Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Can we stop pretending that Joe Biden is the inevitable 2020 candidate?‘Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton 2.0.’ Photograph: Charlie Neibergall/APMuch like Hillary Clinton in 2016, Joe Biden’s Democratic primary campaign has thus far cloaked itself in an aura of inevitability. You might not like Joe Biden. He might say racist or sexist stuff from time to time. His gaffes might be occurring at an alarming rate. He might have uninspiring policy ideas. But he’s going to win the primary anyway, so you better get used to him.That was the subtext, at least, and an explanation for how banal Biden’s campaign has been so far. If victory is certain, why not hold the ball and milk the clock? Jill Biden, the former vice-president’s wife, made the case bizarrely explicit on MSNBC earlier this week. “Your candidate might be better on, I don’t know, health care, than Joe is,” Biden said, “but you’ve got to look at who’s going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, ‘Okay, I personally like so-and-so better,’ but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.”To be sure, Joe Biden is leading among Democrats thus far. The RealClearPolitics average has him ahead of Bernie Sanders by around 12 points, and he has the support of major party funders. But less than a third of Democratic voters are planning to vote for Biden, down from more than 40% the week after his 25 April announcement. An Economist/YouGov poll from this week shows the race narrowing to within the margin of error – Biden at 22%, Sanders at 19%, and Elizabeth Warren at 18%.Biden’s fundraising picture also looks less rosy than it did back in May. He’s still the preferred choice of big party donors, but grassroots enthusiasm is receding. After raising an impressive $4.6m online on this first day of his campaign in April, things have slowed to a trickle. As Politico reports, Biden’s median online daily fundraising by the end of June was just $67,000 a day, considerably below Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.> The case for Biden’s invincibility is baffling – he’s been running for the Democratic nomination (and losing) since the 80sSanders is an especially important benchmark for Biden. They seem to be competing over much the same base – working class, diverse, not college educated – and either would benefit from the other’s downfall. Despite a narrative earlier this summer of campaign dysfunction and imminent collapse, recent polls have showed that the Vermont senator in a steady position within striking distance of Biden. Sanders has a rabid base of volunteers, superior online fundraising infrastructure, and his existing support may even be undercounted by most polls.Yet the media narrative continues to paint Sanders as a fringe pariah and Biden as the inevitable 2020 candidate. It’s reminiscent of the 2016 Republican primaries, in which Donald Trump was considered an unserious candidate whose support was continually underestimated. The serious commentators kept waiting for an establishment wave of moderate Republicans to make first Jeb Bush, then Marco Rubio, and then even Ted Cruz happen.The case for Biden’s invincibility is especially baffling – he’s been running for the Democratic nomination (and losing) since the 1980s. It simply boils down to Obama coalition supporters (particularly black and brown voters) going with the most familiar face to rid of Trump era upheavals.But electability is just one element of what voters are looking for, and Biden is running on nothing else. He has failed to adequately address his past positions in favor of Medicare and Social Security cuts, his engineering of loathed free trade deals, or his opposition to important desegregation measures.While other candidates are galvanizing people around Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and calls to redistribute wealth and power from the 1% to working Americans, Biden is offering nothing. Poke one hole in his electability bubble and his campaign looks ready to implode.This early in the race things are constantly changing – many people are still undecided and won’t start paying attention until much later on – so we would do ourselves a lot of good not to live and die with every poll. However, if there is one lesson from the 2016 general election worth remembering it’s this: most people might have not liked Donald Trump, but he gave those who did a real reason to turn out on Election Day. He was a candidate with very obvious convictions running against someone who seemed to focus group and triangulate her every position.Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton 2.0. Perhaps Trump’s time in office has been enough of a disaster that idea-avoidance will work this time. But if voters want to be inspired, they’ll turn elsewhere or just stay at home again. Who knows, Jill Biden might even join them. * Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin magazine and a Guardian US columnist. He is the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality
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LONDON/PARIS/BERLIN, Aug 23 (Reuters) - After sterling soared and some British newspapers roared at a supposed Brexit victory for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Europe's power brokers had a more sobering message: the basic divorce deal is not changing. Enter PM Johnson, an avowed Brexiteer whose bet is that the threat of a disorderly 'no-deal' exit will convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU must grant him the divorce deal he wants.
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3 Russian teen sisters on trial for killing their father, citing years of horrific abuse, put a spotlight on domestic violence in the country
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More than 100 Russian medical workers who helped treat victims of a recent mysterious explosion at a military testing range have undergone checks and one man has been found with a trace of radiation, officials said Friday. It was followed by a brief rise in radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk, but the authorities insisted it didn't pose any danger. The Arkhangelsk regional administration said Friday that 110 medical workers have undergone checks that one man was found with a low amount of radioactive cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.
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Iran unveiled its new home-grown air defence system on Thursday at a time of increased tensions with the United States. Iranian officials have previously called Bavar-373 the Islamic republic's first domestically produced long-range missile defence system. Tehran began making Bavar -- which means "believe" -- after the purchase of Russia's S-300 system was suspended in 2010 due to international sanctions.
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A North Carolina man has been arrested after holding a woman and her 8-month-old baby captive for over a month, authorities said.The Pender County Sheriff’s department said in a press release they received an emergency call on 9 August from a woman who said she was being held against her will at a home in Willard, North Carolina.
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An explosion that killed five Russian scientists during a rocket engine test this month was followed by a second blast two hours later, the likely source of a spike in radiation, Norway's nuclear test-ban monitor said on Friday. The second explosion was likely from an airborne rocket powered by radioactive fuel, the Norsar agency said - though the governor of Russia's Arkhangelsk region, where the blast took place, dismissed reports of another blast. "The aftermath of the incident does not carry any threat," the governor, Igor Orlov, told the Interfax news agency.
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A New York Times reporter who was assigned to cover the now-deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein refused to do so due to his close personal relationship with the alleged pedophile, NPR reported Friday.In August of last year, veteran New York Times financial correspondent Landon Thomas Jr. was asked to investigate a tip that Epstein was advising Tesla founder Elon Musk. Thomas refused, telling his editors that he would not jeopardize Epstein as a source by reporting on him directly.Thomas, who had relied on Epstein as a source since the early 2000s, also admitted they had become such close friends that Epstein donated $30,000 to a Harlem cultural center at his request.“Soliciting a donation to a personal charity is a clear violation of the policy that governs Times journalists' relationships with their sources,” Times chief spokesperson Eileen Murphy told NPR. “As soon as editors became aware of it, they took action.”Thomas left the Times in January but it remains unclear whether the departure was related to his relationship with Epstein.The NPR article also detailed the tactics that Epstein and his legal team, led by Alan Dershowitz, used to kill negative stories in the press.A former editor at Vanity Fair said that the magazine's former editor-in-chief, Graydon Carter, believed that Epstein was responsible for a series of threats made against him in 2003 after he assigned a reporter to explore how Epstein earned his fortune. A severed cat head was delivered to Carter's home in Connecticut and a bullet was mailed to his Manhattan apartment.Epstein died of an apparent suicide in federal custody in New York on August 10. He was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.Like Thomas, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Katie Couric, and Woody Allen also kept in touch with Epstein after his 2008 prosecution for soliciting prostitutes, many of whom were teenage girls he lured to his home with the promise of cash for massages. All three attended a dinner at Epstein's house in December 2010.
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KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEVMOSCOW–Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen held in Russia on suspicion of spying, looked pale and sick when his prison guards brought him to Lefortovo court on Friday. He said he had been beaten and is suffering from a hernia, but his condition is hardly a surprise after eight months in Moscow’s Lefortovo, a prison run but the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB, and it looks like Whelan has learned only too well how incarceration there operates.Whelan is facing 20 years in Russian prison for spying, after accepting a flashcard that allegedly contains some sensitive information. His family is far away, he does not speak the Russian language, and on top of everything the 49-year-old security manager for a Michigan-based auto parts company is suffering from a painful inguinal hernia, with part of his intestine having ruptured the abdominal wall.Paul Whelan, Accused U.S. Spy Held in Moscow, Says a Russian Investigator Threatened His LifeWhen the judge suggested calling an ambulance in the middle of the hearing on Friday morning, Whelan rejected the idea, as a useless waste of time: “The nurses won’t take me to a hospital, they will only check my blood pressure, temperature, and say, ‘You are fine,’” he told the court.By now Whelan must have learned the rules and brutal methods in Russian prisons. “No ordinary ambulance can take a prisoner who is under FSB investigation to the hospital,” Alexander Cherkasov, chair of the Memorial Human Rights Center told The Daily Beast. “There is a specialized hospital 20 where they normally take sick prisoners, after a certain bureaucratic procedure.”Also, no Russian nurse working for an ambulance carries strong painkillers. (Russian doctors are not allowed to prescribe strong drugs even for people dying in agonizing pain, so Russians suffer from pain all over the country, many committing suicide.)Whelan looked and sounded doomed. He said that his health condition worsened after his prison guard beat him. The incident happened earlier this month, when Whelan was being moved from one cell to another. Whelan’s lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, told The Daily Beast, “I have checked: prison guards did not know that my client had a hernia, they made him carry all his stuff himself to a different cell. The treatment in Lefortovo is inhuman.” On Friday, Whelan told the judge, “If you call for a doctor who would hospitalize me, I don’t mind calling for the ambulance.” But just as he predicted, the nurses on call checked him right at Lefortovo Court and decided against his hospitalization.Whelan, who holds U.S., Canadian, British, and Irish passports, was arrested on December 28 in his hotel room a few steps away from the Kremlin. His lawyer Zherebenkov predicted early on the way the case was likely to develop: “They will pickle Paul for a year or more, as he is clearly just a pawn; and then they will swap him for some important Russian kept in American prison,” the lawyer told The Daily Beast in January.Almost eight months later Zherebenkov still has not seen any solid evidence establishing his client’s guilt. “The FSB investigation has not presented us with a single solid piece of material, so our truth in this case is even stronger than half a year ago–that’s why FSB want more time,” the lawyer said.Meet Putin’s American Prisoner, Paul WhelanAccording to Media Zona, a group of journalists reporting on news about Russian prisons and court cases, at least 99 detainees died in detention centers and prisons used by investigators in 2016. Many more died in prison camps. “It is hard for us to find out what causes the deaths of prisoners—when prison guards crack somebody’s head open, they say that the detainee fell down and died in an accident,” Dmitry Shvets, a Media Zona reporter told The Daily Beast. But the problem is not just physical violence. “Lefortovo prison is famous for psychological torture by isolation. The inmates cannot communicate with each other, no prisoner has a chance to use a phone.”Whelan’s family was aware that the FSB wanted to extend the time for investigation for two more months. ”This morning's hearing was more theatrical than his previous hearings—ejecting the media, calling an ambulance—but we were not surprised by the result,” Whelan’s twin brother, David, told The Daily Beast.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.
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Liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed a three-week course of radiation therapy to treat a cancerous tumor on her pancreas, a court spokeswoman said on Friday. The 86-year old justice, who has had previous cancer scares, tolerated the therapy well and no further treatment is required, spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement. "The tumor was treated definitively and there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in the body," the spokeswoman added.
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An embassy statement to The Associated Press said the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities is "of course different" from China's detentions of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. "The Meng Wanzhou incident is not just a judicial case, but the U.S. using state power to work with its certain ally to suppress a private high-tech Chinese enterprise on unwarranted charges.
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Mountain fire races across hundreds of acres in just hours as wildfire season looms large over the stateThis photo provided by Cal Fire shows an aerial view of the Mountain Fire on 22 August. Photograph: APA fast-moving wildfire that broke out on Thursday in northern California has forced the evacuation of nearly 4,000 residents, racing across at least 600 acres within just a few hours, officials say. The Mountain fire, which erupted on the outskirts of a national forest in northern California, has threatened 1,110 homes and structures. As of Friday morning the fire was 40% contained , according to Cal Fire.The cause of the fire is under investigation.Photos of the blaze posted on Twitter by the Shasta county sheriff’s office showed thick black and gray smoke billowing into the area over a highway near the Shasta-Trinity national forest.“Jones Valley and Bella Vista area residents! This situation is very fluid and rapidly changing, if you do not see your road listed but feel you are in danger YOU MAY EVACUATE to Shasta College Gymnasium,” the sheriff’s department said in a separate tweet.The Mountain fire is threatening thousands of homes and forcing evacuations. Photograph: APThe Shasta College campus was closed along with Highway 299 and about a dozen smaller roads. Residents of small communities in the path of the flames were told to evacuate or be prepared to flee on short notice.California was hit by some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in a century last year and state officials have warned this year’s fire season could be similarly intense.The Camp fire, which broke out in Butte county in November and overran the town of Paradise, killed 86 people and left thousands of others homeless. State fire investigators determined that the Camp fire was sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric Co transmission lines.The Mountain fire broke out on the same day that Bernie Sanders, the senator and Democratic presidential candidate, unveiled his $16.3tn climate change plan and toured Paradise, which he called a “wake-up call for our entire nation”.“Climate change is a major, major crisis for our country, and the entire world, and one of the manifestations of that crisis is what happened here,” Sanders said as he walked through a burned-out mobile home park in Paradise alongside people who lost their homes in last November’s deadly blaze.
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An invitation to the gilded Elysee palace of France's president in Paris usually prompts a sense of decorum and formality in a visitor of any rank. During crunch talks over Brexit with French President Emmanuel Macron -- who Johnson insisted on repeatedly addressing as "Monsieur le President" -- the British premier joked and waved his hands flamboyantly. The episode appeared part of a shared joke with Macron, who could be seen laughing heartily.
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The date of the Jane Doe killing is unknown but is believed to have occurred sometime between 1980 and 1999. The 79-year-old defendant appeared in Cincinnati's Hamilton County Court via Skype from California State Prison in Los Angeles County and sat with his hands folded in a wheelchair, responding "Yes, ma'am" when Judge Melba Marsh asked if he waived his right to a trial by jury. "He said he specifically looked for people who would not be missed," Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier told the judge.
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(Bloomberg) -- A looming U.S. sanctions deadline is threatening to clobber Venezuela’s dwindling oil-rig fleet and hamper energy production in the nation with the world’s largest crude reserves.Almost half the rigs operating in Venezuela will shut down by Oct. 25 if the Trump administration doesn’t extend a 90-day waiver from its sanctions, according to data compiled from consultancy Caracas Capital Markets. That could further cripple the OPEC member’s production because the structures are needed to drill new wells crucial for even maintaining output, which is already near the lowest level since the 1940s.A shutdown in the rigs will also put pressure on Nicolas Maduro’s administration, which counts oil revenues as its main lifeline. The U.S. is betting on increased economic pressure to oust the regime and bring fresh elections to the crisis-torn nation, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Latin America’s biggest crude exporter until recent years.Venezuela had 23 oil rigs drilling in July, down from 49 just two years ago, data compiled by Baker Hughes show. Ten of those are exposed to U.S. sanctions, according to calculations by Caracas Capital Markets. The Treasury Department extended waivers in July for service providers to continue for three more months, less than the six months the companies had sought.Most other government agencies involved in the deliberations opposed any extension, a senior administration official said last month, adding that another reprieve will be harder to come by.“Almost half the rigs are being run by the Yanks, and if the window shuts down on this in two months, then that’s really going to hurt Venezuela unless the Russians and the Chinese come in,” said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets.Output RiskA U.S. Treasury official said the department doesn’t generally comment on possible sanctions actions.More than 200,000 barrels a day of output at four projects Chevron Corp. is keeping afloat could shut if the waivers aren’t renewed. That would be debilitating to Maduro because the U.S. company, as a minority partner, only gets about 40,000 barrels a day of that production.The departure of the American oil service providers would hurt other projects in the Orinoco region, where operators need to constantly drill wells just to keep output from declining. The U.S.-based companies are also involved in state-controlled Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s joint ventures in other regions such as Lake Maracaibo.Limiting ExposureHalliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. have reduced staff and are limiting their exposure to the risk of non-payment in the country, according to people familiar with the situation. The three companies have written down a total of at least $1.4 billion since 2018 in charges related to operations in Venezuela, according to financial filings. Baker Hughes had also scaled back before additional sanctions were announced earlier this year, the people said.Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry all declined to comment.Halliburton has adjusted its Venezuela operations to customer activity, and continues operating all of its product service lines at its operational bases, including in the Orinoco Belt, it said in an emailed response to questions. It works directly with several of PDVSA’s joint ventures, and timely payments from customers are in accordance with U.S. regulations, it said.Hamilton, Bermuda-based Nabors Industries Ltd. has three drilling rigs in Venezuela that can operate for a client until the sanctions expire in October, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Petrello said in a July 30 conference call, without naming the client.The sanctions carry geopolitical risks for the U.S. If Maduro manages to hang on, American companies would lose a foothold in Venezuela, giving Russian competitors such as Rosneft Oil Co. a chance to fill the void. Chinese companies could also benefit. Even if the waivers get extended, the uncertainty hinders any long-term planning or investments in the nation by the exposed companies.Rosneft’s press office didn’t respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on operations in Venezuela.\--With assistance from David Wethe, Debjit Chakraborty and Dina Khrennikova.To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at email@example.com;Fabiola Zerpa in Caracas Office at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at email@example.com, Pratish Narayanan, Joe RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Friday, August 23, 2019
Trump’s new press secretary was arrested for DUI while working on the 2016 campaign during her rocky rise to the White House
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CORALVILLE, Iowa/CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday it had pulled all staff from an annual crop tour after an employee was threatened, and three sources said the threat of violence was made during a phone call from an angry farmer. U.S. farmers have complained this month that a government crop report did not reflect damage from historic flooding this spring. Lance Honig, crops chief at the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, was among the USDA staffers who had to leave the privately-run Pro Farmer tour, three sources with knowledge of the situation said.
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Interpol on Thursday issued a red notice for a fugitive Colombian lawmaker and former FARC rebel commander who the United States wants extradited for alleged conspiracy to export 10 tonnes of cocaine. Seuxis Paucias Hernandez - known best by his guerrilla nom de guerre Jesus Santrich - was indicted in 2017 by a U.S. grand jury, setting off a legal saga that has seen him twice arrested and released. Hernandez has denied the U.S. allegations.
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Leading House Dem calls out Omar and Tlaib amid Trump attack for furthering anti-Semitism with 'vile' cartoon
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Gingrich, Kwast, Walker and Autry: A $2 billion prize will bring US permanent moon and Mars settlements
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Former Texas health care worker gets 2 life sentences for raping 74-year-old patient with dementia: report
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A day after saying American Jews who vote for Democrats show “great disloyalty,” President Trump touted comments from a conservative radio host who said that Jews in Israel "love him" like a king or the Messiah.
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The chief executive of the e-commerce firm Overstock.com stepped down Thursday over his relationship with an alleged Russian intelligence operative jailed for meddling in US politics. Patrick Byrne only recently admitted that he had a close relationship with Maria Butina for three years, during the period when she beguiled top Republican and National Rifle Association officials with talk of strengthening Moscow-Washington relations and her flair with guns.
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An employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has been detained in China for involvement in prostitution, the state-backed Global Times newspaper said on Thursday, as Britain said it continued to urgently seek information. China's foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the employee, Simon Cheng, had been detained in the border city of Shenzhen neighbouring Hong Kong. In a report on its English-language website, the paper, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, cited Shenzhen police as saying Cheng had been detained for 15 days for "solicitation of prostitution".
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Catholic Priest Abuse Survivors' Group Says It's 'Cowardly' That Convicted Cardinal Has Not Been Defrocked
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Donald Trump had a much quieter day after yesterday's marathon spew. He started the morning off by renewing his criticism of the Federal Reserve, accusing it of “moving like quicksand” compared to Germany’s central bank, despite insisting the US economy is “strong”, refuting analysts' fears a recession is imminent and backing away from tax cuts. After that, he appeared to take the day off from social media, possibly at the hands of concerned aides, or maybe just after tiring himself out.The morning's attack follows the president’s address to the American Veterans 75th National Convention in Kentucky on Wednesday evening, where he joked about awarding himself the Medal of Honor and trailed the idea of dumping thousands of captured Isis fighters on Europe.
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Denmark’s political leaders and royal family have expressed shock after Donald Trump cancelled a state visit to the country over their refusal to consider selling Greenland. Mette Frederikse, the Danish prime minister, said she was “disappointed” by the decision while a spokesman for the Danish royal palace admitted it had been taken by “surprise”. Less diplomatic responses came from former politicians and opposition figures who said the US president's behaviour was “grotesque”, “smug” and “disrespectful”. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Danish prime minister, tweeted: “Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.” The outpouring of frustration came after Mr Trump made clear that his interest in buying Greenland, an autonomous country which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, was not a joke. On Monday, Mr Trump appeared to play up the comic aspect of his considerations, tweeting a picture of a vast gold Trump hotel, writing: “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” I promise not to do this to Greenland! pic.twitter.com/03DdyVU6HA— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2019 But on Tuesday night he announced that due to the flat-out rejection by Denmark he would be cancelling a trip on September 2 and 3, which was planned after an invitation by the Danish royal family. “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time,” he wrote. “The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!” The remarks clearly indicated that the refusal to consider selling Greenland, a country with a population of 56,000 people which is mainly covered by an ice sheet, was to blame for the cancellation. Mr Trump had said over the weekend that Greenland’s strategic benefits – there is renewed geopolitical interest in the Arctic as its ice caps melt – and natural resources made it an alluring proposition. He has also referenced former US president Harry Truman’s attempts to buy the island for $100 million after the Second World War, a move taken in part because of military benefits that would have followed. So the POTUS has cancelled his visit to Denmark because there was no interest in discussing selling Greenland @BBCRadio4 Is this some sort of joke? Deeply insulting to the people of Greenland and Denmark.— Helle Thorning S (@HelleThorning_S) August 21, 2019 However, defending the cancellation, Mr Trump indicated that it was actually the way in which the Danish prime minister had rejected the proposal that was really to blame. “I thought that the prime minister’s statement that is was an ‘absurd’ idea was nasty,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say ‘no, we wouldn’t be interested’.” The two-day trip had been designed as a way to celebrate Denmark’s recent past in standing with America, not least in military campaigns in the Middle East. More than 40 Danish soldiers have been killed in US-led missions in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan – a stark number given the country's population of around 5.8 million. Danish press said the row marked a major deterioration in the country's ties to America, with one newspaper headline calling relations ”ice cold” and another saying they had reached “freezing point”. Ms Frederikse, the Danish prime minister, over the weekend had brushed off Mr Trump’s Greenland interest, saying: “Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over.” But she gave a more sober statement on Wednesday, telling the cameras: “It is with regret and surprise that I received the news that President Trump has cancelled his state visit.” Ms Frederikse said that preparations for the trip had been “well under way”, but added: ”This does not change the character of our good relations.” She was not the only one caught out. Carla Sands, the US ambassador to Denmark, had tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that “Denmark is ready” for Mr Trump, adding the words “partner, ally, friend!” Within hours the trip had been cancelled.
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Mexico's government appears to be split about whether it should talk to armed vigilante groups, or treat them as criminals. President Andres Manuel López Obrador said Thursday he disagreed with his assistant interior secretary's decision to attend a ceremony with vigilantes, who often call themselves "self-defense" groups. The debate came to a head Wednesday when Ricardo Peralta, an assistant secretary of the interior, attended the groundbreaking of an agricultural processing plant in the vigilante-dominated community of La Huacana in the western state of Michoacan.
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Iran displayed what it described as a domestically built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defense system on Thursday, at a time of rising tension with the United States. Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June. It says the drone was over its territory, but the United States says it was in international airspace.
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Abortion-rights advocates on Thursday sued Missouri's top election official, alleging his actions and state laws denied them the right to put one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws to a public vote. No Bans on Choice Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union sought to put the law on the 2020 ballot in hopes that voters would overturn it. Attorneys for those who sued put the blame on Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.
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Thursday, August 22, 2019
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2020 Democratic hopeful agrees with Harry Reid on warning for candidates running on progressive platforms
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Senator Bernie Sanders hit back at Senator Kamala Harris Monday evening after Harris said at a fundraiser in the Hamptons that she has "not been comfortable" with the Medicare for All plan she cosponsored with Sanders.> I don't go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires. If I ever visited there, I would tell them the same thing I have said for the last 30 years: We must pass a Medicare for All system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.> > -- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 19, 2019Harris courted wealthy donors in the Hamptons and at Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend, assuring them that, “I believe in capitalism, but capitalism is not working for most people.”"I think almost every member of the United States Senate who's running for president, and many others, have signed on to a variety of plans in the Senate. And I have done the same," the California Democrat said. "I support Medicare for All. But as you may have noticed, over the course of the many months, I've not been comfortable with Bernie's plan, the Medicare-for-All plan."Harris floundered slightly earlier in her campaign on the question of whether private insurance plans would still be available under her health-care proposal. She originally said private health insurance would be eliminated but has since backtracked, saying that while she is “committed to reining in the private insurance companies,” phasing out private insurance “has to happen over a period of time.”Sanders is currently polling ahead of Harris but behind the front-runner, former vice president Joe Biden, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is in second place.
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Near the end of the event, the police began what they called a "dispersal operation, using minimum force" after some protesters blocked roads and flashed laser pointers at officers. Police with riot shields faced off at the station entrance against a group of remaining protesters, who sprayed a firehose and spread soap on the floor to slow a police approach, while piling up trash bins, a wheelchair and umbrellas in a makeshift blockade. The station's entrance shutters were lowered, barricading the protesters inside.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets daily as a result of Washington's decision to reimpose sanctions on all purchases of Iran's crude, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.
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Parkland students unveil gun violence prevention plan: 'Policymakers have failed, so survivors are stepping up'
March For Our Lives, the group formed by the Parkland students in the wake of the mass shooting at their school in February 2018, has unveiled a new plan for gun control.The Peace Plan is a six-step proposal focused on changing gun laws in America to prevent mass shootings, which continue to ravage the country. The students call their steps C.H.A.N.G.E., with each letter spelling out a goal.
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Russia and China warned Tuesday that a new US missile test had heightened military tensions and risked sparking an arms race, weeks after Washington ripped up a Cold War-era weapons pact with Moscow. The US and Russia ditched the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this month after accusing each other of violating the accord. Washington said the agreement also tied its hands in dealing with other powers such as China.
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Albania's Defense Ministry says its ship in the Aegean Sea has rescued 36 Afghans trying to cross into Greece. Defense Minister Olta Xhacka tweeted Wednesday that 19 Afghan children, eight women and nine men were rescued by the ship Oriku in cooperation with Frontex, the European Union's border control force. Xhacka did not say exactly where the migrants were found.
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Evelyn Hernandez has a message for El Salvador's president: End the criminalization of abortion in the conservative Central American country. Hernandez, 21, was exonerated earlier this week in a closely watched retrial after an earlier judgment found her guilty of killing her stillborn son and sentenced her to 30 years in prison.
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Climate change will damage the economies of countries whether they are rich or poor, hot or cold by the year 2100, economists said in a new report, dispelling the notion that impoverished, warm countries will suffer the most on a warming planet. Researchers who examined data from 174 countries over 50 years found that persistent temperature changes above or below a country's historical norm adversely affected economic growth, regardless of how warm a country is. The United States could see a 10% loss in gross domestic product (GDP) without significant policy change.
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Greece said on Wednesday it won't endanger its relations with the United States by aiding an Iranian supertanker sought by the U.S. but released by Gibraltar that's currently in the Mediterranean Sea, believed heading for a Greek port. Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said Athens is under pressure from U.S. authorities, which claim the Iran-flagged Adrian Darya 1 is tied to a sanctioned organization. The vessel can still enter Greek waters or anchor offshore, in which case Athens will "see" what it will do, Varvitsiotis added.
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(Bloomberg) -- China has lots of weapons to deploy to bring Hong Kong’s protesters under control before it needs to send in the troops.From barring dissident flight attendants to encouraging “patriotic” citizens to confront protesters on the streets, China has unloaded a wide range of firepower against the city’s fractious opposition in recent weeks. That’s to say nothing of the considerable sway Beijing holds over local politics, with its own loyalist bloc in the elected legislature and veto power over all top appointments.Here’s a look at some of the tools in China’s arsenal:1\. Political InfluenceWhile Chinese officials continue to reaffirm their commitment to Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy,” they’ve begun to pull the levers of power more directly since some radical protesters attacked the central government’s local headquarters and other symbols of Beijing’s authority. The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office -- China’s top agency overseeing the city -- has held an unprecedented three briefings on the protests and summoned local representatives to a closed-door meeting in Shenzhen, where attendees say officials batted away appeals for compromise.The moves demonstrate the Communist Party’s ability to reach deep into the city’s politics without resorting to military force, even if they reinforce arguments that local control is being eroded. China has also lodged formal diplomatic complaints with countries that have supported the protests, accusing the U.S. and the U.K. of meddling. On Tuesday, it was revealed that a U.K. consular worker from Hong Kong had been detained while returning from a trip to the mainland earlier this month.2\. Mainland-Dependent BusinessesChina has repeatedly shown its willingness to use its leverage as the world’s largest trading nation to express political displeasure, as South Korea, Canada, Norway and others can attest. Hong Kong, which conducts more than 40% of its trade via the mainland, is particularly vulnerable. Last week, Rupert Hogg resigned as Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.’s chief executive officer after China’s regulators banned all crew who participated in “illegal demonstrations” from mainland flights.Meanwhile, local tycoons including Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, came off the sidelines to publish statements and purchase advertisements urging an end to violent protests. At the same time, queries on Chinese e-commerce portals such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Taobao returned unsuccessful results for people seeking to ship umbrellas, masks and helmets to Hong Kong, where they’ve become common tools of protesters.3\. State Propaganda MachineEven if Beijing has no intention of deploying troops, it can unleash a vast state-run media apparatus to raise fears that it might. Chinese media have circulated photos and news reports of Chinese troops and paramilitary riot-control forces training in scenarios resembling Hong Kong’s protests. The government’s claims that the protests are the product of foreign “black hands” such as the U.S. and the U.K. are widely circulated, helping lay the ground for any more direct intervention.Moreover, the uglier parts of the protests, such as petrol bombs thrown at police stations or the defacement of national emblems, are amplified for most of the mainland’s 1.4 billion citizens. Reports frequently compared the protests to “terrorists” and “rioters” -- a label used to justify the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989. Beijing’s nationwide censorship system known as the Great Firewall helps ensure that developments that might generate sympathy for the movement, including outbreaks of beatings by triad-linked mobs, go largely unmentioned.4\. United FrontLong before regaining control over Hong Kong in 1997, the Communist Party had built a deep support network that it can call for support in times of trouble, including business groups, labor unions, neighborhood associations and several pro-establishment political parties. This “United Front” plays a key role in organizing counterprotests to support the police and the government, events that receive favorable play in the city’s numerous Beijing-aligned commercial media outlets.The growing global reach of such groups -- ostensibly aimed at overseas Chinese -- has drawn accusations of political meddling in places such as Canada and Australia, where they’ve turned out to oppose causes disputed by Beijing. But they’ve helped China counter rallies organized around the globe to support Hong Kong’s protests, seen by clashes in Sydney and Melbourne on Friday. Canadian police escorted worshipers out of a Vancouver church on Sunday, after Beijing supporters surrounded a prayer meeting for Hong Kong.5\. Triad SupportWhile the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office has urged an end to all violence in the protests, the agency has also urged Hong Kong residents to “stand firm and guard our beautiful homeland” and warned demonstrators that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”Such comments have fueled concern that Beijing is at least tolerant of other, more aggressive moves against protesters. In recent weeks, groups of stick-wielding men, often dressed in matching white shirts, have turned out on the streets to assault protesters, occasionally striking passersby in the process. People have shot fireworks at rallies from passing cars. On Tuesday, a man was arrested while attempting to enter the mainland in connection with a knife attack on three people near a protest message wall.The protesters and opposition lawmakers have blamed the attacks on notorious Chinese organized crime gangs known as triads, and police said that several people with links to the groups were among those arrested after one particular shocking attack last month. They’ve accused the police of colluding with the gangs, something the local government has denied.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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Police responding to a call about child sexual abuse said they found mummified remains and an altar to an unknown deity in the home of a man who is now facing multiple charges. Robert Williams is scheduled for an initial court appearance Friday. According to the Essex County prosecutor's office, Newark police investigated after receiving reports that the 53-year-old Williams had been abusing a 13-year-old child for several months.
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A Texas death row inmate who argued that his conviction was based on junk science was executed Wednesday for the abduction, rape and killing of a suburban Houston community college student more than 20 years ago. Larry Swearingen, 48, received a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the December 1998 killing of 19-year-old Melissa Trotter. Swearingen, who had always maintained his innocence in Trotter's death, was the 12th inmate put to death this year in the U.S. and the fourth in Texas, the nation's busiest capital punishment state.
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A judge ordered a federal jail on Wednesday to improve housing conditions for one of Jeffrey Epstein's former cellmates, who wanted to be moved out of the lockup because he feared retaliation by guards. Nicholas Tartaglione, a former police officer awaiting trial in a quadruple murder case, was sharing a cell with Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan in July when the financier was placed on a suicide watch after being discovered with bruises on his neck. Several weeks later, Epstein hanged himself in his cell.
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