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China earthquake kills 13, injures 199

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:49

China earthquake kills 13, injures 199The toll from a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China rose to 13 dead and 199 injured on Tuesday as rescuers pulled bodies and survivors from wrecked buildings. More than 8,000 people were relocated as a large number of structures were damaged or collapsed after the quake struck late Monday near Yibin, in Sichuan province, according to the city government. Other images were of a woman being helped out of another collapsed structure.


How U.S. Allies in the Middle East are Responding to Rising Tensions with Iran

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:24

How U.S. Allies in the Middle East are Responding to Rising Tensions with IranThe impact of escalation is likely to be most acute in the Gulf region


White House will not invite Israeli officials to Bahrain event on grand Middle East plan

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 09:17

White House will not invite Israeli officials to Bahrain event on grand Middle East planThe White House will not invite Israeli government officials to a Bahrain conference devoted to gaining support for a Palestinian economic plan in order to keep the event apolitical, a senior administration official said on Monday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Palestinian business representatives are expected to attend the event in Manama on June 25-26, but not Palestinian government officials, who have boycotted a peace initiative led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. As a result, the administration decided not to extend an invitation to Israeli government officials to a conference expected to be attended by envoys from Arab governments as well as European nations. "We’re inviting the Israeli business people and Palestinian business people. We'd like to make it as apolitical as possible," the official said. When the Bahrain conference was announced last month, US officials initially suggested privately that Israeli government attendance in Bahrain would be an opportunity for Israel and some of its Gulf Arab neighbors to display in public the behind-the-scenes contacts that have grown in recent years, especially on security matters over their common enemy Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, met with Jared Kushner in Jerusalem in May   Credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem After the White House announced last week that Egypt and Jordan had agreed to attend, some Israeli diplomats said Israeli government officials were also likely to attend. But no formal invitation materialised. In Manama, Mr Kushner and President Donald Trump's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt are to unveil the economic part of Mr Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. The plan, touted by Mr Trump as the "deal of the century," is to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has heaped scorn on the conference and urged Arab governments not to attend.


Masked gunman who opened fire outside Dallas courthouse identified as Army veteran

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:46

Masked gunman who opened fire outside Dallas courthouse identified as Army veteranA masked gunman who traded gunfire with police outside a federal courthouse in Dallas is a 22-year-old recent college graduate who served 19 months in the U.S. Army; Casey Stegall reports.


Trump calls Fox 'fake news' for citing unfavourable 2020 election polls

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:29

Trump calls Fox 'fake news' for citing unfavourable 2020 election pollsDonald Trump has described Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News as “fake news” in a rare outburst against the organisation after it reported the results of its own polls showing significant Democrat candidate leads against the president.The polls by Fox showed Mr Trump trailing 10 percentage points behind Democratic hopeful Joe Biden when voters were asked who they would vote for if the election was now.Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg were all also ahead of Mr Trump.In a tweet the US president said “something weird” was “going on at Fox”, and he attacked Bret Baier, the network’s chief political anchor.He said: “@FoxNews Polls are always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary also. Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States. For the record, I didn’t spend 30 hours with @abcnews, but rather a tiny fraction of that. More Fake News @BretBaier.”Despite Mr Trump’s claim his campaign’s polls show him leading in “all 17 swing states”, this is disputed by people alleging to have worked on the polling.> .@FoxNews Polls are always bad for me. They were against Crooked Hillary also. Something weird going on at Fox. Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States. For the record, I didn’t spend 30 hours with @abcnews, but rather a tiny fraction of that. More Fake News @BretBaier> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) > > June 17, 2019According to NBC, which cited “a person close to the campaign”, Mr Trump’s polling showed he “is trailing across swing states seen as essential to his path to re-election and in Democratic-leaning states where Republicans have looked to gain traction".The polls also reportedly showed Mr Trump is underperforming in normally dependable Republican-voting states which haven’t been important battlegrounds for decades in presidential elections.The president reportedly “cut ties” with some of his own polling team following the leaks.Mr Trump’s swipe at ABC News comes after the US broadcaster’s chief anchor George Stephanopoulos travelled with Mr Trump to Iowa on the president’s private jet, attended Oval Office Meetings and conducted a one-on-one interview with him.The president said he “enjoyed” the interview, but said it would be “so funny to watch the Fake News Media try to dissect & distort every word in as negative a way as possible".On two occasions Mr Trump addressed his comments on Twitter to @ABCNews, which is the Twitter handle for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which is different to @ABC, used by the American Broadcasting Company. On Tuesday Mr Trump repeatedly attacked the “fake news media”, ahead of his official 2020 campaign launch in Florida.“The Fake News doesn’t report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high,” he tweeted. “Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild – See you later!”


Harvard Rescinds Acceptance of Pro-Gun Parkland Survivor Over Past Racist Comments

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:23

Harvard Rescinds Acceptance of Pro-Gun Parkland Survivor Over Past Racist CommentsHarvard University has rescinded the acceptance for a Parkland shooting survivor and pro-gun advocate after racist messages he sent in high school resurfaced last month.


Pentagon sending 1,000 U.S. troops to Middle East after oil tanker attacks

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 08:16

Pentagon sending 1,000 U.S. troops to Middle East after oil tanker attacksLast week, the Trump administration accused Tehran of being responsible for an explosion that set two oil tankers on fire off the coast of Iran.


NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s Licenses

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 07:42

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s LicensesNew York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Monday night granting illegal immigrants the right to obtain driver's licenses, shortly after the legislation narrowly passed the state Senate.The bill, which passed the state Senate 33-29, divided moderate, suburban Democrats, concerned about the safety implications of licensing illegal immigrants, from their more progressive counterparts.Before signing the bill Monday evening, Cuomo threatened to veto the legislation out of concern that it might lead to the creation of a database of illegal immigrants that the federal government might use to enforce immigration law.In response, attorney general Tish James released a statement assuring Cuomo and the public that the bill would not be used to help enforce immigration law.“The legislation is well-crafted and contains ample protections for those who apply for driver’s licenses. If this bill is enacted and challenged in court, we will vigorously defend it,” she said.New York now joins twelve other states and Washington, D.C. in allowing illegal immigrants to drive.Immigration-rights activists praised the legislation as a step toward affirming the humanity of illegal immigrants.“It’s been an 18-year struggle,” said Javier Valdés, the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, a prominent political advocacy group that works to expand the privileges afforded to immigrants regardless of their legal status. “The resilience of the immigrant community has shown through once again.”New York Republicans, meanwhile, chastised their Democratic colleagues for advancing legislation that further erodes the distinction between citizens and non-citizens and incentivizes potential migrants to disregard federal law.“If we give them every right they have, they will not be incentivized to go through the process of getting that greatest gift, to be a citizen,” said Republican senator James Tedisco of central New York.


It shouldn't take Jon Stewart to rescue 9/11 first responders

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 07:34

It shouldn't take Jon Stewart to rescue 9/11 first responders50,000 survivors have been diagnosed with 9/11-related illnesses. Reauthorizing compensation is the least Mitch McConnell and Congress can do: Our view


Mohammed Morsi swiftly buried after being denied public funeral in hometown

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 07:11

Mohammed Morsi swiftly buried after being denied public funeral in hometownEgypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi was buried this morning at a small family ceremony in Cairo after authorities refused permission for a burial in his home province of Sharqiya. Morsi, who was deposed in a 2013 military coup after becoming the nation’s first democratically elected president, collapsed and died in court on Monday evening after suffering a fatal heart attack. He was facing several long-running prosecutions stemming from his year-long reign. The 67-year-old was buried at 5am on Tuesday next to the graves of other leaders of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The ceremony took place with just five family members in attendance. “The state wants to avoid this becoming a catalyst for any kind of mobilisation,” said Tim Kaldas of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East politics. “That was the point of burying him so quickly, and in a place that’s harder to turn into a pilgrimage site.” Mohammed Morsi pictured here in 2014 Credit: Ahmed Almalky/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images The interior ministry declared a state of emergency in Sharqiya following Morsi’s death and there was increased security around the Cairo prison where he was held on Monday evening. By Tuesday, however, the police presence appeared normal. The Muslim Brotherhood responded to Morsi’s death with a call for protests at Egyptian embassies around the world. But the likelihood of street protests in Egypt itself is low given a 2013 law requires permits for any demonstration and the Muslim Brotherhood, as a banned organisation, cannot apply. Human rights organisations have accused the Egyptian authorities of keeping Morsi in inhumane conditions in prison and refusing him treatment for diabetes. The former president was held in solitary confinement for most of his six years in prison, which amounts to torture under international standards. “Egyptian authorities have shamefully and unlawfully treated former President Morsi for years while in detention, denying him not only due process rights but also critical access to medical care,” said Michael Page of Human Rights Watch. Rabbi'ah | What is it? The government has promised an investigation into Morsi’s death, but experts say such internal reviews rarely yield results. “It’s a delaying tactic until the story ceases to be newsworthy and they hope people will lose interest,” Mr Kaldas told The Telegraph. “The state has sought to erase [Morsi] as they have sought to erase the entire revolution, and to some extent they might succeed.” Morsi’s death was not featured on the front pages of Egypt’s tightly state-controlled media. Where stories did appear, they did not refer to him as a former president of the country.


Far-right UK student jailed over Prince Harry online posts

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 06:46

Far-right UK student jailed over Prince Harry online postsA far-right university student who called Prince Harry a race traitor and created an image of him with a pistol to his head was on Tuesday jailed in Britain for more than four years. Michal Szewczuk, 19, posted the image, which also featured a blood-splattered swastika, on microblogging platform Gab in August last year, months after the prince married mixed-race actress Meghan Markle. Szewczuk, who was jailed for four years and three months, pleaded guilty to two counts of encouraging terrorism and five counts of possession of terrorist material, including the White Resistance Manual and an Al-Qaeda manual.


Iran says CIA spy network dismantled

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 06:34

Iran says CIA spy network dismantledIran said Tuesday it has dismantled a new espionage network linked to the US Central Intelligence Agency and arrested a number of spies. "Following clues in the American intelligence services, we recently found the new recruits Americans had hired and dismantled a new network," state news agency IRNA said, quoting an intelligence ministry official. In what it termed a "wide-reaching blow" to US intelligence, IRNA said Tehran had carried out the operation in cooperation with "foreign allies", without naming any state.


Venezuela's misery doesn't even spare the dead in Maracaibo

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 06:24

Venezuela's misery doesn't even spare the dead in MaracaiboThieves have broken into some of the vaults and coffins in El Cuadrado cemetery since late last year, stealing ornaments and sometimes items from corpses as the country sinks to new depths of deprivation. "Starting eight months ago, they even took the gold teeth of the dead," said José Antonio Ferrer, who is in charge of the cemetery, where a prominent doctor, a university director and other local luminaries are buried. Much of Venezuela is in a state of decay and abandonment, brought on by shortages of things that people need the most: cash, food, water, medicine, power, gasoline.


Iranian president: Iran isn't seeking war against any nation

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 05:19

 Iran isn't seeking war against any nationIran is not seeking to wage war against any nation, the country's president said Tuesday while at the same time stressing that Iranians will withstand mounting U.S. pressure and emerge victorious. The remarks by President Hassan Rouhani came as Tehran and Washington are edging toward a flashpoint after Iran announced it was breaking compliance with the nuclear deal with world powers and the Trump administration ordered 1,000 more troops to the Middle East. "We do not wage war with any nation," Rouhani said, speaking during the inauguration of a new terminal at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport that will raise its capacity from 8 million to 13 million passengers a year.


View Photos of the 2020 Lexus GX

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 05:00

View Photos of the 2020 Lexus GX


Venezuela Is Now Awash in U.S. Dollars

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 04:00

Venezuela Is Now Awash in U.S. Dollars(Bloomberg) -- Editors Note: There are few places as chaotic or dangerous as Venezuela. “Life in Caracas” is a series of short stories that seeks to capture the surreal quality of living in a land in total disarrayWe used to catch only rare glimpses of them in public. A waiter willing to risk jail time might be persuaded to accept them for the right price. Amateur tourists would flash them at the airport. Shady street hawkers made offers for them under their breath.Now, U.S. greenbacks are everywhere. They’re stacked high in cashiers’ drawers at supermarkets and bodegas and even make their way into panhandlers’ cups. The wealthy tip parking valets with singles and pull out wads of twenties to pay for buckets of beer. Currency traders casually set up on busy street corners in slums and shout, “Compro dolares, compro dolares”—“I buy dollars.”With the bolivar all but worthless, devalued into irrelevance by the autocrat Nicolas Maduro, the cash printed by the gringos he rails against has become king. It is beyond ironic that Washingtons and Benjamins—and not the domestic notes named for the South American independence hero—are keeping the consumer economy afloat.Until recently, using foreign money was a crime the government enthusiastically threatened to prosecute. After the ruling socialists established currency controls back in 2003, they began patrolling for transactions that ran afoul of their Kafkaesque rules about money. Plain-clothed inspectors ran stings and raided businesses.While very few people actually ended up behind bars, the government definitely succeeded in spooking everybody. We kept the bills tucked away for fear of sending signals to kidnappers and cops. We talked in code, calling them “lettuces” and “greens.” I conducted a few transactions in dollars in those days, swapping cash on a stove in a restaurant kitchen or in an empty office backroom. The recipients of my treacherous bills would nervously shut windows and doors as they led me away from prying eyes.It took inflation hitting six digits and widespread hunger for the regime to finally begin dismantling the complicated mess of controls. Now the authorities don’t blink when they see dollars bandied about. Their government is too broke and too dysfunctional to try to dictate the terms of commerce anymore. Their 21st Century socialism has given way to savage capitalism.The unwinding of the rules that began last August was welcome for anyone tired of dealing with the dizzying amount of zeros involved in bolivar prices, hauling around bundles of all-but-worthless notes and praying the credit-card reader would, just this once, work. Now we could use real money. It isn't terribly hard for anyone, rich or poor, to get their hands on dollars. People bring them into the country from visits to border towns in Colombia and Brazil or from travels further abroad.It was the great blackout, when most of Venezuela was without power and a functioning banking system, that accelerated the de facto dollarization of the economy. In the darkness, toting around hard currency was the only way you could be certain you’d manage to do any form of shopping.Once the lights finally—and mercifully—came back on, some stores and restaurants kept displaying prices in dollars. Now at the specialty shops that have been popping up in eastern Caracas, offering everything from Fruit Loops to homemade cookies to bottles of Budweiser, the clerks will tell you they’ll gladly accept an electronic transfer via Zelle or PayPal if you don’t have the cash.According to the calculations of one top bank executive, about 30% of all transactions are made in dollars these days. I’d be shocked if that percentage didn’t keep growing. Which seems to be making moot one of the big theoretical debates in opposition circles: whether to adopt the dollar as Venezuela’s currency if they finally manage to take power from the socialists. The people already have.\--With assistance from Fabiola Zerpa and Daniel Cancel.To contact the author of this story: Andrew Rosati in Caracas at arosati3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net, Anne ReifenbergFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Venezuela receives second shipment of Red Cross aid

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:49

Venezuela receives second shipment of Red Cross aidVenezuela Monday received a second shipment of Red Cross humanitarian aid, including 24 tonnes of medical supplies and generators provided by Panama, intended for hospitals to help address the country's acute health crisis. In a statement, the Venezuelan Red Cross said it had received "medicines, medical supplies and power generators" that will be distributed in hospitals across the country, which is experiencing the worst crisis in its recent history. Six trucks moved the supplies to a Red Cross warehouse in Caracas, an AFP journalist confirmed.


China warns US against opening Mideast 'Pandora's box'

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:48

China warns US against opening Mideast 'Pandora's box'China on Tuesday warned against opening a "Pandora's box" in the Middle East after the United States announced the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the region amid escalating tensions with Iran. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also urged Tehran to not abandon the nuclear agreement "so easily" after Iran said it would exceed its uranium stockpile limit if world powers fail to fulfil their commitments under the agreement in 10 days. The United States ratcheted up pressure on Iran Monday, announcing the deployment of additional troops to the Middle East and producing new photographs it said showed Tehran was behind an attack on a tanker ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.


This Tank Could Stop a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 02:42

This Tank Could Stop a Chinese Invasion of TaiwanThe Trump administration’s plan to sell tanks, missiles and ground-launched air defenses to Taiwan embodies what might be called a strategic paradigm shift to empower the small island’s deterrence posture against an often-threatened Chinese invasion.While much existing discussion centers upon strengthening Taiwanese air, sea and undersea defenses, there also appears to be an unequivocal need for major land defenses. The existing air-sea emphasis is extremely important, yet there are certainly elements of this approach which invite further discussion about the need to provide Taiwan with a strong, armored ground force as well.The proposed $2 billion arms package includes 108 main battle tanks, 250 Stinger anti-air missiles, as well as 409 Javelins and 1,240 TOW anti-tank missiles.Drawing heavily upon a US Pacific presence along with Asian-theater allied support, a maritime-air Taiwan defense strategy has clearly had a deterrence impact in recent years. Part of this ability to keep a Chinese invasion at bay has naturally hinged upon a strong US posture ensuring defense of the island.


The secret to Elizabeth Warren's surge? Ideas

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 01:00

The secret to Elizabeth Warren's surge? IdeasOf all the Democratic candidates, Warren has offered by far the most plans-driven and ambitious campaign – and voters love it‘Rather than condescend to voters, like most politicians, Warren has treated voters as adults, smart enough to handle her wonky style of campaigning.’ Photograph: Mark Makela/Getty ImagesOn Friday, the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren co-sponsored a bill to impose mandatory fines on companies that have data breaches. It was the kind of consumer welfare legislation that in the past would have been unremarkable. But in an era when Congress has consistently shirked its duty to shield consumers, the bill stood out.The legislation capped a week in which Warren surged in the polls. Less than eight months before the Iowa caucus, Warren is making strides in 2020 primary polls. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 1,000 adults, 64% of Democratic primary voters in June were enthusiastic or comfortable with Warren, compared with 57% in March. Fewer of these voters were enthusiastic or comfortable with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who have lost 11 and six points, respectively, since March.There’s more. In a poll last week of 2,312 registered voters in South Carolina, Warren gained nine points to reach 17% compared to Biden’s 37%. Among 18-34 year olds, Warren is leading 24% to Sanders’ 19% and Biden’s 17%.> There’s a simple reason for Warren’s sudden rise in the polls: the public has an appetite for policyThere’s a simple reason for Warren’s sudden rise in the polls: the public has an appetite for policy. Of all the Democratic candidates, Warren’s campaign has been by far the most ideas-driven and ambitious in its policy proposals. And voters love it.Rather than condescend to voters, like most politicians, Warren has treated voters as adults, smart enough to handle her wonky style of campaigning. Instead of spoon-feeding prospective voters soundbites, Warren is giving them heaps to digest – and her polling surge shows that voters appreciate the nerdy policy talk.Indeed, since Warren declared her candidacy for president, she has been offering policy prescriptions for our country’s most pressing ailments – and she hasn’t been brainstorming in a bubble.Week in and week out, she has been crisscrossing the country to tell receptive voters her ideas for an ultra-millionaire tax, student debt cancellation and breaking up big tech. She has also weighed in on reproductive rights, vaccines, the opioid crisis and algorithmic discrimination in automated loans. Her bevy of white papers demonstrates that there isn’t a policy area Warren won’t touch and she isn’t worried about repelling anyone with hard-hitting proposals.Better than any other candidate, Warren has articulated a connection between her personal and professional struggles and her ideas, lending an air of authenticity to her campaign. Her backstory – teacher turned reluctant stay-at-home mom turned Harvard Law School professor – clearly resonates with voters in important states such as Iowa and South Carolina.That sense of reciprocity has turned Warren into a populist rock star. Instead of appealing to the lowest common denominator among the voting public, she’s listening to and learning from voters in an ideas-driven campaign that doesn’t take voters for granted.The strategy is paying off – and proving wrong the outdated political wisdom that Americans don’t care about the intricacies of government.In May, Warren traveled to Kermit, West Virginia, the heart of Trump country, to pitch a $2.7bn-a-year plan to combat opioid addiction.“Her stance is decisive and bold,” Nathan Casian-Lakes told CBS News. “She has research and resources to back her ideas.” * Jill Priluck’s reporting and analysis has appeared in the New Yorker, Slate, Reuters and elsewhere


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