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  • Romney speculates Turkey called Trump's bluff: 'Are we so weak and inept?'

    Golocal247.com news

    The Utah senator delivers an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that accuses the president of betraying American values.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:20:21 -0400
  • 2020 Vision: Hillary Clinton thinks Russia will back Tulsi Gabbard to help Trump stay in power

    Golocal247.com news

    “This is not some outlandish claim,” Clinton said in an interview this week. “This is reality.”

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:11:40 -0400
  • Gunbattles rattle Mexican city after troops find Chapo's son

    Golocal247.com news

    An intense gunfight with heavy weapons and burning vehicles blocking roads paralyzed the capital of Mexico's Sinaloa state Thursday after security forces located one of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's sons who is wanted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges. Mexican security secretary Alfonso Durazo said 30 members of the National Guard and army were patrolling in Culiacan when they were fired on from a house. "With the goal of safeguarding the well-being and tranquility of Culiacan society, officials in the security cabinet decided to suspend the actions," said Durazo.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:02:57 -0400
  • Atomwaffen Division’s Washington State Cell Leader Stripped of Arsenal in U.S., Banned from Canada

    Golocal247.com news

    Police HandoutKaleb James Cole, the 24-year-old leader of Atomwaffen Division's Washington State Cell stripped of his firearms by a “red-flag law” late last month, was deported and banned for life from Canada earlier this year, according to court records, which also showed that he had been previously interrogated by American border agents about his extremist views.Cole, a National Socialist black metal enthusiast who goes by the alias “Khimaere,” was first identified as a member of Atomwaffen Division in a 2018 ProPublica investigation. He played a key role in organizing “hate camp” trainings for the group's members at an abandoned building known as “Devil's Tower” in Skagit, Washington, and in Nevada's Death Valley. Cole also helped craft the group’s eye-catching propaganda.Atomwaffen Division is an underground neo-Nazi guerrilla organization which had 23 chapters throughout the United States as of mid-2018. Since its inception in 2015, Atomwaffen members have been implicated in five homicides and several bomb plots, and are the subject of an intensifying national investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It makes common cause with other militant fascist groups like the Base and Sonnenkrieg Division in the United Kingdom, where authorities have charged a number of members with terrorism-related offenses.As The Daily Beast reported, the Seattle Police Department obtained an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” against Cole on September 26 to confiscate his concealed carry firearms permit and any firearms he owned for at least a year. That same day, SPD seized five rifles, a shotgun, three semiautomatic handguns and four lower receivers (the firing mechanism of a rifle that can be used to craft untraceable ‘ghost guns’) from Cole's father's house outside Arlington, in Washington State's Snohomish County.According to court records, none of the guns or the lower receivers seized from Cole were registered in Washington State's licensed firearms database.“Law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about the respondent's access to firearms and his involvement in the Atomwaffen Division, a known terrorist group,” Seattle Police Sergeant Dorothy Kim wrote in a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. As further evidence, Sgt. Kim cited Atomwaffen Division propaganda calling for “Race War Now,” and the group's adherence to “acceleration theory,” which urges actions that undermine the existing social order to “exacerbate the feeling of alienation among white supremacists and a greater impulse to engage in violence or destructive behavior.”Cole's “words, actions and behavior suggest he has taken additional steps towards a plan with his ideologically motivated violence. Specifically, the coordinated camps with firearms training, overseas travel with Atomwaffen paraphernalia-flags/skull masks, threats to kill (gas the Kikes) and the possession of firearms, suggest an imminent risk to public safety if Cole is permitted to continue to purchase or possess firearms,” Sergeant Kim wrote.The request to seize Cole's guns was reportedly made to Seattle Police by the FBI, which did not have enough information to file criminal charges but believed Cole posed a serious threat to public safety.Multiple law enforcement sources told The Daily Beast that Cole had been the target of an FBI investigation following his February 2018 identification by ProPublica. However, law enforcement made no contact with him until December 28, 2018, when Cole landed in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a flight from London. Customs and Border Protection pulled Cole aside for secondary screening. Records of that interview were included by the Seattle Police Department in their emergency risk petition last month.During the interview, Cole told CBP agents he had traveled to the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine with two friends from Washington State, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh and Edie Allison Moore. The trip, Cole said, was to “see the historic architecture and museums in Eastern European countries.” The three also attended a heavy metal festival while in Kyiv. The 2018 edition of Asgardsrei, a festival several National Socialist black metal bands have played in the past, was held in Kyiv from December 15-16 last year. Photographs from the concert posted to social media show an Atomwaffen Division flag brandished by individuals in the crowd. According to information obtained by The Daily Beast, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh is a member of the Washington State cell of Atomwaffen Division, and goes by the moniker “Nythra.” The drummer for Kaleb Cole's old metal band, Operblut, is listed as “Nythra” on music websites. In the CBP interview, Cole told federal agents he and Bruce-Umbaugh had been friends since grade school.Border agents searched Cole's luggage, and found a skull mask balaclava and an Atomwaffen Division flag inside his bag. When questioned about press reports tying him to Atomwaffen Division, Cole admitted to his involvement with the group and stated that he “shares a Fascist ideology, 'strong dominate the weak'.” He also admitted he owned an AK-47 and multiple handguns “for his own protection.”Cole's phone was also searched by border agents, who downloaded several images from the device. Amongst them are a photograph of Cole and another man wearing skull mask balaclavas in front of the gates of Auschwitz, the death camp where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews. Images of him posing with other Atomwaffen members, firearms, and the group's flag were also recovered from Cole's phone.According to multiple sources close to law enforcement, Cole previously attracted the interest of Canadian authorities by frequently driving across the border to British Columbia, sometimes several times a week. In late May, Cole was detained by the Canadian Border Service Agency because of press reports linking him to Atomwaffen Division, as well as “his overseas travel to Ukraine,” where several right-wing extremists have traveled to fight with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion against Russia-backed separatists.According to court records, he was held by Canadian authorities and placed into deportation proceedings due to his involvement in “an organization that may engage in terrorism,” per Section 34 [1][F] of the Canadian Immigration Code. According to records prepared by the Seattle Police Department, Cole was deported in July and “barred from Canada for life.”The Canadian Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police both declined to comment on Cole's deportation, the Atomwaffen Division or its affiliated organizations in Canada, citing the restrictions of Canada’s Privacy Act. Earlier this year, Patrik Mathews, a master corporal in the Canadian Military Reserve went AWOL after being identified as a recruiter for the Base. Mathews—who reportedly came to the attention of multiple Canadian security agencies because racist material was previously found by the Canadian Border Services Agency in his car while crossing the border with the United States—is still at large.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:13:50 -0400
  • What Hunter Biden did on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma

    During his time on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Hunter Biden, the son of former U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, was regarded as a helpful non-executive director with a powerful name, according to people familiar with Biden’s role at the company. Biden’s role at Burisma Holdings Ltd has come under intense scrutiny following unsupported accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump that Joe Biden improperly tried to help his son’s business interests in Ukraine. Interviews with more than a dozen people, including executives and former prosecutors in Ukraine, paint a picture of a director who provided advice on legal issues, corporate finance and strategy during a five-year term on the board, which ended in April of this year.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 09:33:29 -0400
  • Israel, Russia, and the US are in a diplomatic standoff over a 26-year-old woman smuggling 9 and a half grams of marijuana

    Golocal247.com news

    Naama Issachar, 26, was sentenced to 7.5 years of prison in Moscow, and negotiating her release is part of a bigger diplomatic dispute.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:54:26 -0400
  • Black security guard fired after asking student not to use racial slur

    Golocal247.com news

    A black school security guard has been fired after asking a pupil not to call him the N-word.Marlon Anderson said the teenager, who is also African American, used the racial slur repeatedly to refer to him.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:25:14 -0400
  • 'Powderkeg' in Germany amid Turks-Kurds conflict

    Golocal247.com news

    Syrian Kurd Mohamed Zidik, 76, still buys his bread and baklavas from Turkish neighbours in Berlin, but he knows better than to expound on his views about Ankara's offensive in his hometown. Since Turkish forces launched their assault on Kurds in northeastern Syria, tensions have risen in Germany where millions of Turks and Kurds live side by side. Shops have been trashed, knife attacks reported and insults traded, prompting Germany's integration commissioner Annette Widmann-Mauz to call for restraint.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:07:23 -0400
  • Could France and Germany Jointly Build an EU Aircraft Carrier?

    Golocal247.com news

    All in all, a European carrier will only come about in a world where Germany is willing and able to commit far more resources to defense than it currently does; and can arrive at a joint vision with France on how to use such an expensive vessel to project force abroad. That’s not the world we live in yet.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 23:00:00 -0400
  • Trump actions look 'clearly' impeachable, says leading conservative legal figure

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    Jack Goldsmith, who worked in the Justice Department under George W. Bush, says President Trump deserves to be impeached, but he’s critical of how the Democrats are going about it.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 05:01:12 -0400
  • Mitch McConnell Calls Syria Withdrawal ‘Grave Strategic Mistake’

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    Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) lambasted the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw Troops from Syria on Friday, declaring that “America’s wars will be ‘endless’ only if America refuses to win them.”In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, McConnell — who said on Thursday that he wanted “a strong, forward-looking strategic statement” — called Trump’s withdrawal “a grave strategic mistake” that mirrors “the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place.”In his op-ed, McConnell laid out “three principal lessons” he has learned from the fight against Islamic terrorism in the years following 9/11: “the threat is real,” “there is no substitute for American leadership,” and “we are not in this fight alone.” Despite the recent brokering of a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds by a White House delegation, McConnell said the pullback was a “strategic nightmare.”“Even if the five-day cease-fire announced Thursday holds, events of the past week have set back the United States’ campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorists," he wrote "Unless halted, our retreat will invite the brutal Assad regime in Syria and its Iranian backers to expand their influence. And we are ignoring Russia’s efforts to leverage its increasingly dominant position in Syria to amass power and influence throughout the Middle East and beyond.”McConnell also pushed back on Trump’s defense that “the endless wars must end,” a line the president has adopted in recent days after criticism of the decision.> I am the only person who can fight for the safety of our troops & bring them home from the ridiculous & costly Endless Wars, and be scorned. Democrats always liked that position, until I took it. Democrats always liked Walls, until I built them. Do you see what’s happening here?> > -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019“As neo-isolationism rears its head on both the left and the right, we can expect to hear more talk of ‘endless wars.’ But rhetoric cannot change the fact that wars do not just end; wars are won or lost,” McConnell argued, and concluded by calling for a re-commitment to “our Afghan partners as they do the heavy lifting to defend their country and their freedoms from al-Qaeda and the Taliban."McConnell has long been a critic of Trump’s motivations to withdraw troops from Syria. “While it is tempting to retreat to the comfort and security of our own shores, there is still a great deal of work to be done. We’re not the world’s policemen, but we are the leaders of the free world,” he said in January after the initial news of Trump’s planned pullback.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 17:31:13 -0400
  • Judges grapple with misconduct claims in Jodi Arias case

    Golocal247.com news

    Appellate judges who will decide whether to reverse Jodi Arias' murder conviction in the gruesome 2008 killing of her former boyfriend grappled Thursday with who was responsible for whipping up publicity during the salacious trial and whether alleged misconduct by a prosecutor should cause the verdict to be tossed. A lawyer for Arias told the Arizona Court of Appeals that prosecutor Juan Martinez improperly questioned witnesses, ignored rulings on evidence, courted publicity and made an unfounded accusation that an expert on her defense team had an inappropriate relationship with Arias. Terry Crist, a lawyer for the Arizona attorney general's office, told the judges that he believes Martinez may have occasionally violated court rules, but none of his actions should lead to a reversal of the conviction.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 18:03:15 -0400
  • Deadly Turkish airstrikes hit Syria hours after U.S.-brokered truce

    Golocal247.com news

    Deadly Turkish airstrikes Friday shattered an hours-old U.S.-brokered deal to stop Ankara's military offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 10:02:11 -0400
  • Egypt unveils biggest ancient coffin find in over a century

    Egypt on Saturday unveiled the details of 30 ancient wooden coffins with mummies inside discovered in the southern city of Luxor in the biggest find of its kind in more than a century. A team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered a "distinctive group of 30 coloured wooden coffins for men, women and children" in a cache at Al-Asasif cemetery on Luxor's west bank, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement on Saturday. "It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century," the Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:53:25 -0400
  • Rudy Giuliani reportedly tried to get a visa for a former Ukrainian prosecutor ousted with the help of Joe Biden

    President Trump's personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reportedly attempted to secure a visa for former Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin, CNN reported Friday.George Kent, the deputy assistant of state for European and Eurasian affairs, reportedly told congressional investigators that Giuliani asked both the State Department and the White House for a visa, two people familiar with his closed-door deposition earlier this week said. The State Department reportedly objected to the request and refused to grant the visa, which led Giuliani to seek help from the White House. It's unclear what the response was there, but Shokin never did receive a visa. CNN notes that the revelation appears to reveal that Giuliani's attempts to gather information about Democrats went further than previously understood.Shokin was pushed out of his position in 2016 when several world leaders, including former Vice President Joe Biden, voiced concerns that Shokin was not pursuing corruption cases in Ukraine. Giuliani has previously said he wanted to interview Shokin because he promised to reveal information about Democrats' actions in Ukraine. Giuliani has alleged that Biden was trying to stop investigations to protect his son, Hunter, who was sitting on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at the time, though there is no evidence of wrongdoing on either of the Bidens' part. Read more at CNN and NBC News.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:09:39 -0400
  • Next-Gen Dodge Challenger Coming in 2023? Don't Be So Sure, Says Dodge

    Golocal247.com news

    The number 2023 spotted on press photos has people all excited, but Dodge told C/D it doesn't mean anything.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:40:00 -0400
  • Clever-Approved Travel Gear That Looks Good and Works Even Better

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

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:34:55 -0400
  • Why Did 3 U.S. Navy Submarines Surface In The Pacific In 2010? China.

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    Submarines are useful for signaling intent.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:00:00 -0400
  • Mystery traders 'made $1.8bn from stock bet' placed hours before Trump tweeted talks with China were ‘back on track’

    Golocal247.com news

    */Unknown actors may have made billions from the turmoil Donald Trump has created in the markets through erratic tweets, shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy, and the trade war with China, according to a new report.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 16:16:20 -0400
  • The Endgame in Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    "The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence. It's a consequence of a withdrawal and a betrayal by this president of American allies and American values."      —Pete Buttigieg, October 15Mr. Mayor has a point. For 75 years, from Fulda Gap to the 38th parallel, the American soldier has been the last line of defense against violence, chaos, and oppression. From Kosovo to Anbar, he has kept a lid on cauldrons of bloodlust. Remove him, and the poison boils over.That is what happened when Congress reduced aid to South Vietnam in 1975. It is what followed U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. It is happening now in northeast Syria, and it will happen again when Americans leave Afghanistan. Our forces depart; our allies collapse; our adversaries take command.The pattern was established well before Donald Trump took office. It will persist after he departs. There is nothing so consistent as American ambivalence toward our superpower status. Most great powers covet hegemony. We hate it. The costs are too high, the demands too stressful."For every exercise of the great power's prerogative, there has been an equally strong recoiling from the use of power," wrote Robert Kagan in A Twilight Struggle (1996). "While the United States cannot escape behaving as the hegemonic great power, it is also a great power with a democratic conscience, a strong anti-imperialist streak, and an unwillingness to adopt the role of policeman anywhere for more than a brief time."Kagan was describing U.S. policy toward Nicaragua. He might as well have been talking about the Middle East.Trump is getting America out of a country we were never really in. Our presence in Syria was not enough to deter Turkey. One thousand troops do not constitute a tripwire. They are chips in a high-stakes game. Erdogan called the bluff.Our footprint was light because the last two administrations wanted it that way. That is why criticism of Trump's policy from left-wing non-interventionists and former Obama officials is ridiculous. Where were they when Assad killed hundreds of thousands of people, when he and Erdogan used migration to Europe as a weapon, when civilians were gassed, when ISIS formed, when Russia moved in? Did they think Syria was peachy keen up until Sunday, October 6? Are we really to take lectures from them on the value of forward presence?Americans have wanted out of the Greater Middle East for over a decade. Barack Obama promised to leave both Iraq and Afghanistan. He said Special Forces and drone strikes would maintain global security. It didn't work out that way. Terrorism spiked. The Arab Spring erupted. Obama was forced to intervene, leading from behind in Libya and desultorily aiding some rebel groups in Syria.Obama ended Moammar Qaddafi's regime but shied away from Bashar al-Assad's. The difference? Assad was an ally of Iran and Russia. To bring Damascus to heel would have endangered the chances of a nuclear agreement with Tehran.Obama was consistent in one respect. In Libya, Syria, and Iraq, American involvement was kept to a minimum. The results were the same in all three countries: state failure and civil war.The seeds of Trump's hasty exit from Syria were sown when the uprising began in 2011. The moment to act decisively was then. We did not. And we did not because there was no appetite, in either popular or elite circles, for another war in the Middle East. Political leadership followed public opinion.What a superpower does not do is as important as what it does do. America was content to fund a few rebels but otherwise leave Syria in the hands of others. Assad turned to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, Hezbollah, and Iran. Russia saved him from reprisal after the gas attack in 2013 and again when rebels neared Damascus in 2015.By then, Obama had been forced to intervene against the caliphate established by ISIS in eastern Syria and western Iraq. But some red lines he stuck to. In his speech announcing the counterterrorism campaign in September 2014, Obama pledged, "We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq." Our presence would be limited, our footprint light. Enough to defeat the terrorists, but not enough to make us targets. Or decisively affect the outcome of the Syrian war.If there is a place where America blinked, where America chose decline, where America's allies began to worry and America's retrenchment from Eurasia and pivot to East Asia began, it is Syria. We did so with open eyes and, until the last two weeks, an untroubled conscience. Not wanting to commit the resources necessary to build functioning states, we left Iraq, abandoned Libya, and turned a blind eye to Syria. Not willing to sacrifice Americans on additional fields of battle in the Long War against Islamic terrorism and the religious-political cultures that breed it, we withdrew that presence which guarantees the security of our partners.Pete Buttigieg is right to say that what is happening in Syria is a consequence of American withdrawal. But if what's happening is a betrayal of American values, it's one Americans voted for.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:30:32 -0400
  • High-profile cases turn spotlight on domestic violence in Russia

    Golocal247.com news

    Natalia Tunikova's partner pushed her towards the open balcony in their high-rise Moscow flat, before punching her to the floor. A Moscow court later ruled that her use of force in self-defence was not justified. Cases like Tunikova's are ever more widely reported in Russia, leading to a public outcry in a country that has no specific law on domestic violence and where feminist movements like #MeToo had little impact.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 22:34:40 -0400
  • Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdict

    Golocal247.com news

    Opposition groups called Saturday for continuing protests to demand that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández be removed from office after his younger brother was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York court. President Hernández insisted via Twitter that the verdict is not against the state of Honduras, saying his government has fought drug trafficking. On Saturday he attended a parade to honor the country's armed forces and posted pictures of himself on Twitter smiling alongside the U.S. chargé d'affaires to Honduras, Colleen Hoey.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:28:18 -0400
  • Clinton email probe finds no deliberate mishandling of classified information

    Golocal247.com news

    A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees. The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:09:56 -0400
  • South Korean Students Break Into U.S. Ambassador’s Residence

    (Bloomberg) -- A group of South Korean students broke into the residence of American ambassador Harry Harris on Friday, in a protest against Donald Trump’s campaign to get the Asian nation to pay more for U.S. military support.Nineteen students, who described themselves as members of a liberal university students’ group, were detained by police after staging a protest against plans to impose a bigger financial burden for the stationing of U.S. troops in the country, the Yonhap News Agency reported.The students used a ladder to climb the walls of the ambassador’s residence, next to an old South Korean palace, and urged Harris to leave the country.The incident happened days before officials from the U.S. and South Korea are due to meet in Honolulu for the next round of talks on sharing defense costs.After the incident, Seoul police dispatched 80 more officers to beef up security of the envoy’s home, according to Yonhap.Earlier this year, the two allies reached a one-year cost-sharing deal for maintaining about 28,500 American troops in South Korea. That deal expires at the end of 2019.The relationship between the two allies soured after Seoul abruptly announced the termination of a three-year-old pact with Japan -- another U.S. key ally -- for exchanging classified military information. That was in response to Japan’s move to restrict exports of key materials for the manufacture of semiconductors to South Korea.To contact the reporters on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.net;Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Marcus Wright, Jasmine NgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 01:27:26 -0400
  • Moms Demand Action founder says advocacy group is not anti-gun

    Golocal247.com news

    Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts spoke with CBS News' Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout"

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 22:08:49 -0400
  • Archaeologists have located an ancient city hidden in the Cambodian jungle. The discovery was 150 years in the making.

    Golocal247.com news

    For centuries, the ancient city of Mahendraparvata has been covered by dense trees that make it hard to observe.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 11:45:44 -0400
  • The U.S. Army And Marines Have a Plan To Take On China and Russia's Navies

    Golocal247.com news

    Dispersed attacks from land and sea.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -0400
  • The Navy Wants to Push Out Problem SEALs. But Trump May Get in the Way.

    Golocal247.com news

    Spiking drinks with cocaine, shooting Iraqi civilians, strangling a Green Beret: The Navy SEAL teams have been rocked by one high-profile scandal after another in recent months, and the leader of the elite commando force, Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, has vowed to clean house.Green has come down hard on misconduct, fired two key leaders and made an unusually public admission that the Navy's secretive warrior caste has an "ethics problem." At the same time, though, he has steered wide of the SEAL at the center of one of the grimmest episodes, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was charged with shooting civilians, murdering a captive Islamic State fighter with a knife, and threatening to kill witnesses.Gallagher was acquitted of murder charges this summer, but evidence that he had engaged in a range of other misconduct, including theft and drug use, had come to light during the investigation. Green and other Navy leaders were planning to demote him and force him out of the SEALs -- sending a message that such conduct had no place in one of the country's premier fighting forces.None of that has happened, though, because one of Gallagher's most vocal supporters happens to be the commander in chief. President Donald Trump has repeatedly intervened, and has posted so many expressions of support for the SEAL on Twitter that the Navy now sees Gallagher as untouchable, according to three Navy officials familiar with the case. Any talk of punishment has been shelved, not only for the chief, but for two other SEALs who had been facing possible discipline in the case, these officials said.Trump helped Gallagher get released from confinement before his trial, and personally congratulated him on Twitter when he was acquitted."People want to hold these guys accountable," said one Navy officer who was involved in the punishment deliberations. "But they are afraid that if you do anything, minutes later there will be a tweet from the White House, and the officer in charge will get axed."The officer, like others interviewed for this article, asked that his name not be used because he feared retaliation.The president has previously made it clear that he believes the country should tread carefully when calling American troops to account for acts of war. Only last week, he announced on Twitter that the White House was reviewing the case of Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, a former Army Special Forces soldier charged with murder in the death of a Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan. "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!" Trump wrote.The issue in Gallagher's case became apparent to Green's team in August, when the chief's lawyers -- including one of Trump's personal lawyers, Marc Mukasey, who joined the defense team two months before the June court-martial -- had tried and failed to persuade Navy commanders to suspend any punishment. Soon after that, the president brought up the Gallagher case at a meeting with the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations, according to a senior Navy official.White House officials strongly denied that the Gallagher case was discussed. But hours after the meeting, the Chief of Naval Operations announced that he would personally take over the Gallagher case from another admiral, who had indicated that she planned to punish the chief.The Navy had also planned to discipline two other SEALs who had come under investigation in the Gallagher case: Lt. Jacob Portier, who was charged with not reporting Gallagher's actions in Iraq; and Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a platoon medic whose testimony at the chief's trial prompted the Navy to open a perjury investigation. But the day after the White House meeting, the charges against Portier were dropped and the investigation of Scott was ended.The intervention from Washington left Navy leaders with a dilemma: Not punishing Gallagher and the others would undermine efforts to restore discipline in the ranks, but punishing them only to be publicly reversed might make things even worse."All that's off the table now," said a Navy Special Warfare officer who was briefed on the most recent deliberations of Green's team about the matter. Navy commanders grew concerned that if they took away from Gallagher the Trident pin that signifies membership in the SEALs, only to see the president give it back again, the officer said, "it sends a message that the commanders aren't in control."While taking no action against Gallagher, the Navy recently fired two senior leaders of the team on which Gallagher serves, SEAL Team 7, which has had other recent incidents of misconduct. The command cited a "loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures."The two leaders, Cmdr. Edward Mason and Master Chief Hugh Spangler -- both decorated career SEALs with unblemished records who took command of the team after Gallagher had been arrested -- filed a complaint with the Navy's inspector general over their firing. They said that they had become "expendable scapegoats" in the admiral's fight against an anti-authoritarian "Gallagher effect" that was threatening to spread through the force.With his new, protected status, Gallagher appears to be trolling Navy leadership.A few days after the demoted leaders filed their complaint, an Instagram account belonging to Gallagher and his wife started selling T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "The Gallagher Effect."Another recent Instagram post from the account referred to Green and another top Navy leader as "a bunch of morons."And in a photo posted on social media by a former member of his platoon, Gallagher is seen gripping a hunting knife similar to the one Navy prosecutors said he used to kill a captive fighter from ISIS, which is also known by its Arabic name, Daesh. The post, which was "liked" by Gallagher's account, included the hashtags WeDon'tHaveAnEthicsProblem and NoOneCriesOverSpilledDaesh.Timothy Parlatore, a lawyer for Gallagher, said the Instagram account is administered by the chief's wife and does not reflect the chief's views.The original criminal charges against Gallagher, 40, stemmed from his fifth combat deployment with the SEALs, when he led a platoon fighting ISIS in Iraq in 2017. In a text message sent to his supervisor before deploying, he said he did not care where the Navy sent him, as long as there was "sure action," adding, "We just want to kill as many people as possible."He ended up in an advisory role largely behind front lines. But several men under his command told Navy authorities that he remained fixated on killing, and said they saw him shoot civilians with a sniper rifle and stab a captive teenage ISIS fighter in the neck. Their reports eventually led to the war crimes charges filed against the chief.After Gallagher was arrested in 2018, his family appeared repeatedly on Fox News, insisting that he had been wrongly accused. Soon Trump became a supporter, praising Gallagher's "past service to our country" on Twitter. Trump directed the Navy to release the chief from pretrial confinement in the spring of 2019 and ordered paperwork to pardon him before his trial in June.During the trial, the Navy's case against Gallagher fell into disarray as a key witness, Scott, changed his story on the stand and prosecutors canceled the testimony of other witnesses, fearing they would do the same. A jury made up largely of seasoned combat veterans found Gallagher not guilty of nearly all counts.After the acquittal, the president congratulated him on Twitter saying, "Glad I could help!"But Green was worried about the message that the Gallagher case was sending to the rest of force. In July, he sent a letter to the SEAL teams warning that the spate of incidents of drug use and violence in the SEAL teams showed "we have a problem," and that leaders "must now take a proactive approach to prevent the next breach of ethical and professional behavior."In Gallagher's case, though he had been acquitted on the murder charge, Navy officials were considering administrative punishment for other possible misconduct uncovered during the investigation.The Navy had found unauthorized grenades, stolen equipment and illicit drugs in his house and in his work locker, according to the Navy's criminal investigation report. When investigators seized the chief's phone, they found text exchanges suggesting he was illegally using the narcotic painkiller Tramadol, as well as marijuana and ecstasy.Gallagher has denied that he did anything unlawful in Iraq, and his lawyer, Parlatore, said the purported drug and equipment offenses had already been investigated and had been deemed insignificant.The part of the case taken over by the chief Navy officer in Washington concerns the minor charge on which Gallagher was convicted in the trial -- posing for a photo with a corpse. The officer hearing the case had recommended that the chief be demoted by one rank, with the possibility that he could be further reduced to the lowest rank in the military, E-1. The regional commander overseeing the court-martial, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, had the authority to adjust or overturn the conviction and sentence.Gallagher's legal team pressed Bolivar to suspend his punishment so the chief could retire from the Navy with full rank and a clean record. Bolivar replied in a letter Aug. 1 that she found the chief's conduct reprehensible and had no intention of suspending his sentence.That was when the chief's legal team informed the Navy that they would "take their case to Washington," according to a Navy official with knowledge of the exchange. On the same day that Bolivar's letter was sent, the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John M. Richardson, along with the Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, went to the White House for a meeting with Trump.A senior Navy official said the two men had not expected to discuss the Gallagher case, and were surprised when the president brought it up, expressing his displeasure that prosecutors had received commendations for what he regarded as a botched handling of the case.Though White House officials insist the case was not discussed, within hours of the meeting, Richardson took the Gallagher, Portier and Scott cases from Bolivar.Charges against Portier were then dismissed, and the investigation of Scott was halted. Neither man responded to requests for comment.Parlatore said he had not contacted the White House and had no knowledge of any intervention by the president. He said he welcomed the president's involvement if it happened because his client was threatened with punishment for minor misconduct that is often overlooked in the SEAL teams. "If the president has a deterrent effect and can prevent retaliation, we're thankful for that," he said.A new Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael M. Gilday, took command in August, but has not changed course. His final decision in the Gallagher case is expected by the end of October.Green was not available to discuss the case, according to Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a Navy spokeswoman, who added that "it would be inappropriate to speculate on any administrative actions, as no decisions have been made."On the night of the leadership demotions in Team 7, Gallagher made an unauthorized appearance at a "Patriot Awards" gala in Nashville, Tennessee, alongside Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Both men accepted awards from country music star Charlie Daniels."What an honor," a post on Gallagher's Instagram account said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:33:48 -0400
  • Archaeologists discover hidden city in the jungle

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    For centuries, the ancient city of Mahendraparvata has been buried under a dense canopy in the Cambodian jungle. It was one of the first capitals of the Khmer Empire, which controlled large swaths of Southeast Asia from the 9th to 15th centuries. Over the last 150 years, archaeologists have uncovered artifacts that they suspected came from Mahendraparvata, but they didn’t have enough evidence to support the link — until now.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:08:58 -0400
  • 7 Things To Do With Your Old Smartphone

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    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Thousands in Germany, France protest Turkish push into Syria

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    Thousands of people in the German city of Cologne and in the French capital demonstrated Saturday against Turkey's offensive in northern Syria. Cologne city authorities said around 10,000 people took part in marches organized by left-wing groups. In Paris, more than 1,000 gathered at the Place de la Republique to denounce Turkey's actions.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:27:43 -0400
  • New ICE Program Exposes Hundreds of Fraudulent ‘Family Units’ Trying to Cross The Border

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    U.S. immigration authorities have discovered hundreds of instances at the border of “family unit fraud,” or unrelated individuals posing as families, over the last six months thanks to a new investigative initiative.Authorities exposed 238 fraudulent families presenting 329 false documents, according to the results of an investigation run by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit in El Paso, Texas, the results of which were announced Thursday.More than 350 of those individuals are facing federal prosecution for crimes including human smuggling, making false statements, conspiracy, and illegal re-entry after removal. Authorities have referred 19 children to U.S. Health and Human Services as a result of this investigation. Another 50 migrants fraudulently claimed to be unaccompanied minors."Some of the most disturbing cases identified involve transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and individuals who are increasingly exploiting innocent children to further their criminal activity," ICE said in a statement.In some cases, criminal organizations made deals with the children's biological parents to transfer children as young as 4 months old to the U.S. and pose as a family unit either for human smuggling purposes or to fraudulently obtain immigration benefits, ICE said.“These are examples of the dark side of this humanitarian crisis that our Border Patrol and HSI agents are working tirelessly to identify,” said El Paso Sector Interim Chief Gloria Chavez. “We will pursue the highest of judicial consequences for those who commit fraud and exploit innocent children.”The Trump administration has attempted to end the "catch and release" policy for migrant family units, which provides migrant families an expedited release into the U.S. as their asylum cases are being processed.Then–acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan said last month that the vast majority of migrant families who enter the country illegally will no longer be eligible for “catch and release” due to the implementation of stricter policies. One such policy, the Migrant Protection Protocols, requires that migrants wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:41:26 -0400
  • Ousted Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is buried: family

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    A former Chinese Communist Party leader ousted after he opposed the use of force to quell 1989 democracy protests was buried over a decade after he died, his family said, in a service ignored by state media. Zhao Ziyang, who is a revered figure among Chinese human rights defenders, is still a sensitive topic in the country, where commemorations of his death are held under tight surveillance or prevented altogether. There was no mention of his burial ceremony Friday on state media, and searching for his name on social media returned no results.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:13 -0400
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    Prince William and wife Kate leave Pakistan, day after aborted flight

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 03:39:48 -0400
  • Johnson Says He’ll Press on After Commons Defeat: Brexit Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Parliament voted for Boris Johnson to request a further delay to Brexit after a day of high tension in the House of Commons in London. The prime minister, who said the choice is his deal or no deal, said he will not “negotiate delay” with the European Union and will introduce the legislation needed next week for the U.K. to leave the EU on Oct. 31.Lawmakers voted 322 to 306 in favor of an amendment by former Tory minister Oliver Letwin which requires Johnson to write a letter by 11 p.m. requesting an extension until Jan. 31. Letwin said the amendment provides insurance against crashing out without an agreement on Oct. 31.https://t.co/TVTCmIxjxD pic.twitter.com/SpMI6G5obQ— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) October 19, 2019 https://t.co/TVTCmIxjxD pic.twitter.com/SpMI6G5obQ— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) October 19, 2019 Johnson said he will tell the EU further delay would be “bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.” His deal wasn’t put to a vote as a result of the amendment being passed “because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning,” he said.Key DevelopmentsMPs vote by 322 to 306 for Letwin amendment forcing government to request Brexit delayFurther votes being lined up for next weekProtesters converge on Parliament in anti-Brexit demonstrationCommons Vote Not All Bad News for Johnson (4:25 p.m.)The vote for Oliver Letwin’s amendment deprives us of a chance to test how much support there is for Johnson’s Brexit deal in Parliament, but it did tell us some things. Johnson mustered 306 votes against the amendment. While not all of those MPs would vote for his deal -- Labour’s Kate Hoey has said she won’t, for example -- several of the 322 who backed it said they would. That includes five former Tories, with two more saying they would have been willing to back the prime minister once the Letwin amendment passed. On the Labour benches, excluding Hoey, there were three abstentions by MPs who have said they would vote for a deal.Transferring those votes into a theoretical vote on a deal, we get 315 votes for Johnson, and 316 against. That’s not enough. But if Johnson were to pick up a few more Labour votes, and at least three more Labour MPs have indicated they’d vote for his deal, he’d be over the line.BrexitDeal PeoplesVoteMarch pic.twitter.com/G2X65uZBw4— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) October 19, 2019 Macron Questions Wisdom of Further Delay (4 p.m.)French President Emmanuel Macron issued a statement acknowledging the vote in the House of Commons and questioning the wisdom of a further delay to Brexit.“The vote by the British Parliament opens the way to a possible request for an extension. We will see in the coming hours what happens,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “It is not up to us to give our opinion at this stage and this will happen in consultation with our European partners.”“But our message is clear: a deal has been negotiated, it is now up to the British Parliament to say if it approves it or rejects it. An additional delay is in no one’s interest.”EU Takes Note of Commons Vote on Delay (3:40 p.m.)The European Commission said it has taken note of the House of Commons vote on the Letwin amendment and urged the British government to clarify the next steps.“It will be for the U.K. government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible,” Mina Andreeva, chief spokeswoman for the Brussels-based commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, said in a twitter post.Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, said the body’s Brexit steering group will consider the result of the Commons vote on Monday. “Whatever happens next, the marches outside the Parliament show just how important a close EU -- U.K. future relationship is,” he said on Twitter.Another Vote Mooted for Monday (3:25 p.m.)Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that on Monday there will be a debate on a section of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 -- raising the possibility of another vote on Boris Johnson’s deal.There are also plans for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation needed to leave under the new deal, to be debated on Tuesday.Together they raise the possibility of two votes on the Brexit deal on consecutive days. Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said he would seek clarity on the government’s plans. By Monday Johnson should have requested an extension from Brussels in accordance with the requirements of the Benn Act.The Meaning of Johnson’s Ambiguity (3:15 p.m.)Boris Johnson’s elliptical response to the Letwin vote (see 3 p.m.) could be understood as suggesting he won’t send a letter to the EU, and in a briefing his office declined to clarify what he meant.But it’s clear from his earlier comments, and from his team’s approach to proceedings on Monday, that a letter requesting an extension will be sent to the EU. If the bloc agrees to it -- and the text of the letter is specified in law -- then the government is obliged to accept.In his comments to the House of Commons on Saturday morning, Johnson acknowledged he would have to write to the EU. “Whatever letters they may seek to force the government to write, it cannot change my judgment that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust,” he said.Johnson Pledges to Press on With Brexit (3 p.m.)Boris Johnson said he’ll press on with Brexit and ruled out negotiating a further delay to Brexit with the European Union after losing a vote intended to force him to request an extension from the bloc.“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law require me to do so,” Johnson said. “Next week the government will introduce the legislation needed to leave the European Union with our new deal on Oct. 31.”The Benn Act, passed last month, required Johnson to write to the EU by 11 p.m. tonight if he was unable to get his deal agreed by Parliament.Campaigners Celebrate at Delay to Vote (2:55 p.m.)A raucous cheer erupted from the crowd packing Parliament Square after the result of the vote on Oliver Letwin’s amendment was announced. They had marched through central London towards Parliament to demand another referendum on leaving the EU.It had started raining moments earlier, but it didn’t dampen the mood among the buoyant crowd.Gove Appeals For Unity In Commons Vote (2:30 p.m.)Before MPs left the chamber to vote, Brexit Minister Michael Gove closed the debate for the government, arguing they should “honor democracy” and vote Boris Johnson’s deal through.He said he hoped that, come the end of the day, the “vote in 2016 that we promised to honor will after three and a half years of deadlock and division be honored by a House that is at last ready to unite.”Speaking for the opposition, Labour business spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey emphasized the economic impact of the deal. “For business, for our industry and for our manufacturing, it reduces access to the market of our biggest trade partner, threatening jobs up and down our country,” she said.“This is a bad deal for industry, a bad deal for manufacturing and more importantly a bad deal for jobs.”Demonstrators Fill Parliament Square (1:50 p.m.)A large crowd gathered outside Parliament after marching across central London demanding a referendum on Boris Johnson’s deal.Parliament Square was full of singing protesters waving EU and British flags as tens of thousands more packed Whitehall – the road between Parliament and Trafalgar Square which houses government buildings. They carried banners calling for a second referendum and chanted “Object to Brexit”.Theresa May Backs Johnson’s Plan (1:20 p.m.)Former Prime Minister Theresa May said she will vote for Boris Johnson’s agreement with the EU, even though it sets up a border in the Irish Sea, something she pledged never to accept. There had been speculation that she might not back it for that reason.“If you don’t want no deal, you have to vote for a deal,” she told the House of Commons. “If you want to deliver Brexit, if you want to keep faith with the British people, if you want this country to move forward, then vote for the deal today.”Letwin Moves Amendment Despite Pressure (12:50 p.m.)Oliver Letwin has so far shrugged off the pressure to drop his amendment (see 12:15 p.m.) and spoke to introduce it in the House of Commons. It doesn’t cause a delay but adds the insurance that the U.K. won’t leave without a deal if the government fails to get the necessary legislation through in time, he said.The prime minister “wants to be able to say to any waverers ’it’s my deal or no-deal. Vote for the implementing legislation or we crash out’,” Letwin said. “Despite my support for the Prime Minister’s deal, I do not believe that it’s responsible to put the nation at risk by making that threat.”If Parliament backs the amendment “we can be secure in the knowledge that the U.K. will have requested an extension tonight, which if granted can be used if and to the extent necessary, and only the extent necessary, to prevent a no-deal exit.”Starmer Highlights Threat to Trade (12:40 p.m.)Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the opposition Labour party, told MPs that Johnson’s deal “rips up our close trading relationship with the EU,” with the price being paid in damage to the U.K. economy and job-losses.He ran through passages of Theresa May’s old deal versus Boris Johnson’s new one, notably the removal of the phrase “the parties envisage having a trading relationship on goods as close as possible with a view to facilitating a needs of legitimate trade.”He asked Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay: “If the aspiration of the government is to stay as close as possible to the EU on trade rules, why take the words out?” Barclay didn’t reply.Starmer added that he doesn’t believe the prime minister’s promises on workers rights and the future relationship with the EU. “There is more than enough evidence that his word doesn’t mean anything and can’t be trusted,” he said.Letwin Under Pressure to Drop Amendment (12:15 p.m.)Oliver Letwin is coming under pressure from his former Tory colleagues to drop his amendment, according to three Tory MPs who have been involved in discussions with him.While another MP could push Letwin’s amendment to a vote, if he doesn’t gun for it himself then support -- particularly among former Tories -- could melt away.ERG Pledges Support to Brexit Legislation (12 p.m.)Mark Francois, deputy chairman of the hard line Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs, said the caucus agreed at its meeting on Saturday morning that its members won’t disrupt the passage of divorce legislation through Parliament this month.The announcement is significant because some MPs have said they will back the Letwin amendment to stop the ERG from forcing a no-deal divorce from the EU on Oct. 31 by blocking the government’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill.“We agreed that if we vote for the deal, we vote for the bill,” Francois told the House of Commons.Shortly afterwards, independent MP Nick Boles made clear he doesn’t believe them.Grieve Appeals for Time for Scrutiny (11:45 a.m.)Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, one of the MPs expelled from the Conservative Party for opposing Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy, appealed for more time for MPs to scrutinize the deal with the EU.The government “is taking us out at such a gallop that proper scrutiny can’t take place,” Grieve told the House of Commons. “It continues to give the impression that it wants to run a coach and horses through the rights of this house.”Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay defended the lack of an official assessment of the deal’s economic impact. “It’s difficult to model a deal that was only made on Thursday,” he said.Labour Confirms Backing for Letwin (11:20 a.m.)The opposition Labour Party confirmed its lawmakers will be ordered to back Oliver Letwin’s amendment, which would force Boris Johnson to send a letter to the EU requesting a Brexit extension on Saturday night.Labour will vote for the amendment “to stop Boris Johnson sneaking through a no-deal crash out or setting up a blackmail vote between his sell-out deal and no deal on Oct. 31,” the party said.They argue that the amendment wouldn’t stop the U.K. leaving the EU on Oct. 31 if the necessary legislation is passed in time and simply prevents a “crash out by stealth.”Bonmarche Blames Brexit Delay For Failure (11:10 a.m.)Bonmarche, a U.K. womenswear retailer employing 2,900 people, went into administration and said uncertainty over Brexit delivered the knockout blow.“The delay in Brexit has created negativities, both in the global markets towards Britain and damaged consumer sentiment,” Chief Executive Officer Helen Connolly said in a statement. “Without such a delay, it is feasible to believe that our issues would have been more manageable.”Johnson: This Deal or No-Deal (10:55 a.m.)Challenged by Liberal Democrat MP Luciana Berger on the fact no economic analysis on the deal has been done, Johnson said the deal had been welcomed by business lobby groups and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney.“The choice for her today is this deal, which I think is very good for this country economically and politically, and no-deal,” Johnson said “That’s what she has to decide between.”Johnson Pledges to Consult Parliament (10:45 a.m.)Boris Johnson gave reassurance after reassurance to concerned former Tories. He told Greg Clarke, who was business secretary under Theresa May, that workers’ rights will always be as good as or better than they are in the EU.In response to a question from former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the prime minister also said he’ll sign up to a proposal from Labour MPs Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell that Parliament would have to agree the negotiating mandate for the next stage of Brexit talks and the future relationship with the EU should only be signed with the agreement of lawmakers.Letwin Amendment ‘A Shame,’ Johnson Says (10:30 a.m.)Johnson took aim at former Tory minister Oliver Letwin, whose widely-supported amendment looks set to delay a vote on the deal until next week.While saying Letwin has the “best possible intentions”, Johnson told MPs that “this is a momentous occasion for our country and for our Parliament, and it would be a great shame if the opportunity to have a meaningful vote were to be taken away from us.”What Happens if Letwin Amendment Passes (10:20 a.m.)It looks likely the Letwin amendment will pass, as it has the support of opposition parties and several former Tories.The government says if that happens, it won’t push the amended motion to a vote. At that point, the uncontested votes of opposition MPs will mean the whole motion falls. Where will that leave us?Effectively, Johnson will be where he was at the start of the day. Without a deal passed by Parliament, he’ll be obliged by the Benn Act to write to the EU seeking a delay to Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020. Although officials have talked about finding a way around the law, the prime minister seemed to concede in Parliament that he’ll have to send the letter.Johnson will still have a way to meet his pledge to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 -- by getting his deal passed in Parliament before that date. But as he won’t have pushed today’s vote, he won’t know whether he has the support to do that.Packed Commons Sees MPs Sitting in Gallery (10 a.m.)The House of Commons is packed. Some MPs who can’t squeeze on to the green benches in the chamber are perched in seats in the gallery one level up, usually taken by staff and official visitors.MPs are continuously barracking the opposing side. Jeremy Corbyn drew jeers from the Tories when he said “we are not prepared to sell our constituents” because the Tories accuse Labour of abandoning their supporters who voted to leave. Boris Johnson drew ironic Labour jibes when he appealed for MPs to be less adversarial.Corbyn Warns Against Johnson’s Promises (9:55 a.m.)Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson’s deal is worse than the one negotiated by Theresa May and the Government’s proposed timetable deprives MPs of the opportunity for properly scrutinizing it.“We’re having a debate today on a text for which there is no economic impact assessment and no accompanying legal advice,”Corbyn said. “It’s not a good deal for our country and future generations will feel its impact.”Corbyn also leveled a warning at Labour MPs who suggested overnight that they might back the deal after receiving assurances from Johnson over workers rights after Brexit. “This prime minister can’t be trusted and these benches will not be duped,” Corbyn said. Backing the deal would start a “race to the bottom in regulations and standards,” he added.Johnson Says EU and U.K. Want to Move On (9:45 a.m.)Addressing Parliament, Boris Johnson tried to reach out for support, saying he wants to involve parliament in the future stages of Brexit.“I shall continue to listen to all honorable members throughout the debate today, to meet with anyone on any side, and to welcome the scrutiny the House will bring to bear, if, as I hope, we proceed to consider the Withdrawal Bill next week,” Johnson said.He also effectively conceded that if his motion doesn’t pass, he’ll have to ask for an extension, telling Parliament that “it cannot change my judgement that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust.”The EU and the U.K. public want to move on from Brexit, Johnson said. While he had in the past urged a renegotiation with the EU, he said this is a good deal and should be embraced by all sides.Johnson Won’t Push Vote on Deal if Letwin Wins (9:30 a.m.)Boris Johnson won’t push his Brexit deal to a vote on Saturday if a rebel amendment that’s designed to postpone legal sign-off is passed, a U.K. official said.Johnson needs formal Parliamentary approval for his deal by the end of Saturday to get out of a law that requires him to request a delay of Britain’s departure from the European Union.But former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin’s amendment to Johnson’s motion would postpone legal approval until all the necessary laws have passed Parliament.The official said the effect of the amendment would be to render the motion meaningless. The government will still push ahead with putting its Brexit legislation before Parliament on Monday, the official said.Baker Sees Deal as ‘Tolerable Path’ (9:20 a.m.)Leader of the ERG Steve Baker told reporters after their meeting that he believes the deal is a “tolerable path to a bright future.”However, on their way out of the meeting, veteran Brexiteers Bill Cash and John Redwood declined to comment on how they would vote, leaving it open that they might abstain.DUP’s Wilson Appeals to the ERG (9:15 a.m.)The Democratic Unionist Party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson also spoke to the European Research Group of hard-line Brexiteers at their meeting on Saturday morning (see 9 a.m.).He spoke after the group’s chairman Steve Baker had recommended that members should back Johnson’s deal and urged them to oppose it. The DUP is against the agreement because it imposes different rules on Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K.ERG Deputy Chairman Mark Francois said after the meeting that no one in the room had said they would vote against the agreement, but members leaving the committee room refused to comment to reporters. “The ERG is not a Stalinist organisation so it will be up to everyone how they vote,” Francois said.Brexit ‘Spartans’ Pulling Behind Johnson (9 a.m.)Johnson has got the big scalp: Steve Baker, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group and a key figure in the so-called “Spartans,” who refused to back May’s Brexit deal, has recommended that colleagues should support Johnson’s deal.Before the last big Brexit vote, Baker made an emotional speech to the group about his frustration with the process. If he’s on board, Johnson might hope to get all the Spartans.Tory MP Nigel Evans said that Baker had recommended at a meeting of the group on Saturday that they should back the plan.Johnson Gains Support as MPs Gather (8:45 a.m.)The vote is looking very close. By Bloomberg’s count, Johnson has 42 of the 61 MPs backing him that he needs, and there could easily be 20 more undeclared supporters out there.But a couple of former Tories are refusing to say. Both former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Antoinette Sandbach have refused to say what they’ll do. Hammond said he is open to backing the deal, but he is also backing the Letwin amendment.In Westminster there’s an idea around that if the Letwin amendment passes, the government might pull the final vote. But there’s no procedure to allow it to do that.Barclay Warns Over Dither and Delay (8:30 a.m.)Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said Oliver Letwin’s proposed amendment would cause “further delay, further dither and further uncertainty,” causing more damage to British business.He warned that any request to extend the Oct. 31 deadline could be vetoed by another EU member. “It is not Oliver Letwin’s decision how long an extension will be, anymore than it is the U.K. Parliament’s decision,” he said.Duncan Smith: Letwin Should ‘Stow’ His Plan (Earlier)Former Tory leader and lead Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith didn’t attempt to conceal his anger over Olive Letwin’s amendment, which would force Johnson to request a delay from the EU on Saturday as insurance against the U.K. accidentally crashing out without a deal on Oct. 31.“This vote has to be clear to our partners in Europe that we’re now on a track to leave under this deal,” Duncan Smith told the BBC, warning that the amendment would extend uncertainty. “I wish Oliver Letwin would just stow this now.”Dodds Says DUP May Back Insurance Amendment (Earlier)Nigel Dodds, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs in Westminster, said the party will examine the Letwin amendment and decide whether to back it later on Saturday.“It’s a very interesting amendment,” Dodds told BBC Radio. “It does have the merit of pointing out that this would withhold the approval of the Commons from the government’s plan.”He said the party, which will vote against Johnson’s deal, hasn’t yet made a final decision on the Letwin amendmentEarlier:Brexit Decision Day Arrives as U.K. Parliament Votes on DealBoris Johnson Might Not Even Get His Brexit Vote on Saturday\--With assistance from Thomas Mulier and Jonathan Stearns.To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net;Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Greg Ritchie in London at gritchie10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 11:33:42 -0400
  • Russia's Stealth Su-57 Is a Beast, But Can Russia Afford It?

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    It's pretty expensive for Russia's flagging economy.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 04:00:00 -0400
  • View Photos of the 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo

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    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 14:29:00 -0400
  • Convicted Killer Now Charged in Estranged Wife’s Cold-Case Murder: Prosecutors

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    Virginia State Police/HandoutA Virginia man who is behind bars for killing his girlfriend has now been charged with the murder of his wife three decades ago, prosecutors announced Friday.Jose Rodriguez-Cruz, 53, was indicted by a Stafford County grand jury for the May 1989 murder of 28-year-old Marta Haydee Rodriguez. Rodriguez-Cruz is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for the 2009 murder of his girlfriend, Pamela Butler, who was a federal worker in Washington, D.C.During a Friday press conference, Stafford County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen announced that the former military police officer, who was discharged after threatening to harm his female superior twice, has been charged with first-degree murder and the unlawful concealment of his wife’s body, finally bringing a 30-year investigation to a close. Cops: NYPD Officer Ordered Hit on Estranged Husband, Boyfriend’s Kid“This is the ultimate act of domestic violence and it’s noteworthy that in the month of October justice is going to be delivered for Marta Rodriguez,” Olson said, pointing out that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Rodriguez was last seen on May 1, 1989, as she walked to a bus stop after leaving her job as a nurse’s aide. Prosecutors allege Rodriguez-Cruz murdered his first wife shortly after she told police he had assaulted and kidnapped her—but before she could testify against him in court.“If I can’t have her, no one will,” Rodriguez-Cruz once said, according to 2017 court documents.The 28-year-old’s body was found in 1991 on an Interstate 95 median but was not positively identified until last year.Twenty years after his wife’s 1989 disappearance, Rodriguez-Cruz fatally strangled Butler, an Environmental Protection Agency analyst and his girlfriend of seven months, during a heated argument before hiding her body. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2017, at which point he confessed to killing the 47-year-old in her basement in 2009 before slipping her body out of a first-floor window.Air Force Major Charged With Murder After Missing Wife’s Remains FoundOne of Rodriguez-Cruz’s friends told authorities that he once said it was “easy” to get rid of a body because “if you dig a hole deep enough, no one will find it,” according to testimony at his plea hearing. As part of his plea deal, Rodriguez-Cruz told police he buried Butler in 2009 along Interstate 95—where Rodriguez was found—but her remains were never discovered. Derrick Butler, Pamela’s brother, also attended Friday’s news conference and told reporters he was relieved to hear news of Rodriguez-Cruz’s latest charge.Authorities believe his pattern of abuse stretches beyond the death of his two former lovers. In 2017, investigators testified that the 53-year-old told his second wife he knew how to make sure a body was never found. Another woman, a security guard at a federal office, also told detectives that Rodriguez-Cruz allegedly duct-taped her wrists, held a gun to her head, and sexually assaulted her in 2004. “This man doesn’t impulsively kill. He abducts women, duct-tapes them, sexually assaults them, and then holds them captive,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner said at the 2017 hearing. “Duct tape and a gun are his weapon of choice.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 13:18:31 -0400
  • Harry Dunn's family vow to expose 'cover up' as Foreign Office admit they asked police to delay passing on information

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    The family of Harry Dunn have said they suspect the British government of colluding with the United States to "cover up" details of his death and renewed calls for police to extradite Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence agent accused of killing him. Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the family, said: "The search for justice has now expanded beyond simply Mrs Sacoolas' return, as important as that is.  "The family is now concerned that there has been misconduct and a cover up on both sides of the Atlantic and they are intent on exposing it." The call came after Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, admitted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office asked police to delay informing the family that Mrs Sacoolas had left the country. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Raab said: "I know there was a delay and we were asked our opinion by the police, and I think an official from the Foreign Office said it would be helpful to have a day or two.  "I know the police delayed a bit longer, and they are responsible for that." He added: "We have done everything we can within the law to clear the path so that justice can be done for the family and we will continue to do so."   Mr Raab was speaking after ITV News reported there had been a  been a ten-day delay between officers learning that Mrs Sacoolas had left the country and the family being told.   Dominic Raab admitted FCO officials asked police to delay telling Harry Dunn's family that Anne Sacoolas had left the country Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, Harry's parents, told the Telegraph they felt that the British government had abandoned them,  saying they believe the Foreign Office “just want us to go away and forget about it all”. “We don’t understand why,” said Mr Dunn. “Harry has died in an accident, and we feel that nobody but us wants to get justice for him.”   They were due to fly back from the United States on Friday after a five day trip to plead with US officials to send Mrs Sacoolas back to the UK. The trip included a surprise meeting with Donald Trump at the White House, which the family say ended after he suggested an impromptu photo-opportunity meeting with Mrs Sacoolas in the Oval Office.  Anne Sacoolas left the country after she allegedly collided with his motorbike near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on August 27 Mr Seiger said when they said they would only meet her on UK soil, Robert O’Brien, Mr Trump's national security adviser, said she would never return to Britain. Mrs Sacoolas is alleged to have been driving her right-hand drive Volvo on the wrong side of the road when her car hit Mr Dunn, who was riding his motorbike, on August 27.   She and her husband Jonathan Sacoolas, a US intelligence officer, were spirited out of Britain on a private flight from a US air base after the incident.  The 42 year old mother-of-three, claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution despite not being on the official London diplomatic list. The Foreign Office confirmed however that Mrs Sacoolas and her husband, 43, were given diplomatic immunity prior to their arrival in the UK under the Vienna Convention. The immunity is extended to intelligence officers and other Americans working on military bases including RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire where the crash happened. Mr Seiger said the family did not accept that Mrs Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity and would be meeting with the chief constable of Northamptonshire police next week.  The family has called on the force to charge Mrs Sacoolas and initiate extradition proceedings. Mr Seiger said he the family had told the FCO and US officials that they were prepared to "have a conversation" if there were security concerns related to Mr Sacoolas' work, but had been rebuffed. "If there is some good reason why this lady should have been recalled, the family would have been open to that discussion. But they just completely ignored us," he said.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:41:33 -0400
  • Trump's hasty exit forced US troops to bomb their own base in 'an extreme worst-case scenario'

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    A spokesperson for the US counter-ISIS mission said that the procedure was pre-planned, and reduced the base's military usefulness.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 20:41:36 -0400
  • Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

    Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a sidewalk, their temporary home while they wait for their number to be called to claim asylum in the United States. The 33-year-old fled Mexico's western state of Michoacan a few weeks ago with her husband and five children — ages 3 to 12 — when her husband, a truck driver, couldn't pay fees that criminal gangs demanded for each trailer load. "I'd like to say it's unusual, but it's very common," Garcia said Thursday in Juarez, where asylum seekers gather to wait their turn to seek protection at a U.S. border crossing in El Paso, Texas.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 20:46:20 -0400
  • One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacy

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    A year ago, thousands of Central American men, women and children chasing the American dream arrived in Mexico in a massive caravan that has left a lasting legacy -- just not the one people generally thought it would. Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence at home, they banded together in hopes of finding safety in numbers against the dangers of the journey, including criminal gangs that regularly extort, kidnap and kill migrants. The images made an impact around the world: carrying their meager belongings on their backs, many migrants pressed small children to their chests or held them by the hand.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:25:40 -0400
  • Factbox: Wheeler dealers - how to make money from scrap tyres

    Golocal247.com news

    International trade in waste tyres has almost doubled in the past five years, according to data provided by customs departments to the United Nations, generating millions of dollars in business across the supply chain. The biggest, and fastest growing, trading route is from Britain to India, where authorities are increasingly worried about the dirty business of turning waste rubber into oil - a process called pyrolysis. Reuters has interviewed dozens of players in the waste tyre business in India, Malaysia, Britain, Singapore and Dubai - including garages, collectors, exporters and end users - to find out who makes money from waste tyres.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 02:54:59 -0400
  • House GOP Leader Praises Mark Zuckerberg for Political Ads Policy

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    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to ban political ads that Democrats say are inaccurate drew praise from the top Republican in the House of Representatives Friday.Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said he appreciated Zuckerberg’s comments on Thursday that policing political speech would be undemocratic.“The idea of banning speech you might not like is nonsense, but sadly the mindset is creeping into places like college campuses and our presidential campaign platforms,” McCarthy told reporters. “Yesterday was a heartwarming reminder that free expression is the best business model in the world.”In recent weeks, the presidential campaigns of Democrats Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have called on Facebook to remove ads from President Donald Trump’s campaign that include claims with no evidence. Facebook has declined to do so, raising the larger question of whether such ads on social media should be regulated.“I don’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true,” Zuckerberg said Thursday at Georgetown University in Washington. “People should be able to see for themselves what politicians are saying.”“In a democracy, I believe people should decide what’s credible, not tech companies,” Zuckerberg said.\--With assistance from Emily Wilkins.To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Wasson in Washington at ewasson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Anna Edgerton, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:26:56 -0400
  • Mexico flies 300 Indian migrants to New Delhi in mass deportation

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    Mexico has deported more than 300 Indian nationals to New Delhi, the National Migration Institute said late on Wednesday, in what it described as an unprecedented transatlantic deportation.

    Thu, 17 Oct 2019 17:32:34 -0400
  • World War II's Allied Raid of Berlin Involved 1,000 Bombers (But Germany Fought On)

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    Did Germany have a center of gravity?

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 01:30:00 -0400
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg Drops Fundraiser Tied to Laquan McDonald Coverup

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    REUTERSMayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign announced Friday that the co-host of a controversial campaign fundraiser was dropping out amid sharp public criticism over the role he played in delaying the release of a video of an infamous 2014 shooting death of a black teenage boy.The would-be co-host, Steve Patton, is a former Chicago city attorney who pushed to withhold video depicting the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald until after a contentious mayoral runoff election, more than a year after a judge had ordered the video to be released. Patton already donated $5,600 to Buttigieg in June—a donation that the South Bend mayor’s campaign said it would be returning. “Transparency and justice for Laquan McDonald is more important than a campaign contribution,” Chris Meagher, the Buttigieg campaign’s national press secretary, told The Daily Beast. “We are returning the money he contributed to the campaign and the money he has collected. He is no longer a co-host for the event and will not be attending.”Patton’s role in the Friday fundraiser, first reported by the Associated Press, prompted sharp criticism of Buttigieg, including from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the city’s most prominent civil rights leader, who called on the Democratic nominee to “adjust his schedule.”Buttigieg’s campaign had initially declined to comment on the story, directing the Associated Press to his “Douglass Plan” to end systemic racism.Buttigieg, who is struggling in the polls among black voters, has had difficulty trying to reconcile his sweeping proposals for deconstructing structural racism with his record as the mayor, where he fired the city’s first black police chief and has conceded that he has failed in diversifying the city’s law enforcement. South Bend’s police department is 90 percent white while the city itself is 27 percent black.In June, Buttigieg left the campaign trail following the shooting death of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer. At a town hall discussing the shooting, Buttigieg was heckled by angry South Bend residents who demanded that he focus on the city’s problems with racism in its police force rather than his run for the White House.“I just want you to know that we’re not running from this,” Buttigieg said at the time. “Of course I’m upset. A man died in this city at the hands of one of the people in charge of protecting the city.”Other president campaigns were quick to jump on Patton’s participation in the fundraiser as evidence of misplaced priorities. Rob Flaherty, digital director for Buttigieg rival Beto O’Rourke, tweeted that it was “good to see that despite The Pete Pivot, he’s remaining consistent on some things.”According to Federal Election Commission filings, Patton donated $2,700 to O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 12:10:30 -0400
  • Deadly protests in Guinea as Russia calls for change of rules to keep despot in power

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    When police shot dead nine pro-democracy protesters in Guinea this week, Western embassies quietly shared their misgivings with the country’s president, Alpha Conde. International human rights groups were more unequivocal. François Patuel of Amnesty International denounced “a shameful attempt by Guinean authorities to stifle dissent by any means necessary”. But one major power seemed unperturbed. Mr Conde’s ruthless response to protests against his apparent efforts to cling to power not only suited Russia, it seems probable that they were tacitly endorsed by the Kremlin. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, will host leaders from 35 African states at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as he seeks to consolidate Moscow’s growing influence in the world’s poorest continent. Russia may lack the heft of its rivals, able neither to match the West in aid nor China in terms of infrastructure financing, but it does have other resources with which to woo African leaders, particularly those of a more authoritarian bent. Vladimir Putin is looking to expand Russian influence Not only has Russia sold arms to 18 African states over the past decade, its mercenaries have fanned out across the continent to offer protection and other services to receptive governments.  “Political technologists” have also allegedly mounted disinformation campaigns in several recent African elections. In return, Russia has won concessions to mine minerals and secured backing from African delegates at the United Nations. Russia’s blossoming relationship with Mr Conde is an example of just how successful its muscular Africa policy can be. Guineans are meant to elect a new president next year. Having served two five-year terms, Mr Conde is constitutionally barred from standing again, but has made it increasingly clear that he is not yet ready to surrender the presidency. At least four people have been killed in Guinea's capital after police fired tear gas and bullets Monday to disperse thousands of opposition supporters Credit: AP To do so, Guinea will need an entirely new constitution, plans for which have already been advanced by Mr Conde’s ruling party.  The opposition has accused the president of seeking to ease its path by stacking the constitutional court, taming the electoral commission and delaying parliamentary elections by more than a year to protect his narrow legislative majority. Russia has openly given its cover to Mr Conde’s efforts. In an extraordinary intervention, brazen even by the Kremlin’s standards, Russia’s ambassador, made a televised address on New Year’s Eve backing a constitutional change. Alexander Bregadze told Guineans they would be mad to allow the "legendary" Mr Conde to step down, saying: “Do you know many countries in Africa that do better? Do you know many presidents in Africa who do better?” “It’s constitutions that adapt to reality, not reality that adapts to constitutions.” Such naked campaigning from a diplomat is unusual. But Russia has a vital relationship to nurture.  Guinea holds the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the ore that is refined and smelted to produce aluminium. The Russian firm Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside Russia, sources more than a quarter of its bauxite from Guinea. Guinea’s importance to Russia grew immeasurably last year after the United States imposed sanctions on Rusal and its co-owner, the oligarch and close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. Sanctions have since been lifted on Rusal but not on Mr Deripaska. Young people block the road as they protest against a possible third term of President Alpha Conde on October 16, 2019, in Conakry Credit: AFP The significance of the relationship was underscored when Mr Bregadze stepped down as ambassador in May to head Rusal’s operations in Guinea. Other Russian firms also have mineral interests in Guinea. Tellingly, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a shadowy Kremlin associate linked to mercenary and mining outfits in Africa, is understood to have set up operations in Guinea. Mr Putin has wooed President Conde, too, twice inviting him to Moscow for talks. Guinea’s opposition has denounced what it says is Russian interference. Protesters last week made their feelings clear by blockading a Rusal-owned railway line used to transport bauxite. Their anger is likely to achieve little. Emboldened by Russian backing, Mr Conde has only cracked down harder. Last week, nine senior opposition figures were charged with insurrection. They face five years in prison. Given everything it has invested in Mr Conde, Russia cannot risk the opposition coming to power. When Mr Putin meets his guest in Sochi, he is likely to encourage him to persist with repression.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:54:27 -0400
  • Giuliani Mixes His Business With Role as Trump's Lawyer

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    WASHINGTON -- It is an extraordinary time in Washington, but it is more or less business as usual for Rudy Giuliani.He is a central figure in the impeachment inquiry. He is under scrutiny by federal prosecutors. But throughout the building controversy, Giuliani has continued to represent clients, broker deals and take on consulting contracts in Washington and around the world in ways that leave him subject to criticism that he is using his role as President Donald Trump's personal lawyer to open doors to the government and influence policy despite the questions about his own conduct.A few weeks ago, Giuliani secured a meeting, along with some other defense lawyers, with the head of the Justice Department's criminal division and attorneys in the fraud section. They were there to discuss a foreign bribery case for a client that Giuliani described as "very, very sensitive."Giuliani declined to divulge any details about the meeting, except to say it had nothing to do with legal issues facing him or Trump. Days after the meeting, it was revealed that Giuliani was under investigation himself for possible violations of foreign lobbying laws by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.Giuliani lashed out at what he said were efforts by congressional Democrats, as well as journalists and critics in the executive branch, to "destroy" his business."I really try very hard to be super-ethical and always legal," he wrote in a text message in response to questions about his meeting with the Justice Department. "But I can't publicly defend everything I do because I'm presumed guilty. If I did, my business and firm would be unable to have any clients. That's why this malicious torrent of questions is so damaging."Over the last year, he has circulated widely on television defending Trump, denouncing the special counsel's investigation into Russian election interference and trying to turn attention to what he says is wrongdoing by Democrats. Giuliani has meanwhile pursued a range of lucrative deals with clients around the world.That business development push coincided with a heightened demand for back channels to Trump, who swept into office without connections to the usual array of Washington gatekeepers and power brokers. Business and political leaders -- particularly in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union -- were willing to pay handsomely for relationships with Trump intimates that could give them access in Washington or additional credibility and stature at home.In one recent example that has not been disclosed in detail, Giuliani was retained this year to headline a team that was paid $425,000 to drum up American and foreign government support for a methane project in Uzbekistan that was also seeking Chinese financing, according to people familiar with the effort.That deal came after a string of others that have come under more scrutiny as Giuliani has pursued his work on Trump's behalf. He was paid $500,000 late last year by a company co-owned by a Ukrainian-American businessman who played a key role in facilitating the campaign to pressure Ukraine that Trump championed.Giuliani was paid what he described in an interview as "a reasonable amount of money" in 2017 by a Ukrainian Russian developer to create an emergency management plan for the developer's hometown in northeast Ukraine near the Russian border.And Giuliani's security company this year won a contract to consult for the Bahraini government, which described him as leading a "high-level United States delegation" when he visited to pitch his services to the king in December.While Giuliani insists he does not lobby, and says his contracts explicitly state that he will not, some of his clients and prospective clients said in interviews that they saw him as a conduit to the administration.For instance, while Giuliani was exploring work in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year, its ambassador to the United States said in an interview that his country was relying on Giuliani to act as a liaison as it sought to avoid further sanctions from the Trump administration.He has at times sought to shape American foreign policy to benefit his clients, pressing Trump and Rex Tillerson, then the secretary of state, during an Oval Office meeting in 2017 to consider releasing a jailed client, an Iranian Turkish gold trader, as part of a potential prisoner swap with Turkey.The scrutiny of Giuliani by federal prosecutors goes to whether some of his activities broke foreign lobbying laws. The prosecutors are looking in particular at Giuliani's efforts to undermine the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine then, Marie Yovanovitch, one person familiar with the case has said. The question would be whether he did so at the behest of, or to benefit, Ukrainian officials with whom he worked, some of whom had been intensely critical of Yovanovitch. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.Federal law requires Americans to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians, government officials or state-controlled companies, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Prosecuting violations of the law, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, has become a growing priority for the Justice Department.Beyond the legal issues, the appearance that Giuliani has been profiting from his role working for the president has raised ethical questions about his conduct.In the case of his recent meeting at the Justice Department, Giuliani declined to identify the client or subject covered, saying, "None of your business." He said he was one of several lawyers working on the case who attended."It's a completely privileged meeting," he said, "but it was a perfectly appropriate meeting."Giuliani requested the meeting to discuss a case related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars Americans from bribing foreign officials, according to people familiar with the meeting. They said it was attended by Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.A former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York who built an international consulting business over the last two decades, Giuliani saw the demand for his services spike in April 2018 when he joined the legal team helping Trump navigate the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.Some of the people involved with Giuliani's deals have already come under law enforcement scrutiny.Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian American businessman whose company paid Giuliani $500,000, was arrested last week along with three associates on campaign finance charges.Giuliani suggested that the money he received from a company called Fraud Guarantee that is co-owned by Parnas came from investors in the company. He declined to name the investors."I know exactly where it came from," he said. "It wasn't Russian money. It was American money."Among the recipients of an illegal straw donation that Parnas made using money from Igor Fruman, one of the associates arrested along with him, prosecutors alleged, was a congressman whom they asked to help remove Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador. She was seen by Parnas as blocking his efforts with Fruman to pursue deals in the gas industry in Ukraine, and by Trump allies as blocking the partisan investigations sought by the president.The congressman is not named in the indictment, but is Pete Sessions. The Texas Republican held a fundraiser last year featuring Giuliani, which Parnas and Fruman planned to attend, according to an associate. Sessions lost his reelection race last year and was subpoenaed this year for records related to his dealings with Parnas and Giuliani, according to people familiar with the request.House impeachment investigators have subpoenaed records from Giuliani related to his work with Parnas and Fruman, as well as various Giuliani clients in Ukraine.Impeachment investigators also have subpoenaed records from Giuliani related to a business called 45 Energy Group. The entity is a division of a company called 45 Group, which is owned by Healy Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign aide. The 45 Group was paid $425,000 by a foreign company seeking to build American support for the ethane/methane project in Uzbekistan.The 45 Group paid one of Giuliani's consulting companies some portion of that money to enlist his help.Giuliani said he "advised on that deal" and had worked on projects "over the years" with Baumgardner, who worked on Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign.Giuliani agreed to travel to Uzbekistan in early May to review the project, according to two people familiar with the plans, who said the foreign company's goal was to lend the appearance of support from Trump. But Giuliani never made the trip, and the company has since asked for money back from Baumgardner.She said that her team "fulfilled our consulting duties" but that she and Giuliani severed their connection to the project when she learned of the discussions with potential partners linked to the Chinese government, which could have required her and Giuliani to register as foreign agents for the project.She said her company "adheres to all U.S. laws" and ascribes to "the highest ethics," and she accused the Democrats who control the House of "unfairly targeting and harassing private citizens, like myself." She said, "I won't be bullied or intimidated by their witch hunts."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:23:58 -0400
  • Closing arguments up next in deadly prison breakout trial

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    Closing arguments are expected next week in the trial of an inmate accused of murder in a deadly attempted breakout that left four North Carolina prison workers dead. Jurors on Thursday heard grisly details about the disturbance in a video interview, The Virginian-Pilot reported. In the interview, Mikel Brady described striking prison guard Wendy Shannon until she stopped moving during the October 2017 escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 02:13:09 -0400
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