Sunday, 30 June 2019

Ball in Europe's court on nuclear deal's future - Iranian state TV

Ball in Europe's court on nuclear deal's future - Iranian state TVThe ball is in Europe's court to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions and prevent it from further scaling back compliance with its nuclear agreement with world powers, Iranian state TV said on Saturday, with days remaining on Tehran's ultimatum. Iran's envoy to a meeting of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord said on Friday that European countries had offered too little at last-ditch talks to persuade Tehran to back off from its plans to breach limits imposed by the deal.




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Tens of thousands join gay pride parades around the world

Tens of thousands join gay pride parades around the worldTens of thousands of people turned out for gay pride celebrations around the world on Saturday, including a boisterous party in Mexico and the first pride march in North Macedonia's capital. Rainbow flags and umbrellas swayed and music pounded as the march along Mexico City's Paseo de la Reforma avenue got underway, with couples, families and activists seeking to raise visibility for sexual diversity in the country. Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and gay marriage since 2009.




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Governor Cuomo signs legislation banning 'gay and trans panic' legal defense

Governor Cuomo signs legislation banning 'gay and trans panic' legal defenseThe defense had been used to justify violent reaction to finding out the person someone is with is gay or transgender.




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Defense rests in war crimes trial of U.S. Navy SEAL platoon leader

Defense rests in war crimes trial of U.S. Navy SEAL platoon leaderDefense lawyers in the murder trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL rested their case on Friday after three days of testimony contesting accusations that the platoon leader had fatally stabbed a wounded Iraqi captive and shot innocent civilians. The last defense witness called by lawyers for Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was Navy Lieutenant Commander Robert Breisch, who testified that no one made a report to him accusing Gallagher of war crimes while his platoon was in Iraq. Breisch, the SEAL Team 7 troop commander during the 2017 Iraq deployment in question, testified that complaints about Gallagher had only involved personal, petty issues or tactical grievances, until months after the troops returned.




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Trump Meets Kim at the DMZ: Useful Symbolism, but Little Substance Yet

Trump Meets Kim at the DMZ: Useful Symbolism, but Little Substance YetThe sight of President Donald Trump at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and being the first sitting U.S. president to cross over into North Korea was powerful symbolism indeed. It suggested that the collapse of the Hanoi summit may have been merely a temporary setback and the rapprochement between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was back on track. Whether or not that assumption proves true depends very much on how realistic Washington’s objectives are going forward.Despite partisan sniping back home, Trump deserves credit for making a serious effort to reduce the long-standing hostility between Pyongyang and Washington. Nothing symbolizes that frozen conflict more than the existence of the DMZ between North Korea and U.S. ally South Korea. Despite its ironic name, the DMZ is the most fortified border in the world. One should not dismiss the importance of symbolism; the sight of the two leaders using the DMZ as a cordial meeting place, and seeing an American leader enter the DPRK (however briefly) sends a message that a more peaceful future on the Peninsula is possible.




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Does Biden stand a chance in 2020 after Democratic debate?

Does Biden stand a chance in 2020 after Democratic debate?'The Daily Briefing' host Dana Perino reacts to the second night of Democratic presidential debates on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'




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Stephanie Grisham's unlikely path from Arizona politics to Trump's White House

Stephanie Grisham's unlikely path from Arizona politics to Trump's White HouseStephanie Grisham, Trump's new White House press secretary, had a bumpy ride through Arizona politics before ascending to Washington.




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O'Rourke visits Mexico, meets turned away US asylum seekers

O'Rourke visits Mexico, meets turned away US asylum seekersDemocratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke visited Mexico on Sunday and listened to tearful immigrants say they fled Central American violence and turmoil to seek asylum in the U.S., but were turned away at the border. A fluent Spanish speaker, O'Rourke met around a table at a shelter with immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, some of whom wept as they told of being denied entry into the U.S. while their asylum claims are processed. "We hope, by sharing these stories, that the conscience of our country is awoken right now, and the need to change the policies that we have in place" becomes apparent, O'Rourke said via a livestream on his Facebook page.




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Driving Honda's 150-MPH Lawn Mower Is a Scary-Fast Thrill Ride

Driving Honda's 150-MPH Lawn Mower Is a Scary-Fast Thrill RideHonda's Mean Mower V2 is a land-speed landscaping machine.




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DMZ diplomacy: Kim accepts Trump invite to meet at border

DMZ diplomacy: Kim accepts Trump invite to meet at borderPresident Donald Trump will meet Sunday with North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone separating the North and South, a day after he issued an unprecedented invitation and expressed willingness to cross the border for what would be a history-making photo op. South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that Kim accepted Trump's invitation to meet when the U.S. president visits the heavily fortified site at the Korean border village of Panmunjom. Trump said he looked forward to meeting with Kim, but sought to tamp down expectations, predicting it would be "very short," he said.




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Democrats divided as pressure to impeach builds: ‘What are you waiting for?’

Democrats divided as pressure to impeach builds: ‘What are you waiting for?’Dozens of Democrats have called for Trump impeachment proceedings in wake of Mueller’s report – but Pelosi has remained steadfast in opposing an inquiryNancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, on 27 June. ‘I don’t think we should go down that path,’ she said of impeaching Trump in March. Photograph: Alex Brandon/APIn the House of Representatives the apparently frustrated Democratic congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, had one question for the leadership of her party: when would they impeach Donald Trump?“The thing that we’re struggling with is that we don’t know what we’re waiting for in terms of a caucus. And folks that are saying, ‘No, not yet. Not yet.’ OK – accepting that that’s your position, what are you waiting for?” the New York socialist said to reporters this week. “Are you waiting for some kind of revelation?”That’s a question a growing number of Democrats are asking. Dozens of Democrats on Capitol Hill, including 2020 hopefuls such as Elizabeth Warren, have called for impeachment proceedings in the wake of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s damning report into Russia interference in the 2016 election, which also outlined numerous instances of obstruction of justice on the part of the president.Nor is it just leftwing firebrands like Ocasio-Cortez. One notable recent convert to the impeachment cause was California congresswoman Katie Porter, who announced her support by admitting: “I didn’t come to Congress to impeach the president.” But Porter added: “When faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the constitution.”Porter’s support struck a chord in Washington because, as the representative of a swing district, her announcement carried personal political risk. Most others who have called for impeachment hail from safely blue districts. Only one Republican – Michigan congressman Justin Amash – has signed up to the cause.The question now is, will the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, succumb to the growing pressure, or will she stand her ground? It is a fierce debate that is increasingly dividing the party, pitting pragmatists against ideologues, the leadership against its own members and advocates of policy who believe they have a constitutional duty to act against wrongdoing against those who prefer to wage politics and want to remove Trump by thrashing him at the 2020 ballot box.Pelosi has so far remained steadfast in opposing an impeachment inquiry on the grounds such a move would fail in the Republican-controlled Senate and could be politically divisive, potentially jeopardizing Democrats’ chances at ousting Trump via the ballot box in 2020.In March, she said in an interview with the Washington Post that impeachment would be “so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path”.A four-page summary later that month of Mueller’s report by William Barr, the Mueller critic Trump installed as attorney general, made that position seem prescient. Barr wrote in a letter to lawmakers that Mueller did not establish collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government and that he’d punted on the issue of obstruction. Barr and his then deputy, Rod Rosenstein, cleared Trump of charges that he sought to interfere with the inquiry.> When faced with a crisis of this magnitude, I cannot with a clean conscience ignore my duty to defend the constitution> > Katie PorterBut in April, Barr released a redacted version of Mueller’s 448-page report that revealed his initial summary – and a bizarre, pre-publication press conference in which the attorney general sought to spin the findings like he was a member of Trump’s defense team – to be wildly misleading.On the question of obstruction of justice, Mueller laid out a series of episodes in which Trump personally sought to undermine the investigation, including by firing former FBI director James Comey and attempting to fire the special counsel himself. The reason Trump was not charged with a crime, Mueller implied, is because he did not believe justice department protocol allowed for a sitting president to be indicted.Holding the president accountable, he suggested, would necessarily be Congress, not the criminal justice system.For some Democrats, like the congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Eric Swalwell, that was a call to action.“The congressman is concentrated on protecting our democracy and believes that a fair process will either remove a corrupt president or acquit him but inaction is no longer an option,” a representative for Swalwell said.The momentum behind impeachment may be having some impact. Pelosi has introduced the word into her vocabulary as of late, implying that she was keeping the door open to the possibility. But she has also stayed the course, tamping down criticism from her ranks that it’s Congress’s duty to hold the president accountable – regardless of whether it would succeed or not.Instead, she has called for Democrats to press on with their investigations, as well as to focus on kitchen table issues such as healthcare, which helped them take back the House in the 2018 midterms and can, she hopes, propel them to victory again in 2020.As the 2020 race heats up – the Democrats have had their first televised debate and Trump has officially launched his campaign – it is hard to say what Democrats will, or should, do.On the one hand, impeachment could prove divisive. While a growing majority of Democratic voters support such a move, some polls suggest that Americans overall remain split on the matter. There are fears that impeachment could backfire on Democrats in 2020 and gift Trump another four years in office are not completely unfounded. After all, Republicans lost House seats in 1998 and 2000 as they pursued the impeachment of Bill Clinton – something that has weighed on Pelosi, her colleagues told the Atlantic.Those losses are often overstated, however, and the situations are different, both in terms of the two presidents’ statures in the public’s eye and the nature of their conduct. Clinton, who retained high approval ratings during the course of his proceedings, was impeached over conduct largely unrelated to his presidency.Activists call for the impeachment of Donald Trump in New York City, on 15 June. Photograph: David Dee Delgado/Getty ImagesTrump, on the other hand, has seen underwater job approval ratings for the entire duration of his presidency. What’s more, the justification for his potential impeachment cuts to the heart of his duties as president. Trump has not only continued to insist he did nothing wrong and to block oversight investigations – he also said in a stunning interview recently that he would welcome foreign interference in the 2020 election if he thought it could help him win.Though Democrats appear uniformly frustrated and outraged by Trump’s conduct, some aren’t yet ready to greenlight impeachment.“I’m not yet calling to start an impeachment inquiry,” Florida congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat on the House judiciary committee, told the Guardian. “But I will also not keep waiting as the White House engages in this unprecedented stonewalling. Obstruction of an investigation of obstruction of justice is itself obstruction of justice.”For more than 70 lawmakers and counting, though, it’s time to start moving on the matter – both as a practical way of holding the president accountable and as an ethical and constitutional responsibility to send a message that nobody is above the law, even if they sit in the Oval Office.“The administration has refused to respect the rule of law,” Porter said announcing her support for an impeachment inquiry.“The question is not whether a crisis is in our midst,” she continued, “but rather whether we choose to fight against it.”




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Beto O'Rourke visits children at migrant housing facility downtown

Beto O'Rourke visits children at migrant housing facility downtownDuring his visit to Southwest Key's Casa Sunzal, O'Rourke said the children's situation is like the U.S. turning away Jewish refugees during World War II.




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Biden and school busing: Where he stood, what it means

Biden and school busing: Where he stood, what it meansThat Joe Biden, the man picked by America's first black president as his number two, should now be suffering attacks over his record on race might seem surprising. Senator Kamala Harris, the only black woman in the Democratic presidential field, forcefully questioned Biden on his opposition in the 1970s to court-ordered busing programs aimed at integrating public schools. Harris noted, in a quavering voice, that as "a little girl in California" she was "part of the second class to integrate her public schools" in a busing program.




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U.S. federal judge blocks use of some funds for border wall

U.S. federal judge blocks use of some funds for border wallU.S. President Donald Trump has sought to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but has so far proven unsuccessful at receiving congressional approval to do so. In February, the Trump administration declared a national emergency to reprogram $6.7 billion in funds that Congress had allocated for other purposes to build the wall, which groups and states including California had challenged. U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California said in a pair of rulings that the Trump administration's proposal to transfer Defense Department funds intended for anti-drug activities was unlawful.




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U.S. federal court delays adoption of healthcare rule on abortion

U.S. federal court delays adoption of healthcare rule on abortionThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its opponents in a California lawsuit agreed on Friday to delay implementing a rule that would allow medical workers to decline performing abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds, according to a federal court filing. The move comes after President Donald Trump's administration announced the rule earlier in May. It has also championed several policies to restrict abortion both in the United States and abroad. Delegations of Authority," the measure aims to protect conscience and religious rights surrounding abortion, sterilization and assisted suicide, HHS officials have said.




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Booker: Biden is 'causing a lot of frustration and even pain with his words'

Booker: Biden is 'causing a lot of frustration and even pain with his words'Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., criticized 2020 presidential rival Joe Biden on Sunday, saying the former vice president was doing a poor job of healing racial divisions in the country.




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UPDATE 1-Putin says Britain's May tough on Skripal poisoning case

UPDATE 1-Putin says Britain's May tough on Skripal poisoning caseRussian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he wanted to improve ties with Britain after they were strained by the poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil, but said Prime Minister Theresa May was taking a tough line on the issue. Putin met May at the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday. May's office said she asked Moscow to hand over the Russian suspects Britain blames for poisoning a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury, England last year.




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The new and improved Gay Street sign is all over NYC Pride Twitter

The new and improved Gay Street sign is all over NYC Pride TwitterThis year the New York City Pride March marks 50 years since the Stonewall Riot, and the parade is  bigger and more colorful than ever. As the march makes its way to Greenwich Village, one street sign in particular is popping up on social media as a symbol of 2019's much-needed focus on inclusion in the queer community. It's pure coincidence that Gay Street intersects with Christopher Street right near the Stonewall Inn -- the "Gay" of Gay Street is a family name -- but its location on the parade route makes it prime real estate for a statement on what pride means in 2019. Take a look:> The famous Gay Street sign, representing a wide spectrum of gender expression. Near Christopher Park in Greenwich Village, NYCPride pic.twitter.com/8vTUJKsr50> > -- ken ┬┴┬┴┤(・_├┬┴┬┴ (@kensadahiro) June 29, 2019The sign was one of many changes made around the city to celebrate Pride Month. > For the LGBT folks in the city today, I hope you all know that New York City will always stand with you. Enjoy PrideNYC today!!!! pic.twitter.com/FKpz1tEXQx> > -- Craig Anderson (@canderson1989) June 30, 2019The temporary changes to the Gay Street sign were part of an "Acceptance Matters" campaign by MasterCard, which raises questions about the place of corporations in New York's Pride Month celebrations. This particular installation seems to be popular on social media, however, for its reminder that every element of the LGBTQIA+ community deserves to feel proud of their identity.  WATCH: 'History repeats itself': LGBTQ elders discuss how Stonewall impacted their organizing during the AIDS crisis




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Undocumented immigrants should get health care, Julián Castro affirms

Undocumented immigrants should get health care, Julián Castro affirms“We're not going to let people living in this country die because they can't see a doctor.“




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Governor Cuomo signs legislation banning 'gay and trans panic' legal defense

Governor Cuomo signs legislation banning 'gay and trans panic' legal defenseThe defense had been used to justify violent reaction to finding out the person someone is with is gay or transgender.




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Biden scrambles after slipping in Democrats' debate

Biden scrambles after slipping in Democrats' debateA wounded Joe Biden scrambled to defend his frontrunner status Friday after getting pummeled over his record on race relations at a Democratic election debate, throwing the battle for the party's nomination to challenge President Donald Trump wide open. Watching from Japan, where he was attending the G20 summit, Trump licked his chops as the 10 Democrats at the Thursday night debate in Miami veered sharply to the left on immigration, health care, taxes and the ever-emotional subject of gun ownership. Biden, vice president under still highly popular ex-president Barack Obama, came in as the favorite, polling well ahead of Trump and all Democratic rivals.




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GOP senators set to return to Oregon Capitol after prolonged walkout over cap-and-trade bill

GOP senators set to return to Oregon Capitol after prolonged walkout over cap-and-trade billOregon's 11 Republican senators are ending a walkout protest over climate legislation that lasted more than a week and garnered national attention.




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'Back on track': Trump, Xi seal trade war truce

'Back on track': Trump, Xi seal trade war truceUS President Donald Trump on Sunday hailed trade talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as "far better than expected" and vowed to hold off on further tariffs as negotiations continue. The ceasefire that halts damaging trade frictions came after a hotly anticipated meeting between the leaders of the world's top two economies on the sidelines of the G20 summit.




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Saturday, 29 June 2019

Biden wounded as Democratic tensions boil over at debate

Biden wounded as Democratic tensions boil over at debateFor months, the 2020 Democratic campaign seemed mostly placid, even cordial. At Thursday’s presidential debate, those frictions came to the fore – and Joe Biden bore the brunt. The former vice president, 76, entered the debate as the front-runner, having led the pack of more than 20 Democratic candidates since he joined the race in April.




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Ethics panel launches Gaetz investigation over Cohen tweet

Ethics panel launches Gaetz investigation over Cohen tweetMatt Gaetz sent a tweet in February in which he threatened to release embarrassing personal information about Michael Cohen.




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Conservative organization using claims of 'secret list' of liberal judges to rally Republican base

Conservative organization using claims of 'secret list' of liberal judges to rally Republican baseThe Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative organization instrumental in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight, is calling on 2020 Democratic candidates to release what it says is a secret list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court.




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Kamala Harris Uses Her Story to Force Dems to Really Consider Race

Kamala Harris Uses Her Story to Force Dems to Really Consider RaceIt took a while to get there, but as anticipated, former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on race led to one of the most heated moments of Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate.Sen. Kamala Harris, who demonstrated her fierce prosecutorial acumen throughout the night, came at Biden for his “hurtful” comments about his friendly relations with segregationist senators in the 1970s, and then deftly pivoted to Biden’s own opposition to busing during that era, revealing that she was one of the young African-Americans who benefited from that desegregation program.Kamala Harris Hammers Biden for His Past Work With RacistsTrue to form, Biden reasserted his personal history on civil rights — ignoring the fact that Harris opened her attack by conceding that he is not a racist — and refused to apologize for his remarks about how “we got things done” with segregationists Democrats in the 1970s  or renounce his now politically untenable old position on busing.He condescendingly told Harris that it was her local City Council’s fault that she had to participate in busing in the first place, but his answer betrayed no empathy or compassion, just a stern defense of his own controversial record. When it comes to Biden’s long record in the Senate, he has failed to acknowledge how the compromises he is so proud of having forged frequently resulted in bad policy — ones whose impact often disproportionately landed on the backs of African-Americans. As Harris said of Biden’s old political allies in a post-debate interview, again stressing that she did not see Biden himself as a racist: “The consequences of their actions were very real, and on the shoulders of a history in our country of — really a very bad awful dark dangerous and lethal time.”This is not a problem singularly for Biden. The Democratic Party has been disappointing black voters for decades—and they may not be able to afford to come up short for them again.In a debate full of interruptions, forced talking points and uncomfortable exchanges, it may have been the discussion of racial matters that knocked a few of the top tier candidates off their game.Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was smoother than many of the more seasoned politicians on stage for the most part, didn’t navigate a question well about the racial tensions back home in South Bend, Indiana where a police shooting has resurrected past complaints about his sensitivity on race.Buttigieg, who has struggled to connect with black voters, at first seemed to take total responsibility for his local department’s lack of diversity (just 6 percent black, even though South Bend is about 26 percent black), but he also absolved himself of making a judgment call, since an investigation was still ongoing.Rep. Eric Swalwell, who spent most of the night trying to remind viewers how young he was, goaded the mayor by saying he should “fire the police chief,” by the end of the exchange Buttigieg could only shoot Swalwell an exasperated stare.Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose own struggles with winning over African-Americans are well-documented, also failed to seriously address a question about a previous comment he’d made which seemed to dismiss the significance of representation of women and minorities in the race.Meanwhile, Sen. Harris was able to steal focus repeatedly, and in this case she pulled rank on race as the often overpowered MSNBC moderators had to helplessly seed the floor to her. These exchanges laid bare the challenge before the Democratic contenders, who fate in the primaries and eventually the general election will have a lot to do with how much they can inspire and appeal to voters of color.There was plenty of talk about systematic racism, voting rights and even reparations, but there was only one person on stage who consistently was able to weave an accessible narrative around these issues.Harris spoke about race in very personal terms — pointing out that there isn’t a single black man she knew who hadn’t experienced some form of racial profiling. And she talked about being told by a white neighbor as a child that they could no longer play together because she was black.It was a different side of the senator than the no-nonsense Senate committee questioner that those who are casually familiar with her might have previously seen. And her performance tonight should earn her a second look or first look from Democratic voters.Arguably the greatest hinderance to her candidacy to date, may be the perception that a black woman may be deemed less electable than established white politicians like Sanders or Biden, but the rapturous applause that greeted her reference to the president and “her hand,” suggests that previously held perceptions of electability can and should be thrown out the window.Tonight, the most coherent compelling candidate onstage was a black woman and a distant second was a gay man. Electability is the eye of the beholder. And when Biden’s camp released a statement saying that the debate was “exactly what Trump wants,” it failed to see that this kind of reckoning on representation is actually exactly what Democratic voters want..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.




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Newark Airport reopens after being shut down due to 'airport emergency'

Newark Airport reopens after being shut down due to 'airport emergency'Newark Airport has reopened after it was shut down Saturday morning due to an "airport emergency."




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Indian mother, daughter have heads shaved after resisting gang rape

Indian mother, daughter have heads shaved after resisting gang rapeAn Indian mother and her daughter were beaten and had their heads shaved by a group of men after they resisted a gang rape attempt, police said on Friday, in the latest attack to highlight the dangers facing women in the country. Seven men, including a local government official, barged into the women's home late on Wednesday in northeastern Bihar with the intent of raping the teenage daughter, senior police officer Sanjay Kumar said. "When the mother and daughter protested, the men got angry and called a local barber, who shaved their heads," Kumar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.




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China warns of 'severe threats' to global order at G20

China warns of 'severe threats' to global order at G20China warned on Friday that protectionism and "bullying" were threatening the world order as President Xi Jinping met other leaders at the G20 summit ahead of high-stakes talks with Donald Trump. Xi met three of his African counterparts Friday morning on the sidelines of the G20 summit of major world economies, which opened in Osaka amid the US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions, and divisions over climate change. "All leaders in the meeting stressed that unilateralism, protectionism, and bullying practices are on the rise, posing severe threats to economic globalisation and international order, and severe challenges to the external environment of developing countries," Chinese foreign ministry official Dai Bing told reporters.




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Man charged with murder, kidnapping in case of missing Utah student Mackenzie Lueck

Man charged with murder, kidnapping in case of missing Utah student Mackenzie LueckA man has been charged in connection with the disappearance of missingUniversity of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck, CBS News reports




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UK PM May tells Putin to stop destabilizing activities: spokeswoman

UK PM May tells Putin to stop destabilizing activities: spokeswomanPrime Minister Theresa May told President Vladimir Putin on Friday that their countries can only have a different relationship if Russia stops the behavior that threatens to undermine international security, her spokeswoman said. May also Putin to hand over the Russia suspects Britain blames for poisoning a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury, southern England last year. "She told the president that there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the UK and its allies," the spokeswoman said.




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Trump reveals US companies will be allowed to sell to Huawei as China trade talks get ‘back on track’

Trump reveals US companies will be allowed to sell to Huawei as China trade talks get ‘back on track’Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have agreed to a new ceasefire in a yearlong trade war between the US and China during their meeting on Saturday at the G20 conference in Japan.Mr Trump said he had agreed with the Chinese president the US would refrain from raising tariffs on China’s imports for now while Beijing would buy more US agricultural products.“We’re holding back on tariffs and they’re going to buy farm products,” Mr Trump told a news conference at the end of a two-day summit in Osaka, claiming relations were “right back on track”.Mr Trump also said US companies can again sell products to the Chinese technology giant Huawei after an effective ban introduced in May. “We send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things they make,” he said.“I said, ‘That’s OK that we will keep selling that product.’ I’ve agreed to allow them to continue to sell that product so American companies will continue.”When asked whether Huawei would be formally removed from a US Commerce Department list of companies considered to undermines US national security, Mr Trump said that it would be discussed at “the very end” of trade talks. “We’re not discussing that with President Xi yet,” he said.Xinhua, the Chinese state-run news agency, confirmed the leaders had agreed that stalled trade talks would resume and that the US would hold off on threatened additional tariffs on Chinese goods.After posing for photographs with his counterpart at the sidelines of the G20, Mr Xi recounted the era of “ping-pong diplomacy” that helped jump-start US-China relations two generations ago.Since then, he said, “one basic fact remains unchanged: China and the United States both benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation ... Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation.”The US president had recently threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $300bn (£236bn) in Chinese imports – on top of the $250bn in goods he has already taxed – extending his import taxes to virtually everything China ships to the US.He has said the new tariffs, which are paid by US importers and usually passed onto consumers, might start at 10 per cent. Earlier, the administration had said additional tariffs might reach 25 per cent.The two countries have been sparring over the Trump administration’s allegations that Beijing steals technology and coerces foreign companies into handing over trade secrets. China denies it engages in such practices.The US has also tried to rally other nations to block Huawei from their upcoming 5G systems, branding the company a national security threat and barring it from buying US technology until Mr Trump’s announcement on Saturday.Under the newly agreed ceasefire scenario, existing tariffs and counter-tariffs on many of each other’s goods would remain in place. But no additional import taxes would take effect. This would buy time for US and Chinese officials to restart talks that stalled last month.Mr Trump said talks with Mr Xi went “probably even better than expected” and claimed the leaders enjoyed “an excellent relationship”.Additional reporting by agencies




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Biden's image as the inevitable nominee, the one to beat Trump, was dinged Thursday

Biden's image as the inevitable nominee, the one to beat Trump, was dinged ThursdayAnalysis: The problem for Joe Biden at the Democratic debate, Day 2, wasn't that he was so bad. It was that Kamala Harris was so good.




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Western liberalism is obsolete, warns Putin, ahead of May meeting

Western liberalism is obsolete, warns Putin, ahead of May meetingRussian president says the Salisbury poisonings are not worth ‘all this fuss’ and that liberals can no longer ‘dictate’ to anyone‘The average person listens and says “who are these Skripals?”’ Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times. Photograph: SPUTNIK/ReutersVladimir Putin has said ahead of his meeting with Theresa May at the G20 summit in Japan that relations between Britain and Russia should not suffer because of last year’s nerve agent attack on the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.The Russian president also used the interview with the Financial Times to claim that the election of Donald Trump as US president and the rise of nationalist-populist movements in Europe signaled the death of liberal policies in the west.“[Liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades,” he said. “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”The claims brought a short response from European council president Donald Tusk at the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday.“I strongly disagree with the main argument that liberalism is obsolete. Whoever claims that liberal democracy is obsolete, also claims that freedoms are obsolete, that the rule of law is obsolete and that human rights are obsolete,” he said. “For us in Europe, these are and will remain essential and vibrant values. What I find really obsolete are: authoritarianism, personality cults, the rule of oligarchs. Even if sometimes they may seem effective.”On the Skripals, Putin told the FT in an interview at the Kremlin that: “All this fuss about spies and counterspies is not worth interstate relations. This spy story, as we say here, is not worth 5 kopecks.“I think Russia and UK are both interested in fully restoring our relations – at least I hope a few preliminary steps will be taken.”Bilateral ties between Britain and Russia plummeted to a post-Cold War low last year when London accused Moscow of the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury.The Kremlin denies sending GRU military intelligence agents to Britain to carry out the attack, which triggered scores of diplomatic expulsions between Moscow and western countries.“The average person listens and says ‘who are these Skripals?’” Putin said. “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it … but traitors must be punished.” Putin has previously called Skripal a “scumbag.”The G20 summit takes place in Osaka on Friday and Saturday. May’s spokesman has said she will use the meeting with Putin to ensure that Britain’s stance on “Russia’s wider pattern of malign behaviour” has been fully grasped by the Kremlin.Putin described German chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than a million refugees – most of whom were fleeing the war in Syria – into Germany as a “cardinal mistake”.In contrast, he was full of praise for Trump’s attempts to prevent migrants from entering the US from Mexico. “This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected.”Putin also tried to defend Russia’s record on LGBT+ rights. “I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish,” Putin said. “But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.”Moscow has been criticised internationally for its so-called anti-gay propaganda law, which bars the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to children. Human rights groups say the law, which Putin approved in 2013, has sparked a spike in homophobic violence. A UN panel ruled last year that the law was in violation of a legally binding international treaty on human rights.




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18 kidnapping victims found 'enslaved' in Houston home: Police

18 kidnapping victims found 'enslaved' in Houston home: PoliceAuthorities arrested and charged five people who allegedly kidnapped, smuggled and sexually assaulted multiple people in Houston.




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Who won the Democrats' second debate? Our panelists' verdicts

Who won the Democrats' second debate? Our panelists' verdictsA combative Democratic debate saw clashes on race and healthcare policy – and many more attacks on Trump. Our experts weigh in Kate Aronoff: Democrats – and America – need better than BidenJoe Biden has been running for president on the idea that he’s the best equipped to beat Donald Trump. Tonight’s debate shed considerable doubt on that premise. If this is how he performs against his opponents on the same side of the aisle – clinging desperately to the legacy of an administration he didn’t lead – then how do we think he’ll fare against the most talented bully in American politics?Other candidates performed impressively. Bernie Sanders had the clearest ideas on how to improve the lives of people in this country and take on vested interests hoarding wealth and power. But Kamala Harris delivered the night’s and possibly the cycle’s most powerful moment when she challenged Biden on his history of supporting racist policies and politicians. In response, he got as defensive as a grandfather going up against his kids at a Thanksgiving table, taking pains to clarify precisely which type of desegregation he opposed in the 1970s. America deserves better. * Kate Aronoff is a writing fellow at In These Times. She covers elections and the politics of climate change Art Cullen: One of the real winners was actually Elizabeth WarrenKamala Harris wowed early when, during shouting chaos among the 10 candidates, she reminded the other candidates that Americans “don’t want a food fight; they want to know how to put food on the table”. She was powerful, precise and put her formidable legal skills to work on camera attacking Joe Biden’s record on race and bussing.Biden worked hard to tie himself to President Obama and aggressively defend his civil rights record, but he struggled under Harris’s withering prosecutor-style cross-examination.One of the debate’s other winners wasn’t even present: Elizabeth Warren – who, along with Harris, has clearly taken Bernie Sanders’ mantle as flag-bearer for the progressive base. Sanders started the revolution, but Warren and Harris seem poised to execute it. * Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Iowa and won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. He is the author of Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope Moira Donegan: Harris was the only real standoutAt once more scripted, less policy-oriented, and more emptily contentious than Wednesday’s debate, the second Democratic presidential debate was mostly a competition to outshine the current frontrunner, Joe Biden.Kamala Harris succeeded; few of the other candidates managed to convey their message as effectively. Harris emphasized economic justice and conveyed her policy agenda through a series of morally charged anecdotes about struggling families, including her own: she adeptly attacked Biden’s record on race by invoking her own childhood as a beneficiary of school bussing. She also had one of the best sound bites of the night, when the debate devolved into one of several shouting matches: “America does not want to witness a food fight; they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.”Biden tried to continue coasting on leftover goodwill from his time in the Obama administration, delivering answers thin on details and thick with platitudes. His vague and non-committal description of the country he would build as president seemed to accomplish little aside from reifying the message he gave rich donors at a recent fundraiser: “Nothing would fundamentally change.” * Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist Malaika Jabali: No one really wonIn a Democratic debate that was obnoxious, contentious, and spent the first 30 minutes largely setting up socialism and progressive policies – like free healthcare, free education, and taxing the wealthy – as impracticable and not the popular positions that they are, no one really won.Nevertheless, within these confines Kamala Harris succeeded. She was assertive but composed, she forcefully addressed racism, and she pushed Biden on his anti-bussing record. Her prosecutorial record will be scrutinized as the race draws on, but tonight she has much to celebrate. * Malaika Jabali is a public policy attorney, writer, and activist whose writing has appeared in Essence, Jacobin, the Intercept, Glamour and elsewhere Geoffrey Kabaservice: Biden was out of step with his own partyKamala Harris was the standout in tonight’s debate, bringing a force, focus, and fire that had been missing since her campaign rollout.Her gains came directly at Joe Biden’s expense and punctured the image he’d cultivated of an above-the-fray front runner. Their viral clash on bussing as a means of achieving racial balance in schools hammered home not only how out of step Biden is with the Democratic left’s evolving stance on identity issues but also his age – since Harris was a schoolchild when Biden was cutting deals with former segregationists.Harris’s victory may be pyrrhic, however, since bussing is an unpopular subject with a long history of widening divisions between Democrats. * Geoffrey Kabaservice is the director of political studies at the Niskanen Center in Washington DC as well as the author of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party Doug Pagitt: Harris won the roomThree candidates clearly had the energy in the room tonight: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris. While the other candidates had their moments, there was no doubt that the applause and focused interest in the room was behind those three.As someone who organizes religious people to vote for Democratic candidates, I found it interesting to hear the enthusiastic and prolonged applause for Pete Buttigieg when he said that the Christian faith calls us to care for kids and not put them in cages and he called out the hypocrisy of the Trump administration. It seemed like an indicator that there is interest and enthusiasm for Democratic candidates who talk about faith.Of all the candidates, Biden issued the most forceful denunciations of Trump, and the crowd ate it up. But by the end of the debate it became clear how much passion there is for Harris. I’m not sure how it came across on television, but to those of us inside the room she projected powerful charisma and confidence. * Doug Pagitt is the founding pastor of Solomon’s Porch, a holistic missional Christian community in Minneapolis, Minnesota




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Iraqi general, U.S. Marine dispute murder charge against Navy SEAL

Iraqi general, U.S. Marine dispute murder charge against Navy SEALAn Iraqi general and a U.S. Marine testifying in the murder trial of a U.S. Navy SEAL said on Thursday they never saw the platoon leader stab a wounded detainee in the neck, disputing the central allegation in the prosecution's war crimes case. A sworn deposition of Major General Abbas al-Jubouri, videotaped in San Diego earlier this month, was played for the seven-member jury on the second day of defense testimony in the court-martial of Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. Contrary to prior testimony that Gallagher, or a medic on his team, had acted deliberately to cause the death of a helpless Islamic State fighter in their custody, Jubouri said the Navy SEALs did all they could to save the teenager's life.




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Kamala Harris Is Surging and Birtherism Is Back

Kamala Harris Is Surging and Birtherism Is BackPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyKamala Harris broke out from the other nine Democrats onstage during the second Democratic presidential primary debate on Thursday, calling on her personal experiences of racial injustice as a black woman.“As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race,” Harris said.That’s when she was attacked on Twitter by a conservative provocateur for not being an “American black.” It’s a play straight out of the racist birther playbook used against Barack Obama when he ran for president a decade earlier. This time, though, those kinds of allegations don’t have to circulate for years on obscure right-wing forums before they reach a mainstream audience. On Thursday night, spammers and even one of President Trump’s sons spread the attack to millions of people within hours. Kamala Harris Shows She’s Here to Capture the CrownHarris, 54, was born in Oakland, California to a father from Jamaica and a mother from India. She spoke of her experience growing up black in the debate, recalling a story about neighbors who wouldn’t let their children play with Harris and her sister because of the color of their skin.The attacks on Harris’s background started Thursday when Ali Alexander tweeted she is not an “American black.” “She is half Indian and half Jamaican,” Alexander wrote. “I'm so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It's disgusting. Now using it for debate time at DemDebate2? These are my people not her people. Freaking disgusting.”Alexander’s claim was picked up by Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted it to his nearly 3.6 million followers. “Is this true?” Trump Jr. wrote. “Wow.”Trump Jr., who later deleted his tweet, wasn’t the only one using Alexander’s tweet to question Harris’s ethnicity. Harris’s team denounced the comment as racist. “This is the same type of racist attacks his father used to attack Barack Obama. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now,” a Harris spokesperson told The Daily Beast.More Twitter users copied and pasted Alexander’s message verbatim and tweeted it as their own, according to screenshots posted by writer Caroline Orr. Some of those accounts, like “@prebs_73,” have copy-pasted other popular right-wing tweets verbatim. Other accounts with right-wing references in their usernames and biographies piled on, accusing Harris of not being black.“Ummmmm @KamalaHarris you are NOT BLACK. you are Indian and Jamaican,” wrote a Twitter user with a cross emoji, the word “CONSERVATIVE,” a red “X” emoji (a right-wing Twitter trope), and three stars (a QAnon symbol) in their username.At least one known network of bot accounts was found spreading Alexander’s original tweet, BuzzFeed reported.Shireen Mitchell, a technologist and founder of the group Stop Online Violence Against Women, said the accusation against Harris plays into a long-running debate that has been used to drive a white nationalist wedge through black communities.“We are and have always been, for centuries in this country, having this little fight about who gets opportunities as black people and who doesn’t,” Mitchell said. “That includes colorism; that includes distinctions of where the ship actually landed; it includes if you are (and I am) a descendant of a slave who was born here versus a descendant of slavery from another country. Those distinctions, from my perspective, make no sense ever. But what it does is allow for white nationalist and nativist conversations to be planted in my community.”A spokesman for Trump Jr. said Trump sent the tweet originally because he had not known that Harris’s mother was Indian. “Don’s tweet was simply him asking if it’s true that Kamala Harris was half-Indian because it’s not something he had ever heard before and once he saw that folks were misconstruing the intent of his tweet he quickly deleted it,” the spokesman said. Alexander, who describes himself as black and Arab, said that Harris has a “nasty, lying history with Black people.” “Me pointing out that Kamala Harris has a mother from India and a father from Jamaica went viral last night because many people assume she descends from Black American Slaves,” he said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “She does not. I corrected Kamala Harris last night because she stole debate time under the premise that she is an African-American when she is in fact a biracial Indian-Jamaican who is a first generation American.”This isn’t the first time pro-Trump activists have tried to undermine Harris and her authority to speak on issues of race based on her parents. In January, right-wing operative Jacob Wohl, an associate of Alexander, argued on Twitter that Harris was ineligible to be president because her parents weren’t from the United States, even though she was born in California. Wohl’s claims were circulated by other right-wing figures online, in an attempt to create a birther-style question about whether Harris could legally run for president.Mitchell, who has monitored harassment campaigns against black women since 2013, said Harris is facing a new, digital permutation of the birther conspiracy theory attacks President Trump levied against Obama.“It’s a different iteration of birtherism: ‘where were you born?’ She was born in Oakland!” Mitchell said, referring to the conspiracy theory that falsely accused Obama of being born outside the U.S. “The conversation is, no matter who we are, our blackness should be challenged because what we look like is not ‘American enough.’”Mitchell draws a distinction between two kinds of fraudulent accounts that try to discredit black people online. Botnets, an automated network of fake accounts, often tweet the same message. The technique allows a message to spread far and fast, with little effort. Some of the copy-paste accounts sharing Alexander’s message appear to be operated by real people. Mitchell also monitors a trend called “marionetting,” in which someone will falsely pose as a black person online to push ideas that many black people might otherwise find objectionable. Recent examples of marionetting include a troll who stole a black transgender activist’s picture to pose as a Trump supporter, and Russian-run accounts like “Blacktivist” that impersonated black Americans to sway black voters away from Hillary Clinton in 2016.“I actually thought the botnet was going to die, because I felt like more marionetting was happening ... After this debate, I saw more botnets responding again, versus just marionetting.”Fraudulent accounts often rely on stereotypes that trolls hope to apply to a collection of fake accounts, Mitchell said.“The ‘black enough’ line has been a stereotypical frame,” she said. “It has always been a systemic narrative. It’s just being expanded in this national debate”‘Digital Blackface’: Pro-Trump Trolls Are Impersonating Black People on TwitterRead 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.




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Wide-eyed Joe Biden dodges Bernie Sanders' hand in viral debate moment

Wide-eyed Joe Biden dodges Bernie Sanders' hand in viral debate momentIn a brief, yet viral, moment during the Democratic debates Thursday, Joe Biden had a wide-eyed response and a slight dodge from Bernie Sanders' hand.




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U.S. Supreme Court declines Alabama bid to revive abortion restriction

U.S. Supreme Court declines Alabama bid to revive abortion restrictionThe U.S. Supreme Court on Friday sidestepped a major new challenge to abortion rights by declining to hear Alabama's bid to revive a Republican-backed state law that would have effectively banned the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy.




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US deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar amid Iran tensions

US deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar amid Iran tensionsThe US has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said Friday, adding to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid tensions with Iran. The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed "to defend American forces and interests," the US Air Forces Central Military Command said in a statement that did not specify how many of the hi-tech planes had been sent. A photo handout showed five of the jets flying above the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.




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Israel and Hamas Reach Truce to Restore Quiet, Army Radio Says

Israel and Hamas Reach Truce to Restore Quiet, Army Radio Says(Bloomberg) -- Israel and Hamas reached a truce on Friday that would halt attacks against Israeli farmland in return for measures to ease the economic blockade on Gaza, according to a report by Israeli Army Radio.Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, would stop launching incendiary balloons that for the past year have torched thousands of acres of forest and agricultural land, and in exchange Israel would expand the enclave’s fishing zone, and return 60 confiscated boats and diesel supplies for the area’s main power plant, according to the radio station.Though the concessions made by Israel are small, they would provide some relief for Gaza and its roughly 2 million residents, who are cut off from other economies by their immediate neighbors, Israel and Egypt.To contact the reporter on this story: Yaacov Benmeleh in Tel Aviv at ybenmeleh@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Constantine Courcoulas, Taylan BilgicFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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Bernie Sanders claims 'ageism' after Eric Swalwell attacked him and Joe Biden in Democratic debate

Bernie Sanders claims 'ageism' after Eric Swalwell attacked him and Joe Biden in Democratic debateVermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 77, was responding to attacks from Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38. "Judge people on the totality of who they are," he said.




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This Is the Battle That Decided World War II (Not What You Think)

This Is the Battle That Decided World War II (Not What You Think)While the tactical result of the battle was stunning – the U.S. sunk four Japanese fleet carriers Hiryu, Soryu, Kaga and Akagi, a heavy cruiser and destroyed 248 enemy aircraft – it is the perilous backdrop of America’s war fortunes in 1942 that make Midway’s tide-turning outcomes all the more significant.  Thursday, June 6th saw the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, the amphibious assault phase of Operation Neptune, or what we commonly remember as D-Day.  U.S. troops who landed at Normandy – particularly at Omaha Beach – waded ashore amidst a storm of chaos, a blizzard of machine gun fire, and a hail of plunging mortars.  Despite great confusion and casualties, at the squad level and below, the men at Omaha rallied and pressed forth with tenacity and nerve to breach sand-berms and barricades, neutralize enemy positions, and salvage their sectors.  Losses at Omaha were immense – but American resolve helped establish a foothold on the coast of France – and “the rest,” they say, “is history.”(This appeared earlier in June 2019.)Without doubt, the enormous importance of D-Day as a logistical and operational undertaking – and the gallantry of Allied forces that June morning is unquestioned.  It rightfully exemplifies American character, courage, and commitment. However, it is important to note that as far as the battle’s strategic significance is concerned, a strong case can be made that other battles of World War II are more critical than D-Day.The Battle of Midway in 1942 is one.




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Indian women's heads shaved for 'resisting' rape

Indian women's heads shaved for 'resisting' rapeAn Indian mother and her daughter had their heads shaved and were paraded through their village after resisting an attempted rape by men including a local official, police said Friday. The world's largest democracy has an abysmal record on sexual crime against women, particularly in rural areas where the majority of the 1.3-billion population lives. Ward councillor Mohommad Khurshid forcibly entered the women's home in the eastern state of Bihar on Wednesday with other men and allegedly attempted to rape the newly married 19-year-old daughter, police told AFP.




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Friday, 28 June 2019

Uruguay withdraws from OAS meeting over Venezuela opposition delegation

Uruguay withdraws from OAS meeting over Venezuela opposition delegationUruguay on Thursday withdrew from a meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) being held in Medellin, Colombia, in protest of the presence of what it said was an illegitimate delegation from Venezuela. The incident, on the first of two days of meetings, laid bare a lack of consensus in the organization over whether to increase pressure on embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who is backed by some member states but called a dictator by others. The country's opposition, lead by National Assembly head Juan Guaido, appointed Gustavo Tarre as its representative to the body.




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Kamala Harris Just Taught a Debate Clinic. You’re Welcome.

Kamala Harris Just Taught a Debate Clinic. You’re Welcome.(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It’s a fool’s game to predict how voters will react to nomination debate performances – or, for that matter, how the media will construct the story of any debate. So I won’t play that game.What I will say is that Senator Kamala Harris of California put on a clinic Thursday night in how to do these events. From early on in the second Democratic presidential debate until her final statement, she earned her place in the upper tier of candidates who have ever participated in these events. Again, that doesn’t guarantee anything; Barack Obama won a nomination despite never really mastering that particular format, while several candidates who were good at debates never went anywhere. But yes, Harris is good at it.The centerpiece is the clip you’ll be seeing, in which Harris took on Joe Biden on the issue of, of all things, busing – a policy question that’s been out of the news for decades. It was in some ways a fascinating moment in U.S. political history, in which questions of race and ethnicity, generational change, education, political efficacy, and more all came together. But as to executing a plan, Harris pulled it off about as well as anyone could have. (And we know that it was a planned attack, because Harris’s media folks had material ready to go once it happened.)The thing is that when Harris interrupted to gain control of the floor in order to launch her attack, it was already (at least) the second time that she had effectively shushed the other candidates. It was a messy night, with lots of cross-talk and interruptions, but Harris was repeatedly effective at seizing moments when she wanted to.Of course, that wouldn’t help if she didn’t know what to do once people focused on her. But her answers were consistently solid. She’s excellent at shifting from anecdotes to policy, excellent at feeling her way to time limits – and excellent at exceeding the time limit without (in my view at least) seeming pushy or obnoxious. And her closing statement, in which she promised to prosecute the case against Donald Trump, was a strong way of labeling what she had been doing all night, and arguing that her particular skills are the right ones for the general election.Again: All of this is essentially theater criticism. We’ll just have to wait and see whether it will play well with Democratic party actors, with the media, and directly or indirectly with rank-and-file Democratic voters. What we do know is that Harris doesn’t need any immediate polling surge to at least stay in the conversation for the next few months, and she has quite a bit of support from party actors already – suggesting that if she does surge, she’ll be in good position to take advantage of it.It’s worth mentioning that all Harris would have to do is win the support of some of the undecided members of the California U.S. House delegation to move into first place in the endorsement race, at least according to the FiveThirtyEight accounting.As far as the rest of the night? I thought Pete Buttigieg probably did what his supporters were hoping for. Joe Biden had some solid moments, but all that’s going to matter for him is how people are going to read his exchange with Harris, so we’ll have to wait on that as well. I didn’t see anyone else who entered with a plausible chance and who really helped himself or herself. In particular, it’s hard to believe that anyone who wasn’t already in the Bernie Sanders camp was persuaded by his performance, which is the exact same thing he’s been doing since the 2016 primaries.It will also be interesting whether the candidates who did well during the Wednesday night debate wind up overshadowed by Harris (and Biden) on Thursday, or if they can retain some of the attention they earned.There’s going to be one more round very similar to these debates at the end of July. After that, there’s a two-month break, and then a September debate with a much more difficult threshold for earning an invitation. We’re about to go through a series of second-quarter fundraising disclosures, which not only count as evidence of how the candidates are doing but also generates helpful attention going forward from those who do well. So as far as the horse race is concerned, these debates won’t keep anyone in the headlines for long anyway. But for those of us who appreciate political skills, it was impressive to see Harris at work. To contact the author of this story: Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




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Palestinians protest on Gaza-Israel fence after truce

Palestinians protest on Gaza-Israel fence after truceThousands of Palestinians protested along the volatile Gaza-Israel frontier on Friday, hours after Israel and the territory's Hamas rulers confirmed an agreement to honor a past cease-fire. The unofficial truce, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, emphasizes calm in exchange for Israeli measures to improve living conditions in the blockaded Palestinian enclave. Gaza's health ministry said 19 of them were wounded by live fire.




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U.S. House passes Senate border aid bill, sends to Trump for signature

U.S. House passes Senate border aid bill, sends to Trump for signatureThe U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a Senate-passed bill providing $4.6 billion to address a surge of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico, sending it to President Donald Trump for his signature after Democrats abandoned efforts to add additional migrant protections. Both the White House and the Senate opposed the changes House Democratic leaders had proposed, and a number of moderate Democrats also favored passing the Senate bill without changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said shortly before the vote that her colleagues were giving up their fight for now.




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