Day: March 14, 2019
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a news conference following the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
March 15, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – It is not realistic to decouple the economies of the United States and China, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday, adding that common interests between the world’s two largest economies far outweigh disputes.
China hopes trade talks between the two countries can achieve results, Li told reporters at a news conference at the conclusion of the annual parliament meeting.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Kim Coghill)
FILE PHOTO: People walk inside a building in Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
March 15, 2019
By Takahiko Wada
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s financial watchdog will conduct stress tests on regional banks around mid-year and review rules to prod them to speed up efforts to boost profitability, a government official with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The move comes in the wake of growing concern among policymakers over the plight of regional banks, which have seen profits hit by years of ultra-low interest rates and an exodus of borrowers moving to bigger cities as the population shrinks.
Under current regulation aimed at pre-empting bank failures, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) focuses on whether commercial banks meet minimum capital adequacy ratios and past data in determining whether they are deemed financially viable.
Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday that the FSA will review such guidelines to focus more on the future business outlook of the banks and whether their profitability is resilient to chronic pressure such as low rates and an aging population.
The new guidelines would allow the FSA to slap business improvement orders against regional banks that are not making enough efforts to boost profitability, the official said, confirming the Nikkei’s report.
The financial regulator will conduct stress checks on the nation’s 105 regional banks, to identify ones that could fail to meet the minimum capital adequacy ration of 4 percent if a big shock – such as a spike in interest rates or credit costs – hits, the official said.
The FSA plans to come up with the new guidelines by June, the official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.
Many Japanese regional banks are grappling with diminishing returns from their traditional lending business, hit by a low interest rate environment amid the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy.
“The (BOJ’s) policy has provided sufficient benefits to the economy. On the other hand, various side-effects are emerging in areas like financial intermediation and bond market functions,” Takashige Shibato, head of Japan’s regional bank lobby, said on Wednesday. “We hope the BOJ takes these into account,” he added.
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda has said the central bank will be more mindful of the rising demerits of prolonged easing. But he has also stressed the central bank’s priority is to achieve its 2 percent inflation target, signaling that monetary policy will remain ultra-loose for some time.
(Writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Sam Holmes)
An American family lays flowers for their daughter, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
March 15, 2019
(Reuters) – The Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed in Ethiopia on Sunday killing 157 people requested permission to return to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.
All contact between air controllers and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to Nairobi was lost five minutes after it took off, a person who reviewed air traffic communications told the newspaper.
Within a minute of the flight’s departure, Captain Yared Getachew reported a “flight control” problem as the aircraft was well below the minimum safe height from the ground during a climb, the Times reported, citing the person.
After being cleared by the control room to turn back within three minutes of the flight, Flight 302 climbed to an unusually high altitude and disappeared from the radar over a restricted military zone, the person added.
The investigation of the crash is still in its early stages and black boxes with details of the flight’s final moments arrived in France on Thursday for analysis.
Experts say it is too early to speculate on what caused the crash or whether it is related to the Lion Air 737 Max 8 crash in Indonesia five months ago. Accident reports show most are caused by unique combinations of technical and human factors.
Ethiopian Airlines was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)
Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic committee, bows as he attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
March 15, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda is likely to retire without serving another term as French prosecutors are investigating him for suspected corruption in Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Games, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The JOC is scheduled to elect its president in June in regular biennial voting, but senior officials on the committee and others close to the matter said his chances of another term amid the investigation were slim, NHK said.
Other sources said Takeda — head of the committee since 2001 — should decide by himself whether to step down, the broadcaster reported.
The JOC said “nothing has been decided” without adding further comment. The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee declined to comment.
French prosecutors have been probing multi-million dollar payments made by the Tokyo bid committee to a Singapore consulting company.
The prosecuting judge now suspects Takeda of paying bribes to secure the winning bid, a judicial source told Reuters. Takeda was questioned in Paris in December and placed under formal investigation.
Takeda, who was president of the 2020 bid committee, has denied any wrongdoing, saying that there was nothing improper with the contracts made between the committee and the consultancy and that they were for legitimate work.
The International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission has opened an ethics file on Takeda, who is also an IOC member and chairs its marketing commission.
Takeda was also re-elected to his post as vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia earlier this month.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Additional reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Nick Mulvenney)
FILE PHOTO: Hyon Song Wol, head of the North Korean Samjiyon art troupe takes a photo of Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-Hui (C) ahead of the welcoming ceremony of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam March 1, 2019. Luong Thai Linh/Pool via REUTERS
March 15, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea is considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said on Friday, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
North Korea has no intention to yield to U.S. demands or engage in negotiations of this kind, Choe told a press conference in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, TASS reported.
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is set to make an official announcement soon on his position regarding talks with United States, TASS reported, citing Choe.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Darren Schuettler)
Phillip Stucky | Contributor
CNN host Chris Cuomo took the time to educate fellow CNN host Don Lemon during the Thursday night hand-off between their shows.
Cuomo interviewed counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway in a very heated, extended interview, a decision that Lemon didn’t agree with.
“She didn’t — I — listen, it’s tough because I would — if I had her on, which I probably wouldn’t because I don’t think she ever answers a question, give her 10 or 15 seconds, let let her answer, she doesn’t, I say you’re not going to answer it and then move on to the next question,” Lemon said about the interview. “She just doesn’t. I don’t get anything out of it. It’s you two guys arguing back and forth.”
Cuomo didn’t appear to take the criticism well, instead offering advice so that his fellow host doesn’t alienate Republican guests in the future. (RELATED: CNN’s Don Lemon Tells Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis To ‘Shut Up’ After Being Called Out For Liberal Bias)
“I get the frustration. First of all, let me say this. We’ve had this discussion before,” Cuomo responded. “If I held that standard, I’d have very few people on this show. By the way, it’s not a coincidence that Hannity and Maddow have so few guests. If you’re going to limit the people on your show who only answer the questions and are truthful, you aren’t going to have many guests.”
Lemon rejoined that he views the world in terms of truth and fact, not in terms of Republican or Democratic. “I just feel like we do a disservice when we try to give false equivalence to someone who is clearly, clearly obfuscating and clearly has an agenda to mislead people.”
Cuomo then responded by essentially saying that it’s his duty as a journalist to interview everyone so that his viewers have the chance to see all of the arguments on the table.
“I get it. I just believe this is who the president wants out there, I want people to see what he considers his best defense. I want them to see what he thinks is appropriate for his main counselor to do on television,” Cuomo concluded.
Source: The Daily Caller
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a 2020 presidential candidate, attended a fundraiser co-hosted by a woman indicted in the college admissions scandal, Page Six reports.
Marketing CEO Jane Buckingham allegedly paid $50,000 for an ACT proctor to take the exam in her son's place so he would get into the University of Southern California. She was charged Tuesday along with 33 other parents in the massive college cheating scandal.
Buckingham also paid $2,800 to be co-host of an event for Gillibrand at the home of Los Angeles FC owner Larry Berg and his wife, Allison, last Saturday.
Other co-hosts included Will Ferrell, Harvard MBA and author Samantha Ettus, "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes and her agent Chris Silbermann.
Gillibrand joined the crowded Democratic primary field in mid-January.
FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
March 15, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Friday and offered a bleaker assessment of exports and output, nodding to heightening overseas risks that could threaten to derail a fragile economic recovery.
The central bank also modified its view on Japan’s overall economy, pointing to the impact from slowing overseas growth.
In a widely expected move, the BOJ maintained its short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent and a pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around zero percent.
The decision on maintaining its interest rate targets was made by a 7-2 vote with board members Goushi Kataoka and Yutaka Harada dissenting.
The central bank said exports were showing some weakness recently. At its previous review in January, it had said they were “increasing as a trend.”
BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to explain the policy decision.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara, Stanley White, Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Chang-Ran Kim)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says she would support lowering the national voting age to 16.
"I myself, personally, I'm not speaking for my caucus, I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16," Pelosi told The Daily Caller after making her preference known at a Thursday news conference.
"I think it's really important to capture kids when they're in high school when they're interested in all of this when they're learning about government to be able to vote."
The issue came up for debate last week in the House as an amendment — and failed — on the "For The People Act" that would overhaul U.S. election and campaign finance laws, The Daily Caller reported.
Since 2013, 13 states have proposed bills to lower the voting age, the news outlet reported.
Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist
Eva Longoria’s birthday is March 15 and she’s turning 44.
Eva Longoria is best known for her role in the ABC hit series “Desperate Housewives” as Gabrielle Solis.
Longoria was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and attended Texas A&M, Kingsville, where she earned her degree. In 1998, she won Miss Corpus Christi. Her new title came with an opportunity to compete in a talent show in Los Angeles, which she won. Longoria then stayed in LA and pursued her acting career. (RELATED: 10 Of Gorgeous Eva Longoria’s Greatest Moments)
Her first roles were minor on shows including “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “General Hospital.” Her first major role was on “The Young and The Restless.”
Longoria’s role on “Desperate Housewives” made her one of the top-paid actresses in the world, when she made roughly $400,000 per episode.
Longoria has been involved in politics. In 2012, she was selected to co-chair former President Barack Obama’s re-election.
For her greatest looks, check out the slideshow below.
Source: The Daily Caller
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is contemplating mounting an independent bid for the presidency in 2020, apologized on Thursday for saying he probably had served more time in the military than any of the candidates who’ve entered the race, admitting he was simply "wrong."
The flap again put Schultz, a billionaire with no prior political experience, on the defensive. Democrats have spent weeks attacking Schultz and openly worrying that an independent run would split their base and hand the White House back to President Trump.
Two Democratic candidates are veterans: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Gabbard served in Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard from 2004 to 2005, and Buttigieg is a veteran of the Afghanistan War, having served a tour with the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer.
Schultz made the comments during an interview Thursday with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“Do you consider yourself competent to run the American military?” Hewitt asked.
“Yes, I do,” Schultz replied. “I probably have spent more time – in the last decade, certainly – than anyone running for president, with the military. I’ve been to Okinawa. I’ve been to Kuwait. I’ve – with Marines, with the Army. I’ve been to the national training center in Mojave Desert.”
Schultz also pointed out that he has "great friends" in the military, including retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and William McRaven, the retired admiral who oversaw the bin Laden raid in Pakistan.
Soon after Schultz’s comments aired, Buttigieg tweeted he didn’t "recall seeing any Starbucks" in Afghanistan, where he deployed in 2013.
“I remember a Green Beans Coffee at the exchange at Bagram, and a decent espresso machine run by the Italian NATO element at ISAF HQ," Buttigieg wrote. "But I don’t recall seeing any Starbucks over there . . .”
Afterward, Schultz tweeted that leaders must accept responsibility for mistakes and his comment "was wrong."
"I apologize to @PeteButtigieg and @TulsiGabbard who served our country honorably,” Schultz wrote on Twitter. “In that moment I made something that should unite us all, about me. I made a mistake and I apologize.”
A flood of mocking posts quickly appeared on social media. But earlier in the week, Schultz indicated that he was well aware his campaign would face harsh critics and unknown future headwinds — and said the struggle was worth the cost anyway.
"I refuse to be deterred by the naysayers," Schultz said, "because I love this country and because so much is at stake."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Scott Morefield | Reporter
New York entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said disaffected members of a “shrinking, insecure white majority” could begin targeting Asians for mass shootings within a generation.
“And who is going to be the boogeyman of the next 10 to 20 years?” Yang rhetorically asked his audience. “Who’s going to be the great rival to the United States in the eyes of American society? China, that’s right. And so, what do you think the attitude is going to be over time for the shrinking, insecure white majority that’s losing their jobs for, let’s say, Chinese Americans or Asian Americans?”
I don’t … I said to a group at Harvard, I think we’re one generation away from falling into the same camps as that the Jews who were attacked in a synagogue in Pittsburgh like just a couple months [ago]. So we’re probably one generation away from an American shooting up a bunch of Asians saying like, damn the Chinese, because there’s a giant Cold War even more with China. That is the great danger that I fear that my children are going to grow up in.
The Venture for America founder made the comments in December 2018 at an event called “A Glance at US Politics from Asian Americans,” hosted by Yuan Media, but is likely making the rounds on Twitter now thanks to the Democratic candidate’s growing name recognition. (RELATED: Dana Loesch: The Media ‘Has Got To Stop Creating’ Mass Shooters)
Yang recently gained the 65,000 contributions from individual donors necessary to appear in the first Democratic debate, likely thanks in no small part to a February appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He is calling for a $12,000 universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 cash per month for every individual in the United States.
Source: The Daily Caller
Jan 20, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) throws a pass during warmups before the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
March 15, 2019
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints rather than join the Miami Dolphins, according to multiple reports on Thursday.
Bridgewater, who acknowledged the decision on Twitter, reportedly will receive a one-year deal worth $7.25 million, with incentives that can push the value as high as $12.5 million. He visited the Dolphins on Wednesday.
The Saints also restructured Drew Brees’ contract to free up $10.8 million in cap space and signed former New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown. According to multiple reports, Brown’s deal is worth $5 million annually.
–The New York Giants agreed to a four-year, $37.5 million deal, $23 million of which is fully guaranteed, with wideout Golden Tate, according to multiple reports.
Tate, who acknowledged the signing on Twitter, will pick up at least some of the slack after wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns this week. Tate, 30, caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last season.
The Giants also added outside linebacker Markus Golden on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports, reuniting him with former coordinator James Bettcher. Golden had 12.5 sacks under Bettcher with the Arizona Cardinals in 2016.
–Trey Flowers put pen to paper to join the Detroit Lions on a $90 million contract, officially becoming the fifth-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
The former Patriots defensive end, who aligned at six different positions for at least 15 snaps last season in New England, was a coveted chess piece for Matt Patricia’s defense in Detroit. Patricia used to coach Flowers in New England. Flowers racked up 21 sacks and 59 QB hits over the past three seasons. He received a $28 million signing bonus.
The Lions also signed safety Andrew Adams to a one-year deal after the Bucs declined to tender a contract to the restricted free agent.
–The Seattle Seahawks re-signed linebacker K.J. Wright and guard D.J. Fluker while adding guard Mike Iupati.
Wright’s deal is for two years and $15.5 million, according to NFL Network. Fluker’s deal is for two years and $9 million per NFL.com, while Iupati’s deal is for one year.
–The Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback AJ McCarron.
The Raiders gave Nelson a $3.6 million bonus on Dec. 28, which was earlier than required, for cap purposes. Head coach Jon Gruden said at the time regarding Nelson, “Yeah, he’ll be back.”
Nelson earned just under $11 million for one year, with the team saving $3.5 million with his release. The Raiders will save $5 million by releasing McCarron, who was acquired for a fifth-round pick from Buffalo in September.
–The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a restructured contract with defensive end Everson Griffen, general manager Rick Spielman confirmed, hours before his $10.9 million salary for 2019 would have become guaranteed.
According to NFL Network, Griffen instead will make $8 million in 2019, with the potential to opt out of his deal if he hits certain performance marks.
–The Kansas City Chiefs signed former Saints defensive end Alex Okafor.
Contract terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports said the deal was for three years and $24 million.
–Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal worth a reported $3.5 million with the Chicago Bears.
NFL Network reported Clinton-Dix turned down more money to play in Chicago with fellow Alabama safety Eddie Jackson.
–The Carolina Panthers released left tackle Matt Kalil with a post-June 1 designation.
The Charlotte Observer first reported the move. Using the delayed designation saves the Panthers more than $7 million under the salary cap this year.
–The San Francisco 49ers signed former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett to a one-year contract. Multiple outlets report the deal is worth $3.6 million.
Verrett, 27, has played in just five games over the past three seasons and just 25 through five years, but he reached the Pro Bowl in 2015 with the then-San Diego Chargers.
The 49ers also signed former Eagles wideout Jordan Matthews (one-year deal) and former Panthers linebacker David Mayo (two years) and released linebacker Brock Coyle, who announced his retirement due to a compression fracture in his back sustained last season. The team will also re-sign safety Antone Exum on a one-year deal worth $895,000, per multiple reports.
–The Jets officially signed and introduced running back Le’Veon Bell, a few hours after releasing incumbent starter Isaiah Crowell. They also re-signed nose tackle Steve McLendon and officially confirmed the re-signings of offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison and cornerback Darryl Roberts.
The New York Daily News reported McLendon’s deal is for one year and $2.5 million, with an additional $1 million in incentives.
The Jets also signed cornerback Brian Poole to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, per multiple reports. The Atlanta Falcons surprisingly did not tender the restricted free agent after he broke up 20 passes in 47 games (21 starts) over the past three seasons.
–The Patriots signed defensive tackle Mike Pennel (two-year deal), tight end Matt LaCosse (two years, $4.8 million), wide receivers Bruce Ellington (one year) and Maurice Harris (not reported) and safety Terrence Brooks (two years), according to several reports.
Pennel and Brooks are former Jets.
–The Cincinnati Bengals signed former Giants cornerback B.W. Webb to a three-year contract. The deal reportedly is worth $13 million.
–The Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Jaguars wide receiver Donte Moncrief to a two-year deal and re-signed wideout Eli Rogers and defensive tackle Dan McCullers.
–The Dallas Cowboys re-signed wideout Tavon Austin and added former Texans defensive lineman Christian Covington, both on one-year deals.
–The Falcons signed tight end Luke Stocker on a two-year contract and running back Kenjon Barner on a one-year deal.
–The Arizona Cardinals are expected to sign former Bears first-round wideout Kevin White, per NFL Network, and former Denver Broncos guard Max Garcia, per his agent.
–The Cleveland Browns signed former Bears offensive lineman Eric Kush, who started seven games last season.
–The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort to a three-year deal worth a reported, $5.6 million.
–Field Level Media
Emergency services personnel push stretchers carrying a person into a hospital, after reports that several shots had been fired, in central Christchurch, New Zealand March 15, 2019, in this still image taken from video. TVNZ/via REUTERS TV
March 15, 2019
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire in a mosque in New Zealand on Friday and there were several casualties, media reported, after police deployed armed officers in response to shots fired in the center of Christchurch city.
The Bangladesh cricket team was in the vicinity of the shooting but all members were safe, a team coach told media.
Media reported that a gunman opened fire inside mosque in Christchurch’s Hagley Park. There were reports of armed police at a second mosque in the suburb of Linwood.
People in center of the city should stay indoors, police said.
Police did not immediately comment on whether the incident took place in the mosque or nearby. There is no official confirmation on casualties.
Media said shots had been fired near a mosque and a witness told broadcaster One News that he had seen three people lying on the ground, bleeding outside the building.
Radio New Zealand quoted a witness inside the mosque saying he heard shots fired and at least four people were lying on the ground and “there was blood everywhere”.
“Horrified to hear of Christchurch mosque shootings. There is never a justification for that sort of hatred,” said Amy Adams, a member of parliament from Christchurch.
The Bangladesh cricket team is in Christchurch to play New Zealand in a third cricket test starting on Saturday.
Mario Villavarayen, strength and conditioning coach of the Bangladesh cricket team was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying that the team was close to where the shooting occurred, but was safe.
“The players are shaken up but fine,” Villavarayen was quoted as saying.
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Praveen Menon; Editing by Robert Birsel)
David Hookstead | Reporter
Wisconsin’s road to a national championship will start Friday against Nebraska.
My beloved Badgers and the Cornhuskers will do battle today in the Big Ten tournament. This is what it’s all about.
If things go according to plan, we’re about to rattle off nine straight victories that end with us holding up a trophy in early April. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)
In any journey, it’s the first step that matters the most, and that’s what we have here in the quarterfinals. To channel a little bit of Herb Brooks, that’s what we’ve earned here today. Is Nebraska the best team we’ll face in the postseason? No, but we’re not overlooking anybody.
I also promised not to make fun of Tim Miles or his program if they beat Maryland Thursday. They beat the Terrapins, and I’m a man of my word. If I weren’t a man of my word, I’d probably joke about how he’s likely going to get fired and hasn’t done anything with the program. I’d really want to rub it in ahead of the game today. (RELATED: Nebraska Coach Tim Miles Falls In The Tunnel After Beating Rutgers)
Yet, like I said, I’m a man of my word, so I won’t bring any of that up.
It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and it all starts today. Make sure to tune in at 3:00 p.m. EST on the Big Ten Network to watch all the action.
I promise you that I’ll have the beer ready and that it’ll be a good time! In the meantime, watch my favorite Wisconsin basketball video ever.
Source: The Daily Caller
EL PASO, Texas – Proper Printshop began printing the shirts as soon as they opened at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The clothing featured phrases like “Beto 2020” with an image of the former El Paso, Texas, congressman wearing Old Glory sunglasses.
“It’s cool to know that someone from El Paso, a town like ours, can strive to do something that incredible,” designer Patrick Gabaldon said of Beto O’Rourke’s decision to enter the crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates.
Gabaldon first created the images when O’Rourke was running for the Senate seat against incumbent Ted Cruz last year, a race that propelled O’Rourke into the national spotlight.
While he ultimately lost that midterm election to Cruz by a few percentage points, O’Rourke gained name recognition and became known for his fundraising prowess, raising an eye-popping $80 million during his run.
Though he initially said he wasn’t going to make a presidential run, O’Rourke reversed that decision, announcing in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
"Amy and I are happy to share with you that I’m running to serve you as the next president of the United States of America,” he said in a video.
By noon, several people had requested the shirts. Excitement among El Pasoans was growing.
“I think he’s going to be a good run. I think he’ll do much better [than] our current president. And, I’m just a Democratic person. So he has my vote,” said Alan Zambrano.
O’Rourke was in Iowa for the first few stops along his campaign trail. He visited Keokuk, Fort Madison, Burlington, and Muscatine, rallying voters and sharing his views for the country.
He called for guaranteed, high-quality health care and action on climate change.
"This is our final chance, the scientists are absolutely unanimous on this, that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis,” said O’Rourke.
Still, some are less than enthused about his run.
“I am not in support of him as a candidate. I believe that the Democrats have to sort out what they’re going to do. I believe that President Trump will continue as the president, and I wish Beto the best of luck,” said Steven Nagy.
Others say they have little faith in the political system at all.
“I’m disillusioned with the representation of the people. I feel that our political leaders are more representing the big business and money than the individuals themselves throughout the U.S,” said Tafari Nugent.
Though some say O’Rourke’s candidacy raises excitement among Texans, politics professor Todd Curry, from the University of Texas at El Paso, is wary of notions that the candidate could flip this red state.
“I still think we have to wait a few more election cycles until Texas is put into play,” said Curry.
O’Rourke is set to hold a kickoff rally in El Paso on March 30.
Source: Fox News Politics
A handout photo of British rally driver Catie Munnings posing for a photo during an interview in Saint-Etienne, France March 5, 2019. Handout picture taken March 5, 2019. Olaf Pignataro/Red Bull Media House/Handout via REUTERS
March 15, 2019
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Self-confessed adrenaline junkie Catie Munnings likes to live out of her comfort zone, which is why next week the British rally driver will accelerate her Peugeot 208 at 160mph along the rim of an Azores volcano.
The 21-year-old livewire is set for her fourth season in the European Rally Championship (ERC), for the French-based Sainteloc team, and she cannot wait to put her foot down.
Munnings is not just making up the numbers in a male-dominated sport either.
In her rookie ERC season in 2016, the year she passed her driving test at the second attempt and three A levels, she won the Ladies Trophy, the first European rallying title for a British driver in 49 years.
Last year she scored points in six of the eight ERC3 rounds, finishing fourth overall, and this season is setting her sights on making her World Rally Championship (WRC) debut in Wales — following in the tracks of her idol Michele Mouton who blazed a trail for female drivers by finishing runner-up in the sport’s elite division in 1982.
The starting-point is next week’s Azores Rally and the daunting Sete Cidades stage, a precipitous car-width stretch of gravel flanked by a dizzying drop into a volcanic lake.
Next to her will be co-driver Veronica Engen who once worked for world champion Petter Solberg.
“There’s no guard rails and when you’re at the top of the volcano there’s nothing below you but the lake. It’s insane,” Munnings, Red Bull’s first female motorsport driver, told Reuters close to the family farm in Kent where, as a young girl, she would roar around muddy fields on quad bikes.
“It’s a rally of survival. The amount of people that go off is ridiculous. Fifty percent don’t finish. But I love the fact it’s out of your comfort zone. I love the thrill. It’s a bit like being on a rollercoaster.”
Two years ago there Munnings hit a tree and retired, the sort of crash that would make normal drivers nervous wrecks, but which she shrugs off. Her first “big one” was before her first-ever international rally in Ypres, Belgium in 2016.
“I got a wheel on the grass, nudged a bridge and rolled it,” she said. “The car was wrecked and had to be rebuilt overnight.”
Remarkably, she dashed home on the Eurostar, sat her biology A-level in the morning, then returned to qualify for the rally.
Not only did she qualify, she was the only female to finish and went on to seal the Ladies Trophy — a feat that enabled her to join forces with ex F1 driver Susie Wolff whose “Dare to be Different” scheme helps girls pursue their motorsport dreams.
Going fast on four wheels has always been appealing to Munnings, whose father Chris was a rally driver and now runs Wacky Sports, an events firm using off-road vehicles.
At 13, she could execute a perfect handbrake turn on the circuit her dad cut into a field. On one occasion she literally scorched the earth when the red-hot brakes of her old Peugeot 107 set the grass ablaze.
She insists it was initially for practical reasons.
“The lanes near us were never get gritted in winter so my dad always wanted my sister and I to have good car-handling skills,” she said.
“But once I started doing grass auto-testing at a local club when I was 14 or so, I was hooked.
“I just love the competitive part of rallying.”
Munnings had mapped a career as a vet and admits her schoolteachers thought she was having a “teen crisis” when she shunned university to pursue rallying. Now she gets invited back to give motivational talks.
The bubbly Munnings admits to hearing tired old jibes about “nail varnish and hair dryers” but can look after herself, in and out of the car, whether it is changing broken wheels in oven-like heat in Cyprus, pitching to company CEOs or bagging second-hand tyres from better-funded drivers.
After a day wrestling the 200BHP car around corners, sister Hannah, a yoga teacher, is often on hand to loosen the back while mum Tracey keeps her calm with the aid of Reiki.
“She’s known as Rally Mum in the service area, all the drivers go to her when they have a problem,” she said.
Life is full-tilt for Munnings who spends part of her winter testing tyres on frozen Arctic lakes, is an ambassador for road safety charity IAM RoadSmart and presents “Catie’s Amazing Machines” a TV show in which she takes control of fighter jets, monster trucks, piste bashers and even submarines.
But there is nothing quite like sliding around on gravel.
“It’s like dancing with a car,” she said.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)
Jewish activists critical of the Democratic response to the anti-Semitism roiling the party organized a sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office Thursday.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar was accused recently of espousing anti-Semitic views while trying to criticize Israel. In particular, she questioned if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)
The House decided to vote on a resolution last week to condemn anti-Semitism in response to Omar’s comments.
After deliberation, the text of the resolution was expanded to condemn bigotry against “African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and others,” without specifically naming Omar. (RELATED: Omar Facing More Accusations Of Anti-Semitism)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) spokesman Rabbi Aryeh Spero led the sit-in in Pelosi’s office.
“Omar should be censured,” Spero said, according to CBN News, adding that she should be “removed from the powerful and influential House Foreign Affairs Committee that Speaker Pelosi surprisingly granted to this first-year legislator.”
“Omar’s thinking, her conduct, and her blithe willingness to inject anti-Semitic tropes into the legislative process make her unfit to hold such a strategic position,” he continued.
The rabbi echoed the message some Republicans gave in response to Omar’s comments about Israel. Republican Reps. Lee Zeldin of New York, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Steve Scalice of Louisiana and Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania all called for her to be stripped of her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, who is Jewish, said he was against her removal during an interview last week.
Source: The Daily Caller
Athletics – 2018 Asian Games – Men’s Javelin Throw, Final – GBK Main Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia – August 27, 2018 – Neeraj Chopra of India in action. REUTERS/Issei Kato
March 15, 2019
By Sudipto Ganguly
MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s Neeraj Chopra is reluctant to discuss specific targets for the next couple of years but his coach Uwe Hohn has laid out a comprehensive roadmap for the former javelin world junior champion to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Chopra shot to prominence last year when he won javelin gold at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games, bringing rare track-and-field success for India.
His winning throw on the Gold Coast measured 86.47 meters and he followed that up with a 87.43m throw at the Diamond League leg in Doha in May.
At the Asian Games in Jakarta, Chopra took the title with a season’s best throw of 88.06m, placing him sixth in the IAAF’s rankings for 2018.
“Our targets for this year are, besides staying healthy and getting better, to throw 92 meters and finish in the top six at the World Championships in Doha,” Hohn told Reuters in an interview. “Then 94 meters in 2020 and a medal in Tokyo.”
Hohn is the only athlete to throw a javelin over 100m, with his world record of 104.8m for East Germany in 1984. Two years later the men’s javelin was redesigned and its center of gravity was moved forward by four centimeters.
Czech thrower Jan Zelezny, who won three successive Olympic gold medals from 1992, has the five best throws ever with his 1996 world record of 98.48m still standing.
While India is credited with Norman Pritchard’s hurdles silver medals from 1900 before it gained independence from Britain, the world’s second-most populous nation considers itself never to have won an athletics medal at an Olympics.
The 21-year-old Chopra is currently ranked fourth in the IAAF world rankings and is by far the best chance India has of ending that drought in Tokyo next year.
The athlete told Reuters in a recent interview that 2019 will be an even more important year than 2018.
Hohn said Chopra had to be as consistent as he was last year but raise his game further.
“We are also aware that there are a few others in the world, not only from Germany but also in Asia, who are also working to get still better,” he said from an altitude training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
“We are concentrating on taking little steps forward without getting injured and we will see where we get with this.”
Chopra suffered a setback with an elbow injury late last year and also needs to work on his technique, Hohn said.
“We are working to improve in many ways and adjust the training to his needs and ability at all times and we will continue this in cooperation with his physio,” he added.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
FILE PHOTO: Huawei Technologies Co Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou arrives back at home after her court appearance in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Ben Nelms
March 15, 2019
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had been looking for another job when she was arrested in Canada last December on a U.S. warrant, the firm’s founder said in an interview aired on Thursday.
Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, also told Canada’s CTV that the two had become closer since she was detained in Vancouver on Dec. 1 last year.
The United States wants Meng to be extradited to face charges that she engaged in bank and wire fraud in violation of American sanctions against Iran. She denies wrongdoing.
“One month before that arrest, she wanted to resign and find a job elsewhere. She was not happy working here but after being arrested this matter improved our relationship and now she understands how difficult life can be,” Ren told CTV.
“In the past she had a smooth path. She couldn’t take the setbacks very well … you have to suffer a lot before becoming a hero and if you don’t have scars, you won’t have tough skin,” he added in comments that were translated into English.
Relations between Canada and China deteriorated sharply after Meng’s arrest. China has arrested two Canadians on national security grounds and retried another citizen who had already been convicted on drugs charges, this time sentencing him to death.
“Meng Wanzhou has committed no crime. She didn’t violate any Canadian rules and I think both Canada and Huawei are victims because this case hurts people in both countries and bilateral relations also suffered setbacks,” said Ren.
He also said he had previously only communicated infrequently with Meng, given how busy the two were.
“Now, every other day we have phone calls, we shoot the breeze, tell jokes, I tell her some anecdote I read on the internet. The case in Canada made my bonds deeper with my daughter,” he said.
Huawei is a major manufacturer of equipment for 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Canada is studying whether the firm will be able to bid for 5G contracts, given concerns about how secure the technology is.
Washington said last month that it would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei systems.
“Meng Wanzhou is an individual case and I don’t think it should influence in any way the relationship Canada has with Huawei,” said Ren.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Before Beto O'Rourke — the latest Democrat entrant to the 2020 presidential race — was embraced by liberal online donors, his top financial backers were wealthy businessmen who donated millions to Republicans, The Washington Post reported.
Several of El Paso's richest business moguls donated to and raised money for O'Rourke's city council campaigns, drawn to his support for a plan to redevelop El Paso's poorer neighborhoods, the Post reported. Some later backed a super PAC that would play a key role in helping him defeat an incumbent Democratic congressman.
At the same time, O'Rourke worked on issues that had the potential to make money for some of his benefactors, the Post reported. For example, his support as a council member for the redevelopment plan coincided with property investments by some of his benefactors, the Post reported.
And as a congressman, O'Rourke supported a $2 billion military funding increase that benefited a company controlled by another major donor— real estate developer Woody Hunt, who also co-founded and funds an El Paso nonprofit organization that has employed O'Rourke's wife since 2016. the news outlet reported.
"We shared a common goal," said Ted Houghton, a local financial adviser and longtime O’Rourke donor who raised money for former GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and helped steer millions in state transportation funding to the city. "The common goal was we needed to move El Paso in a different direction."
Acording to the Post, the former congressman's GOP ties are likely to become an issue as he enters a crowded Democratic presidential primary field that has leaned leftward.
But Republicans are also piling on. A recent ad by the Club for Growth described O'Rourke's pushing a redevelopment scheme "to bulldoze a poor Hispanic neighborhood," the Post reported.
Liberty HealthShare | Featured Partner
As we know, the Preamble to the United States Constitution begins with the line: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union.” This line suggests that the people of the United States of America can and should make laws to govern themselves based on the will of the collective citizenry. However, as we move further and further from the time of our Founding Fathers, power continues to shift away from the will of the American people and toward the will of those in the United States Congress and the corporations that influence those elected to represent us.
A perfect example of public policy that does not conform to the will of the American people is the Affordable Care Act. The healthcare bill was signed into law in March 2010 despite only about 40 percent of Americans being in favor of the law at that time. Since the law went into effect in 2010, healthcare prices have skyrocketed, placing a financial burden on many Americans. The will of a couple hundred members of Congress and the President outweighed the will of millions of Americans.
So, how would healthcare by the people and for the people truly look? Well, the answer already exists.
One healthcare option, known as healthcare sharing, operates outside of Affordable Care Act regulations thanks to an exemption written into the law. The purpose of these organizations is to return to the consumer the power to make healthcare decisions. One healthcare sharing organization that has been very successful in returning power to the consumer is Liberty HealthShare. By utilizing a Statement of Shared Beliefs, which each member agrees to at the time of enrollment, Liberty HealthShare members know exactly which types of medical expenses their money will be shared toward. This is just one aspect of the transparency Liberty HealthShare strives to offer its members.
As a non-profit organization, Liberty HealthShare serves not to record profits, but rather to facilitate the sharing of medical expenses across the entire membership base. As non-profit organizations, healthcare sharing organizations are not built to run up massive profits. Instead, they use members’ money only to pay overhead expenses and share members’ medical expenses. The goal of these organizations is to serve the needs of the members, not the needs of a group of wealthy investors, because there are no wealthy investors. The money comes from people just like you who want affordable healthcare and also want to help their fellow Americans afford healthcare for themselves and their families.
The “by the people, for the people” approach doesn’t stop with how these healthcare sharing organizations facilitate the payment of members’ medical bills. Many of these organizations, including Liberty HealthShare, utilize medical repricing to keep costs down for their members. This consists of a third-party company reviewing each bill that a Liberty HealthShare member submits and ensuring that the amount the member is billed for is a fair price for the treatment or services they received. If a bill is found to be overcharging the member, the third-party company negotiates with the provider who issued the bill to have the bill reduced. This process ensures that healthcare sharing members are getting the most for their money, allowing them to share in more medical bills from the same amount of money.
As a result of these “by the people, for the people” approaches, healthcare sharing organizations are able to offer substantially lower prices than many health insurance plans. For example, Liberty HealthShare offers healthcare plans starting as low as $199 per month for singles and $429 per month for an entire family, regardless of the number of children. These low monthly prices are coupled with a lower cost the member is responsible for each year, to make healthcare sharing a great value. The amount members are responsible for with Liberty HealthShare is $1,000 per year for singles and $2,250 per year for a family. This is the amount of eligible medical expenses a member must pay in a year before their expenses will be shared by their fellow members.
If you’re tired of the government’s will being imposed upon you, especially relating to your healthcare, it may be time for you to consider healthcare sharing. These healthcare sharing organizations return freedom and power to the member, by being on the side of the member instead of focusing on profits for wealthy shareholders. It’s truly people coming together to eliminate government involvement and fund their own healthcare. Healthcare “by the people, for the people,” just as the Founding Fathers intended.
Source: The Daily Caller
FILE PHOTO: Property buildings are seen against the dawn sky in Beijing, China, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
March 15, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new home prices in February rose 0.5 percent from a month earlier, slowing slightly from 0.6 percent growth in January, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data published on Friday.
On a yearly basis, average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities increased 10.4 percent, up from the 10.0 percent gain a month earlier.
There have been signs that some smaller Chinese cities are loosening restrictions on buyers, as authorities worry the cooling property market may hurt an already softening economy. But policymakers have vowed to ensure the stability of the property market to avoid big price rises and falls.
(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
A Saudi man who’s brother died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, touches a debris after a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
March 15, 2019
By Tom Hals, Brendan Pierson and Tina Bellon
(Reuters) – The crash of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX 8 passenger jet in Ethiopia raises the chances that families of the 157 victims, even non-U.S. residents, will be able to sue in U.S. courts, where payouts are larger than in other countries, some legal experts said.
Sunday’s crash occurred five months after the same model of the plane went down in Indonesia, an accident that prompted a string of U.S. lawsuits against Boeing by families of the 189 victims.
While no lawsuits have yet been filed since the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, some plaintiffs’ lawyers said they expect that Boeing will be sued in the United States.
Boeing did not immediately comment.
The company, which has its corporate headquarters in Chicago, has often convinced U.S. judges to dismiss air crash cases in favor of litigation in the country where the evidence and witnesses are, usually where the crash occurred.
That allows the company to avoid U.S. juries, which can award hefty punitive damages to accident victims for wrongful death, emotional suffering and economic hardships of surviving family.
Boeing may have a tougher time with that strategy after the Ethiopian crash, some legal experts said.
This is partly because eight U.S. citizens died and because plaintiffs could argue that liability hinges on system design and safety decisions made by Boeing executives since the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.
“Now with two crashes with a brand-new aircraft, what Boeing did in the intervening five months is more relevant, and that all happened in the United States,” said Daniel Rose, a lawyer with Kreindler & Kreindler, a firm that represents air crash victims and their relatives.
The causes are still unknown, but both involved a relatively new 737 MAX 8 aircraft that crashed within minutes of takeoff and experienced sudden drops in altitude when the aircrafts should have been steadily climbing.
This has raised fresh questions among regulators about a digital anti-stall system known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, designed specifically for the MAX to offset the extra lift from larger engines mounted on its low-slung frame.
In a March 4 court filing in litigation over the Indonesia crash, Boeing asked the judge to limit all discovery in the case to issues of forum, or which country the cased belonged, and said it planned to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
While potential plaintiffs may name Ethiopian Airlines as a defendant in any lawsuits, the focus on the 737 MAX 8 anti-stall system makes Boeing a likely target of litigation, some lawyers said.
Arthur Wolk, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in air crash litigation and said he has been contacted by a potential plaintiff over the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said Boeing would likely face claims for strict liability. That means they could face an allegation of having sold a product that was inherently defective and dangerous.
Plaintiffs will also claim Boeing failed to exercise reasonable care in designing planes or failed to inform flight crews about how the planes operate, Wolk said.
Rose, the lawyer for passengers, said two accidents so close together will put the focus of any lawsuits on the Ethiopian crash on how Boeing tried to address problems with its MCAS system after the Lion Air crash.
“Were there other efforts by Boeing to essentially minimize the problem or hide the scope of the problem?” Rose asked. If lawyers can show Boeing management acted recklessly, it could clear the way for substantial punitive damages, he said.
Some lawyers who have worked on the other side of such cases are less sure about Boeing’s potential liability.
Kenneth Quinn, a lawyer who represents airlines and manufacturers, said he thought Boeing had a good chance of getting both sets of U.S. cases dismissed on forum grounds.
He said the trend in U.S. courts was in Boeing’s favor.
“Increasingly, attempts to litigate foreign crashes involving foreign airlines on foreign soil are being dismissed,” he said.
In November, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. dismissed a case against Boeing and other defendants stemming from the disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines flight in 2014 because the presumed crash had a stronger connection to Malaysia than the United States.
In 2011, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed 116 wrongful death and product liability cases against Boeing over the 2008 crash of a Spanair jet on a domestic flight in Spain, where the judge determined the cases should be heard.
If the company has to defend U.S. cases, it would likely argue that claims against it are preempted because the FAA had approved the plane’s design, said Justin Green, a plaintiffs lawyer.
While manufacturers in the past have enjoyed broad protection under the Federal Aviation Act, a decision by the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals has called into question whether manufacturers can rely on preemption when they could have easily submitted changes to the FAA for approval.
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Brendan Pierson in New York; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)
A woman who has been caught up in the major college admissions scandal reportedly co-hosted a fundraising event for Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Jane Buckingham, who has been accused of paying $50,000 to get her son into the University of Southern California, reportedly co-hosted a party for Gillibrand at home in Beverly Hills on March 9, according to Page Six. The event was held to help fund Gillibrand’s exploratory 2020 presidential run.
This all comes as Buckingham is under fire for the college admissions scheme, including multiple celebrities.
Gillibrand’s office did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation for comment about the event.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
Source: The Daily Caller
The chairman of the Texas Democratic Party failed to name a single accomplishment made by presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, despite being pressed repeatedly to do so by Fox News’ Ed Henry on Thursday.
Gilberto Hinojosa was on The Story With Martha MacCallum, guest-hosted by Henry, to discuss O’Rourke, who announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination earlier in the day.
“What would you say is Beto O’Rourke’s top accomplishment that he brings to the table?” Henry asked at the beginning of the interview.
Hinojosa responded, “I think what Beto O’Rourke has done, particularly in the last senatorial campaign that he ran in 2018, is…show the people of Texas and now the people of America what it means to be an honest politician, an honest person who going to talk about things that are important to families all across this country. You don’t always see that.” (RELATED: Beto: ‘I’m Just Born’ To Run For President)
“Pardon me, but Nancy Pelosi was asked today about his biggest accomplishment and she could not really name one, even though he served in the House for a brief time admittedly,” Henry pushed back. “But you are telling me he is an honest politician, that’s his biggest accomplishment?”
Hinojosa then pointed out that Republicans controlled the House during the entirety of O’Rourke’s tenure.
“Sir, but did he create a job somewhere? Did he create a product? What has he accomplished? It is an honest question,” Henry followed up. “I’m not even talking about Congress. What has he gotten done in his life, sir? Has he created a job?”
“Your question is meaningless,” Hinojosa concluded.
During O’Rourke’s first official day campaigning in Iowa, he discussed packing the Supreme Court with Democrats, compared climate change activists to D-Day soldiers and expressed concern for people in rural America who cannot find love on Tinder.
Source: The Daily Caller
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after he filed for a procedural vote on her Green New Deal on Thursday – something many Democrats are labeling a political stunt.
Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News she’s prepared to put the resolution to the real test and not bother with McConnell’s systematic obstacle.
“I look forward to us having a real vote and not just a procedural vote,” she said. “He doesn’t seem to be interested in improving our democracy. He seems more interested in running procedural votes.”
McConnell scheduled the vote on Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution for March 25, when the chamber returns from a one-week recess.
The bill has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.
The plan, which would overhaul the nation’s economy and energy strategy and has been estimated to cost trillions of dollars, has moved rapidly from fringe circles to mainstream discussion, and has been endorsed by many Dems running for president, including newly announced candidate Beto O’Rourke, the onetime congressman from Texas.
While she said it’s “too early” to pick a candidate to back for the 2020 election, Ocasio-Cortez said backing the Green New Deal would be a smart move for any nominee.
“It’s a winning issue. We’re talking about 67 percent of Iowa voters in the caucus support the Green New Deal and now 91 percent would prefer a candidate that’s talking about it,” Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday.
She also addressed a recent letter sent to her and Senate co-sponsor Ed Markey, D-Mass., from the AFL-CIO over concerns that the proposed economic and energy reforms could cause “immediate harm” to millions of union employees.
“Well, if I recall correctly, the head of the AFL-CIO … did not sign that letter and so I don’t know if it’s an official position, but what I do know is that the Green New Deal is all about mass investment in infrastructure and jobs; particularly we’re talking about steelworkers, electrical workers,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News.
“I mean there’s so much work to do in transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy and we have to do that work with union labor.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Figure Skating – ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 2018 – Men’s Free Skating – Moscow, Russia – November 18, 2018 Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan reacts after collecting his gold medal REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
March 15, 2019
By Elaine Lies
TOKYO (Reuters) – A figure skating showdown between Olympic gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu and reigning world champion Nathan Chen is set to dominate next week’s world championships in Saitama as the two face off for the first time in over a year.
Hanyu, who has aggravated a right ankle injury, was forced to drop out of last year’s Japan nationals and the Grand Prix Final, where Chen claimed the crown for a second year running, meaning they have not competed against each other since the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
There, Chen bombed out of the short program in 17th place but skated an incredible free with five clean quad jumps that catapulted him to fifth.
Japan’s Hanyu, skating on painkillers after injuring his ankle in a practice fall, became the first man in over 50 years to win back-to-back Olympic figure skating gold medals.
Though juggling practice and classes as a Yale University freshman, the 19-year-old Chen became U.S. champion for the third straight year in January with a powerful free skate.
“Worlds is a whole other ballgame,” Chen said at the time.
“I’m really excited for it. I’m going to start training as best as I can for it.”
Hanyu has not competed since last November when he won the Rostelecom Cup with the biggest point spread ever, but coach Brian Orser said the 24-year-old was determined to perform at his peak on home ice.
“He is a good, strong competitor and the worlds are in Japan, so he wants to be on top form,” Orser told reporters at the European championships in January.
Hanyu has another incentive – the arena in Saitama, just north of Tokyo, is where he won the first of his two world titles in 2014.
The pair face a challenge from Japan’s Shoma Uno, who grabbed Grand Prix silver for the second year in a row and took gold at the Four Continents meet in February with a record-breaking free skate score under new rules in effect this season.
“I told myself that I could do it and skated without thinking about anything,” said the soft-spoken 21-year-old, who won silver at Pyeongchang and has spent his career in the shadow of the charismatic Hanyu.
LADIES TITLE UP FOR GRABS
With 2018 champion Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada sitting out the season, the race for the ladies title is wide open.
Olympic champion Alina Zagitova will be seeking to atone for the 2018 worlds when the 16-year-old fell three times in her free skate and finished fifth overall, the Russian’s only loss of the 2017-2018 season.
But a growth spurt last year and an uneven season, which saw her finish second in the Grand Prix Final despite topping the podium in both her Grand Prix events and holding four world records under the new point system, means victory is far from certain.
Zagitova’s major challenge is likely to come from Japanese 16-year-old Rika Kihira, whose increasingly consistent jumps, including the triple axel, saw her win a surprise gold at the Grand Prix Final and then another at the Four Continents.
Kihira’s season has also seen some wobbles, however, as foot problems saw her take just silver at the Japan nationals.
Also likely to be in the mix is two-times world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, who sat out the meet last year due to a foot stress fracture that hampered much of her 2017-2018 season.
The 19-year-old, who was denied gold in Pyeongchang by compatriot Zagitova, took the highly unusual step for a Russian skater last year in leaving home to train with Orser in Canada.
She has struggled this season and even replaced her short program halfway through. But in February she topped the podium at the Russian nationals, winning a berth for the worlds.
In ice dancing, French team Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who narrowly lost out on Olympic gold in Pyeongchang after a clasp on Papadakis’s costume came undone, have had an uneven season due to Cizeron suffering a back injury.
However, they came back strong to claim gold in the European Championships and set a world record.
They face competition from U.S. team Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who won the Grand Prix Final.
The World Figure Skating Championships run from March 18 to 24.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Smoke and flame are seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
March 15, 2019
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli military aircraft bombed Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip on Friday, hours after two rockets were launched from the Palestinian enclave at Tel Aviv in the first such attack since a 2014 war.
There was no immediate word of casualties in the air strikes that hit six buildings used by the dominant Islamist group’s security forces, and which had been evacuated as a precaution.
Witnesses said powerful explosions from the air strikes rocked buildings in Gaza and lit the skies over targeted sites
The Israeli military said it was targeting “terror sites” in Gaza. In a possible sign of further escalation, it said rocket sirens were sounded in Israeli communities near the Gaza border.
On Thursday night, the sirens howled farther north, in Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, set off by what the military said were two incoming, longer-range rockets from Gaza.
That salvo caused no casualties or damage, missing built-up areas. But it rattled Israeli nerves ahead of an April 9 election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term on the strength of his national security credentials.
Explosions were heard in Tel Aviv and witnesses said Iron Dome interceptor missiles were fired skyward and detonated – although the military said no rockets were shot down.
It was the first such attack on the city since the 2014 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel. There have been several smaller rounds of fighting since, reined in by Egyptian and U.N. mediations.
“This was basically a surprise,” military spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis told Israel Radio on Thursday.
In that interview, Manelis said Israel did not yet know who had carried out the rocket launches. But another Israeli military spokesman laid the blame with Hamas on Friday.
“Hamas carried out the rocket fire against Tel Aviv yesterday evening,” Lieutenant-Colonel Avichay Adraee said.
Hamas denied involvement, saying the launches took place as its leaders met Egyptian delegates about efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire with Israel.
Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, two smaller Gaza armed factions, also denied responsibility.
Israeli analysts speculated that Palestinian militants opposed to any deal between Hamas and Israel were behind the launchings.
The flare-up of Thursday and Friday drew a U.S. statement of support for Israel. “Hamas and other terror orgs in Gaza continue to fail their people day after day & drag Gaza further & further down by constantly choosing violence,” tweeted Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s Middle East envoy. “This method will never work. Ever!”
Naftali Bennett, a member of Netanyahu’s security Cabinet who is vying against him for rightist votes in the looming election, demanded the assassination of Hamas chiefs. “The time has come to defeat Hamas once and for all,” he said on Thursday.
Netanyahu also faced pressure from the center-left opposition, whose leading candidate, former General Benny Gantz, said: “Only aggressive, harsh action will restore the deterrence that has eroded” under the prime minister’s watch.
Tensions have been high for the past year along the Israel-Gaza frontier since Palestinians began violent protests near Israel’s border fence that have often drawn a lethal response from the Israeli military.
About 200 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations and about 60 more Palestinians have died in other incidents, including exchanges of fire across the border. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian fire.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
March 15, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s parliament voted on Friday to approve a new foreign investment law.
The law will replace existing regulations for joint ventures and wholly foreign-owned enterprises and is designed to ease foreign concerns about China’s investment environment, especially as China and the United States work to try to end a trade war.The law will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the state news agency said.
(Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Gao Liangping and Ben Blanchard)
Animal rights are the next frontier for the left, according to The New Republic.
In an article in the liberal opinion outlet, staff writer Emily Atkin wrote "crucial elements of the contemporary progressive agenda" — like protecting the environment and marginalized communities, and "rolling back the unfettered capitalist exploitation of the planet and its inhabitants" — all overlap with the issue of animal rights.
"As those particular priorities claim center stage in ambitious proposals such as the Green New Deal, the question of what to do about animals . . . will be unavoidable," Atkin wrote.
She noted an idea considered radical in 1989 — that it is almost never acceptable to kill an animal and that animal species possess the same basic rights as humans — is increasingly embraced today.
Thirty-two percent of Americans believe animals should have similar protections as humans, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.
"Thanks to an expansive nexus of interrelated moral and political concerns, the numbers seem poised to continue spiking, particularly among liberals," she wrote. "At the heart of that nexus is a tentative accord to bring animal rights and animal welfare into alignment with one another — together of course, with human rights and human welfare."
With proposals like the Green New Deal, the left has recognized "massive societal shifts are necessary to save the planet and achieve equality," Atkin wrote.
"And with the Green New Deal's increasing prominence in the debate over environmental reform, it's only a matter of time before such shifts will include a serious discussion about the ethics and wisdom of consuming billions of animals every year," she wrote.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of British band The Who pose for a picture at Wembley Stadium in London, Britain March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
March 15, 2019
By Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LONDON (Reuters) – “I hope I die before I get old,” The Who sang in their 1965 hit “My Generation”.
But more than 50 years on, the veteran rock band’s two surviving original members are set for a new tour named “Moving On!” and the release of their first album of new music in 13 years.
Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend, now in their 70s, will take the stage in May as part of The Who’s current six-member lineup and backed by an orchestra to play venues in the United States and Canada as well as London’s Wembley Stadium in July.
After tours of past hits, namely the hugely influential rock operas “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia”, Daltrey, who performed with an orchestra last year, said it was time to do something “that reflects where we are in our lives at the moment”.
“We’re old men now…we can’t go out there and pretend it’s going to be anywhere like we were 40, 50 years ago,” he told Reuters in an interview at Wembley.
“Adding the orchestra…can elevate the music into a place where it feels kind of grown up…(but) people mustn’t think just because there’s an orchestra with The Who that it’s going to be watered down. We’ll be playing exactly full throttle like we usually do.”
Emerging in 1960s London, The Who, which included the late drummer Keith Moon and bass player John Entwistle, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “I Can See For Miles”.
“We could never have imagined it (the group’s ongoing success,” Daltrey said.
“I was coming to (Wembley) stadium today and taking the same journey I used to take every night in the group van…All the memories come back.”
Townshend, the band’s principal songwriter and famed for thrashing his guitar on stage, said he felt “grateful” they could still perform.
“Roger and I are very lucky to be alive,” he said. “We’re lucky to be reasonably healthy. We’re lucky that we can still play the music that we grew up with.”
The Who this year are also planning to release their first album of new music since 2006’s “Endless Wire”.
“We went through so many different phases so now really the challenge is just writing music which is good music which suits Roger and I,” Townshend said.
“I’m a real, real hard taskmaster when it comes to what I sing and whether, whether it’s a good song or not. And I’ll tell you he’s still got it,” Daltrey said.
The singer has said “Moving On!” is not a farewell tour, but acknowledged the duo’s advancing years.
“One of them’s gonna be (a farewell tour), we might not make the end of this one,” he joked. “Every time you hit the stage there’s a possibility of game over at our age.”
(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Jason Neely)
Andrew Kerr | Investigative Reporter
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ties with Organize for Justice, a 501(c)(4) dark money group that trains progressive organizers across the country.
- Ocasio-Cortez serves on the board of Justice Democrats, the “sister organization” of the dark money group.
- Ocasio-Cortez once called dark money the “enemy of democracy.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has ties with a dark money group that trains progressive organizers on how to lead grassroots political campaigns across the country.
The group, Organize for Justice, is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, meaning it can raise unlimited sums of money without having to disclose the identity of its donors to the public.
Organize for Justice’s website states that it is the “sister organization” of Justice Democrats, the PAC that, according to corporate filings, Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff have held control over since December 2017. (RELATED: Media Ignores, Mishandles Allegations Of Campaign Finance Violations By Ocasio-Cortez)
Ocasio-Cortez has frequently decried the use of dark money in politics. During her primary campaign, she said dark money was an “enemy to democracy” and that it poses a “very real danger” of silencing grassroots candidates.
Dark money is used to manipulate electorates. It is the enemy to democracy. Period.
When politicians and corporations weaved their dark web of campaign finance, they created a ticking time bomb for foreign adversaries.
To make our democracy safer, we need to get big money OUT. https://t.co/OYX62jboZH
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 17, 2018
Organize for Justice was founded by former Ocasio-Cortez campaign volunteers in November, according to corporate documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Justice Democrats’ executive director, Alexandra Rojas, also serves on the board of the dark money group.
In February, the group launched Movement School, a 10-week training program tasked with “incubating cohorts of highly skilled professionals to lead grassroots political campaigns across the country,” according to its website.
The dark money group doesn’t charge its participants tuition fees, according to a frequently asked questions page on its website. It requests graduates “prioritize working for campaigns that live the values of Movement School.”
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for Movement School during its launch event in the Bronx.
Excited to see our community of organizers evolve to launch #MVMTSchool in the Bronx + online! @mvmtschool‘s goal is to educate & develop an army of skilled grassroots organizers, so you can make change in your community on your own. #ShowMeWhatDemocracyLooksLike https://t.co/3zw5c6aOp6
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 9, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Ocasio-Cortez has served on the board of the dark money group’s “sister organization,” Justice Democrats, since December 2017.
Her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, has also been a Justice Democrats board member since December 2017, and also served as the political action committee’s executive director until February 2018, according to his LinkedIn.
Ocasio-Cortez’s attorney told Snopes on March 8 that she left Justice Democrats’ board in June 2018, but the PAC’s corporate filings with Washington, D.C., currently list her and Chakrabarti as “entity governors” of the group.
Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the Federal Election Commission that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled Justice Democrats while it simultaneously supported her primary campaign.
If the FEC finds that her campaign and the PAC were operating in affiliation, it could result in “massive reporting violations,” former FEC commissioner Brad Smith previously told TheDCNF.
Former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky said in a Fox News op-ed Sunday that he believes there’s sufficient evidence to “justify opening a criminal investigation” into Ocasio-Cortez’s alleged campaign finance violations.
Neither Justice Democrats nor Organize for Justice returned requests for comment.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
Source: The Daily Caller
Presidential candidate and former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke expressed his concern during a Thursday rally in Iowa that people in rural parts of the United States cannot get on the online dating app Tinder to find “that special person.”
“I want people to have the luxury to be able to contribute to their community, to coach their kid’s teams,” O’Rourke began. “Paying a living wage I think is part of that. And then especially in rural communities, in rural America, the federal government, the rest of the country needs to form partnerships—partnerships that mean that each side is going to give a little to get something greater than either could achieve on their own. In Texas, we have a problem with broadband in rural communities.”
“You may have that in Iowa, as well, where farmers and ranchers and producers literally cannot get online, where people cannot start businesses in their hometown or finish their education after high school because they can’t get online,” he continued. “They can’t go to Tinder and find a date tonight to find that special person who will make the difference in their lives.” (RELATED: Report Says Tinder To Blame For Rise In STDs)
After months of speculation, O’Rourke announced Thursday that he’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Source: The Daily Caller
British five pound banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 14, 2017. REUTERS/ Benoit Tessier/Illustration
March 15, 2019
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO (Reuters) – The British pound paused for breath on Friday after the UK parliament voted overwhelmingly to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union while the yen looked to the Bank of Japan’s guidance on its policy later in the day.
Sterling fetched $1.3253, having slipped further from Wednesday’s nine-month high of $1.3380, with its fall of 0.76 percent on Thursday.
Against the euro, the pound retreated to 85.25 pence from Wednesday’s 22-month peak at 84.725.
British lawmakers approved a motion setting out the option to ask the EU for a short delay if parliament can agree on a Brexit deal by March 20, or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.
The pound was mostly steady after the motion was passed late on Thursday.
“There has been a soft consensus in the market that the Brexit will be delayed. Things have been moving in line with that,” said Kyosuke Suzuki, director of forex at Societe Generale.
“But tail risk has not completely disappeared yet. The next week’s EU summit will probably be the climax,” he said, noting the fact that all 27 EU members must approve any extension.
Before UK Prime Minister Theresa May meets EU leaders on Wednesday and Thursday, a new vote on her twice-rejected deal is likely next week.
Lawmakers must now decide whether to back a deal they feel does not offer a clean break from the EU, or reject it and accept that Brexit could be watered down or even thwarted by a long delay.
The yen slipped to a one-week low of 111.83 per dollar on Thursday partly on speculation that the BOJ could make a stronger show of its readiness to ease policy further at its review ending later on Friday.
Still, most market players expect the BOJ to refrain from any drastic changes to its policy framework. The yen last stood at 111.77.
The euro eased to $1.1307 from Wednesday’s one-week high of $1.1339, in tandem with sterling.
The Australian dollar traded at $0.7064, off this week’s high of $0.7098 as its recent rebound was dented by reports that a possible summit meeting the United States and China to hammer out a trade deal will be delayed.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that a trade summit between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would not happen at the end of March as had been previously suggested because there was still more work to do in trade negotiations.
Trump said whether a trade deal can be reached with China would probably be known in the next three or four weeks.
U.S. data on Thursday underscored growing pressure on the U.S. economy and kept the dollar in check.
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week while new home sales fell more than expected in January.
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians are reflected on an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
March 15, 2019
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks made modest gains on Friday, tracking improved global sentiment after UK lawmakers voted to delay Brexit and as a weaker yen supported Japanese shares, but a fresh flare up in U.S.-China trade concerns is expected to cap gains.
MSCI broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.06 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei climbed 0.9 percent and South Korea’s KOSPI rose 0.45 percent.
Global markets drew some relief overnight with European stocks rising to a five-month high, boosted by strength in the banking sector after Britain’s parliament voted to reject a disorderly Brexit. [.EU]
But the S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent, snapping a three-day winning run, and the Nasdaq shed 0.2 percent on Thursday in the wake of uncertainty over when a U.S.-China trade deal would be reached. [.N]
A summit to seal a trade deal between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not happen at the end of March as previously discussed because more work is needed in negotiations, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.
“Initial expectations were for the trade talks to wrap up in March. So any delay causes the markets to automatically assume that the negotiations are not going well, and this is a negative factor for equities,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
In the currency market, the pound was 0.1 percent higher at $1.3256, trimming some of the heavy losses suffered overnight.
Sterling retreated 0.75 percent on Thursday as investors geared up for British Prime Minister Theresa May to try again to win approval for her Brexit deal. [GBP/]
British lawmakers voted on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the European Union, setting the stage for Prime Minister May to renew efforts to get her divorce deal approved by parliament next week.
The dollar held gains having snapped its four-day losing streak to a group of six major peers.
The dollar index was little changed at 96.717 after rising 0.25 percent on Thursday to bounce back from a nine-day trough of 96.385.
The greenback rose as U.S. Treasury yields climbed from two-month lows marked earlier in the week, driven by corporate supply. [US/]
The dollar was steady at 111.76 yen after climbing 0.5 percent the previous day.
The yen traded in a narrow range ahead of the Bank of Japan’s policy decision due later on Friday, with the central bank widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged.
The euro edged up 0.05 percent to $1.1309 after slipping 0.2 percent overnight.
U.S. crude oil futures declined 0.1 percent to $58.54 per barrel, losing some steam after a recent surge but holding close to a four-month peak of $58.74 brushed on Thursday.
Oil prices soared to the four-month high as investors focused on global production cuts and supply disruptions in Venezuela. [O/R]
(Editing by Sam Holmes)
FILE PHOTO: Julian Assange’s cat sits on the balcony of Ecuador’s embassy in London, Britain, July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
March 15, 2019
WASHINGTON/QUITO (Reuters) – An international human rights organization has turned down a request by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that Ecuador, which has sheltered him for more than six years at its embassy in London, ease the conditions it has imposed on his residence there.
A spokeswoman for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is linked to the Organization of American States, said the group rejected Assange’s complaint.
Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson had no immediate comment.
Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. That probe was later dropped, but Assange fears he could be extradited to face charges in the United States, where federal prosecutors are investigating WikiLeaks.
He says Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum and has put pressure on him to leave by requiring him to pay for his medical bills and phone calls, as well as clean up after his pet cat.
He had sought the support of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in his case against Ecuador. While the commission did not back Assange, it said it reminded Ecuador of international law that no state should deport, return or extradite someone to another country where that person might face human rights abuses.
A friend who regularly visits Assange says he privately complains that Ecuador’s government recently replaced Embassy diplomats sympathetic to Assange with officials who are much less friendly.
Last year, U.S. federal prosecutors in the state of Virginia mistakenly made public a document saying that Assange had been secretly indicted. Officials have since declined to confirm or deny he has been charged.
U.S. federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have maintained a long-running grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks. One source said it includes a probe into leaks of Central Intelligence Agency documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Alexandria ordered former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to be jailed for contempt after she refused to testify about WikiLeaks before the grand jury.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Alexandra Valencia in Quito; Editing by Leslie Adler)
The Department of Defense wants $304 million to fund research on space-based weaponry, including laser beams and neutral particle beams, following reports China and Russia are developing capabilities to threaten the U.S.'s preeminent position, Defense One reports.
The neutral particle beams would be used to disrupt missiles with streams of subatomic particles traveling close to light speed. Lasers, whose photons travel at light speed, would be utilized in the same capacity.
Officials, though, say the explorative studies do not mean much just yet.
"I can't say that it is going to be at a space and weight requirement that's going to actually be feasible, but we're pushing forward with the prototyping and demo," an official told Defense One.
The exploration "means we need to understand as a department, the costs and what it would take to go do that. There's a lot of folklore . . . that says it's either crazy expensive or that it's free. It needs to be a definitive study."
A Pentagon report published in February said China and Russia were developing lasers that could target and destroy U.S. satellites.
"China and Russia, in particular, are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space," the Defense Intelligence Agency report said.
Former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok believed he was "untouchable" before he was demoted from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation in 2017, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee told Fox News on Thursday night.
Strzok testified before the committee behind closed doors in June 2018, but the transcript was not released until Thursday at the impetus of Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.
"The most alarming part of Peter Strzok’s testimony is, he seemed to believe he and he alone could do whatever he wanted to do and that his own bias and his own indiscretions with Lisa Page and anything else – nothing mattered except what he believed: that he was untouchable," Collins told Ed Henry on "The Story." " … Here’s someone at the Department of Justice, the FBI, who says ‘I believe that I can solve the world’s problems politically.’"
Strzok, a onetime senior counterintelligence agent, was fired from the FBI this past August after months of scrutiny regarding anti-Trump text messages between himself and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was carrying on an extramarital affair. In one now-infamous text message sent in August 2016, Strzok told Page: "I want to believe the path you threw out in [then-FBI Deputy Director] Andy’s [McCabe’s] office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40."
Collins told Fox News on Thursday that Strzok, Page and McCabe were part of a "corrupt triumvirate."
"They were the insurance policy," said Collins, referencing the now-infamous text message from Strzok to Page. "They believed [in] themselves to protect the country from a president they didn’t like and from a man they didn’t like."
Collins also discussed Strzok’s disclosure that Hillary Clinton’s attorneys struck a deal with the Justice Department that denied investigators access to Clinton Foundation emails found on the former secretary of state’s private email server.
"When we understand that Hillary Clinton was treated differently, it started, frankly, with President Obama’s Department of Justice," Collins said. "We are now seeing insight through Lisa Page’s testimony, through Peter Strzok’s discussion of this, that it was the Department of Justice basically saying, ‘there’s no way Hillary Clinton is going to be charged here, because we’re not going to use the standard of intent.’ The intent is not a part of gross negligence here … This just shows you there’s a two-tier system here."
Fox News’ Ed Henry contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Drilling rigs are parked up in the Cromarty Firth near Invergordon, Scotland, Britain January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
March 15, 2019
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices were steady on Friday amid support from ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, but weighed down by concerns that an economic slowdown will soon start denting growth in fuel demand.
International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were at $67.16 per barrel at 0029 GMT, down 7 cents from their last close, but still within a dollar of the $68.14 per barrel 2019-high reached the previous day.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $58.53 per barrel, down 8 cents from their last settlement, and also not far off their 2019-high of $58.74 from the previous day.
Despite Friday’s dips, crude has gained around a quarter in value since the start of the year.
“Crude oil continues to grind higher … in response to ongoing production cuts from the OPEC+ group of producers as well as another (output) slump from a blacked-out Venezuela,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Denmark’s Saxo Bank.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-affiliated allies such as Russia – known as the OPEC+ alliance – has pledged to withhold 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude supply since the start of the year to tighten markets and prop up prices.
Meanwhile, a political and economic crisis in Venezuela combined with U.S. sanctions against Venezuela as well as Iran, have further tightened oil markets.
Holding crude back crude prices from rising further have been concerns that a global economic slowdown that has gripped large parts of Asia and Europe, and which is showing signs of spilling into North America, will soon dent growth in demand for oil.
“(But), worries about growth and future demand for crude oil remain just worries at this stage,” said Saxo Bank’s Hansen.
Crude oil use by China’s refineries in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record 12.68 million bpd, official data showed this week.
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)
FILE PHOTO: Feb 27, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (45) pitches against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
March 15, 2019
The winner of the 2019 Home Run Derby will earn a $1 million bonus, and there is a boost coming for this year’s All-Star selections, MLB announced Thursday in a rules update for the upcoming season.
The proposed changes must be ratified by baseball’s 30 owners to become official.
The total prize pool for the 2019 Home Run Derby, which takes place the night before the All-Star Game scheduled for July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, is up to $2.5 million. The winner will claim $1 million. Whether the increase is enough incentive to keep stars interested in the swing-a-thon is unclear.
For example, new Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper took part in the event when it was held in his home park with the Nationals, but his new contract pays him the equivalent of $50,000 per plate appearance.
–The Milwaukee Brewers announced that 31-year-old right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will get the Opening Day start against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on March 28.
“Jhoulys earned the honor from what he did last year,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He deserves it, for sure.”
Chacin, who compiled a 15-8 record with a 3.50 ERA in 35 starts last season, also started openers for the Colorado Rockies in 2013 (a no-decision vs. the Brewers) and the San Diego Padres in 2017 (allowing nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers).
–Los Angeles Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney looks to be out of the running to be the team’s Opening Day starter after he was shut down because of elbow inflammation, manager Brad Ausmus said.
Heaney had an MRI exam that did not reveal any structural damage, but his upcoming downtime could lead to him starting the season on the injured list, Ausmus said.
Heaney was scratched from his March 3 spring training start but resumed throwing last week. He recorded two outs against the Chicago White Sox on Friday but came out of that game when he felt more discomfort.
–The Seattle Mariners could be without third baseman Kyle Seager until early June after the eight-year veteran had hand surgery, general manager Jerry Dipoto revealed.
Seager, 31, had surgery Tuesday in Phoenix and recovery time is expected to be 8-10 weeks. Dipoto confirmed, however, that Seager won’t even be able to swing a bat for eight weeks, meaning that his return could be in the range of 10-12 weeks.
Seager, a Gold Glove Award winner in 2014, batted a career-low .221 last season with 22 home runs and 78 RBIs. It was his lowest home run total since 2013, the year before he made his lone All-Star Game appearance.
–The Toronto Blue Jays reassigned Vladimir Guerrero Jr., their top prospect, to their minor league camp, Sportsnet reported.
The third baseman has been sidelined since last weekend with a left oblique strain and will start the season with Triple-A Buffalo. Recovery time is expected to be about three weeks.
Guerrero, who will turn 20 on Saturday, spent time last season at Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo. The son of Hall of Fame member Vladimir Guerrero batted .402 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs in 61 games in New Hampshire.
–Right-hander Michael Fulmer was shut down by the Detroit Tigers for an indefinite period of time, one day before his next scheduled spring outing.
“He took a step back to refine his lower-body mechanics,” manager Ron Gardenhire said, reading from a statement written on a legal pad, after the Tigers and Red Sox played to a 4-4 tie. “We have no timetable on when he’s going to get back on the mound.”
Asked follow-up questions by a reporter, Gardenhire said, “We’re not going to go any further than that. We have to let him do his thing and let the trainers do their thing.”
–Left-handed reliever Tony Sipp signed a one-year deal worth up to $1.25 million with the Washington Nationals.
Sipp’s deal includes a mutual option for 2020 and gives the Nationals a third left-hander in the bullpen to counter a division loaded with mashing lefties — Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper included.
Sipp posted a 1.86 ERA in 38 2/3 innings with the Houston Astros in 2018 and fills the bullpen vacancy created when the Nationals cut Sammy Solis, another lefty specialist, last week.
–Field Level Media
Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib is supporting a college movement to suspend the school’s study abroad program in Israel.
Students and professors at Pitzer College in California are pushing the school’s administration to halt the program in Haifa, Israel until the Middle Eastern country meets demands set by the organizers.
Daniel Segal, a professor at Pitzer College, tweeted a photo of Tlaib posing with a #SuspendPitzerHaifa pamphlet earlier this week. He brought the initial motion to end the program back in November, according to student-run newspaper The Student Life.
The motion reads, “The Pitzer Faculty calls for the suspension of the College’s exchange with Haifa University, until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.”
A vote scheduled for Thursday by both students and faculty will determine whether or not the resolution will go to the Board of Trustees and Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver. If the vote passes, it will be up to them to make a final decision on the Haifa abroad program.
— Daniel A. Segal (@DanSegal14) March 11, 2019
Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress, has made headlines with comments she’s made about the Israel-Palestine conflict. She was one of the first members of Congress to publicly state her support for the boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement.
Some view the BDS movement as anti-Semitic because it seeks to penalize Israel for their treatment of Palestinians, though it does not seek to do so for any nation other than the Jewish state.
Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver pointed out the double standard that some perceive in the movement, saying, “Why would we not suspend our program with China? Or take our longest standing program in Nepal where the Pitzer in Nepal program has been run for over 40 years, During that time, they have had a bloody civil war that killed 19,000 people. Why Israel?” according to The Student Life.
Neither Segal or Oliver responded to request for comment.
Source: The Daily Caller
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands outside the construction site of the new Best Sunshine Live casino at Saipan, a U.S. South Pacific island, November 21, 2016. REUTERS/Natalie Thomas/File Photo
March 15, 2019
By Farah Master
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific, the owner of a multi-billion Saipan gaming project, is being sued by former construction workers who say they were victims of forced labor and human trafficking on the U.S.-administered Pacific island.
Seven Chinese construction workers made the claim via a filing on Friday to the Federal Court in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands.
They are seeking unspecified monetary compensation for pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.
Imperial Pacific did not respond to a request for comment.
The lush mountainous island of Saipan, controlled by the United States since the end of World War Two, approved a casino in 2014, after which Chinese investment skyrocketed.
Imperial Pacific has the sole license to operate a casino in Saipan but has faced a slew of delays and setbacks to open its hotel resort.
Scrutiny of the project intensified after the death of a construction worker in 2017 and an FBI raid that found a list of more than 150 undocumented workers in a contractor’s offices, as well as a safe containing several thousand dollars in U.S. currency, several hundred Chinese yuan and employee pay stubs.
Several executives have resigned over the past year and worker protests have been a recurring theme as they claim unpaid wages and injuries.
The filing, which names Imperial Pacific as well as its contractors, MCC International Saipan Ltd and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, alleges workers were required to work more than 12 hours a day and sometimes do a 24-hour shift.
It also accuses employers of withholding a portion of their wages and claims they often failed to pay them for weeks at a time.
MCC, which is owned by Metallurgical Corp of China, and Gold Mantis, a subsidiary of Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The filing states Imperial Pacific knew about, or at a minimum, “recklessly disregarded its contractors’ exploitive and illegal practices” and that the company was repeatedly told about the use of unauthorized workers on the construction site.
Crammed into dormitories, often with no showers or air-conditioning, plaintiffs were made to work on a construction site that was extremely dangerous, it said.
“One Gold Mantis supervisor, who had already physically beaten another employee, threatened to kill plaintiffs if they disobeyed him,” it said in the filing.
All plaintiffs suffered injuries including a badly burnt leg, scalded hand and partially severed finger, according to the filing.
Saipan’s casino commission has extended the deadline for the completion of the resort to February 2021. Imperial Pacific was contractually obliged to open the casino in March 2017.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Is Beto O’Rourke pandering or is his message lost in translation?
Hours after O’Rourke announced he would run for president, the former Democratic congressman’s website became a focal point for many of his critics. In particular, some pointed out perceived differences between his English and Spanish websites.
The English version has the slogan “Beto for America.” while the Spanish version reads, “Beto para todos," which translates to “Beto for all.”
Turning Point USA founder and president Charlie Kirk tweeted “Pandering to different communities, Robert?”
Robert is O’Rourke’s legal first name.
“Like he did at his rally, Beto once again standing with non-citizens over Americans,” Campus Reform senior correspondent Eduardo Neret tweeted about the website differences.
Business Insider politics reporter John Haltiwanger tweeted that "’Beto para los Estados Unidos’ would be way too long.”
O’Rourke narrowly lost a senate campaign to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018.
Last month the former congressman from El Paso said he would "absolutely" support tearing down existing barriers along the southern border with Mexico.
Conservative critics are also going after O’Rourke for his website not having any information on his policies but promoting their merchandise store.
“Beto website doesn’t offer policy platform — but give money and buy merch!,” conservative commentator and former game show host Chuck Woolery tweeted.
“Ultimately, we all have to get on board with the same person, because it is fundamental to our chances of success that we defeat Donald Trump in 2020,” O’Rourke said.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: People walk through the Canary Wharf financial district of London, Britain, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
March 15, 2019
By Simon Jessop
LONDON (Reuters) – Twenty percent of Britain’s largest companies have been put on notice by the fund management industry’s trade body for failing to have more women represented on their boards.
The Investment Association said it had written to 69 British companies which it said have no women on their boards or just one asking them for explanations following the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review which set a target of ensuring women make up at least a third of leadership teams by 2020.
“It is totally unacceptable that one in five of the UK’s biggest companies are falling so far short … Companies must do more than take the tokenistic step of appointing just one woman to their board and consider that job done,” the association’s Chief Executive Chris Cummings said in a statement on Friday.
The letter comes just ahead of the season for most companies’ annual general meeting, where investors vote on a range of issues including board membership, and which are set to see increased push-back from investors over poor performers.
The IA’s voter information service IVIS, which investors use to help them decide how to vote at AGMs, said in February it would give its highest-level ‘red-top’ warning about all companies which have just one woman on their board.
Philip Hampton, Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review, said while most companies had made good progress, “a surprising number” had just one woman and needed to do more.
Among the biggest of the FTSE 350 companies to receive a letter are wealth manager St James’s Place, retailer JD Sports and insurer Just Group.
A spokeswoman for Just Group said it had taken action and would provide a response to the IA shortly and give more detail on its activities in a soon-to-be-published annual report.
St James’s Place said in a statement: “As a key priority, we aim to increase the representation of women in senior positions across our business, including at Board level”, and had signed up to two industry initiatives to do that.
JD Sports did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Alexander Smith)
Sign of the European central Bank (ECB) is seen ahead of the news conference on the outcome of the Governing Council meeting, outside the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
March 15, 2019
By Shrutee Sarkar
BENGALURU (Reuters) – The European Central Bank may have missed its opportunity to raise interest rates before the next downturn, according to a Reuters poll that shows a majority of central bank policy watchers aren’t confident they will.
In a poll taken after the ECB said it would offer new long-term loans to banks later this year, nearly 90 percent of economists who answered an extra question also said it would not conduct any more asset purchases until at least the end of 2020.
That comes even though the ECB cut its 2019 growth forecasts to their lowest since polling began for the period, more than two years ago, according to the poll of about 100 economists. Inflation is not expected to pick up to the ECB’s target until at least 2022.
The consensus forecast now is that the ECB will not raise rates until even later next year compared with last month’s poll. More than 60 percent of economists who answered an extra question said they were not confident the central bank will raise them before the next economic downturn.
“Definitely, the cycle has already reached the highest point and we are now already in the slowdown phase,” said Peter Vanden Houte, chief euro zone economist at ING.
“So, the ECB probably did miss the bus in increasing rates. But the situation remains that from conventional tools, there is no scope at all to do something more if the economy goes into a more severe downturn.”
(GRAPHIC: Reuters Poll: Confidence ECB hikes before downturn – https://tmsnrt.rs/2UAVycj)
The survey was conducted against a backdrop of a slowing global economy, an ongoing U.S.-China trade conflict, and an impasse in Britain over leaving the European Union, and it found economists trimming growth forecasts.
“We think the euro zone is a shock away from a recession,” noted Luigi Speranza, chief global economist at BNP Paribas. “Against this background, we think monetary policy normalization is now over. The ECB is likely to leave rates on hold in 2019 and 2020. The debate is soon likely to shift to how the ECB could ease monetary conditions if needed.”
A series of weak economic reports have confirmed a euro zone growth slowdown, including just 0.2 percent growth in the fourth quarter, a recession in Italy, the euro zone’s third-largest economy, and a near-miss for Germany, its biggest.
Quarterly growth is set to nudge up to 0.3 percent this quarter, according to the poll, but average economic growth for 2019 was cut to 1.2 percent from 1.3 in the previous poll.
Inflation is forecast to slip this year to 1.4 percent. It is expected to average 1.5 percent next year and 1.7 percent in 2021.
But the median probability of a euro zone recession in the next year and the next two years slipped to 20 percent and 30 percent from 25 percent and 35 percent in the previous poll.
Some economists pointed to the ECB’s offer of new targeted long-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) as one reason for trimming their recession probabilities.
“With negative shocks that we have seen over the past few quarters … banks will be a little more cautious in extending credit. Now, that risk has been to some extent tackled by the ECB with the new TLTROs,” said Elwin de Groot, head of macro strategy at Rabobank.
“The TLTROs may help prevent further weakening of the economy at best, but that wouldn’t really boost growth.”
Several others said the TLTROs will be more effective by keeping liquidity stable in the euro zone.
“With the TLTROs, most probably, the ECB will prevent a credit tightening, and I think it will be quite successful, given the fact that a number of banks will just be replacing the previous TLTROs coming to maturity (with) the new ones,” ING’s Vanden Houte saod.
(Additional reporting by Richa Rebello; polling by Sumanto Mondal and Manjul Paul; editing by Ross Finley, Larry King)