8 Supreme Court justices of the quo warranto petition that ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice is not a ground for impeachment.
Zimbabwe has applied to re-join the Commonwealth after the country withdrew its membership 15 years ago under former President Robert Mugabe.
Attorney General Sessions’s latest ruling could make the years-long backlog in immigration courts much worse.
Islamabad: Pakistan's Election Commission on Monday recommended holding general election in the coun
The largest portion of respondents also said they'd be "more likely" to vote for a candidate backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) In…
Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that the purpose of the party
HAVANA, CUBA: Cuba observed a weekend of national mourning for victims of its worst crash in nearly
Neighbors say the smell makes it hard to live in the area, which is largely populated with low-income residents
Sen. John McCain 's momentous "thumbs down" vote on Republicans' proposal to repeal Obamacare may not have happened if Meghan McCain had gotten her way.…
A coalition of more than 100 conservatives sent a letter to House Freedom Caucus (HFC) co-founder Jim Jordan Monday urging him to throw his…
Britain has become more welcoming to migration since it voted to leave the European Union, environment minister and leading Brexit campaigner Michael Gove said on Monday.
The Republican fury over Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s warning, months ago, about a federal immigration enforcement operation emerged Monday in the form of congressional legislation.…
Congressional Democrats on Monday unveiled another plank in their 2018 campaign platform — this one calling for a crackdown on the “pay-to-play culture…
Just a few weeks ago, Supreme Court headlines caused some of President Donald Trump's supporters to pause for a moment.
MANILA - Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano wants the Philippine government to file a diplomatic protest over China's military weapons in the South China Sea.
MANILA - Fifteen people died during the 2018 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election season, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.
MADRID (Sputnik) - Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has urged the Catalan authorities to form a viable government that would abide by the law and work toward restoring a legal institutional framework in the country.
The head of the police union dismissed the need for any additional oversight beyond the current police district advisory councils and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Intramuros Administration (IA) for its delayed implementation of an P18 million branding campaign project, with only 2…
Singing, changing, reading a list of demands, the N. C. People's Campaign demanded meetings with lawmakers but wound up getting arrested.
A state inspector on Monday cited mismanagement by Governor Bruce Rauner's office for improper hiring.
Another U. K. celebrity has come out -- at least tacitly -- to lend their support to Ireland's referendum on whether or not to legalize abortion: British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who is of Irish descent.
Minnesota lawmakers have wrapped up their work for the year, but much of the session scorecard will hinge on Gov. Mark Dayton and whether he follows through with threatened vetoes.
Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's standing with Missouri's African-American community is in question less than six months before Election Day.
The legislature's watchdog agency says more Alcoholic Beverage Control stores have become profitable and efficient since the General Assembly approved reforms eight years ago.
No evacuations were ordered as of Monday afternoon.
(NBC) — Government agencies, businesses and other organizations in Arizona plan to participate in an exercise to practice how the state would respond to…
Spain's and Slovenia's envoys have been called to the Ministry.
The president surfaces concerns about "infiltration" of his campaign by the FBI.
The mayor of a western district in Tokyo is at the center of sexual harassment allegations -- but he is denying the charges against him.
Federal officials shut down an experiment on diseased wildlife from Yellowstone National Park after inspectors questioned government protocols for handling infected bison.
Dhaka: Actress and global Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights Priyanka Chopra is visiting th
By Mihir Sharma As a politician, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is distinguished by his relentlessness
A Michigan mother with no criminal record was deported to Albania without being offered the opportunity to say goodbye to her three children or husband,…
Northville Township officials May 14 recognized those who protect the community, but behind the stories of heroism, lifesaving and persistent detective work was a simple…
Mainers must register with a party by Friday to participate June 12.
Democrats and Republicans who have led the Justice Department's criminal division are writing to Congress to push for a vote on the Trump
Looking for an inexpensive trip this summer? The range of vacation rentals -- and the places you can find them -- continues to expand, and bargain hunters can reap…
Residents of a Canton subdivision voice concerns about already overflowing drainage creek
The United Way of St. Clair County has $83,730 in federal funding available to local agencies. The funds are eligible for homeless shelters,…
You don’t have to be a Starbucks customer to use the bathroom. Starbucks informed employees of the official policy in a letter sent to them…
How much work would you have to do at your job to earn $4,700? For Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci, apparently none. Bucci, who…
Stars have urged Indonesia's president to ban what they say is a brutal trade in dog and cat meat for human consumption
BEIRUT, LEBANON: A first batch of ISIS terrorists left their final stronghold in the south of Syria'
Islamabad: Pakistan is capable of destroying Israel in under 12 minutes, a senior army commander sai
Once denied entry to the country where she was born, Clare Rewcastle Brown has been welcomed back with open arms and selfies
Four years after seizing power, Thailand's junta has a singular success it never hoped for: uniting a politically divided nation in growing dissatisfaction with the thin-skinned rule of the generals.
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan turned career counsellor for students in
The father of a Pakistani girl killed in a Texas school shooting said on Monday he hoped that the death of his daughter, who wanted to serve her country as a civil servant or diplomat, would help spur gun control in the United States.
View CNN's Fast Facts on Mahathir Mohamad and learn more about the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
This is the second incident of a girl being molested on camera in the state in less than a month.
Read more about Unlike Modi, Rajiv Gandhi very tall leader: Antony on Business Standard. Rajiv Gandhi was a very tall leader unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress agenda is to see that Modi is ousted from power since he has butchered the sanctity of democracy, senior Congress leader A. K. Antony said on Monday.
Read more about Kumaraswamy wants long-term relations with Congress: Surjewala on Business Standard. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said that Karnataka chief minister-elect HD Kumaraswamy's meeting with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi was a cordial one and that the two parties sought
National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) (A Government of India Undertaking, Noida, Uttar Pradesh requires
More than 90 percent of deportation attempts in the first two months of the Trump administration were against people who had committed no crime other than to…
Read more about India, US leaders discuss strategic partnership, ministerial dialogue on Business Standard. India's Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh and US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan discussed the strategic partnership between the two countries at their meeting in Buenos Aires on Monday.
Read more about Kumaraswamy meets Mayawati ahead of oath ceremony on Business Standard. Karnataka Chief Minister-designate HD Kumaraswamy on Monday met Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati at her residence in the national capital and invited her for his oath ceremony on Wednesday in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Kumaraswamy invited
The United States on Monday denounced the "climate of fear and intimidation" and "lack of transparency" it said marred a vote on constitutional reform in Burundi and questioned the results.
Malacañang on Monday warned judges and justices of a judicial fixer who is a husband of a former daughter-in-law of President Rodrigo Duterte. “We…
The Philippines and other claimants should band together and oppose China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio said…
Read more about Nothing undemocratic in BJP staking claim in Karnataka: Shah on Business Standard. BJP President Amit Shah on Monday said that being the single-largest party in Karnataka Assembly, it was his party's responsibility to stake claim to form the government and there was nothing "undemocratic or unethical" in it.
Scarcity, not abundance, will define the nation’s future.
Read more about Yogi to campaign in Palghar Lok Sabha bypoll on Business Standard. Not leaving any stone unturned, Maharashtra's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will deploy Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign for its candidate in the May 28 Palghar Lok Sabha by-elections, a party leader said here on Monday.
Read more about Any peace overture from Pakistan is taken seriously: India on Business Standard. India takes seriously any comment that calls for peace with it, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday, days after Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa favoured talks to resolve all disputes, including Kashmir, between the two
Read more about Fadnavis directs MMRDA to meet timelines on Business Standard. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis today directed the town planning authority Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to speed up the pace of work and complete the projects within the timelines. Fadnavis, who was in the city
Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday blasted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for allowing reclamation projects in Manila Bay despite efforts to rehabilitate…
Read more about Naveen Patnaik is taking no chances for the 2019 Odisha election on Business Standard. The Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha completed four years of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Businessman/evangelical pastor linked to the Panama Papers tax haven scandal got only about 11% support. Addressing a late Sunday night crowd of supporters, Maduro…
Amid mounting suspense in Malaysia, former leader Najib Razak is expected to give a statement to an anti-graft agency on Tuesday explaining what he knew about $10.6 million transferred into his bank account from a unit of a state fund he founded.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Russian Presidential Human Rights Council said in a statement that it has appealed to Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic in connection with the detention of RIA Novosti Ukraine portal head.
Jeff Fritz says there's no connection between his contribution to a PAC one day before the PAC gave to House Speaker Tim Moore.
Is the blue wave all of us keep hearing about in the DMIC: Democrat Media Industrial Complex for real? Most states are blue states or…
ANALYSIS/OPINION: There was so much hope in January 2009 when Barack Obama took office. Here was the first black president of the United States,…
Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed a bill that would have allowed Enbridge Energy to bypass the state Public Utilities Commission and proceed with replacing its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline across nort…
NASHVILLE — The Trump administration wanted U. S. Sen. Bob Corker to join its diplomatic ranks. But the retiring Senate Foreign Relations…
Dianne Bystrom is the Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. When she came to Iowa in 1996, she had
Imported population keeps oil consumption high
United Talent Agency has signed music industry executive and television personality Randy Jackson, the agency announced Monday.
This year, the Free Press is enlisting its readers in a campaign to boost turnout in Michigan’s August primary election by personally recruiting their friends,…
The much-awaited amnesty program for delinquent taxpayers may happen before the year ends as the Department of Finance expects passage of the pending legislation…
The Parish Council deferred voting last week on the issue
Will lawmakers put protections and accountability in place for themselves, the women who testified last week and countless others in Illinois?
After resisting for months, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is proposing changes to his conservative immigration bill to attract more support before…
The Utah Patients Coalition medical marijuana campaign filed a motion in court Monday seeking to intervene in a lawsuit that the ballot initiative's opponents have filed against Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
A candidate for county commission in Dallas lost a major endorsement after he revealed in an interview that he had established a trust for his children that proposed incentives for them to marry white people.
If you are part of the University of Cincinnati community, live in the Clifton area or care, in general, about the region's parks, you…
When a venture that’s supposedly meant to curb "foreign influence" is bankrolled by a number of foreign countries—including the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Norway, Japan,…
With the 2018 midterm elections approaching this fall (and primaries going on throughout the year — check your local elections), the question of whether or not the United States' voting systems are secure enough to ensure correct results is being wid…
On Monday, Arbor was arrested in Boston by Massachusetts State Police after he slipped into the country to attend his grandson’s graduation.
The budget hole nobody wants to claim
The cost of the bathroom is more than anticipated because of federal regulations, officials said.
The city of Plainfield, N. J., will be paying $450,000 to a deputy firefighter after he filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging the department did not…
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has cautioned Eastern Cape provincial government director general, Marion Mbina-Mthembu, that insulting her office could land her in hot water.
Des Moines police are again warning residents about the dangers of meeting up with someone they've met through internet sales sites or apps after…
Our Founding Fathers firmly believed that government should be clearly limited, as power is inherently a corrupting force. Unfortunately, leaders in both our Republican and Democrat parties are abusing the power of the government leading to a crisis of ethics and political integrity in Washington's halls of power.
The inter-ministerial committee of ministers in the security cluster, set up by President Cyril Ramphosa, says "enormous challenges" have been encountered in the investigation of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Journal launched its wall over 20 years ago.
The ANC wants its national government to lead the process of spatial planning.
The Committee of Advertising Practice, which provides all guidelines and restrictions for advertisements throughout various mediums in the United Kingdom, is considering adopting a proposal…
The House is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on a Senate-approved measure that eases regulations imposed on banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis a decade ago.
IT & Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao today said political parties are focusing on
Telangana state chief electoral officer Dr. Rajath Kumar has appealed all the citizens who have comp
The committee also talked about removing the word "God" from the preamble of the charter.
Issues with the north gate of the dam opening and closing were noted in a 1978 National Dam Safety Program Inspection Report.
Two U. S. representatives are praising federal legislation that expands the boundaries of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.
Telangana State BJP president Dr K Laxman today said there was possibility of the TRS and the Congre
The filing says the election method 'strikes at the heart of the party's right' to free association.
Health Minister, Dr C Lakshma Reddy today inaugurated a Post Graduate Hostel in NIMS Hospital in the
Women in Texas, Kentucky and Georgia are trying to land primary victories in states that overwhelmingly went to President Donald Trump in 2016.
Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari today exhorted IAS officials to avoid delay in clearing the fil
Religious Zionists like the US ambassador argue that the commandment to love the foreigner applies only to those who accept Israel’s sovereignty over the land.
Was it a sign, or coincidence?
Sweden will send out instructions to its citizens next week on how to cope with an outbreak of war.
U. S. and Canadian state securities regulators announced Monday they have launched dozens of investigations into cryptocurrency scams.
Lawmakers can cover the expense of infrastructural improvements while also keeping gas taxes at historic lows, according to a report Monday from a D. C.…
Despite news reports that Republicans are generally skeptical of college, there are certain programs and institutions that they are quite warm to.
According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is the third recall related to the 2015 model year Spyder's suspension and sixth overall.
Federal opportunity zones give private investors steep tax breaks for putting money into poor communities.
As mass holding centers for denied asylum seekers are being built in Germany, Christian Weiland, a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, has expressed his opinion on the policy of the country's authorities toward migrants in a comment to Sputnik.
Matthew Griffin put away his Army fatigues after his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not his desire to serve. He returned to Afghanistan with…
HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is currently visiting Finland, has signed a memorandum regarding the Czech Republic's induction into the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), the Finnish government said in a statement.
Vancouver: British Columbia, a major global hub for tech companies, is looking to woo more and more
Southern Illinois University's president says he won't step down after lawmakers called for his resignation following allegations he secretly tried to move more than $5 million in state appropriations from Carbondale to Edwardsville campuses.
The contradiction between city, county and school system in Knox County illustrates the inconsistency of public records policies around the state on what advocates say ought to be a simple issue.
The public has been invited to a "community celebration" honoring the life of former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, who died Saturday at the age of 77.
Hundreds of thousands of residents displaced by the Marawi conflict still depend on aid from the government and private sector.
After BDS groups mounted a campaign against Israel’s sponsorship of the Pop Cultural festival in August 2017, musicians from Egypt, Syria and Tunisia withdrew from the event.
(THE HILL) — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) declared on Saturday that he backs the “real” Second Amendment, rather than an “imaginary” version of…
Politically incorrect comedian Bill Burr slammed "fascist liberals" for pushing their "gender neutral" ideology onto the rest of us on a recent episode of the "Your Mom's House" podcast.
Read more about Congress dubs BJP 'habitual offender', says Modi should apologise for using money power in Karnataka on Business Standard. The Congress today dubbed the BJP a "habitual offender" of stealing governments and mandate and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the nation for allegedly using money power in the Karnataka polls. Congress spokesperson Anand
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was one of the first openly gay Kentuckians elected to public office. He spent the majority of his career turning a family construction business into a global firm. And he says Nancy Pelosi needs to go as the House Democratic leader.
Disney World is introducing the After Fireworks Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom on May 28.
The Democratic National Committee's latest fundraising numbers show the party continues to have trouble with fundraising as the 2018 midterm elections approach. April 2018…
Google already is facing claims of bias and abuse of its power in the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Now, India has…
Congress needs to get on the policymaking road again.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US and its allies will withdraw their troops from Syria only in case if their continued presence harms their own interests, Syria's ambassador to China and former ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, told Sputnik, commenting on Vladimir Putin's urge for foreign armed forces to pull out of the Arab Republic.
The unspoken behemoth in world markets continues to be the United States bond market, which is gathering momentum downward in a sign of having solidified a long-term generational top. Following the failure of the parabolic curve shown below that was…
How adorable is this mini instant camera from Amazon? It’s absolutely perfect to have at parties to capture all the candid moments. Or you can…
The less-than-ideal state of schools in her hometown, the municipality of Barotac Nuevo in Iloilo, was one of the reasons actress-singer Myrtle…
Authorities found the truck in the Humble Canal Saturday (May 19), and the body the next day.
MSNBC's Kasie Hunt got shot down on Sunday during an interview with a Hispanic Republican congressional candidate after she brought up President Donald Trump's "animal" remark from last week and continued to falsely suggest that he was referring to all illegal immigrants.
Fear the turtle.
"The 'deep state' is in a deep state of desperation."
The Swedish government is seeking to drastically modernize decades-old gender legislation it deems outdated and is currently working to distinguish the medical and the legal aspects of gender change in order to once again become a world leader in transgender rights.
Poland’s Secretary of State, Krzysztof Szczerski, has told Newsweek that the law criminalizing Polish blame for the Holocaust reflects reality.
Read more about Moroccan terror suspect expelled from Italy on Business Standard. Rome, May 21 (AKI/IANS) Italian authorities have deported a 34-year-old suspected Moroccan extremist on national security grounds, police said on Monday.
The annual cost of the business of doing criminal justice in the United States is $270 billion dollars. That's higher than the gross domestic...
The government’s debt payments declined 16 percent year-on-year to P208.3 billion in the first quarter as it amortized less on principal at…
Early projections from national media outlets suggest Iowa Congressman Rod Blum may be one of the most vulnerable representatives in the country. Four
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers have moved to stall implementation of the state’s proposed rule for reducing nitrate levels in groundwater supplies in farm…
(CAMPUS REFORM) — Liberal commencement speakers will outnumber conservatives by nearly four-to-one at 50 of the nation’s largest colleges this year. Campus…
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author bought a mountain-view retreat in a 55-plus desert community.
Maritime Launch Services Ltd. president and CEO Stephen Matier, following meetings at the proposed rocket launch site near Canso, Nova Scotia, said the construction of Canada's only commercial spaceport has been pushed back.
VaynerMedia has announced the hiring of Aaron Kovan, former executive vice president and head of integrated production at McCann Worldgroup, as its first-ever chief production officer.
Read more about Veteran singer Asha Bhosle, on Business Standard. Veteran singer Asha Bhosle,Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee and Justice(retd) Shyamal Kumar Sen were conferred the 'Banga Bibhushan', the highest civilian award of West Bengal, by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here today. Others who were
Read more about Toxic mushrooms kill 11, poison over 800 in Iran on Business Standard. At least 11 people died and more than 800 others were poisoned after eating toxic wild mushrooms in western Iran, Health Ministry officials said on Monday.
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Settlements are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention, applicable during military occupation, states that the occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts…
Without the secondary sanctions which Bolton and co have threatened on Europe the US breaking the agreement means very little. US trade with Iran only…
Read more about Russia's support to Pakistan and Taliban may hamper Indian relations: Expert on Business Standard. If Russia goes on sending weapons to Pakistan or support elements like Taliban; it will hamper relations with India, said foreign policy expert Phunchok Stobdan on Monday. While talking to ANI, Stobdan said there are issues with Afghanistan, Syria
Read more about NHRC notice to UP govt over hooch tragedy on Business Standard. The NHRC has sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the death of several persons from consumption of spurious liquor, reportedly, purchased from licensed shops in the state's Kanpur and Kanpur Dehat districts. The National Human Rights
"The story of land reform in this country is one of utter failure of the ANC government," DA leader Mmusi Maimane has said as the party looks back on President Cyril Ramaphosa's first 100 days in office.
If Facebook truly wanted to “protect democracy and elections worldwide,” it would build a broad coalition of experts and activists from a wide and…
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Ireland has seen an incredible surge in voter registration ahead of Friday’s referendum that will decide whether abortion will remain illegal in the Catholic nation.…
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When it comes to buying a home, $300,000 will go further in some states than others. Personal finance website GOBankingRates used real estate website…
A delegation of LGBTQ leaders from the United States, including Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith and Freedom to Work founder Tico Almeida, last week visited Cuba to join fellow activists for pride events on the island.
Who Peterson is, and the important truths he reveals about our current political moment.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke by telephone on Monday about Merkel's visit to Russia last week, efforts to implement the Minsk agreement and gas transit through Ukraine, a spokeswoman said.
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The 79-year-old “Midnight Cowboy” star is now a Williamsburg resident.
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Many Democrats believe changing demographics will help them beat Republicans in elections, but they shouldn't be so sure
Joe Biden and Kevin Washington write that our nation cannot reach its full potential when a segment of the population -- the LGBTQ community -- is marginalized.
Overall, the conference aims to educate residents about veterans issues and how the trauma of war has affected their lives.
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Gerald R. Ford International Airport questions state's authority to regulate toxic foam chemicals.
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The former mayor was presented with the 2018 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
French energy company Total said it is looking to expand its search for natural gas off Cyprus’ south coast and seeks to secure another exploratory drilling licence, days after warning
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The federal judge presiding over the bank fraud case against one of President Trump’s former close associates, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, made headlines earlier this month by calling into...
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ANKARA (Sputnik) - Dogu Perincek, a Turkish presidential candidate from the left-wing Patriotic Party (VATAN), told Sputnik about the tense relations with NATO, Turkish interior policy and possible cooperation with Russia.
But it’s a job for the feds, not state and local government.
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The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is responsible for the camp and provides medical and food aid and education for refugees.
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British ministers are set to review whether or not guidance on domestic hydraulic fracturing is up to day, the British Parliament said Monday.
Last September, Paul Ryan had an idea.
Supervisors of elections from the state’s 67 counties will meet this week for three days of brainstorming. They're laying the groundwork for a trouble-free midterm election in the nation’s premier battleground state.
South Korea on Monday lifted its travel alert for two cities in Mindanao, citing improving security conditions in the southern Philippines.
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Mass holding centers being set up in Germany to house unsuccessful asylum seekers and speed up their deportations threaten to undermine the country’s image of a welcoming nation, an aid group has warned.
Legislative Democrats take big checks from a wealthy N. C. philanthropist, even if his immigration views make them cringe.
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After the BBC's Mehrdad Farahmand interviewed Avichay Adraee, the head of the Arab media division of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, Lebanon expelled him from the country.
Groups demand an independent probe into incidents surrounding the protest.
Despite having been effectively settled amicably without any consequences for either party, the dispute, which is far from the first of its kind, has nevertheless sparked a social media debate.
Zimbabwe's MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa has reportedly been "approached by emissaries claiming to represent former president Robert Mugabe and seeking an electoral pact".
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“By building him, I’m exploring my own desire.”
Venezuela voters offered ‘prizes’ at street stalls near polling stations
Newlyweds Prince Harry and Meghan thanked everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday, as their Kensington Palace residence published three official wedding photographs.
"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would like to thank everyone who took part in the celebrations of their wedding on Saturday," the palace said in a statement.
"They feel so lucky to have been able to share their day with all those gathered in Windsor and also all those who watched the wedding on television across the UK, Commonwealth, and around the world," it said.
Some 100,000 people came for the ceremony in Windsor, west of London and it was watched live globally, including by 29 million people in the US alone.
Harry and Meghan were said to be "delighted" with the official portraits of their wedding
Alexi Lubomirski, KENSINGTON PALACE/AFP
The two said they were "delighted" with the official portraits taken by Alexi Lubomirski and thanked the public for their "generous members of support".
One photo shows the couple with Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, and their son Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.
In another, the newlyweds pose with all the page boys and bridesmaids who took part in the wedding, including Prince George, who is third in line to the throne.
The third shows the couple alone in black and white.
Another Lubomirski picture shows Harry and Maghen, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, surrounded by their bridesmaids and page boys
Alexi Lubomirski, KENSINGTON PALACE/AFP
As a member of the royal family, Meghan now has her own page on the official royal.uk website which carries a short biography focusing on her support for social justice and women's empowerment causes.
"I am proud to be a woman and a feminist," Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, said on the site.
The description prompted press speculation that Meghan may challenge the royal family's tradition of not getting involved in politically sensitive subjects.
The Daily Mail said Meghan would "take the royals in a striking new direction" but also voiced caution.
"She must be careful that her enthusiasm for these causes doesn't allow her to be pulled into the political fray. To survive, the monarchy must remain scrupulously neutral," it said in an editorial.
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House said Monday that top FBI and Justice Department officials have agreed to meet with congressional leaders and "review" highly classified information the lawmakers have been seeking as they scrutinize the handling of the Russia investigation.
The agreement came after President Donald Trump made an extraordinary demand that the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign. It's unclear exactly what the members will be allowed to review or if the Justice Department will be providing any documents to Congress.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump chief of staff John Kelly will broker the meeting between congressional leaders and the FBI, Justice Department and office of the Director of National Intelligence. She said the officials will "review high classified and other information they have requested," but did not provide any additional detail.
During a meeting with Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray also reiterated an announcement late Sunday that the Justice Department's inspector general will expand an existing investigation into the Russia probe by examining whether there was any improper politically motivated surveillance.
Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter and head of the House intelligence committee, has been demanding information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation.
The move Monday comes as the White House tries to combat the threat posed by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Trump tweeted Sunday, "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"
Trump's demand for a new inquiry moved beyond his usual blustery accusations of institutional wrongdoing and into the realm of applying presidential pressure on the Justice Department, a move few of his predecessors have made.
Trump made the order amid days of public venting about the special counsel investigation, which he has deemed a "witch hunt" that he says has yielded no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russia. In response, the Justice Department moved Sunday to defuse a growing confrontation with the White House by asking its watchdog to investigate whether there was inappropriate surveillance.
Rosenstein released a statement Sunday saying, "If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."
The Justice Department probe began in March at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and congressional Republicans. Sessions and the lawmakers urged Inspector General Michael Horowitz to review whether FBI and Justice Department officials abused their surveillance powers by using information compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy, and paid for by Democrats to justify monitoring Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to Trump.
Horowitz said his office will look at those claims as well as communications between Steele and Justice and FBI officials.
The back and forth between the Justice Department and Congress began with a classified subpoena from Nunes in late April. The panel didn't publicize the subpoena, but the Justice Department released a letter it sent to Nunes rejecting the request for information "regarding a specific individual." The department said disclosure could have severe consequences, including potential loss of human life.
The Justice Department said the White House had signed off on its letter, but Nunes wasn't satisfied, and continued to pressure the department. Negotiations between the House Republicans and the Justice department appeared to stall last week ahead of Trump's tweet - an apparent reversal of the White House's initial policy.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has called Trump's claim of an embedded spy "nonsense."
"His 'demand' DOJ investigate something they know to be untrue is an abuse of power, and an effort to distract from his growing legal problems," Schiff tweeted. "Never mind that DOJ has warned that lives and alliances are at risk. He doesn't care."
Trump's demand of the Justice Department alarmed many observers, who felt it not only violated presidential protocol but also could have a chilling effect on federal law enforcement or its use of informants.
The New York Times was the first to report that the FBI had an informant who met several times with Trump campaign officials who had suspicious contacts linked to Russia.
The GOP-led House Intelligence Committee closed its Russian meddling probe last month, saying it found no evidence of collusion or coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia. Schiff and other committee Democrats were furious and argued that Republicans had not subpoenaed many witnessed they considered essential to the committee's work.
Sunday was not the first time that Trump accused his predecessor of politically motivated activity against him.
Without substantiation, Trump tweeted in March 2017 that former President Barack Obama had conducted surveillance the previous October at Trump Tower, the New York skyscraper where Trump ran his campaign and transition and maintains a residence. Comey later testified to Congress that internal reviews found no information to support the president's tweets. Trump fired Comey over the bureau's Russia investigation.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Eric Tucker, Darlene Superville and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.
Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ @JonLemire and Superville at http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Trump’s trying to fight Amazon and Jeff Bezos from the White House
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U. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is threatening to place “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if its government doesn’t change course.
Pompeo on Monday called for a new nuclear agreement with Iran following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. He says the Trump administration prefers for it to be a treaty that is ratified by Congress.
Pompeo is laying out an onerous list of 12 “basic requirements” demands on Iran that he says should be included. He says Iran must “stop enrichment” of uranium and never preprocess plutonium. Iran must also allow nuclear “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country.”
Pompeo says Iran must also “release all U. S. citizens,” end support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria and stop threatening Israel.
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Former President Barack Obama and his wife former First Lady Michelle Obama have entered an agreement to produce content for Netflix:
WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama formally announced on Monday a multiyear production deal with Netflix in which he and the former first lady, Michelle Obama, will produce television shows and films for the streaming service.
The deal will give Mr. Obama an international television platform during his post-presidency, allowing him to reach millions of people in the United States and internationally. The couple has created “Higher Ground Productions,” a company to produce content for Netflix, the streaming service announced.
The former president has told associates that he does not intend to use the new platform to wage a public campaign against his successor in the Oval Office, or to fight against conservative voices that populate media outlets like Fox News.
Instead, a release from Netflix said the Obamas will produce “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features” that highlight issues and themes the president pursued during his eight years in office.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”
More from CNN Money:
Barack and Michelle Obama will work both in front of and behind the camera in a multi-year production deal with Netflix.
The unique pact was announced on Monday. The first content from the Obamas will appear in 2019 at the earliest, according to a person involved in the deal.
Netflix did not specify a timeline. But the company’s announcement of the deal said “the Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features.”
Sometimes the former president and first lady will be on camera as hosts or moderators, the source said on condition of anonymity. In other cases they will stay behind the scenes as producers.
Financial terms were not disclosed. The Obamas are giving Netflix valuable content that many of the streaming service’s 125 million members may want to watch. And Netflix is giving the Obamas a valuable platform to stay visible in their post-White House years.
The Obamas said Monday that they want to harness “the power of storytelling” to promote common values.
“We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” Barack Obama said in a statement.
“Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership,” Michelle Obama added.
The Obamas now need to hire a team of producers. They have set up a company called Higher Ground Productions “as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix,” Netflix said.
These types of exclusive production partnerships are common in Hollywood — in fact, Netflix has been attracting a bevy of A-listers, including Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
But this is a first-of-its-kind deal for a former U. S. president.
Here’s the press release from Netflix:
Hollywood, Calif., May 21,2018 — President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have entered into a multi-year agreement to produce films and series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service.
The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features. These projects will be available to the 125 million member Netflix households in 190 countries.
The Obamas have established Higher Ground Productions as the entity under which they will produce content for Netflix.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.”
“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” said Mrs. Obama. “Netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”
“Barack and Michelle Obama are among the world’s most respected and highly-recognized public figures and are uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities.
There’s no word at this early date about what kind of content the Obama’s would be involved in providing, but from the description, it sounds like it will run the gamut from dramatic series to documentaries. It’s also unclear how much of this content will include programming hosted by the former President or First Lady, which would certainly be something of an unprecedented step. In the past, of course, the first step that former Presidents take after leaving office is to write memoirs covering at the very least their time in office. The Obama’s secured that deal shortly after the former President left office when it was announced that both of them had signed a deal with Penguin Random House worth more than $65 million. The financial terms of this deal with Netflix haven’t been disclosed, but it is likely to be worth far more than even that.
Not bad for a guy who retired at the age of 55.
Politics & Policy Daily: Obama Pivots to Video
theatlantic.comBarack and Michelle Obama sign production deal with Netflix
independent.ieBarack, Michelle Obama sign multi-year Netflix production deal
myfox8.comBarack And Michelle Obama Ink 'Multiyear' Netflix Deal For Scripted Series, Documentaries
dailywire.comThe Obamas & Netflix Are Teaming Up And It's So Major
bustle.comObamas will be on and off camera in unique Netflix deal
money.cnn.comObamas ink multiyear deal with Netflix
thehill.comObamas ink production deal with Netflix
nypost.comNetflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama
business-standard.comBarack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix
pressherald.comNetflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama
lasvegassun.comTwitter on Fire: Barack and Michelle Obama to Partner With Netflix
sputniknews.comBarack & Michelle Obama Close Production Deal With Streaming Giant Netflix
inquisitr.comThe Obamas sign multi-year deal with Netflix
salon.comNetflix Signs Barack And Michelle Obama To A Production Deal
uproxx.comNetflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama
wtop.comBarack Obama partners with Netflix to produce movies, TV shows
latimes.comObamas in Netflix deal; scratch-and-sniff stamps; that Play-doh smell
sfgate.comBarack and Michelle Obama sign multi-year deal with Netflix
upi.comObamas sign multi-year Netflix deal to produce shows and films
foxnews.comNetflix signs Barack and Michelle Obama, streaming service says
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wnd.comBarack, Michelle Obama Ink Deal to Produce Netflix Movies and Shows
breitbart.comNetflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama
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businessinsider.deNetflix Announces Multi-Year Production Deal With The Obamas
miami.cbslocal.comNetflix says it has signed Barack and Michelle Obama
abc7chicago.comComing to Netflix: The Obamas Sign Deal to Produce Shows and Films
nytimes.comThe Obamas just signed a multi-year deal to make shows and movies for Netflix
cnbc.comBarack and Michelle Obama Sign Netflix Production Deal
Weeks before his planned North Korea summit, President Donald Trump is staring down a dealmaker's worst nightmare: overpromising and under-delivering.
As the Singapore meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un draws near, the president and his allies are growing increasingly anxious about how he can score a win on the world stage. While Trump has not suggested he wants to back out, he has struggled to define his objectives for the historic sit-down and last week he drew fresh criticism from his foreign foil.
"I think that Trump imagined he would go into this meeting and be able to have a historic breakthrough with a deal, but it's clear he's starting to realize it won't be as easy as he imagined," said Jean Lee, director of the North Korea program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a former Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang.
Trump, who has pitched himself as the ultimate negotiator, has focused on ambitious deals as president but has struggled with the fine print. He just hit the pause button on his threatened trade war with China, announcing an agreement to reduce America's trade deficit with China — but few details. He recently withdrew the U. S. from the international Iran-nuclear deal — without outlining a path forward with his allies. And his Middle East peace plan, which he deputized his son-in-law to lead, is months overdue and facing a more skeptical audience than ever.
Supporters stress that sometimes Trump's ambitious efforts do pay off, as with the massive tax cut bill he signed into law late last year.
Going into the North Korea meeting, senior administration officials say, the president has been almost singularly focused on the pageantry of the summit —including the suspenseful roll-out of details. He has not been deeply engaged in briefing materials on North Korea's nuclear program, said three people with knowledge of the White House efforts. They were not authorized to speak publicly.
Scott Snyder, director of the Program on U. S.-Korea Policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, said there's a risk that "the ceremony and the historic nature of the meeting be allowed to overshadow the deliverables."
Driven by gut instinct, Trump rarely dives deep as he prepares to meet with foreign counterparts. For the North Korea meeting, insiders say, he is motivated by the idea of scoring a historic deal and is tickled by suggestions he could win a Nobel Peace Prize — especially since Barack Obama won the honor early in his presidency. Trump has maintained publicly that his goal is to see the Korean Peninsula denuclearized, and the North has agreed to put its nuclear program on the negotiating table as a condition for the talks. But the two sides are still miles apart on defining what might be mutually acceptable.
Trump will huddle Tuesday at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to prepare for the June 12 summit. It was Moon's government that delivered the initial invitation from Kim for a meeting, and South Korea has been pushing the U. S. toward a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis.
North Korea threw a wrench in the plans last week, threatening to cancel over concerns about the U. S. push to see the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Administration officials viewed the warning as bluster, akin to Trump's own promise to walk away if Kim isn't serious about denuclearization. Both sides, they said, have a vested interest in a successful meeting.
Trump attempted to assuage Kim's concerns last week, promising "protections" should he abandon his nuclear weapons. But Trump also suggested Kim risks being overthrown and possibly death if the arsenal remains.
Two former Trump administration officials said the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the talks benefits Kim, who stands to gain the most in the form of international legitimacy from a sit-down with Trump.
Concrete gains for Trump would be slower to emerge. Denuclearization programs are measured in months, not days, and for North Korea, which has already demonstrated thermonuclear capability, it would likely take years to dismantle and verify that it had abandoned its atomic efforts, should it agree to do so.
One official said the priority of the talks in Singapore would be to reach a topline understanding with Kim, with details to be fleshed out later.
The best-case scenario, experts said, would mirror the Iran-nuclear agreement that Trump withdrew from earlier this month — securing an end to the North's atomic program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions. Such an agreement could provide Kim more assurances that his leadership would be secure.
While public jockeying last week led to speculation about whether the meeting will happen, people close to Trump say he does want it to take place.
Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University and former White House official, said the best outcome would be "good optics, good atmospherics, some broad statements on denuclearization and peace, and some immediate deliverable." He said the worst-case scenario was canceling the meeting.
"Where are we, if the meeting is canceled? Are we going back to where we were in 2017? Is North Korea going to start testing again?" he asked. "I think from the broader perspective, that would be the worst outcome."
Laying the political groundwork, Vice President Mike Pence, in an interview with Fox News, said both the Clinton and Bush administrations had been 'played' by the North Korean government. "We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons program, only to see them break those promises and abandon them," he said. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump."
Trump Asking Aides If US Should Gamble With North Korea Meeting: Report
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Gina Haspel became the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency when she was sworn in Monday by Vice President Mike Pence at the spy agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
"Today I recommit I will do everything in my power to justify the faith that President Trump and the American people have placed in us," she said.
"Our enemies will take note, Gina is tough, she is strong and when it comes to defending America Gina will never ever back down," said President Donald Trump.
Haspel was confirmed as the agency's 6th director after a vote of 54-45. Six Democrats joined Republicans in favor of her as the new director.
Haspel is a 33-year CIA veteran spending nearly all her time in undercover positions in Africa and Europe.
She said the CIA has been more than just a career, it has been her "calling."
"For me, being director is about doing right by all of you so you have the tools and resources to carry out our sacred mission," Haspel said.
The 61-year-old was tapped as deputy director of the CIA in 2017 and worked under former CIA Director Mike Pompeo who is now secretary of state.
"There is no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office," said Trump. " She assumes the role at a crucial moment in our history, we are reasserting American strength and confidence."
"We salute Director Haspel, a trailblazer who today becomes the first woman to the lead the CIA," said National Intelligence Director Dan Coats.
During her confirmation, senators wanted to know more about her involvement in the CIA's now-defunct program of detaining and brutally interrogating terrors suspects.
Haspel assured lawmakers that on her watch the agency's controversial interrogation practices will remain a thing of the past.
Stay informed with the latest from CBN News delivered to your inbox.
Trump’s trying to fight Amazon and Jeff Bezos from the White House
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A divided U. S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can force workers to use individual arbitration instead of class-action lawsuits to press legal claims. The decision potentially limits the rights of tens of millions of employees.
The justices, voting 5-4 along ideological lines, said for the first time Monday that employers can enforce arbitration agreements signed by workers, even if those accords bar group claims. The majority rejected contentions that federal labor law guarantees workers the right to join forces in pressing claims.
The ruling builds on previous Supreme Court decisions that let companies channel disputes with consumers and other businesses into arbitration. The latest decision applies directly to workers’ wage-and-hour claims, and its reasoning might let employers avoid class action job-discrimination suits as well.
"The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority.
Arbitration supporters say that forum is cheaper and more efficient than traditional litigation. Critics say companies are trying to strip individuals of important rights, including the ability to band together on claims that as a practical matter are too small to press individually.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. Ginsburg called the ruling "egregiously wrong."
"The inevitable result of today’s decision will be the underenforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers," Ginsburg wrote.
The workers in the case said the National Labor Relations Act guarantees them the right to press claims as a group, either in arbitration or in court. The 1935 law protects "concerted activities" by workers, without explicitly mentioning lawsuits.
The majority said that language wasn’t specific enough to overcome a separate 1925 law that says arbitration agreements must be enforced like any other contract.
About 25 million employees have signed arbitration accords that bar group claims, a lawyer for the workers in the case told the court.
The cases are Epic Systems v. Lewis, 16-285; Ernst & Young v. Morris, 16-300; and NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, 16-307.
Supreme Court backs employers over workers in first of two major labor cases
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It’s worth pointing out that Pope Francis was talking to a victim of Catholic sexual abuse when he reportedly told him it was “okay to be gay.”
Why it matters:
The context of the Pope’s alleged statement is being overshadowed by the statement itself. The context, however, is important because it sheds light on the decades-long molestation accusations against Catholic priests, many of which turned out to be true. It also sheds light on why the Pontiff is motivated to drift away from traditional Catholic teachings.
The Pope’s statement isn’t just about “homosexuality vs. the church”:
Pope Francis is an adherent of liberation theology promoted by Latin American socialists for decades with the end goal of destroying the church from within.
During the 20th century, communist revolutionaries found that, despite their best efforts to overthrow Latin American nations and install puppet regimes, they could never gain control of hearts and minds of population due to the steady bulwark of the Catholic Church.
That’s why communists decided to subvert the Catholic Church from within by “legitimizing” Marxist teachings in the church through liberation theology, which merged Catholicism with Marxism.
Given that context, it isn’t surprising why Pope Francis, a Latin American pope who’s friendly to liberation theology, seems to go against the grain of Catholic teachings at every chance he gets.
Pope Francis tells gay man: ‘God made you like that and loves you like that’
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breitbart.comPope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like that and loves you like that'
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independent.ieLGBT community protected under Michigan anti-discrimination law, commission finds
In the small town of Havre, Mont., the Town Pump Convenience Store is about the only shop open after midnight. It was about that time last Wednesday when a pair of friends, Ana Suda, who was out of eggs, and Mimi Hernandez, whose daughter needed milk, walked into the store.
Ms. Suda does not recall what they discussed while they browsed the store, but she knows they conversed in Spanish. That was all it took for a Border Patrol agent also in the store to interject.
“He looked at us and said, ‘Where are you guys born?’” Ms. Suda, 37, recalled in an interview on Monday.
Both friends are Mexican-Americans and United States citizens, which they explained to the agent, adding that Ms. Suda was born in El Paso and Ms. Hernandez in Central California. The agent then asked for their identifications.
Shocked by the encounter, Ms. Suda retrieved her cellphone from her car, hit record and confronted the agent as he was relaying their information over a radio inside his sport utility vehicle. They had been racially profiled, Ms. Suda told the agent.
“It had nothing to do with that,” the officer, who identified himself as Agent O’Neal, responded in the cellphone video. “It’s the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
After about 20 minutes, the officer returned their driver’s licenses and let them go. But Ms. Suda said Monday that she was not ready to let it go. She planned to file an official complaint with United States Customs and Border Protection.
An agency spokesman declined to discuss the specific episode but said that the officer’s actions were under review.
“U. S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers are committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity and respect while enforcing the laws of the United States,” a spokesman at Customs and Border Protection said in an email on Monday. “Decisions to question individuals are based on a variety of factors for which Border Patrol agents are well-trained.”
President Trump has maintained a longstanding desire to greatly increase enforcement on the borders and deliver on a campaign promise to crack down on immigration. The president’s anger over immigration and the absence of a wall on the southern border with Mexico has spilled out in public this month. He berated the Department of Homeland Security for not doing enough to secure the borders and called some immigrants “animals ” during a White House meeting.
The Trump administration’s rhetoric and tough actions on immigration have stoked fear in some communities about it contributing to a rise in discrimination. The day before Ms. Suda’s encounter in Montana, a lawyer in Manhattan was recorded spewing a racist rant in a restaurant because he objected to employees speaking Spanish.
There are more than 19,000 Border Patrol agents in the United States, and nearly all of them roam the rugged, wide-open terrain near the Mexico border, stretching from South Texas to Southern California. But a few thousand agents patrol the country’s northern boundary with Canada, including 183 officers stationed in Havre, a remote agricultural city of 9,000 people about 35 miles south of the border.
The encounter at the Town Pump in Havre highlights the far-reaching power of Border Agents, whose authority goes beyond the immediate border and checkpoints. Their domain extends 100 miles inland from the outline of the United States, a vast area that includes up to 66 percent of the country’s population.
But their reach is limited in one way: They cannot stop people solely because of their race or ethnicity. Jonathan H. Feinberg, a civil rights lawyer in Philadelphia, said that courts have found that a person’s language is prohibited in the same way.
“That was surprising to me to see that very frank admission that it was the basis for the stop,” Mr. Feinberg said in an interview. “It doesn’t matter if you are in Midtown Manhattan or Havre, Mont., if you speak a language other than English, it doesn’t give rise to any suspicion that you are in the country illegally.”
Montana is one of the least diverse states. About 90 percent of Montanans are white and an even higher percentage of them speak only English at home, according to the latest census figures. Havre is even less diverse — just 46 people speak only Spanish, making it the most common language after English.
Ms. Suda, who grew up on the other side of El Paso in Juarez, Mexico, has lived in the country for the past 14 years with her husband, who served in the Air Force. She said that the encounter on Wednesday was the first time she had felt profiled by law enforcement.
“People look at you when you speak Spanish, but they never say anything,” she said. “People here, they are very nice people. They are very, very good people in Montana.”
Border agent questions 2 women for speaking Spanish
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The nation is grappling with another gun massacre inside another American school.
This massacre happened at Santa Fe High School in Texas. It resulted in the deaths of 10 people, including eight students and two teachers.
The 17-year old shooter admited he acted alone, and spared the lives of people he liked to “get his story told.”
This latest tragedy follows a disturbing pattern of toxic masculinity, which I’ll discuss more in tomorrow’s “Daily Pat Political Point.”
Today, let’s talk personal responsibility.
Since conservatives are big believers in personal responsibility–and refuse to ever blame guns for the nation’s high gun-related deaths–I have an idea that I think all Americans can support.
Actually, this idea comes from Fred Guttenberg. His daughter, Jamie, perished in the Parkland school massacre.
We’re learning that the Santa Fe shooter used his father’s shotgun and handgun in the tragedy that prematurely ended the lives of 10 people.
Guttenberg says no matter what gun control measures are offered, the National Rifle Association assures us that no law would prevent such massacres from happening.
Why have any laws, then, right? I mean, we have laws against bank robbery, but people still rob banks. So, we should just pack-up and go home!
But I digress.
Guttenberg then offered an alternative solution to please the “personal responsibility crowd.”
How about a law requiring parents to lock-up their guns to protect children from gaining access to them? And, if a kid uses their parent’s guns in a shooting, parents will face criminal charges!
That’s not only holding the shooter responsible, but it’s holding the parent responsible for not doing enough to keep their neighbors, and their neighbors’ kids, safe.
And don’t we hold dog owners responsible if their dog bites another person?
We either believe or don’t believe in personal responsibility, right?
Or does that talking point end when a gun is involved?
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Texas governor cancels shotgun giveaway days after school shooting
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Syria's military announced Monday that it cleared Damascus and its suburbs of the last elements of the Islamic state militant group, ISIS.
According to government reports, the Syrian army had driven ISIS out of the rebel group's last remaining strongholds in southern Damascus; this marks the first time that President Bashar al-Assad's government has total control of the capital since the rebellion began in 2011.
Syrian state TV broadcast footage of tanks rolling through a shattered neighborhood once held by rebels, as government troops waved the national flag. Army Gen. Ali Mayhoub announced that military operations in and around the capital had been a success and that the area is "completely secure" after the army captured former ISIS strongholds of Yarmouk refugee camp and the Hajar al-Aswad district south of the capital.
The military left "big numbers of Daesh (ISIS) terrorists dead," reported the Syrian Arab News Agency .
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U. K.-based monitoring group downplayed the military victory, saying that it was a "secret agreement" between the government and ISIS that allowed the rebels to depart.
The organization claimed that ISIS fighters and their families boarded "some 32 buses that carried out about 1600 people aboard" and that they were driven toward the Syrian Desert .
Syrian state media denied there was a deal to evacuate fighters, according to the Associated Press, which quoted one military official as saying that a two-day truce had been arranged to evacuate women, children and the elderly on Sunday night from Hajar al-Aswad.
Amy Austin Holmes, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, told NPR that this was an historic day for Assad's government. "The regime has been saying for some time now that they want to take back all of Syria. This is just one more step toward accomplishing that goal."
She added, "Whether it will be able to retake all area currently under Kurdish control, that is a whole other question."
With support from Russia and Iran, Syrian forces have made sweeping victories in territories controlled by the opposition. The spring saw thousands of rebel fighters surrender and board crammed buses out of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, following weeks of bombardment.
In April, the Syrian army took control of at least two villages from the U. S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces east of the Euphrates River, near the border with Iraq where Kurdish forces had control.
In 2016, government forces enjoyed their biggest victory, capturing neighborhoods in Aleppo that rebels had controlled for years. As Syria's largest city, Aleppo was considered " the heart of the revolution."
More than 5.6 million people have fled the war-torn country since the civil war started and 6.6 are internally displaced.
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(CNN) — First it was catastrophic lava. Then it was sulfur dioxide. Now Big Island residents have yet another danger to worry about.
Laze — a mashup of “lava” and “haze” — is a nasty product formed when hot lava hits the ocean, sending hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.
And now it’s a real threat after lava crossed Highway 137 late Saturday night and entered the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said.
Laze can cause lung, eye and skin irritation. And it has proven deadly in the past.
“This hot, corrosive gas mixture caused two deaths immediately adjacent to the coastal entry point in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows,” the HVO said.
Officials are warning people to stay away from areas where lava meets the ocean. But further inland, residents have other problems.
The HVO also reported sulfur dioxide emissions have tripled.
Because of lava entering the ocean, the US Coast Guard enforced a Lava Entry Safety Zone Sunday for the navigable waters around the Kilauea Volcano. A Coast Guard news release says the safety zone includes all waters extending about 300 meters around the entry of the lava flow.
“All waterway users should be aware of the hazardous conditions associated with such an event. Getting too close to the lava can result in serious injury or death,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Bannon, waterways management lead for the Coast Guard’s Honolulu sector.
The Kilauea volcano erupted at least twice this weekend — at one point launching a cloud of ash up to 10,000 feet high.
“These eruptions caused a 5.0 magnitude and a 4.9 magnitude tremor at the summit,” CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.
“Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time.”
Since Kilauea’s massive eruption May 3, Brink said, about 2,250 earthquakes have struck on or around Hawaii’s Big Island.
As the Earth keeps shaking, liquid fire keeps flowing.
Flaming rivers of molten rock have already destroyed at least 40 structures. But newer, fresher lava shooting out from fissures spell more danger.
“The consistency of lava is now changing,” CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. “Now it is runnier, but that is allowing it to move faster.”
The volcano has caused almost two dozen fissures to crack the Earth’s surface open — purging fountains of lava and dangerous sulfur dioxide.
And some fissures refuse to die.
“A handful of old fissures have reactivated and joined together over the past few days,” CNN’s Scott McLean reported from Pahoa. “Lava is pouring out like a fountain … feeding a fast-moving lava stream that’s now reached the ocean.”
Resident Ikaika Marzo said the lava flow isn’t just treacherous. It’s like hell on Earth.
“It sounds like 10 or 20 jets taking off from your backyard at the same time,” Marzo told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.
“It’s been like hell,” he said. “It’s like huge grenades going off. It shakes the whole community.”
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Sen. Bernie Sanders will ask Vermont to elect him to a third term in the Senate later this year.
Sanders announced his plans to seek re-election Monday, saying there's more work to be done on his priorities such as a $15 minimum wage, a single payer health care program, free college tuition and other topics. His campaign plans to hold a series of kickoff rallies in June.
"Our struggle to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent — a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice — must continue," Sanders said in a statement. "And that is why I'm running for reelection."
The independent Vermont senator has not ruled out a second presidential campaign in 2020. His Senate campaign reported $6.9 million in cash on hand as of the end of March.
A spokeswoman for Sanders' campaign said he plans to run as an independent. In past elections, Sanders has declined the Democratic nomination but accepted the Democratic endorsement.
"As he has for many campaigns, Bernie will contribute to and participate in the Vermont Democratic coordinated campaign," spokeswoman Arianna Jones said in a statement.
Sanders was first elected to represent Vermont in the Senate in 2006.
Several little-known candidates have announced that they intend to challenge Sanders for his seat, including Republican Jasdeep Pannu, independent candidate Brad Peacock and Democrat Jon Svitavsky.
Sanders was re-elected in 2012 with 71% of votes cast.
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announces his re-election bid
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"Venezuela’s election was a sham, neither free nor fair. The illegitimate result of this fake process is a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela. The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues… The Maduro regime must allow humanitarian aid into Venezuela and must allow its people to be heard," Pence said.
The US top official went on saying that the Maduro government must allow humanitarian aid into the country "and must allow its people to be heard."
Venezuelan officials have named socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the winner of the presidential election on May 20. Maduro's main rival has brought questions about the legitimacy of the vote and called for new balloting.
According to the National Election Council, Maduro won 4 million votes more than independent challenger Henri Falcon.
About 6 million votes or 92.6% for Maduro is a bigger percentage win than any other candidate since Venezuela's 1958 election following the overthrow of dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.
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The election “victory” ensures Maduro will remain at the helm of the nation until 2025, barring regime change.
Venezuela’s National Electoral Commission ( CNE), which Maduro controls, announced Sunday that Maduro had won the presidency with nearly 6 million votes. Henri Falcón, a socialist who turned against Maduro after dictator Hugo Chávez’s death and received near-universal condemnation from the Venezuelan opposition, reportedly received 1.8 million votes. Javier Bertucci, a popular televangelist, received 925,000 votes, and Reinaldo Quijada, a chavista who ran to the left of Maduro, received little more than 34,000 votes. According to the CNE, 8.6 million Venezuelans voted in the election.
Both Falcón and Bertucci have claimed that the government engaged in rampant election fraud. Bertucci’s campaign, according to the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, revealed Monday that it had documented with eyewitnesses and photographs at least 380 instances of election fraud at the ballot, most cases of Maduro supporters violating election law by campaigning and pressuring passersby to vote next to designated voting stations.
Bertucci, who regularly handed out free food at campaign stops to attract voters in the emaciated country, accused Maduro’s regime of “playing with the hunger of the people, using food and money to buy votes.”
Henri Falcón has refused to accept the results of the election and alleged the same election violation that Bertucci did: the posting of socialist campaigners for Maduro at election posts to pressure voters into supporting Maduro. Falcón claims he documented 142,589 instances of election irregularities and has 91,700 witnesses to back him up. Among the violations are the use of socialist mobs to pressure people into the polls, Maduro representatives walking into voting booths with voters to ensure they chose Maduro, and handing out free food to the nation’s poorest to secure votes for Maduro.
Falcón has also called for another election, eliciting outraged mockery from the anti-socialist Venezuelan opposition.
The opposition, along with outside observers, agree with the candidates that the election was widely fraudulent and not representative of the will of the Venezuelan people. Several election observers have accused the CNE of fabricating the number of voters.
Even accepting the CNE’s numbers as legitimate, electoral affairs journalist Eugenio Martínez reported on Friday that they would represent “the greatest abstention [from an election] in our democratic history,” beginning with the fall of the dictatorship in 1958. While Maduro officially received a majority of the votes counted, Martínez notes that the raw numbers suggest that 71 percent of eligible voters did not come out for Maduro.
The Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), a coalition of opposition parties that includes socialists, issued a statement claiming that their independent count found that turnout was under 30 percent. Official CNE estimates claimed 46 percent of voters participated.
The Lima Group, a coalition of free countries in the Americas that oppose the Maduro regime, announced that their observers found that 82.96 percent of eligible voters did not participate in the election.
Antonio Ledezma, the exiled mayor of Caracas, said in a Twitter post that, according to estimates he received, “Sunday marked the largest civic strike Venezuela has ever known, over 80 percent of the population rejected the electoral fraud.”
In addition to the large abstention rate, reports began circulating on social media Sunday night of protests in response to the CNE’s results announcement. Individuals in numerous Venezuelan cities began posting videos from their windows of the loud banging of pots and pans from homes below, a common form of expressing political displeasure in Latin America. Some eyewitness reports also indicated that police began using tear gas to repress protesters taking the streets against Maduro.
Maduro announced he would schedule a presidential election in December for April, but eventually pushed the date back to May 20, Cuban Independence Day (the Cuban government, through nearly one hundred thousand proxies, controls Maduro’s regime). In December, he also announced that he would ban the MUD from the election. The MUD responded by urging supporters not to participate in the election at all.
In January, Maduro debuted an election logo and campaign song that violated electoral laws, but the CNE never ordered him to change them.
Sunday’s election is the fifth such fraudulent election in Venezuela in six years.
Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter .
Venezuela’s Maduro Election Win Slammed As Sham
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►More: President Trump says he will demand Justice Department probe into FBI's use of informant
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After the poisoning of a former Russian spy, Sergei V. Skripal, on English soil, the British government expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Its foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, compared the upcoming World Cup tournament in Russia to the Nazi Olympics in 1936. And Prime Minister Theresa May promised there would be no place for “serious criminals and corrupt elites.”
Yet, despite the heated declarations, business continues as usual for wealthy Russians who hide and launder corrupt assets through London, a parliamentary committee said Monday in a scathing assessment that warned of “inaction or lethargy” over dirty money from Moscow.
The report, from the influential House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said there was no excuse for Britain “to turn a blind eye” while associates and allies of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, “use money laundered through London to corrupt our friends, weaken our alliances and erode faith in our institutions.”
Britain’s financial and legal firms have been big beneficiaries of Russian capital flight, and London, less than four hours flying time from Moscow, is a popular destination for the country’s oligarchs, some of whom have invested in luxury property, soccer teams and other assets.
With a deep chill in relations between Britain and Russia after the poisoning of Mr. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, the British government has been under pressure to make life harder for allies of Mr. Putin by making sanctions and anti-money laundering rules more effective.
Yet the committee report suggests that Britain’s financial center has so far found it impossible to resist the large sums of money that flow from Russia, even if there are troubling questions about the source of some of these assets.
“Despite the strong rhetoric, President Putin and his allies have been able to continue ‘business as usual’ by hiding and laundering their corrupt assets in London,” said the report, which entitled one section of its findings “closing the ‘laundromat.’”
Though the proportion of dirty money in London was estimated to be small, relative to the size of the financial sector, the committee said, “the damage that this money can do to U. K. foreign policy interests, by corrupting our friends, weakening our alliances and eroding trust in our institutions is, however, potentially enormous.”
The document raised concerns about so-called “tier 1,” or investor, visas, which are open to those able to invest $2.7 million in the country, hinting that it plans to study the issue in more detail. Over the weekend it emerged that Roman Abramovich, the billionaire Russian owner of Chelsea soccer club, is experiencing delays in renewing his investor visa.
Since 2014, the British government has been empowered to refuse applicants for these visas if there are reasonable grounds to believe the money to be invested was obtained unlawfully or if there are concerns about the character of investors. After that change, applications dropped by 84 percent.
Now existing visa holders are being checked against the tighter requirements, the government says.
The committee also had harsh words for Linklaters, a prestigious British law firm, that refused to give evidence to the lawmakers over its work on deals involving Russian companies. In the report the committee asked whether such deals had left Linklaters “so entwined in the corruption of the Kremlin and its supporters that they are no longer able to meet the standards expected of a U. K.-regulated law firm.”
In a statement Linklaters said it was “very surprised and concerned” at the criticism, adding that it has the “highest standards of business conduct, ensuring we comply with applicable laws and professional rules, including with respect to anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering and sanctions.”
There was also veiled criticism of Mr. Johnson, who was asked by lawmakers what his department could do to stop the flow of corrupt money. “He appeared to suggest, however, that there was no real role for government in the process,” the report said.
While noting that Mr. Johnson and other ministers were right to assert that they cannot order law-enforcement agencies to investigate individuals without any evidence, the committee added that observing due process “cannot be an excuse for inaction or lethargy.”
Lawmakers noted that Russia itself did not seem overly worried that Britain’s aggressive rhetoric would be put into practice. On March 15, after the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Britain, Russia’s embassy in London drew attention on Twitter to a bond sale by Gazprom, the Russian energy company, with the words “Business as usual?”
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Trump's view on the government is informed by his years in the private sector. As the head of the Trump Organization, everyone did work for him. If Trump wanted someone to run across the street and get him coffee, there was someone who did it. And, if that person didn't get him the coffee in a prompt manner or got him the wrong sort of coffee, he could get rid of them. (I am oversimplifying somewhat, but you get the idea.)
Trump has brought that same view to the government. The problem is that that's not how the government works.
Yes, Trump is the head of the federal government. But that doesn't mean every agency and every person within those agencies works for him. To be technical about it, they work for the American taxpayers who pay their salaries. Their loyalty -- and this is particularly important as it relates to the Justice Department -- is to the Constitution, not to Trump.
There have been any number of instances in Trump's first 17 months that illustrate his lack of understanding of that critical difference. (The debate over whether Trump ignores these differences or is simply ignorant of them is an unsolvable, but critical, one.)
Take Trump's reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself in Justice's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion between the Trump campaign and a foreign power.
In a July 2017 interview with The New York Times, Trump explained it this way:
"Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which frankly I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you.' It's extremely unfair — and that's a mild word — to the president."
"Extremely unfair ... to the president ."
In Trump's mind, Sessions should have foreseen the problems his recusal would create for his boss, AKA the President, and never done it in the first place. Trump seems entirely unaware of the idea that Sessions chose to recuse himself so as to avoid the idea of impropriety in the investigation. And that the Sessions' recusal came after it was revealed that he had omitted to note during his confirmation hearings that he had several contacts with Russian officials during the course of the presidential campaign and transition.
Trump's Sunday tweet is more of the same. Whether a president can "demand" (or even "hereby demand") a Justice Department to look into whether an informant was placed in his campaign for political reasons is hard to determine because, well, past presidents haven't made that sort of demand before.
Why not? Because they understood that the Justice Department, moreso even than the rest of the federal government, is given broad leeway to operate independently -- committed to the rule of law rather than a president's whim.
Trump respects no sort of line like that: The Justice Department works for me -- so they should be doing what I want. Hence his repeated urgings for the Justice Department to look more closely into Hillary Clinton's private email server, the Uranium One deal that went through when Clinton was secretary of state and, of course, the idea of an informant placed in the Trump campaign as a spy.
What's fascinating is that Trump may well be unknowingly arguing against his own best interests when it comes to the informant case, as former FBI agent and CNN contributor Asha Rangappa explained in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday.
"Trump and his backers are wrong about what it means that the FBI reportedly was using a confidential source to gather information early in its investigation of possible campaign ties to Russia. The investigation started out as a counterintelligence probe, not a criminal one. And relying on a covert source rather than a more intrusive method of gathering information suggests that the FBI may have been acting cautiously -- perhaps too cautiously -- to protect the campaign, not undermine it."
So, there's that.
That level of nuance, however, is entirely lost in Trump's view of how the government works and who its employees should be loyal to. To him, he's the boss. He won. With 306 electoral votes. With all that beautiful red on the map. And now, the government is his to do what he wants with. Period.
The thing is: That's not how the government does or should work. The loyalty of the Justice Department is to the law and the Constitution, not to any individual president. That may annoy Trump and his supporters. But it should give them considerable comfort -- knowing that when the political pendulum inevitably swings against them, the government will continue to be loyal not to a man (or woman) or a political party, but to the American people.
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CARACAS, Venezuela — One day after President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela declared re-election victory, the Trump administration on Monday placed new sanctions on the crisis-ridden country, and nations across the region refused to recognize the election result.
President Trump signed an executive order on Monday afternoon imposing the new penalties, which would bar United States companies or citizens from buying debt or accounts receivable from the Venezuelan government. The order extends to Petróleos de Venezuela, the government-owned oil company that is the parent of Citgo Petroleum Corporation.
The measures were devised to close off an “avenue for corruption” that senior administration officials said they had observed Mr. Maduro and members of his government using to enrich themselves. The officials, who described the sanctions on the condition on anonymity because they were not authorized to be named discussing them, declined to reveal any specific instances.
The Lima Group, an association of mainly Latin American nations that has aimed to put pressure on Mr. Maduro’s government, issued a statement on Monday saying that it “did not recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process” and that the vote had not “met with the international standards of a democratic, free, just and transparent electoral process.”
The group includes Brazil and Colombia — Venezuela’s largest neighbors — as well as Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana and Santa Lucia.
Mr. Maduro was declared the winner of Sunday’s vote, giving him a second, six-year term. Many opposition parties had been barred from running against him, and more voters abstained than cast ballots in the election, which critics had said would be rigged in the president’s favor.
The Maduro government, which used food as a powerful incentive to urge hungry Venezuelans to support him, set up tents run by government stalwarts to urge people to vote.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence condemned the election, denouncing Mr. Maduro’s government as a dictatorship and demanding that it allow humanitarian aid into the country.
“The illegitimate result of this fake process is a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela,” Mr. Pence said in a statement, adding, “The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues.”
Other countries also condemned the vote.
“These were not the free and fair elections that the Venezuelan people deserve,” Germany’s Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter, criticizing the government for trying to intimidate its opponents.
Mexico said on Monday that it had asked its ambassador to return from Venezuela to discuss the situation, and that it would reduce its relations with the country to “a minimum.”
For months, many countries had isolated Mr. Maduro’s government with threats and sanctions, warning that there would be more consequences if he held the vote. By defying them, Mr. Maduro now throws his fate more closely to Russia, Turkey, China and Iran, which have maintained ties despite his growing authoritarianism.
Days before the vote, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey went on Venezuelan state television to voice his support for Mr. Maduro, saying, “I have faith you will be triumphant.”
Mr. Maduro presides over one of the deepest economic crises in the country’s history. Hyperinflation has cut the minimum wage to less than $2.50 a month. The country faces widespread hunger, rampant crime, a failing health system and a large-scale exodus of its citizens.
His administration has been selling off debt held by government entities, including accounts receivable, for a pittance of its worth, the United States officials said, and has pocketed the cash, leaving Venezuela’s finances in shambles.
The sanctions fall short of direct penalties on the oil sector, which the Trump administration has said would harm the Venezuelan people and American companies. They do not bar United States companies or citizens from selling oil products to or importing them from Venezuela.
Dimitris Pantoulas, a political consultant in Caracas, said the high abstention rate in the vote undercut Mr. Maduro’s legitimacy at home, “showing we could be very close to the end of this government.”
But he said the international pressure against Mr. Maduro had been blunted by the deep divisions in the opposition. Many top leaders left the country before the vote, and urged their supporters not to boycott Mr. Maduro’s chief rival, Henri Falcón, who supported much of the opposition’s political and economic agenda.
Mr. Falcón received roughly 21 percent of the vote, compared with 68 percent for Mr. Maduro, according to the official tally. Still, Mr. Maduro received fewer than six million votes, the lowest number of ballots cast for a winner in years.
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ROME — In a significant step toward forming an anti-establishment government in the European Union’s fourth largest economy, the leaders of Italy’s populist parties asked the country’s president on Monday to accept a little-known law professor as their consensus candidate for prime minister.
“The name we gave to the President of the Republic is the name of Giuseppe Conte,” Luigi Di Maio, the leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, told reporters after meeting with the president, who has the power to reject the nomination.
Mr. Di Maio called Mr. Conte “a professional of the highest level,” intimately aware with the nation’s problems as a child of the peripheral south. Mr. Conte, he said, “is a self-made man and he’s a tough guy. ”
He added, “You all will see.”
A dapper 54-year-old civil law professor with a taste for cuff links and white pocket kerchiefs, Mr. Conte has a long resume working for Roman law firms and associating with top-ranking Vatican cardinals.
But with no political base or government experience, Mr. Conte’s main qualification may well be his willingness to carry out a government agenda agreed upon by the populist party leaders.
That agenda, which calls for lifting of sanctions against Russia, the revisiting of the bloc’s budget rules and crackdowns on immigration, has already sent jitters through European markets and raised concerns that the erosion of the European Union may come from within its western European core.
The nomination of Mr. Conte did not exactly assuage those concerns.
“It’s the first time in the history of the Republic that the candidate for prime minister has been downgraded to the role of spokesman,” Andrea Marcucci, a senator in the soon to be opposition Democratic Party, said in a statement.
If the president, Sergio Mattarella, gives the green light, Mr. Conte will assemble a team of ministers, who are expected to be preordained by Mr. Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant League party, and Mr. Di Maio’s new coalition partner. Both have designs on critical ministries.
Reports in the Italian press suggested that Mr. Matarella still had significant reservations about the direction of the new government. Late Monday evening he convened leaders of the Italians houses of Parliament to meet with him on Tuesday.
But Mr. Di Maio seemed quite pleased with the choice. Smiling broadly under umbrellas outside Rome’s Quirinal Palace, he talked approvingly to reporters about how Mr. Conte, who grew up in the southern region of Puglia, was a known entity to his party’s base.
Mr. Di Maio had proposed Mr. Conte as a potential minister for “the Civil Service, de-bureaucratisation and meritocracy” during the campaign and has known him for five years. ANSA, the Italian state news service, reported that Mr. Di Maio had hired Mr. Conte as his lawyer and that Mr. Conte wrote a good deal of the justice section of the party’s manifesto.
Mr. Salvini said in a Facebook Live monologue Monday evening that Mr. Conte was “an expert in simplification, and de-bureaucratisation, and slimming down of the administrative machine, which is what many businesses ask us.”
During his debut during the campaign, Mr. Conte, who specialized in public administration law, said that while he had voted for left-leaning parties in the past, he was drawn to the Five Star Movement because “today I think the 20th-century ideological outlooks are no longer adequate.”
Over the weekend, Mr. Conte changed the profile picture of his WhatsApp account to a picture of John F. Kennedy with the words, “every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”
His friends said he was a breath of fresh air.
“He has all the credentials,” said Carla Lucente, a professor of modern languages and literature at Duquesne University and the Honorary Consulate of Italy in Pittsburgh.
She knows Mr. Conte through their work together at the Villa Nazareth, a college in Rome associated with Duquesne University that has deep ties to the Vatican, including past and present power brokers like Cardinal Achille Silvestrini and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.
“They know each other very well,” said Ms. Lucente of the prelates and Mr. Conte.
Nicholas P. Cafardi, dean emeritus and canon law professor of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, said Mr. Conte, whom he called “highly talented,” was his lawyer when he bought his house in Italy and handled legal issues at Villa Nazareth for Cardinal Silvestrini, who is the institution’s president.
Two years ago, when Ms. Lucente came to Rome for a Villa Nazareth event with Pope Francis, she said she saw Mr. Conte and his wife and son and noticed he was already a mover and a shaker in law circles. He had “a driver and a beautiful limo,” she said, but preferred to take his bicycle.
She said he spoke excellent English, which is reflected in his resume, with numerous publications, and international work experience.
He lists research at famous universities around the world, including Yale, the Sorbonne in France and New York University, where he said he “perfected and updated his studies” while staying at the college for at least a month every summer between 2008 and 2012.
Asked about Mr. Conte’s experience at N.Y.U., Michelle Tsai, a spokeswoman, said Monday, “A person by this name does not show up in any of our records as either a student or faculty member,” adding that it was possible he attended one or two-day programs for which the school does not keep records.
Amid the dozens of courses Mr. Conte listed teaching on his resume, he included a summer class at the University of Malta called “European Contract and Banking Law.”
That is especially relevant experience considering the potential government’s agenda and the fear, based on the campaign promises and recent statements of the coalition partners, that it will not uphold contracts with the European Union on banking and other financial issues.
But as the populist leaders approached real power on Monday, they seemed less brazen about poking the markets in the eye.
Last week, Mr. Salvini and Mr. Di Maio had mocked the market reactions to their potential government, including the expanding spread on bond yields, which make it more expensive for Italians and Italian banks to borrow money.
On Monday, Mr. Di Maio implored international observers to first give the government a chance before they started criticizing it.
And Mr. Salvini, speaking a few minutes after Mr. Di Maio at the Quirinal Palace, said that foreign countries had “nothing to worry about” and that he only wanted a government that spurred growth and employment in the Italian economy.
Mr. Di Maio and Mr. Salvini both ran for prime minister, and desperately wanted the job. During the campaign they constantly lamented that Italy had not had a prime minister directly elected by voters for years. Five Star in particular rose to prominence over the last decade excoriating professional politicians and presenting itself as a radical change agent.
But now, intent to demonstrate that Mr. Conte reflects the will of the voters, many of whom had never heard of him, they sought to characterize him and the government he would nominally lead as deeply political.
“Giuseppe Conte will be a political prime minister chosen by two political forces for a political government with political figures in it,” said Mr. Di Maio on Monday. “And most of all with the support of two elected political forces.”
But Ms. Lucente said she considered Mr. Conte’s aversion to politics one of his great credentials.
“I never considered him a political person,” she said.
Italy's Lega, M5S Nominate Giuseppe Conte for Prime Minister's Post - M5S Leader
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Health workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo began vaccinating people Monday against an outbreak of Ebola that’s killed at least 26 people. The experimental drug was tested in Guinea two years ago with a 100 percent success rate, but this is the first time a vaccine will be used to control an Ebola outbreak.
Here & Now ‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Dr. Seth Berkley ( @GaviSeth), an infectious disease epidemiologist and CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is providing money and logistical support to get the vaccine distributed.
“I’m confident that the vaccine itself is effective — we’ve seen that in clinical trials and in animal studies — and will do what it needs to do,” Berkley says. “Of course, it only can work if you can track the cases and then the contacts with them. So that is always the complicated picture.”
On the Democratic Republic of Congo’s past outbreaks of Ebola
“The good news is that DRC is a country that has experience with Ebola. It is the country where Ebola was first seen, and so over this last 40 years they’ve had nine outbreaks. Obviously they’ve been of varying intensity, but they’ve been able to control them using public health measures. Now, the last outbreak was a smaller outbreak. It was able to be controlled completely using public health means and didn’t require a use of a vaccine. We now have a vaccine, and that is what is exciting and additional that can be done here. But of course, the fact that this has now moved into the provincial capital, where there’s a large number of people, does raise a significant level of concern.”
On the logistical challenges of distributing the vaccine
“This is one of the most difficult places on earth. This is in a heavy tropical rainforest without good infrastructure.… The temperature stability issue is a challenge. The good news on that is that there are special carriers that can be used to transport the vaccine out to the emergency site and keep it at that temperature. And then you can take it out of that temperature and keep it in a fridge, a normal fridge, from 2 to 8 degrees, for a period of time as you are going ahead to use the vaccine. Now, once you take it out of that condition, once you’ve had it in the fridge, then if you don’t use it in a period of time, you have to dispose of it. So we have to be very careful to try to keep it in that cold chain. But there is some flexibility in doing that. But it is going to be a very different task indeed.”
On the “ring fencing” vaccination technique
“The ring vaccination idea really came from work by Dr. William Foege, former head of CDC, when he worked around smallpox. The original way people worked to try to get rid of smallpox was, you’d have an outbreak and they would try to cover the entire district, community, country. And what he came up with, the idea was, if you didn’t have enough vaccine you could go to the case that had it, and then you could say, ‘Who did the case have contact with?’ And even extending it out further to people that, you know, the contacts had contacts with. Family members, friends, you know, if you’ve traveled outside, you’ve taken a taxi, if you’ve been to a funeral, all the people you’ve met. So the idea is to create a ring of protection around the cases to slow down transmission. That was what was done in Guinea. It was somewhere between 100 and 150 contacts per case. And that is the strategy that’s going to be used here. Of course, on top of that, we will want to vaccinate the health care workers and burial workers, or others that are directly involved with the cases.”
On the availability of the vaccine
“When Gavi originally made the commitment to work with the Merck Corporation, one of the agreements was that they would put aside 300,000 doses of vaccine, which is a substantial number. Now the idea behind that is some of those doses are available immediately, but also, in that process, if it looks like we need more doses, they can go ahead and turn on their manufacturing and produce more doses. So, I would say, at the moment, I’m not worried about those number of doses. The more important issue is moving as quickly as possible to get this vaccination started and to make sure that we are reaching the contacts and then doing this ring vaccination around them.”
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Britain's government says it does not intend to refer U. S. media conglomerate Comcast 's 22 billion pound ($30.7 billion) takeover offer for London-based Sky to competition authorities, saying the proposed merger doesn't raise concerns on public interest grounds.
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock says he's "reviewed the relevant evidence" and that he is "minded not to issue" an intervention notice.
He says the "proposed merger does not raise concerns in relation to public interest considerations which would meet the threshold for intervention".
The parties have until 5 p.m. May 24 for submissions before he makes a final decision on whether to intervene.
UK government does not intend to block Comcast-Sky deal
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Officials at the Huffman Independent School District said in a Facebook post that they received a tip that the student had a gun in his backpack and wanted to hurt himself.
“The student and backpack were immediately taken into custody, and the building has been placed on lockdown as a precaution as we continue to investigate the incident,” officials said in the post.
Officials said the child did have a gun, but they would not say whether it was loaded..
This was another in a series of threats at Houston-area schools after Friday's massacre at Santa Fe High School that killed 10 people.
Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.
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LONDON — A London court has dismissed charges against Barclays tied to the bank’s 2008 efforts to raise a $15 billion lifeline from Qatar and other investors, a legal victory for the British lender as it tries to turn its businesses around.
The decision is a blow to Britain’s regulators, who have pursued the case for years. The charges were the first in the country against a bank for actions during the global financial crisis.
And the news is likely to be well received by Barclays, which has sought to move past a welter of scandals and underperforming operations. The firm paid $2 billion to settle American charges of fraudulently misrepresenting securities tied to home mortgages, as well as a separate settlement over charges tied to allegations that it manipulated the interest rate known as Libor.
And this month, its American chief executive, James E. Staley, received a relatively small fine for trying to uncover a whistle-blower.
Meanwhile, Barclays reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, particularly in its trading unit.
At the heart of the British case — filed by the Serious Fraud Office, a British anticorruption watchdog — was the question of whether Barclays improperly sought billions from Qatar during the 2008 turmoil, as the firm sought to avoid the sort of government bailouts that have weighed on rivals like the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Barclays avoided that fate by raising roughly 12 billion pounds, or about $15 billion, from Qatar and two other investors in two transactions. But investigators have looked into whether the bank improperly wooed financial backers, including through paying “advisory services” to investors that were not initially disclosed to the public.
They have also examined whether Barclays lent money to Qatar that subsequently flowed back to the bank, which regulators contended violated British law.
In a statement, Barclays said that the Crown Court had dismissed charges accusing the firm of conspiring with former executives to commit fraud and of “unlawful financial assistance.”
But the lender’s legal battles are not over. The firm added in its statement that the Serious Fraud Office was likely to seek a reinstatement of the charges. A spokeswoman for the anticorruption agency declined to comment further.
Several former executives of the bank, including John S. Varley, its onetime chief executive, still face individual criminal charges. And the firm continues to face a lawsuit by the financier Amanda Stavely that is seeking up to £1.5 billion in damages tied to the 2008 fund-raising.
Shares in Barclays were up slightly in London afternoon trading on Monday, at 209.40 pence.
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LONDON (AP) — Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone resigned from Britain’s Labour Party on Monday, two years after he was suspended over allegations of anti-Semitism — an issue that continues to roil the left-of-center party.
Livingstone said in a statement that he is not anti-Semitic, but was quitting because the long-running accusations had become a “distraction.”
Livingstone was once one of Britain’s most powerful Labour politicians. He ran the Greater London Council, the city’s since-abolished governing body, during the 1980s and served two terms as the British capital’s mayor between 2000 and 2008.
But the party suspended him in 2016 after Livingstone said in a BBC interview that Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism during the 1930s.
In a statement about his party resignation, Livingstone said “I abhor anti-Semitism.” But he acknowledged that “the way I made a historical argument has caused offense and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.”
Allegations of Labour anti-Semitism have grown since socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected the party’s leader in 2015. Some in the party allege that Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, has allowed abuse to go unchecked.
Corbyn, a longtime ally of the former mayor, said Livingstone’s resignation was sad, but “the right thing to do.”
Labour is deeply divided over whether enough is being done to combat anti-Jewish prejudice in its ranks. Some Labour members saw Livingstone’s continued presence in the party as a sign the answer was no.
Lawmaker Ruth Smeeth, who has pressed Corbyn to do more, tweeted: “Good riddance Ken.”
Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
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President Donald Trump stands less than one month away from making history as the first sitting US president to meet a sitting North Korean leader — but it's increasingly looking like he's ill-prepared and sailing towards embarrassment.
Trump has of late talked up his work on North Korea, crediting himself with creating the conditions for talks through a hardline policy. But that self-congratulation could come back to haunt him.
Throughout 2018, North Korea has pursued diplomacy with its neighbors on the back of a vague promise to denuclearize. Pyongyang's apparent wish to make peace with South Korea after Trump's nuclear brinkmanship throughout 2017 shocked much of the world and has generated Nobel Peace Prize buzz for the president.
But now Trump worries his meeting with Kim Jong Un "could turn into a political embarrassment," The New York Times' David Sanger reports, citing administration officials.
In mid-May, with only weeks until the historic summit, North Korea flipped on the US and South Korea, blasting them both with a series of complaints that seemed like a tantrum .
Sanger reported that Trump questioned whether or not he should even go through with the summit and hastily spoke by phone to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for reassurance.
Trump has so far stayed the course with the summit, which represents a major part of his foreign policy accomplishments as president. For Kim, meeting a US president is a legitimizing win, lending his country previously unattainable international credibility.
But instead of Kim hoping the US grants him the legitimacy of a meeting, it now appears Trump is the one trying to hold on to a meeting North Korea appears willing to ditch .
Additionally, Trump is reportedly not thrilled about preparing for the summit, which will cover not only the narrow issue of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, but also virtually every major flash point in East Asian geopolitics.
Trump "doesn’t think he needs to" prepare for the summit with Kim that much, a senior administration source told TIME . Trump may have been misled
But if Trump is ill-prepared for the summit, and it does blow up in his face, he can share some of the blame.
"It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea’s willingness to deal," North Korea expert and political science professor Robert Kelly tweeted .
"Moon likely exaggerated this to tie Trump to a diplomatic track to prevent him from backsliding into last year’s war-threats which scared the daylights out of South Koreans. If Trump were less vain and had allowed his national security staff to vet the NK offer, he might have learned this," Kelly added.
It had been reported that Trump came dangerously close to striking North Korea last year. In doing so, he may have scared South Korea, not North Korea, into negotiations.
South Korea has reasons to push for diplomacy with North Korea, not least of which is that its citizens would likely bear the brunt of the suffering and death if war broke out. The stuff could hit the fan
On June 12th in Singapore, Trump will face a task like never before in meeting Kim.
North Korea has measurably gained from its diplomatic offensive by forging closer ties with China — and, as Trump has acknowledged, seemed to get Beijing to ease off sanctions. Trump's main achievement on North Korea thus far has been getting China to adhere to international sanctions.
Kim unwinding Trump's main win on the North Korean front with a sophisticated diplomatic ruse could prove embarrassing to Trump before the midterm elections, when he looks for a boost for the Republican Party.
North Korea experts fear that failed talks could lead the US to an even more militaristic path, possibly even to war against Kim .
Trump's newly appointed national security adviser, John Bolton, has long advocated for war with North Korea. And he has been partly blamed for the recent collapse in diplomatic progress.
Poland's Walesa visits disabled protesters in parliament
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LONDON (AP) — The head of Parliament’s media committee has appealed to European lawmakers to put questions to Mark Zuckerberg on his behalf when the Facebook chief gives evidence Tuesday.
Committee chair Damian Collins wrote to Facebook again Monday, expressing disappointment at its “lack of transparency” in dealing with his investigation into fake news.
He shared his letter with European lawmakers so they could question him about what Facebook knew about political consultancy Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook users’ data.
Collins says: “if Mark Zuckerberg chooses not to address our questions directly, we are asking colleagues at the European Parliament to help us get answers— particularly on who knew what at the company, and when, about the data breach and the non-transparent use of political adverts which continue to undermine our democracy.”
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Zuckerberg meeting with EU parliament leaders to be webcast
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The Chinese military announced the first landing of a heavy bomber on a disputed island on Friday, stating that several H-6K bombers were launched from an airbase in southern China for “a simulated strike against sea targets before landing on an island in the South China Sea.”
The Chinese statement did not specify where the bombers landed, but military experts quoted in various international publications were confident the landing occurred on Woody Island, which holds China’s largest airbase in the Paracels. China has also built several military-grade airfields on disputed islets in the Spratly island chain, some of which were substantially built up by Chinese engineers to accommodate the airstrips. H-6K bombers have sufficient range to cover the entire South China Sea from Woody Island.
That strike range also includes all of the Philippines, as the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic Studies (CSIS) pointed out in an analysis quoted by the Japan Times:
The Japan Times goes on to observe that China’s construction projects in the Spratlys are modeled after the fortifications it has built in the Paracels, so there is reason to fear that Chinese airstrips in the Spratlys will soon be able to service the H-6K, if they do not already have that capability.
The Wall Street Journal looks at the big picture in the South China Sea:
The Wall Street Journal notes that countries like the Philippines have refrained from pushing back against Chinese militarization of the South China Sea because they lack the military, economic, and diplomatic power to stand up to Beijing.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s office did express “serious concerns” about the bomber landing on Monday, but Duterte himself restated the Wall Street Journal’s premise on Saturday by warning he would invite more “trouble” than his country can handle by confronting China.
“We take note of the reports that appeared and we express our serious concerns anew on its impact to efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.
“We are taking the appropriate diplomatic action necessary to protect our claims and will continue to do so in the future,” the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs added in a statement.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a new oil and gas production facility on Saturday, President Duterte warned “there will be trouble” if his country opposes Beijing too forcefully.
“To the Chinese, what does it mean to you? War. What will we arm ourselves with if there’s a war? Will we resort to slapping each other?” Duterte asked.
“So will we be able to win that war? If my troops are massacred, after the war, the soldiers and police will come after me next. Our troops will really be finished off there,” he said.
The Pentagon also expressed its concerns in a Saturday email warning that “China’s continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilize the region.”
U. S. Admiral Philip Davidson, who has been nominated to take over U. S. Pacific Command from the departing Admiral Harry Harris, said in congressional testimony last month that “China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”
“If the international community cannot get its act together, sooner or later we are going to see China get de facto control of a very important maritime highway,” William Choong of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told the Wall Street Journal.
Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Paraguay opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, the second country to follow the United States in making the politically sensitive move from Tel Aviv.
Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony. The United States relocated its embassy to Jerusalem a week ago, drawing Palestinian anger. It was followed by Guatemala on Wednesday.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad international backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.
Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 conflict, as its capital.
"This is a historic day that strengthens ties between Paraguay and Israel," Cartes said at the ceremony.
"A great day for Israel. A great day for Paraguay. A great day for our friendship," Netanyahu responded. "You have not only the support of our government but the profound gratitude of the people Israel."
Hanan Ashrawi, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced Paraguay's move.
"By adopting such a provocative and irresponsible measure that is in direct contravention of international law and consensus, Paraguay has conspired with Israel, the United States and Guatemala to entrench the military occupation and to seal the fate of occupied Jerusalem," Ashrawi said in a statement.
In December, U. S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, reversing decades of U. S. policy and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies.
Most world powers do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city and says its final status should be set in peace negotiations.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Dan Williams and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)
Democrats clash in heated New Mexico gubernatorial debate
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thenewstribune.comAnother ‘great day in Israel’ as Paraguay opens embassy in Jerusalem, copying US move
Authorities say a monkey went bananas after escaping from its crate Monday at the San Antonio International Airport, CBS affiliate KENS-TV reports. The monkey made its escape as it was being transported from a plane to the baggage area.
San Antonio Police said officials cornered the animal inside a room at the airport around 3:45 p.m. local time.
Aerial footage showed several police cruisers responding to the scene as officials searched for the animal on the tarmac.
An airport employee told KENS-TV that employees recently "went wild" trying to chase a loose cat. "I can only imagine a monkey or baboon going around right now. I'm just glad we caught it and it's safe but it was pretty hectic for us at the airport today," she said.
Police said operations have returned to normal.
Monkey on the loose at San Antonio International Airport
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Sen. Chuck Grassley on Monday called on the Justice Department to release information relating to a former top official’s communications with the author of a dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and Russia.
In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Iowa Republican requested emails, phone logs, handwritten notes and text messages regarding former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr’s communications with Christopher Steele, who wrote the dossier. The report was commissioned by Fusion GPS, where Ohr’s wife worked.
In addition, Grassley asked to schedule a transcribed interview with Ohr. Grassley said he was concerned that Ohr, who was demoted last year, had continued to send the FBI information from Steele, a former British spy, even after the bureau sought to distance itself from him over his contacts with the media.
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman also asked Rosenstein to ensure that the committee “receives timely access to or possession of all documents on equal terms provided to other congressional committees related to the controversies described in this letter and the investigation that has been publicly reported as ‘Crossfire Hurricane.’”
Grassley’s letter comes as the House GOP faces off with the DOJ over lawmakers’ request for details about a source believed to have aided the FBI as it probed Trump campaign contacts with Russians ahead of the election.
Trump to meet top Justice, intelligence leaders
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Two hours ahead of the inauguration of his country’s embassy in Jerusalem, outgoing Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes met with President Reuven Rivlin, and assured him that he will visit Israel “much more often” after the expiration of his term in August. Paraguay officially moved its country’s embassy to Jerusalem on Monday, the third such move within the space of a week after the US move last Monday and Guatemala’s on Wednesday.
Air Chief Marshal to visit Israel for strong military ties
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British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Monday the government could not comment on why Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's visa was yet to be renewed.
Abramovich, best known in Britain as the owner of Premier League soccer club Chelsea, is in the process of renewing his visa as part of a standard procedure after it expired last month but it is taking longer than usual, sources told Reuters on Sunday.
Relations between Moscow and London have been strained since the poisoning former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal in Britain in March, an act Britain has blamed on Russia but in which the Kremlin denies any involvement.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich left waiting for UK visa
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China is planning to abandon all limits it imposes on the number of children a family can have — ending a decades-old controversial policy blamed for human-rights abuses, according to a report.
The State Council, or cabinet, has commissioned research on the effects of ending the policy on a nationwide basis, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
China’s population is aging rapidly, with the number of births dropping by 3.5 percent to 17.23 million last year despite the country’s decision in late 2015 to relax the “one-child” policy from 1979 and allow couples to have a second child.
The country implemented the one-child policy to limit population growth, but officials are worried that a dwindling workforce will not be able to support the aging citizenry.
Authorities also hope to remove a source of international criticism toward the restrictive policy, Bloomberg reported.
A policy of “independent fertility” would permit couples to decide how many children to have, one of the sources told the news site.
A decision could be made in the last quarter of this year or in 2019, the report said.
“It’s late for China to remove birth limits even within this year but it’s better than never,” said Chen Jian, a former official at the National Family Planning Commission, who’s now a vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform.
“Scrapping birth limits will have little effect on the tendency of China’s declining births.”
A policy change would end one of the world’s largest social experiments, which left the world’s most-populous nation with a rapidly aging population and about 30 million more males than females.
The policies also have forced generations of couples to pay fines, submit to abortions or raise children surreptitiously.
But coming so soon after the shift to a two-child limit, any change will likely be regarded as an admission that relaxing the policy has not increased birth rates sufficiently, according to a scholar, who said he doesn’t believe the new policy would make much of a difference either.
“People are not having children in China because they cannot afford them. That’s not going to change whether you have a one-child policy, a two-child policy or a 200-child policy,” Professor Steve Tsang, head of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, told The Independent of the UK.
Ending China’s Birth Limits Won’t Bring a Baby Boom
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Colombo: At least five people have been killed and seven are missing as heavy rains and strong winds caused havoc in Sri Lanka, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said on Monday.
The deaths were reported from the eastern district of Trincomalee and in the lower central hills of Badulla, Xinhua news agency reported.
Three people were killed by lightning, one perished in a landslide, while the fifth death was the result of a fallen tree, said DMC officials.
Over 9,000 people were affected by the adverse weather while hundreds of families were evacuated from their homes as the Meteorology Department warned of more rains in the coming days.
DMC spokesperson Pradeep Kodippili said five major rivers were at spill level and those living in low areas were evacuated to safer levels.
He said floods were also reported from the Ratnapura district in the Sabaragamuwa province and a landslide warning had been issued for Kalutara, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Galle and Kurunegala.
“The police and tri forces are all on standby and assisting in relief efforts. We request the people in low areas to move to safer locations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Education Ministry said schools in the rain affected areas in Sabaragamuwa province will remain shut on Monday and Tuesday.
Sri Lanka is facing its annual southwest monsoon, with the Meteorological Department warning of more rains in several districts across the country in the coming days.
“Very heavy falls, about 150 mm, can be expected at some places in Sabaragamuwa, Western provinces and in Galle and Matara districts,” the Meteorological Department said.
Over 200 people were killed and 78 people missing when the southwest monsoon caused severe floods and landslides across Sri Lanka in 2017.
Sri Lanka storms, landslides kill 5, leave 1,000 displaced
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Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, tells Katy Tur that as the head of the executive branch, it is Donald Trump's prerogative to decide what gets investigated and what doesn’t.
Dershowitz Calls For Independent Investigation Into FBI Spying
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Haifa has always been the blue chip example of how Israel’s Jewish and Arab population can live and work together in coexistence. That’s what made this weekend’s “day of rage against the occupation” demonstration, attended by hundreds of people along Jaffa Street in downtown Haifa, so surprising and troubling.
Police accused of brutality for crackdown on Israeli Arabs protesting military action in Gaza
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Donald Trump is now hot and heavy in the trade negotiations with China, as well as Canada and Mexico in negotiating NAFTA 2.0. We are strong free traders, but we also believe that Trump's plans to negotiate better trade agreements that reduce trade barriers abroad are right on the mark. He also has to make sure those deals fully protect U. S. intellectual property, or what is commonly called know-how.
American investments, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship have made intellectual property one of our nation's most important assets – IP-intensive industries including software, biotechnology, and entertainment now support nearly one-third of all U. S. jobs. But too often, our foreign trading partners take unfair advantage of our IP innovations to enrich themselves at our expense.
This is glaringly evident in the pharmaceutical sector.
American pharmaceutical companies are the runaway global leaders in developing new prescription drugs. This requires massive outlays of capital. A 2014 Tufts study estimated the cost of developing and bringing a prescription drug to market at $2.6 billion. These eye-popping R&D investments U. S. Pharma makes in new medications are especially important in biologics, the revolutionary class of drugs that holds great promise in addressing some of our most serious health challenges including cancer, MS, Alzheimer's, and more.
Making those huge outlays of shareholders' money becomes harder to justify when foreign companies reap the benefits. Under U. S. law, biological patents are protected for 12 years. In Canada, those same drugs are protected for only 8 years and Mexico, in some cases, provides no protection at all unless drug manufacturers are willing to go through an expensive legal process.
Trump's trade negotiators need assurances from our trading partners that these drugs and vaccines are not stolen and that American companies are paid a fair price for the life-saving drugs they have worked to bring to market. Holding Mexico, Canada, and China to the same legal standards we abide by in the U. S. will save billions of dollars, money that can be reinvested in new research to produce even more innovative treatments.
There is another reason why fair pricing of U. S. pharmaceuticals must also be covered by negotiated trade deals and it is related to Donald Trump's goal of reducing the cost of drugs and vaccines paid by seniors and families here at home.
It is very simple: when other nations impose price controls on American produced prescription drugs (and threaten to steal the patents and produce the drugs themselves if these companies don't comply), it means that American consumers pay higher prices here at home to cover the R and D costs. This is unfair to American consumers. It is one reason our health care costs are more expensive than in other nations.
So rather than imposing price controls here at home, which would severely slow the development of new life-saving drugs, we should shut down the price controls abroad as a key condition of new trade deals.
The theft of American intellectual property has been going on for years with impunity and now the problem is the elephant in the room on trade deals. The United States Trade Representative estimates that the IP thievery perpetrated by China alone costs us between $225 billion and $600 billion each year. China also accounts for a major share of stolen U. S. trade secrets. That costs us another $180 billion to $540 billion annually. Millions of U. S. jobs are lost because of the unfair trade practices routinely employed by China and other countries.
Intellectual property is every bit as vital to our economy – if not more so - than steel or aluminum. America leads the world in computer software, drugs, artificial intelligence, patents, trademarks, music, entertainment, and other creative industries. But how long can that last when competitor nations are ripping off our entrepreneurial companies to the tune of a half-trillion dollars a year?
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow in economics at the Heritage Foundation and an economic advisor to FreedomWorks. Steve Forbes is Editor in Chief of Forbes Media.
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The Latest: US-China inject note of caution post-trade truce
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TOKYO (AP) — A survey of women working for Japanese newspapers and TV networks has found 150 cases of alleged sexual misconduct reported by 35 women, about one-third of it involving lawmakers, government officials and law enforcers, a researcher said Monday.
Osaka International University Professor Mayumi Taniguchi, a gender studies expert, said the survey was prompted by a recent and widely publicized case of alleged sexual mistreatment of a journalist by a senior finance ministry official.
She said 40 percent of the cases reportedly occurred at the journalists’ workplaces and the remainder involved their news sources and others.
The April 21-30 survey was conducted shortly after the No. 2 finance ministry official resigned after being accused of making sexually suggestive remarks to a reporter, which he denied. Repeated remarks by Finance Minister Taro Aso and other top officials that the reporter might have tried to trap the man infuriated women’s groups.
The survey found the alleged harassers tended to choose victims who were more vulnerable and likely to be intimidated.
In one case, Taniguchi said, a female reporter in her 30s at a national newspaper reported that the police chief at the location where she was assigned repeatedly made lewd remarks to her and that fellow reporters were aware but tolerated them. She said a younger reporter at another newspaper developed depression and quit her job.
She said in another case, a national newspaper reporter also in her 30s was forcibly kissed and had her breasts touched by a source in a local election she was covering who was supposed to give her vote counts. She called a male reporter from another newspaper for help.
Taniguchi said the survey shows some women are beginning to speak out in a sign of a growing #MeToo movement in Japan, but that others are hesitant to do so because of pressure from supervisors or fear of losing their sources.
In Komae City in Tokyo’s western suburbs, mayor Kunihiko Takahashi faced demands Monday from city officials that he step down after an internal probe confirmed his alleged sexual misconducts reported by several female employees. The mayor denied wrongdoing.
Gender equality in Japan has lagged behind most advanced countries and victims of sexual misconduct can be criticized for speaking out and embarrassing influential men.
Many of the women surveyed said they participated in the hope of preventing younger reporters from suffering similar mistreatment.
“I believe this is their sisterhood, and this is what the #MeToo movement is about,” Taniguchi said, adding that more efforts are still needed. “I hope everyone takes sexual harassment and #MeToo movement more seriously and tackles the problems.”
This version correct the number of sexual misconduct cases in the survey to 150, not 156.
Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi
Find her work at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi
Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
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Survey: Japanese female journalists report sexual misconduct
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DUBLIN (AP) - In homes and pubs, on leaflets and lampposts, debate is raging in Ireland over whether to lift the country's decades-old ban on abortion. Pro-repeal banners declare: "Her choice: vote yes." Anti-abortion placards warn against a "license to kill."
Online, the argument is just as charged - and more shadowy, as unregulated ads of uncertain origin battle to sway voters before Friday's referendum, which could give Irish women the right to end their pregnancies for the first time.
The emotive campaign took a twist this month when Facebook and Google moved to restrict or remove ads relating to the abortion vote. It is the latest response to global concern about social media's role in influencing political campaigns, from the U. S. presidential race to Brexit.
"We shouldn't be naive in thinking Ireland would be immune from all these worldwide trends," said lawmaker James Lawless, technology spokesman for the opposition Fianna Fail party.
"Because of the complete lack of any regulation on social media campaigning in Ireland, somebody at the moment can throw any amount of money, from anywhere in the world, with any message - and there's nothing anybody can do about it."
The role of online ads in elections is under scrutiny following revelations that Russian groups bought ads on platforms such as Google and Facebook to try to influence the 2016 U. S. presidential race. Many of the ads were designed to sow confusion, anger and discord among Americans through messages on hot-button topics.
Few subjects are more emotive than abortion, especially in largely Roman Catholic Ireland. Despite the country's growing diversity and liberalism - voters legalized gay marriage in a 2015 referendum - the vote is expected to be close. The campaign is being watched, and sometimes influenced, by anti-abortion groups in the U. S. and elsewhere.
Voters are being asked whether they want to keep or repeal the eighth amendment to Ireland's constitution, added in 1983, which commits authorities to defend equally the right to life of a mother and an unborn child. Abortion is legal only in rare cases when the woman's life is in danger, and several thousand Irish women travel each year to terminate pregnancies in neighboring Britain.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's center-right government backs lifting the ban and allowing abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Ireland is no stranger to referendums - this is its fifth in five years - and the country's electoral laws regulate traditional forms of campaigning. Radio and television ads are banned completely, and foreign political donations are outlawed. But the 20-year-old electoral rules don't cover social-media advertising, and there is no limit on campaign spending.
"It's a complete Wild, Wild West," said Craig Dwyer of the Transparent Referendum Initiative, a volunteer group set up to collect information on the ads being used to target Irish Facebook users. "When we started collecting this information there was absolutely zero regulation."
The group has compiled and analyzed almost 900 Facebook ads connected to the referendum. Many were placed by registered lobby groups, and most came from inside Ireland. But several dozen were either untraceable or from overseas, including some that have been linked to U. S.-based anti-abortion organizations.
Several pages, with names like "Just the Facts About the 8th Amendment" and "Undecided on the 8th," claimed to give neutral information but had a clear anti-abortion agenda.
Such pages can be used to identify undecided voters, who can then be targeted with tailored ads - a practice that has been under scrutiny since revelations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica harvested Facebook users' data to micro-target select groups during the U. S. presidential race.
Concern about the impact of online ads led Facebook to announce May 8 that it would no longer accept referendum-relayed advertisements from outside Ireland in order to "ensure a free, fair and transparent vote."
A day later, Google went even further, halting all referendum advertising as part of efforts to protect "election integrity." The company said it was aware of "concerns" around the issue but declined to say what prompted the decision.
Research by the Transparent Referendum Initiative and University College Dublin found "some indications of large-scale spending on unregulated Google and YouTube ads" before Google's ban.
Google's decision infuriated anti-abortion campaign Save the Eighth, which was about to launch a series of YouTube ads when Google, which owns the video-sharing site, pulled the plug.
Spokesman John McGuirk accused the Mountain View, California-based search giant of "direct foreign interference in a referendum campaign."
"You have a multinational corporation essentially saying that this country's democracy is compromised, and they have provided no evidence for that whatsoever," he said.
McGuirk dismisses the role of overseas ads in the referendum, saying most were "small, amateurish ads basically made by John and Mary in New Jersey telling Irish people to pray the rosary for a 'no' vote. They weren't helping us in the first place."
McGuirk sees allegations of shady social-media advertising as an attempt to undermine the "no" campaign because it was winning the online war. As with the Trump and pro-Brexit campaigns, Save the Eighth paints itself as an underdog, battling what it sees as pro-repeal bias among mainstream media and politicians.
The pro-repeal campaign insists it was equally disadvantaged by the Google ban.
"We had a Google strategy that was in place, we were spending money," said Peter Tanham, head of digital for Together For Yes. "We had to spend a day readjusting our plans."
Both sides agree that tech firms should not be the ones making important decisions about Ireland's democracy. Lawless has introduced a bill to parliament that would require all online advertisers to disclose the publishers and sponsors behind ads.
"We should not be looking to boardrooms in Silicon Valley to see how our elections should be governed," he said.
The lawmaker's bill may become law later this year, too late to influence Friday's vote. Polls suggest the "yes" side has a lead, but it may be narrowing - and almost one in five voters say they are undecided.
While both sides say online ads are an important part of their strategy, many feel the argument will be won the old-fashioned way: through personal contact, one voter at a time.
"It was a blow when Google said they weren't going to play more ads," said Siobhan McAteer, a 25-year-old "no" campaigner distributing leaflets on a Dublin street. "It was a bit upsetting, but the momentum is in the streets. It's our campaigners talking to people on the streets."
A previous version of this story has corrected the first name of the Save the Eighth spokesman to John, not James.
Follow Jill Lawless on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Social media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote
miamiherald.comSocial media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote
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thenewstribune.comSocial media under microscope in emotive Irish abortion vote
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The Trump administration on Monday dismissed Venezuela's presidential election as a "sham" and ramped up economic and diplomatic pressure on President Nicolas Maduro's beleaguered government.
The White House announced that President Donald Trump had signed an executive order restricting the Venezuelan government's ability to liquidate assets for pennies on the dollar at the expense of the Venezuelan people. The order, which stopped short of imposing crippling oil sanctions on the nation's economy, was the latest effort by Trump to punish Maduro's government.
As world leaders rushed to condemn the election, Vice President Mike Pence asserted that it had been "neither free nor fair." He called it a "fake process" whose result was illegitimate, calling the move to hold the election "a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela."
"America stands against dictatorship and with the people of Venezuela," Pence said.
He insisted that Maduro allow humanitarian aid into the country, where widespread food shortages and hyperinflation have helped fuel the social crisis and opposition to Maduro's government.
Maduro won nearly 68 percent of the votes, according to Venezuela's Election Council, with more than 92 percent of polling stations accounted for. That was a more than 40-point lead over his closest challenger, Henri Falcon. Even before the vote, the United States had urged Venezuela not to hold it and insisted that any outcome would not be considered legitimate.
Turning up the diplomatic pressure, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Venezuela's government "faces isolation from the international community" until it restores democracy and holds free and transparent elections.
He issued a series of allegations about how the election had been marred by government interference, including stifling of the press, a "stacked" election council, silencing of dissent and barring of major opposition parties from the election. He also accused Maduro's government of rationing food parcels "selectively" to manipulate hungry citizens' votes.
"The United States stands with democratic nations in support of the Venezuelan people and will take swift economic and diplomatic actions to support the restoration of their democracy," Pompeo said in a statement.
Senior administration officials said Trump's executive order would close another avenue for corruption by officials in the government, who have valued and sold off public assets in return for kickbacks.
The officials said the order prohibits all transactions related to the purchase of any debt owed to the Venezuelan government by any U. S. person or anyone within the U. S. The officials said it included any debt associated with Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a formal announcement by the White House.
Re-election of Venezuelan president denounced as sham, calls grow for more sanctions
foxnews.comRe-election of Venezuelan president denounced as sham, calls grow for more sanctions
townhall.comUS calls Venezuela election a ‘sham’, threatens new sanctions
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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers can include clauses in employment contracts that force employees to settle disputes individually with a third-party arbitrator. In a 5-4 ruling, the justices said arbitration agreements, which bar employees from joining together in arbitration or a class-action lawsuit to settle disputes over wages and working conditions, are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.
Supreme Court Upholds Workplace Arbitration Contracts
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The meeting between Philippine officials and the United States Pacific Command (Pacom) chief was meant to assure the US that the Philippines has not abandoned its traditional alliance, Malacañang said on Monday.
“Well I can only surmise that the visit is intended to reassure the United States that, while we are pursuing an independent foreign policy, we have not actually – we have not abandoned our traditional ally, the United States,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Government officials, led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, met on Friday with Adm. Harry Harris Jr., Pacom chief, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“That is probably to reassure [Harris] that we value the continued friendship and security cooperation that we have had with the United States throughout the years,” Roque said.
The meeting took place as China deployed bomber planes in the disputed South China Sea. /atm
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Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Fresh off his third-place finish in West Virginia’s Republican Senate primary, Don Blankenship is moving forward with a plan to run as a third-party candidate in the fall as the right-wing Constitution Party’s candidate. Whether Blankenship can overcome the state’s “sore loser” law is unclear.
* Voters in Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky will be able to vote in primaries tomorrow, when Texas also holds primary runoffs. Among the races to watch are Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, pitting former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams against former state Rep. Stacey Evans, and the Democratic primary in Kentucky’s 6th congressional district, where Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is going up against former fighter pilot Amy McGrath.
* American Action Network, a conservative group closely aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan, picked up $24.6 million “ from a single anonymous donor ” last year. Because AAN is a dark-money organization, we’ll never know who wrote that check.
* Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser tonight for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) super PAC. Because the event is being held at the Trump International Hotel near the White House, it means the president will profit from the gathering.
* Though California Republicans have low expectations about this year’s gubernatorial race, Donald Trump has nevertheless formally thrown his support behind businessman John Cox’s (R) candidacy. (Rumor has it, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a presidential ally, urged Trump to back Cox.)
* Republican leaders were led to believe Hirsh Singh would invest $2 million of his own money into his campaign in New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district, but it turns out he has a lot less money than he claimed.
* And the New York Times had an interesting piece over the weekend, reporting, “The pace of new voter registrations among young people in crucial states is accelerating, a signal that school shootings this year — and the anger and political organizing in their wake — may prove to be more than ephemeral displays of activism…. Voter data for March and April show that young registrants represented a higher portion of new voters in Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, among other states.”
Don Blankenship continues bid for U. S. Senate as third-party candidate following GOP primary loss
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But while Trump continues to goad his Department of Justice into investigating her campaign, she made jokes about the investigation into Russian election meddling that has already ensnared former staffers of his.
Tapping into a Yale tradition involving crazy hats, she produced a Russian military ushanka .
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," she shrugged.
While most of the speech centered on her own time at Yale, Clinton also offered stark warning about the state of the American government under Trump.
"Right now we're living through a full-fledged crisis in our democracy," she said. "No, there are not tanks in the streets, but what's happening right now goes to the heart of who we are as a nation, and I say this not as a Democrat who lost an election but as an American afraid of losing a country."
A few hours earlier, Trump, in a series of tweets, had been complaining about the Russia investigation and that Clinton wasn't being investigated more .
".... At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren't looking at the corruption..." " ....in the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam."
Clinton made multiple jokes about her email issues as secretary of state, about the release of her campaign staffers' emails by WikiLeaks and more. She also did an extended riff on the opening of Tale of Two Cities, written in the lead-up to the French Revolution, but said it could be applicable today and encouraged graduates to "rise to the occasion" in this "tumultuous moment."
She encouraged people to embrace "radical empathy" and make connections across the political divide.
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A top official at SUNY — who was recently nominated to a fellowship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — resigned Monday when he was caught lying about surviving a bombing in Afghanistan.
SUNY Upstate Medical University’s senior vice president and chief of staff, Sergio Garcia, said in a videotaped speech at a diversity lecture last year that he was at the scene of a 2011 bombing in Afghanistan that cost a young diplomat her life, the Albany Times-Union reported Saturday .
The exec — who made $340,000 a year — told an audience the supposed harrowing tale, recounting how a three-vehicle convo delivering books to an all-girls school in Afghanistan exploded, killing many of his colleagues, including Anne Smedinghoff, a young foreign affairs officer.
“She was 23 years old,” he said of the young woman, claiming he had been her mentor. “Her first posting was in Afghanistan, which was a little unusual, but that’s where she wanted to go.… I was in the third car, the bomb went off on the first car and, you know, a lot of my colleagues, civilian and military, were killed.”
Garcia, who was nominated two months ago by Cuomo to a fellowship with SUNY’s Hispanic Leadership Institute, said this moment was a turning point in his life.
“No more,” he said. “Too many folks in Afghanistan that I picked up from the battlefield and had to carry.”
But the bombing Garcia was referring to actually happened in 2013, months after he’d left the country for an academic job in Ohio, according to State Department records and eyewitnesses interviewed by the paper.
There was also no proof that he’d ever even worked with the Smedinghoff.
“He’s stealing another person’s story to advance his career,” said Jonathan Addleton, a former US ambassador to Mongolia who was actually on the mission and held the young diplomat’s hand as she was being taken away on a stretcher.
Garcia’s other lies included: saying he’d been in the White House on 9/11 and stayed there for seven days without shaving or showering; fibbing about being interviewed for a gig at the State Department by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and saying that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a close friend and his mentor.
“After an expeditious review of the troubling accusations made against Upstate Medical University’s chief of staff… Sergio Garcia has resigned, effective immediately,” Upstate Medical University said in a statement Monday. “The allegations are contradictory to Upstate’s shared values of being open and honest.”
The Latest: Official resigns after Afghanistan bombing claim
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Friday at “MinnRoast,” an annual song-and-skit political variety show, DNC deputy chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) donned a blonde wig while playing guitar and singing a mocking parody version of “Guantanamera,” about President Donald Trump.
The lyrics included references to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Charlottesville rally violence.
Ellison sang, “I’m a nice honest man. I just want straight shooting. If I want to be called a stable genius, I just call my best friend, Vlad Putin.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
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Actresses Brigitte Bardot and Sophie Marceau are leading campaigns for mandatory cameras in French slaughterhouses and a ban on the sale of eggs from caged hens as France's parliament prepares to debate a food industry bill Tuesday.
Thirteen animal rights associations have called on lawmakers to add the slaughterhouse and cage regulations to the legislation. In an open letter, they argued that both measures were campaign promises of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The Bardot Foundation released a video in which the former French film star, a longtime animal rights activist, expresses her "revolt at the way animals are slaughtered" and notes she hasn't eaten meat for 40 years.
In a separate video released Monday, former James Bond girl Sophie Marceau endorses the ban on eggs from caged hens. The video includes footage shot by animal rights activists that shows hens crammed into tiny cages with the carcasses of dead birds.
The government's bill strengthens the penalties for animal abuse. It would double the possible sentence to one year in prison and a fine of 15,000 euros ($17,600.)
In recent years, a string of undercover videos has revealed shocking slaughterhouse conditions in the country — showing various abuses of pigs, cows, sheep and hens.
Under former President Francois Hollande, the lower house of parliament approved a bill ordering cameras in slaughterhouses that would have been a first in Europe. The law-making process was abandoned when Macron took office last year.
Legislation making video cameras mandatory in slaughterhouses in England, but not the rest of the United Kingdom, took effect this month.
French Agriculture minister Stephane Travert, speaking Sunday on France Inter radio, said cameras wouldn't be helpful, asserting that it's not possible to determine based on the footage "whether yes or no the animal is actually suffering."
Travert also said he wants hen cages to progressively disappear rather than imposing a ban.
"I'm for a fair compromise and for negotiation," he said.
The French poultry sector is the largest in the European Union. More than two-thirds of eggs sold in France come from caged hens.
France's big grocery retailers, including Carrefour, Leclerc, Lidl and Aldi, have pledged to stop selling such eggs by 2025.
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President Donald Trump dined Monday evening with Republican governors supportive of his immigration policies to discuss plans for border security and deporting people in the U. S. illegally.
Trump says the nation's immigration laws are the worst of anywhere in the world, particularly so-called catch-and-release policies, under which federal immigration officers release those detained for being in the U. S. illegally pending legal proceedings. Trump says, "We have to end it."
Trump says progress on a border wall is being made but calls on Congress to provide more funding toward his signature campaign promise.
Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Doug Doucey of Arizona, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Henry McMaster of South Carolina joined the president for dinner.
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JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian president's condition has seen a "clear improvement" after he was taken to hospital with a fever, an Arab lawmaker in Israel's parliament with close ties to Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.
Abbas was hospitalized on Sunday with a fever, just days after undergoing ear surgery. The 83-year-old leader has endured a series of recent health scares which have revived anxiety over a potentially chaotic, and even bloody, succession battle that could further weaken the Palestinian cause.
Ahmad Tibi, the lawmaker close to Abbas, told Israeli Army Radio that Abbas could be discharged as early as Tuesday. He did not elaborate on Abbas' condition nor say why he thought Abbas was expected to be released.
Palestinian officials on Sunday had said that Abbas has pneumonia and was on a respirator, receiving antibiotics intravenously. They said he was conscious and lucid.
Abbas, who is a heavy smoker and overweight, has a long history of health issues, ranging from heart trouble to a bout with prostate cancer a decade ago. Two years ago, he underwent an emergency heart procedure after suffering exhaustion and chest pains.
More recently, a cardiologist moved into the presidential compound in Ramallah to monitor the longtime leader after a mysterious hospital visit in the United States, following Abbas' address to the United Nations Security Council in which he appeared weak.
Abbas, who insists he is fine, has refused to designate a successor. But after more than a decade of avoiding discussion of the post-Abbas era, Palestinian officials acknowledge that they are concerned, and potential successors are quietly jockeying for position.
Abbas took over as a caretaker leader following the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 2004, and was elected for what was supposed to be a five-year term the following year. He has remained in firm control since then, governing parts of the West Bank, while a political split with rival Hamas — the Palestinian militant group that in 2007 seized the Gaza Strip — has prevented new elections.
Uncertainty shrouds the post-Abbas future. Under Palestinian law, the parliament speaker is supposed to take over if the president is incapacitated or dies. But the current speaker, Aziz Dweik, is a member of Hamas. Abbas' Fatah party has argued that since parliament has not functioned in more than a decade, Dweik would not be eligible to lead the Palestinians.
A number of top officials in Abbas' Fatah movement head the list of potential successors.
Jibril Rajoub, a former security chief, and Mahmoud Aloul, a veteran Fatah leader, are both members of the party's decision-making Central Committee.
Abbas' current security chief, Majed Farraj, is another strong contender, with good behind-the-scenes working relations with both Israel and the U. S.
Marwan Barghouti, a former Palestinian uprising leader serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison, tops public opinion polls. But his incarceration would pose a strong obstacle to him taking office.
Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled rival of Abbas who now lives in the United Arab Emirates, also enjoys some support, but the local leadership opposes him.
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The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized to students for “insensitive” language on tickets promoting its upcoming senior prom.
The tickets encouraged students of Cherry Hill High School East to “party like it’s 1776” during their prom at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
Several politically correct students decried the phrase as racist, complaining that “not all communities can celebrate what life was like in 1776.”
“I am writing to apologize for the hurt feelings this reference caused for members of our school family,” wrote Principal Dennis Perry.
“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” he added.
It should be noted that the phrase “party like it’s 1776” has been used to promote many Philadelphia events, including during Independence Day in 2017, a Young Republicans National Federation conference last March, and a 2016 gathering of the American Society of News Editors.
The reason why Philadelphia uses such a phrase should be obvious for its role in the creation of America.
Philadelphia is known as the “birthplace of our Nation,” where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were created, and was also the temporary capital of the U. S. following the Revolutionary War.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s South Asia strategy has shown few signs of progress this quarter, a U. S. government watchdog report said on Monday, despite public assertions by the U. S. military that Taliban militants were on the back foot.
An inspector general report said that there had been few signs of significant progress by Afghan security forces and the Taliban continued to carry out deadly attacks.
“Available metrics showed few signs of progress, and during the quarter, the Taliban and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria - Khorasan each launched high-profile attacks in Kabul that killed hundreds,” a statement accompanying the report said.
In August, Trump committed the United States to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan, dispatching an additional 3,000 troops to the nearly 17-year-old war that has killed tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.
Publicly, U. S. officials have presented an optimistic view of the situation in Afghanistan. U. S. Army General John Nicholson, who leads U. S. and international forces in Afghanistan, in November said the country had “turned the corner.”
Nicholson was the latest U. S. military official to try and put a positive image on the war, despite few signs of an end to the conflict.
“This quarter the Taliban continued to hold territory and launched devastating terrorist attacks in Kabul and across the country,” the watchdog report said.
The report covered the war in Afghanistan from January to the end of March and was compiled by the inspector generals from the Pentagon, State Department and U. S. Agency for International Development.
A Pentagon spokesman said the military felt that progress was being made.
“Chaos and progress can coexist and that is exactly what we feel is happening in Afghanistan,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning said.
In a sign of the precarious security situation, Taliban fighters closed in on another district in Afghanistan over the weekend, a development at odds with the positive image U. S. military officials have conveyed.
“Given the different audiences that U. S. military officials have in mind when they make these (public) announcements, there is simply a very strong incentive to accentuate and even embellish the positives, (and) to minimize the negatives,” said Michael Kugelman, with the Wilson Center think tank in Washington.
“It is a war that many Americans don’t support and don’t understand and yet it is war that is probably going to continue for the foreseeable future... it is just like Vietnam,” Kugelman said.
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The moment was meant to echo Boulton’s efforts a year prior to stand up to the Republican-controlled Legislature as it ushered into law new restrictions on public-sector workers’ rights to collectively bargain for pay and benefits.
“I was proud to stand here in this rotunda, fighting for you and with you every step of the way against their agenda that told thousands of Iowa workers they were worth less because they chose to answer the sacred call of public service in our state,” Boulton said to applause that rang under the Capitol's dome.
The AFL-CIO was announcing its endorsement of Boulton that day, making it one of the more than two dozen groups to do so since he first launched his campaign. Boulton has racked up more union endorsements than anyone else in the race.
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
At the Capitol rally with union members in April, Boulton said the way to grow Iowa is to "actually show our workforce they’re valued again by restoring workplace rights, expanding public sector bargaining rights, by restoring workers’ compensation protections and leading the nation on things like paid family leave."
"I think having that experience of working with members of both parties, working with the House and Senate as individual representatives and senators, knowing them and being able to talk with them to build the coalition that you need to get a legislative agenda accomplished is going to be important to the next governor," he said.
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NEW YORK, May 18 (Reuters) - The U. S. federal agency tasked with restoring electricity to Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean last year, is leaving the island though thousands still have no power heading into the next hurricane season starting next month.
Only a last-minute request from the governor of the island, bemoaning the "fragile state" of the power grid, managed to keep most of the generators brought by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Puerto Rican soil for another six months.
The remaining generators might help keep the lights on for hospitals or police stations if the island gets hit again during the coming hurricane season, which begins June 1.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last September, leaving 1.5 million homes and businesses in the dark. Both the island's power utility and the Trump Administration's Federal Emergency Management Agency were criticized for a slow response.
Most power has been restored by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers but the electricity grid remains unreliable, and suffered an island-wide blackout last month.
"The whole world is very nervous about hurricane time," said Rosalina Abreu Gonzalez, who lives near Mariana, on the eastern side of the island, where power has still not been restored. "There is a real concern - the government hasn't provided an energy system that is more secure."
The Army Corps, a unit of the U. S. armed forces, has said its task is largely complete now that most people have power. About 22,000 customers are still without electricity, most in remote areas, according to the new head of the island's power utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.
"Our mission wasn't to build a modern resilient system," Charles Alexander, Director of Contingency Operations and Homeland Security Headquarters at the Army Corps, said at a Senate hearing last week.
On April 29, Governor Ricardo Rossello asked U. S. officials to leave behind 850 generators at critical facilities, along with three larger generators used to keep the grid stable. FEMA agreed to leave the mega-generators and generators for 700 critical facilities. Mega-generators supply 75 megawatts of power, enough to power 75,000 homes.
New PREPA Chief Executive Walter Higgins, who has only been on the job for two months, said he is focusing on emergency procedures in the event of another disaster in coming months.
He said there is a plan for building a more resilient grid in the future. Higgins took over from Ricardo Ramos, who resigned as CEO in November after coming under fire for signing unvetted, little-known contractors to restore power, rather than immediately ask for assistance from other utilities.
"Unfortunately, pain causes learning, and what we’ve learned is how to get mutual assistance called for and on the island immediately," Higgins told Reuters.
Still, PREPA's grid lacks buried power lines or reinforced poles, common in other hurricane prone areas. The power utility ran up an $8 billion debt over many years, largely due to poor bill collection, causing the system to fall into disrepair.
"It is very hard to see these messages where the government is saying we're ready for next season. We're not," said Sheylda Diaz, a biology professor who lives near Utuado, in the island's center, where some lines and poles have yet to be fixed.
The Army Corps will not provide further line restoration after Friday, FEMA said.
"People here have no idea that they are leaving," said Abreu Gonzalez, who runs a center where people without power can go for meals.
Higgins said he sympathizes with those who want the Corps to remain. "I can understand why somebody would want them to stay longer, as long as there’s a single customer out."
Maria hit shortly after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed the U. S. mainland in 2017, but in both cases, power was largely restored within a week.
"I cannot imagine a scenario where 20,000-plus Texans or 20,000 Floridians were without power and FEMA would make that decision," said Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico. "I think that's reprehensible."
(Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault Editing by Diane Craft)
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Democrats, eying a potential blue wave in November, have Georgia on their minds.
It would be a stretch to call Georgia a swing state, but in a sign of the shifting sands of American politics, Hillary Clinton came closer to winning it in 2016 than she did to carrying Ohio or Iowa. Donald Trump’s 50 percent share of the vote was underwhelming. Combined with term limits forcing out the incumbent Republican governor and the natural tendency of midterm elections to swing against the president’s party, it’s given Democrats hope of electing a governor there for the first time since Roy Barnes won in 1998.
A gubernatorial victory could be a big deal after the 2020 census. It would give Democrats a hand in redrawing electoral maps that currently give Republicans 10 out of 14 House seats. And it would put them within striking distance of two-thirds supermajorities in the state legislature, even though both Clinton and Obama drew 45 percent of the vote.
Democratic hopes are so high for Tuesday’s primary, in fact, that not one but two solid candidates have entered the race for the Democratic nomination, giving the party an unusually vigorously contested primary for statewide office.
The battle lines between the two contenders, Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, are a little fuzzy in policy terms but do implicate many of the ideological, ethnic, and factional clashes ongoing inside the party.
This Democratic primary has attracted the lion’s share of the national press attention so far, along with some recent notice of GOP contender Michael Williams’s idea of touring the state with a “deportation bus.” In reality, Williams is a bit player in a GOP primary. He likely won’t make it to the runoff election on July 24, and the Republican nomination will likely be won either by the incumbent Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or incumbent Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
And while Democratic hopes for a victory are hardly crazy, it’s still more likely than not that the GOP will prevail in November. Nonetheless, Georgia does have one of the smallest non-Hispanic white population shares in the country. So if — and it’s a big if — Democrats can seriously engage and mobilize the state’s minority voters while capitalizing on Trump’s relative unpopularity in the more upscale Atlantic suburbs, they could not only pull off a win but devise a longer-term template for electoral success throughout the Southeast.
Here’s what you need to know.
Stacey Abrams, a former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who would be the first African-American woman elected governor of any US state, jumped into the race early on the Democratic side. She has more or less been the front-runner from the get-go.
She’s challenged by Stacey Evans, a Georgia House of Representatives member and attorney, in a race that’s somewhat difficult to characterize. Internet political junkies’ first introduction to the matchup often came from the Intercept’s Zaid Jilani, a left-wing Georgian whose main angle on the race is the idea that Abrams is a fake progressive.
The substance of the ideological disagreement between Abrams and Evans comes down to their different handling of an initiative by Gov. Nathan Deal that cut spending on the state’s popular HOPE Scholarship program back during a recession-induced budget crisis.
This dispute has several ins-and-outs, but the basic shape of things is that Deal proposed swinging cuts to the program that once guaranteed free in-state tuition to any Georgia high school graduate who maintained at least a B average. Abrams cut a deal with Deal that reduced the extent of the cuts, but still pared the program back substantially. Evans stood strong in opposition.
Jilani, in an article published almost a year ago, argued that this left Evans “poised to draw her contrast around an issue that has galvanized progressives nationally, and one that led to a bitter feud among Democrats in Georgia just a few years ago: free college” though he also conceded that the disagreement “is as much about tactics as it is about ideology.”
And, indeed, though a left-versus-establishment proxy war would be a convenient story for out-of-state journalists to cover, Bernie Sanders and his political organization Our Revolution are both supporting Abrams for governor as have Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Evans, by contrast, is supported by former Gov. Barnes and former Sen. Max Cleland. This makes the race seem more like a rerun of the Virginia gubernatorial primary between Tom Perriello and Ralph Northam, which largely pit Perriello-loving national political figures against the state party establishment. But Abrams is endorsed by three of the four Georgia Democrats serving in the US House of Representatives (the fourth one has not endorsed) and a bevy of state legislators.
At the most simple level, then, the main pattern is that Abrams is black — as are Booker and Harris and the House Democrats backing her. Evans is white, as are Cleland and Barnes. The tried-and-true formula for a Democrat winning a statewide election in the South, to the extent that one exists, is to nominate a white face to lead a mostly-black party and hope to win over white swing voters that way. Nominating Abrams would be to take a different, arguably more modern, but also arguably less tested, approach.
That said, even this is too simple. Evans does have African-American supporters including former state Sen. Vincent Fort precisely because Abrams’s stewardship of the Georgia House minority really was contentious within the state party, even if national leaders don’t seem too interested.
There is not, however, a ton of concrete disagreement between Evans and Abrams on anything — including the HOPE scholarships. Both candidates pledge to increase the minimum wage; expand Medicaid; fund HOPE, investment in education, and clean energy, etc. and both would, in practice, struggle to get progressive ideas enacted in the face of what is overwhelmingly likely to be a GOP controlled legislature.
The available polling suggests that Abrams is in the lead, though there are a large number of undecided voters. Plus, turnout modeling for Democratic primaries in Georgia is an inexact science.
The race on the GOP side, meanwhile, has more of a clear structure to it.
The front-runner, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, leads in the polls and fundraising and is running very much as outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal’s natural successor and the leader of the mainstream business-oriented wing of the Georgia Republican Party. Secretary of State Brian Kemp, meanwhile, is trying to catch him with broadly Trump-y tactics, including a buzzy ad in which he points a shotgun at a young man putatively interested in dating his daughter.
In policy terms, there is not a ton of daylight between Cagle and Kemp, though Kemp has generally tried to portray himself to the right of Cagle. After Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a 15-week abortion ban, for example, both Kemp and Cagle spoke in support of similar measures and touted their pro-life credentials, but Cagle specifically called for even stricter legislation and vowed to “sign the toughest abortion laws in the country as your next governor.”
The real policy meat comes from the lesser candidates, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and state Sen. Michael Williams, both of whom say they favor abolishing the state’s income tax and allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
Cagle has a clear lead in the polls, but it’s not entirely clear that he will secure the 50 percent he needs to avoid a runoff. It’s at least conceivable that, in a runoff scenario, Kemp could pick up enough support from the lesser candidates to prevail.
The Democratic primary has attracted more attention and is in most respects more thematically interesting.
But realistically, either nominee would be an underdog. Early trial heat polling has Cagle beating either Evans or Abrams, though the fact that he's well below 50 percent in those polls shows that Democrats have a shot.
But the surge of optimism about Democratic prospects in Georgia may be based on an erroneous assumption. In the immediate wake of the 2016 election, it was often believed that Democrats’ best hopes for electoral gains came in purply parts of the country that had swung away from Trump — places, in other words, that Trump may have won but where he did distinctly worse than Mitt Romney.
That was the kind of thinking that led grassroots activists to plow vast sums of money into John Ossoff’s campaign in the special election for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in the Atlanta suburbs, and it’s basically the thinking behind optimism about Georgia as a whole.
In practice, however, while Democrats have done a good job with consolidating ground that Clinton won from Trump (as seen in Democrats strong performance in Northern Virginia state legislative races in November 2017). But they haven't necessarily made any additional gains in these areas.
Instead, Republicans seem to have given back at least some of Trump’s gains with Northern working-class whites, as he’s turned out to conform his economic policy agenda much more closely to conservative orthodoxy than his campaign rhetoric implied. Morning Consult’s state-by-state Trump approval tracking polls, for example, show him as more popular in Georgia than in Iowa or Ohio even though the 2016 election outcome was the reverse of that.
Still, Democrats have been persistently within striking distance in Georgia and have certainly won some longer-shot elections in the Trump era.
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May 21 (UPI) -- A collection of left-wing groups launched a movement Monday called Freedom From Facebook, which calls for the federal government to break up the social media giant.
The groups -- the Content Creators Coalition, Demand Progress, the Open Markets Institute, Demand Progress, SumOfUs and MoveOn -- announced a "six-figure" digital advertising "offensive" to demand the Federal Trade Commission break up Facebook and subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
"The five members of the Federal Trade Commission... can make Facebook safe for our democracy by breaking it up, giving us the freedom to communicate across networks, and protecting our privacy," the coalition states on its website .
The alliance said it plans to run ads with messages like "Facebook keeps violating your privacy. Break it up," and " Mark Zuckerberg has a scary amount of power. We need to take it back."
"Facebook unilaterally decides the news that billions of people around the world see every day. It buys up or bankrupts potential competitors to protect its monopoly, killing innovation and choice."
The group said it will also purchase ads on the social network sites to encourage people to sign the petition.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC Monday its purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp were approved by federal regulators.
"People use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger because they find them valuable, and we've been able to better fight spam and abuse and build new features much faster by working under one roof," the spokesperson added.
The FTC is already investigating Facebook over whether it violated a 2011 privacy agreement in its dealings with Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct British research firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
In 2011, the FTC found Facebook allowed third-party applications to access more data than it needed. Facebook was told to get "express consent" of users before any data, beyond user's privacy settings, was sold or otherwise distributed.
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May 21 (UPI) -- It may be difficult for Tehran to continue pursuing oil production benchmarks in the face of possible sanctions pressure, the Iranian oil minister said.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh met during the weekend with European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete to discuss continuing a relationship in the wake of fractures in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action .
U. S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, signing legislation that set a 180-day clock ticking on the U. N-backed agreement that gives Iran waivers from oil-related sanctions in exchange for nuclear commitments. Trump said the agreement was flawed, but European leaders maintain it's essential for peace.
Eventually, Trump's decision could limit as much as 1 million barrels of Iranian barrels on the market. French energy company Total has said already that it would have to reconsider its relationship with Iran given the renewed threat of sanctions.
Zangeneh said oil clients in India and China have yet to express reservations, though ambitions to reach 4.2 million barrels in daily production could be out of reach.
"That would be difficult but we would not put that aside," he was quoted by the ministry's news website, SHANA, as saying. "It might take more time, but we will not do away with it."
Secondary sources reporting to economists at the Organization of Petroleum Economic Countries estimated that Iran produced 3.8 million barrels per day on average last month.
Cañete in his statement said both sides would strengthen ties "at all levels." Iran has been working since the JCPOA was signed in 2015 to regain a market share lost to sanctions.
Analysis emailed to UPI from consultant group Verisk Maplecroft said European investors may be faced with making a choice between siding with Iran or the United States, the world's largest economy. Torbjorn Soltvedt, the principal regional political analyst for the group, added that it may be difficult for the remaining JCPOA members to counter U. S. sanctions.
The European Commission last week introduced measures that could mitigate the impact. China, one of Iran's largest oil consumers, meanwhile, is "well beyond the reach of Washington," Soltvedt said.
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