MagaFirstNews Archive

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House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., speaking to "Fox News Sunday," vowed that congressional investigators will press on and continue to investigate President Trump while warning of a possibly unfolding Justice Department "cover-up," even as he acknowledged that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has apparently closed his investigation without indicting a single American for illegally colluding with Russia.

Nadler also asserted that it’s "way too early to talk about impeachment," as Washington awaits Attorney General William Barr’s highly expected release of Mueller’s primary conclusions, which Trump’s personal lawyers tell Fox News is expected Sunday afternoon.

"All we know is that the special counsel – what we think we know — is that the special counsel is not bringing criminal indictments for collusion," Nadler told host Chris Wallace. "There are other investigations going on which he’s farmed out, the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Virginia, and they may or may not. We do know, remember, in plain sight, of a lot of collusion.

"We know for example that the president’s son and his campaign manager were present in the meeting with the Russians, to receive information which they were told in the invitation was part of the Russian government’s attempt to help them in the election," Nadler said. "We know that the campaign manager gave political targeting data to an agent of the Russian government. So we know a lot of things and maybe it’s not indictable, but we know there was collusion. The question is the degree."

DEMS CIRCLE THE WAGONS DURING FUNEREAL CONFERENCE CALL, AS SENIOR SENATOR ADMITS TRUMP SUPPORTERS MAY HAVE BEEN RIGHT ABOUT MUELLER PROBE

Nadler added: "The job of Congress is much broader than the job of the special counsel. The special counsel is looking and can only look for crimes. We have to protect the rule of law, we have to look for abuses of power, we have to look for obstructions of justice, we have to look for corruption in the exercise of power which may not be crimes."

A former senior law enforcement official told Fox News on Saturday, however, that Democrats lack key investigative powers that Mueller had, including the ability to convene grand juries — and that Nadler’s path amounted to trying to criminalize meetings with foreign actors that the special counsel apparently determined were simply not criminal.

“With all the talk of the Democrats intensifying their House investigations," the former official said, it was important to note that "unlike Special Counsel Mueller, Congress and the [DOJ Inspector General] cannot convene grand juries and initiate prosecutions. If Mueller couldn’t find collusion or conspiracy with every investigative tool, what do the Democrats expect to accomplish?"

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins, R-Ga., echoed that point in his own interview with "Fox News Sunday."

Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Sunday morning, March 24, 2019. Barr is preparing a summary of the findings of the special counsel investigating Russian election interference. The release of Barr's summary of the report's main conclusions is expected sometime Sunday.(AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Attorney General William Barr leaves his home in McLean, Va., on Sunday morning, March 24, 2019. Barr is preparing a summary of the findings of the special counsel investigating Russian election interference. The release of Barr’s summary of the report’s main conclusions is expected sometime Sunday.(AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

WAS MADDOW CRYING? WATCH THE MEDIA MELTDOWN AS MUELLER REPORT DROPS

"As we’ve seen in the first two months of this Congress, [Democrats] really don’t have a policy agenda," Collins said. "They have an agenda against the President. They have an agenda to try and win 2020. And so what we’re seeing is they think that they can go into the Judiciary Committee or any other committee and have a limited budget, limited subpoena power, limited staff and go up against and investigation that lasted 22 months, had unlimited power, unlimited subpoena power, had plenty of investigators — and they think they can find something more than what they did, then I think they’re sadly mistaken."

Collins added: "At this point, the president has been proved right. I think he was obviously frustrated during this time and rightfully so, as this report seems to show."

His remarks echoed that of Senate Judiciary Committee member Chris Coons, a Democrat, on Saturday during a conference call: "I think it’s entirely possible," Coons said, that the day the report is released "will be a good day for the president and his core supporters."

"At this point, the president has been proved right."

— House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga.

Nadler, however, implied that Mueller may have found important evidence against Trump — and said that normal DOJ rules preventing the disclosure of such information after an investigation should not apply.

"The Justice Department believes — normally that’s a very good rule. If you don’t have enough evidence to judge someone on a crime, you shouldn’t sully their name. However, the Justice Department believes that as a matter of law, the president no matter what the evidence, can never be indicted on anything because he is the president. … Once you say that a president cannot be held indictable no matter what the evidence, as a matter of law, to then follow the principle that you can’t then comment on the evidence or publicize it is to convert that into a cover-up."

WATCH: TRUMP HITS THE LINKS WITH KID ROCKS AFTER MUELLER REPORT DROPS

People with signs supporting President Donald Trump are seen from the media van in the motorcade accompanying the president in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, March 22, 2019, en route to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

People with signs supporting President Donald Trump are seen from the media van in the motorcade accompanying the president in West Palm Beach, Fla., Friday, March 22, 2019, en route to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

He added: "If president cannot be indicted because as a matter of law — then the only way a president can be held accountable is for Congress to consider it an act if warranted, and Congress can only do that if it has the information. For the department to take the position that, we’re not going to give information because he’s not indicted, like a normal person, he’s not indicted because a lack of evidence, is equivalent to a cover-up."

But Collins later criticized Nadler’s push for a total release of the report, saying some reasonable limits need to be accomodated.

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"It’s amazing to hear my chairman say that he wants everything out there," Collins said. "Well, I would ask my chairman does he include classified information, which has never been released to the American public? Would he include 6C, which is grand jury information, things that are normally never released to the public outside – really, outside of a special order from the court? Would he want to do the things that would actually get into ongoing investigations? I think the problem is that Democrats and my chairman have a problem. They thought that this report was going to show something they could impeach the president on. That is not seemingly going to happen."

Nadler separately took a shot at Trump for his criticisms of the intelligence community as hopelessly biased. Senior members of the FBI investigative team who probed Trump’s campaign have since been fired or resigned following the revelations that they exchanged numerous anti-Trump text messages during the campaign (even as thousands of other texts were deleted by what the agency called a "glitch"), surveiled a Trump campaign aide using a warrant that relied heavily on a politically biased source working for a firm hired by the Clinton campaign, and illegally leaked information to the media without authorization.

"It is part of a sustained attack by the administration and its allies on the integrity of law enforcement agencies, the FBI, the special prosecutor, for the last two years to try to undermine the integrity and the credibility of our law enforcement institutions, and that’s something that’s very damaging to the country," Nadler said, referring to Trump.

Source: Fox News Politics

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) talks to a teammate during the second half of game against the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Murray State star guard Ja Morant saw his season come to an end on Saturday night, but is he done with college basketball altogether?

After losing 90-62 to Florida State in the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Morant wasn’t ready to announce his intentions for the 2019 NBA Draft.

“That time will come … My focus is not on that right now,” said Morant. “It’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates.”

Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in the losing effort.

Morant dropped a triple-double on Marquette in Murray State’s emphatic first-round win on Thursday.

For the season, Morant averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game for the 28-5 Racers. He nearly doubled his scoring average from his freshman season (12.7), despite playing just two more minutes per game as a sophomore.

Racers coach Matt McMahon sang his young star’s praises afterward.

“You see all of the talent and ability out on the floor and how he makes everyone better, but he’s got some of those intangibles that really separate him,” said McMahon.

“He loves to play. He’s just a relentless competitor. He’s tough and he’s a winner. His growth as a leader this year was a big key in the success we were able to have.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) talks to a teammate during the second half of game against the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Murray State star guard Ja Morant saw his season come to an end on Saturday night, but is he done with college basketball altogether?

After losing 90-62 to Florida State in the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Morant wasn’t ready to announce his intentions for the 2019 NBA Draft.

“That time will come … My focus is not on that right now,” said Morant. “It’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates.”

Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in the losing effort.

Morant dropped a triple-double on Marquette in Murray State’s emphatic first-round win on Thursday.

For the season, Morant averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game for the 28-5 Racers. He nearly doubled his scoring average from his freshman season (12.7), despite playing just two more minutes per game as a sophomore.

Racers coach Matt McMahon sang his young star’s praises afterward.

“You see all of the talent and ability out on the floor and how he makes everyone better, but he’s got some of those intangibles that really separate him,” said McMahon.

“He loves to play. He’s just a relentless competitor. He’s tough and he’s a winner. His growth as a leader this year was a big key in the success we were able to have.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Congressional Democrats “intend to impeach” President Donald Trump — and “don’t care about the evidence,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Cruz, though critical of the now-completed investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, said House Democrats  have another agenda.

What they are basically saying is they are going to impeach the president for being Donald Trump. And they don't care about the evidence,” he said.

Cruz said if it remains true that “not a single person was indicted for colluding with the Russians to influence the 2016 election — that’s goodness for the American people.”

“I'm concerned that it may have become a fishing expedition,” he said of the Mueller probe.

“Bob Mueller made a serious mistake when he brought together the team of investigators and lawyers and selected so many partisan Democrats who had been longtime Democratic donors,” he said. “I think that was unfortunate because by doing that, it undermined the credibility and impartiality of the special counsel's office.”

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Source: NewsMax

A cell phone with the Uber transport technology app, with the destination and its cost to the international airport, is seen inside a car with an Uber driver, in Santiago
A cell phone with the Uber transport technology app, with the destination and its cost to the international airport, is seen inside a car with an Uber driver, in Santiago, Chile, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc will announce plans to acquire Dubai-based rival Careem Networks FZ as early as this week, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Uber will pay $1.4 billion in cash and $1.7 billion in convertible notes, which will be convertible into Uber shares at a price equal to $55 per share, according to a term-sheet that Bloomberg said it had seen.

Careem declined comment while Uber did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters comment.

Uber has been preparing for an initial public offering, and its bankers have indicated that it could be valued at as much as $120 billion.

(Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

In an early look at hypothetical 2020 presidential election fields, both former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lead President Donald Trump head-to-head, according to Fox News.

Biden leads President Trump in a hypothetical by 7 percentage points (47-40 percent), the voters polled leading candidate. The only other Democrat to lead President Trump in a hypothetic campaign was Sen. Sanders (3 percentage points, 44-4 percent), according to the other poll results.

The poll's leading candidates to win the Democratic primary:

  1. Biden – 31 percent.
  2. Sanders – 23 percent.
  3. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. – 8 percent.
  4. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas – 8 percent.
  5. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. – 4 percent.
  6. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – 4 percent.
  7. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. – 2 percent.
  8. All other candidates are 1 percent or less.

Among the candidates above, only Biden has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

The Fox News poll surveyed 1,002 registered voters – including 403 Democratic primary voters – from March 17-20 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Source: NewsMax

Director Peele, cast members Nyong'o, Alex, Wright Joseph, and Duke attend the
Director Jordan Peele (L) and cast members Lupita Nyong’o, Evan Alex, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Winston Duke attend the “Us” premiere at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

March 24, 2019

By Rebecca Rubin

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – Talk about scary good.

“Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind just Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a band of doppelgangers nearly doubled projections, which estimated a three-day total in the $38 million to $45 million range.

“Us” now has the largest weekend for original horror movie, surpassing “A Quiet Place,” as well as the biggest launch for an original R-rated film behind “Ted.” It also shattered the benchmark set by Peele’s directorial debut “Get Out,” which launched with $33 million in 2017.

Universal, Jason Blum, and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions produced “Us” for $20 million. Since its debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, “Us” has built up word of mouth. It has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, rare praise for the horror genre. It stars Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke as a couple forced to fend off blood-thirsty clones while vacationing with their kids.

While “Us” catered to moviegoers looking for a good fright, “Captain Marvel” was doing some terrifying business of its own during the superhero blockbuster’s third weekend of release. The female-fronted tentpole added another $34 million, taking its domestic tally past $320 million.

Since no studios dared to release a movie in anticipation of “Us,” a number of holdovers rounded out domestic box office charts. Paramount Pictures’ animated adventure “Wonder Park” landed in third place, earning $9 million for a North American bounty of $29 million.

“Five Feet Apart,” a romantic drama about two teens who fall in love while undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis, secured the fourth slot with $8.5 million. The film has earned $26 million to date.

Coming in at No. 5 is Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” The conclusion to the “Dragon” trilogy pocketed $6.5 million in its fifth weekend in theaters, bringing its domestic total to $145 million.

Among specialty releases, Bleecker Street’s “Hotel Mumbai” pulled in $89,492 when it bowed in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, translating to $21,623 per venue. The R-rated terrorist thriller — starring Dev Patel and Armie Hammer — follows the victims and survivors of the 2008 attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in India. The movie was pulled from theaters in New Zealand following the Christchurch shooting.

Source: OANN

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler confirmed Sunday that Congress will continue to investigate President Donald Trump regardless of the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“We know there was collusion,” Nadler insisted several times during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with guest host Dana Bash. “Why there’s been no indictments, we don’t know.” (RELATED: Nadler Unleashes Massive Document Requests Into Threats Against Rule Of Law)

WATCH:

Nadler listed the Trump Tower meeting — which has been the subject of numerous false reports — and the way Trump “pressured the FBI to go easy, to stop investigating Flynn,” and Trump firing Comey as evidence of the alleged “collusion.”

Bash pointed out several times that none of that rose to the level of indictment from the Mueller team, but Nadler quickly shrugged it off.

“Well, there have been obstructions of justice, whether they are — clearly, whether they are criminal obstruction is another question,” Nadler explained. “But we have — the special prosecutor is limited in scope. His job was limited in scope and limited to crimes. What Congress has to do is look at a broader picture. We are in charge — we have the responsibility of protecting the rule of law, of looking at obstructions of justice, abuses of power, at corruption, in order to protect the rule of law so that our democratic institutions are not greatly damaged by this president.”

Nadler’s response made it clear that Congressional Democrats are likely moving forward with any number of investigations — in spite of warnings from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regarding the possible consequences of “presidential harassment.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Democrats are pressing for full disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation and vowing to use subpoena powers and other legal means if necessary to get it.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to release his first summary of Mueller's findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said, on what lawmakers anticipated could be a day of reckoning in the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to elect him. Since receiving the report Friday, Barr has been deciding how much of it Congress and the public will see.

Democrats are on a hair trigger over the prospect that some information may be withheld.

"I suspect that we'll find those words of transparency to prove hollow, that in fact they will fight to make sure that Congress doesn't get this underlying evidence," Rep. Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said on ABC's "This Week."

His plan: Ask for information and if that's denied, "subpoena. If subpoenas are denied, we will haul people before the Congress. And yes, we will prosecute in court as necessary to get this information."

At his resort in Florida, Trump stirred from an unusual, nearly two-day silence on Twitter with the anodyne tweet Sunday morning: "Good Morning, Have a Great Day!" Then followed up: "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Democrats won't be willing to wait long for the Justice Department to hand over full information on the probe into whether Trump's 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.

"It won't be months," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Asked if he still believes Trump obstructed justice, he indicated there has been obstruction but "whether it's criminal is another question."

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analyzed the report on Saturday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions.

The Russia investigation has shadowed Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers. And no matter the findings in Mueller's report, the probe already has illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law. That decision will require him to weigh the Justice Department's longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren't indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign.

Democrats are citing the department's recent precedent of norm-breaking disclosures, including during the Clinton email investigation, to argue that they're entitled to Mueller's entire report and the underlying evidence he collected.

Even with the details still under wraps, Friday's end to the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump's orbit who had feared a final round of charges could target more Trump associates or members of the president's family.

The White House sought to keep its distance, saying Sunday it had not been briefed on the report. Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt," went golfing Saturday and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. Not so one of his guests, musician Kid Rock, who posted a picture with the president and the tweet, "Another great day on the links!" He added: "What a great man, so down to earth and so fun to be with!!"

The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president.

He faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee.

As for Mueller, absent the report's details it was not known whether he concluded the campaign colluded with the Kremlin to tip the election in favor of the celebrity businessman. A Justice Department official did confirm that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments, meaning the investigation had ended without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy, or of obstruction of justice by the president.

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the congressional judiciary committees, Barr noted on Friday that the department had not denied any request from Mueller, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political interference. Trump was never interviewed in person by Mueller's team, but submitted answers to questions in writing.

In a conference call Saturday about next steps, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a warning for his fellow Democrats, some of whom have pinned high political hopes on Mueller's findings: "Once we get the principal conclusions of the report, I think it's entirely possible that that will be a good day for the president and his core supporters."

A number of Trump associates and family members have been dogged by speculation of possible wrongdoing. Among them are Donald Trump Jr., who helped arrange a Trump Tower meeting at the height of the 2016 campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was interviewed at least twice by Mueller's prosecutors.

All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, said Saturday that the case of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates will be handed off to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Gates was a key cooperator in Mueller's probe and court papers show he continues to help with several other federal investigations.

Justice Department legal opinions have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted. But many Democrats say Trump should not be immune from a public accounting of his behavior. Though the department typically does not disclose negative information about people who are not indicted, officials have at times broken from that protocol.

Former FBI Director James Comey famously held a July 2016 news conference in which he criticized Clinton as "extremely careless" in her use of a private email server but said the FBI would not recommend charges. The Justice Department also took the extraordinary step of making available to lawmakers the details of a secret surveillance warrant obtained on a Trump campaign aide in the early days of the Russia probe.

Source: NewsMax

House Democrats don’t think special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report is the “bombshell they anticipated” — and have pivoted to conducting their own probes of President Donald Trump, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Sunday.

In an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” Jordan said “we haven’t seen any” indication of the “central charge of the special counsel … to see if this was conspiracy, coordination, or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the election.”

“They don't think this Mueller report is going to be the bombshell they anticipated,” he said of House Democrats. “Now they're launching other charges, other investigations.”

He also chided Democrats for clamoring for Mueller to head the nearly two year investigation.

“Remember, this is Bob Mueller — the guy the Democrats, the Republicans, everyone in town said, ‘this is the guy we need to pick. He can almost walk on water. He's right next to Jesus. This is the guy,’” he said.

“But all indications are that there is not going to be any finding of any collusion whatsoever,” he said.

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand on tanks near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
FILE PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand on tanks near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

March 24, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will on Monday sign a decree recognizing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan Heights while hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Israel’s acting foreign minister said.

A senior U.S. official said last week that the Trump administration was preparing an official document to codify support for Israel’s annexation of the strategic plateau that it seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

“Tomorrow, President Trump, in the presence of PM Netanyahu, will sign a decree recognizing Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan. Israel-U.S. ties are closer than ever,” Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted on Sunday.

The United Nations considers the Israeli-held Golan to be occupied territory.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Democrats complaining about special counsel Robert Mueller's lack of authority to indict the president as the reason there are no more indictments coming are ignoring "the logical conclusion: There was no collusion," according to Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

"At this point the president has been proved right," Rep. Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, told "Fox News Sunday" of "no collusion" and "witch hunt" claims by President Donald Trump. "I think he was obviously frustrated during this time, and rightfully so, as this report seems to show."

Democrats have long argued the special counsel would get to the bottom of 2016 election meddling after President Trump's victory, which has been delegitimized in the eyes of some Democrats. But continuing House Democrat investigations post-special counsel suggest it was never going to be enough to vindicate the president in their partisan view.

"In their main core of the collusion or investigation of obstruction, they're seemingly coming to the point that the president and those around him had nothing to do with this," Collins told host Chris Wallace. "That is the core finding at least in what we’re seeing so far."

As far as Democrats trying to "paint the president" by pointing to the indictments delivered thus far by Mueller's team – including Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn – they also prove nothing, according to Collins.

"I just think it shows you've got three people who chose to lie to investigators when nobody told them to lie to investigators as far as anything has been pointed out," Collins told Wallace. "If this report comes back – as it seems to be coming back – that there was no collusion on the president or the part of the campaign, then that is the part that we need to take and move from here.

"Why people lie, Chris, that’s a discussion for them and their lawyers and why they chose to do that."

Source: NewsMax

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

March 24, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday those in the finance sector who buy foreign currencies on the expectation that the lira will fall will pay “a very heavy price”, adding the Finance Ministry is carrying out work on this.

Speaking at an election rally in Istanbul, he said “some people” had begun provoking Turkey and that they are attempting to make the lira decline against foreign currencies with their cooperators in Turkey.

The Turkish lira tumbled more than 4 percent against the U.S. dollar on Friday, its biggest one-day fall since a currency crisis took hold in August, raising concerns that Turks are buying more foreign cash as ties with Washington deteriorate.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

“Yellowstone” season two is only a few months away, and we have the first image from the upcoming episodes.

Everybody knows that I’m a huge fan of the hit show on the Paramount Network. Kevin Costner as John Dutton is one of the coolest storylines that I’ve ever seen on TV.

The whole cast is incredible, and I’m extremely optimistic that things will only get crazier in season two. In the first image from the new season, all our favorite characters are gathered on the front porch of John’s house. (RELATED: ‘Yellowstone’ Season 2 Will Premiere June 19, 2019 On The Paramount Network)

Kayce, Beth, Jamie, their father, Rip and Monica are all in the picture. Jamie’s presence is interesting because he pretty much cut and run from the family at the end of season one.

This photo makes me think that Jamie is going to make some amends in the second season. He flamed out his father to a reporter, and that could cause some serious problems for the head of the Dutton family.

Yet, there’s a war brewing, and we all know John will close ranks. Will Jamie find his way back into his good graces? We’ll have to find out. (RELATED: The ‘Yellowstone‘ Season One Finale Was Electric [SPOILERS])

It’s also interesting that Monica is featured. Hopefully, that’s a sign she’s going to smooth things over with Kayce.

There’s no question she’s better off on the ranch than on the reservation. That was made obvious in season one.

Tune in June 19 to catch all the action in season 2. It should be great.

Source: The Daily Caller

General view of Duqm Port in Oman
General view of Duqm Port in Oman, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/ Nawied Jabarkhyl

March 24, 2019

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman on Sunday which U.S. officials say will allow the U.S. military better access the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran.

The U.S. embassy in Oman said in a statement that the agreement governed U.S. access to facilities and ports in Duqm as well as in Salalah and “reaffirms the commitment of both countries to promoting mutual security goals.”

The accord is viewed through an economic prism by Oman, which wants to develop Duqm while preserving its Switzerland-like neutral role in Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy.

But it comes as the United States grows increasingly concerned about Iran’s expanding missile programs, which have improved in recent years despite sanctions and diplomatic pressure by the United States.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal was significant by improving access to ports that connect to a network of roads to the broader region, giving the U.S. military great resiliency in a crisis.

“We used to operate on the assumption that we could just steam into the Gulf,” one U.S. official said, adding, however, that “the quality and quantity of Iranian weapons raises concerns.”

Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.

Still, the U.S. official noted that the agreement would expand U.S. military options in the region for any kind of crisis.

Duqm is ideal port for large ships. It is even big enough to turn around an aircraft carrier, a second official said.

“The port itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very attractive, again being outside the Strait of Hormuz,” the official said, adding that negotiations began under the Obama administration.

COMPETITION WITH CHINA

For Oman, the deal will further advance its efforts to transform Duqm, once just a fishing village 550 km (345 miles) south of capital Muscat, into a key Middle East industrial and port center, as its diversifies its economy beyond oil and gas exports.

The deal could also better position the United States in the region for what has become a global competition with China for influence.

Chinese firms once aimed to invest up to $10.7 billion in the Duqm project, a massive injection of capital into Oman, in what was expected to be a commercial, not military, arrangement.

“It looks to me like the Chinese relationship here isn’t as big as it appeared it was going to be a couple of years ago,” the second official said.

“There’s a section of the Duqm industrial zone that’s been set aside for the Chinese … and as far as I can tell so far they’ve done just about nothing.”

Still, China has in the past shown no qualms about rubbing up against U.S. military facilities.

In 2017, the African nation of Djibouti, positioned at another geostrategic choke-point, the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, became home to China’s first overseas military base. The U.S. military already had a base located just miles away, which has been crucial for operations against Islamic State, al Qaeda and other militant groups.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Sunday he wants to "see all" of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Trump campaign collusion, including what was behind the FBI’s "extraordinary use of government surveillance power."

In an interview on NBC News’ "Meet the Press," Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "we want to learn as much as we possible can that’s allowed and permissible" under Justice Department policy and "of course, the law."

"I want to see all of it, what was the underlying criminal predicate for the entire investigation," he said. "Let's see the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] investigations because this is an extraordinary use of government surveillance power…. Show us what those were."

"Let's see all of that and put all of that out there so we can pass judgment about how the investigation was conducted or at least the predicate for the investigation was conducted during the Obama years," he added.

According to Rubio, the completion of the the Mueller report now also means the intel committee can question people that it has wanted to interview for its own probe.

"The end means there should nobody out there, and there shouldn't be anyone out there that we shouldn't be allowed to interview … There's no reason for anyone to not talk to us," he said.

Related Stories:

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport in Washington
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – American Airlines said Sunday it will extend flight cancellation through April 24 because of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX after two fatal crashes since October and cut some additional flights.

American, the largest U.S. carrier, said it is cancelling about 90 flights a day. American is the second-largest U.S. operator of the MAX in the United States with 24 jets, behind Southwest Airlines with 34.

American said earlier this month it was flying about 85 flights a day out of its 6,700 daily departures on 737 MAX planes when the grounded was announced.

The airline said it was making the announcement “to provide more certainty to our customers and team members and better protect our customers on other flights to their final destination.”

Boeing Co is expected as early as Monday to formally disclose a planned upgrade to its anti-stall system to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that has been in the works since October’s Lion Air crash but still needs approval from U.S. regulators.

The FAA has said it plans to mandate the upgrade by April, but it is still not clear if the upgrade will address any issues after the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines crash.

American, Southwest and United Airlines were all meeting with Boeing this weekend to review the software upgrade, Reuters reported Saturday.

The FAA said earlier the “design changes” would result in flight control system enhancements that will provide “reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items.”

Reuters reported Thursday the upgrade will include a previously optional warning light. Many airlines, including American, already had the optional light.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Regardless of the revelations of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the reality is former FBI Director James Comey knew Russia was meddling in the 2016 presidential election and did "nothing" because he "thought Hillary [Clinton] would win the election," according to retired Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"In the last Congress that I served in, I wrote a letter in August to the director of the FBI Comey and said 'Russia is meddling with our elections and you need to do something about that' and by October he had done nothing," Reid told "The Cats Roundtable" on 970 AM-N.Y., per The Hill.

"The hindsight from his troops are 'well he didn't do it because he thought Hillary would win the election. He therefore thought it'd be too political for him to get involved."

Reid added to host John Catsimatidis, Russia's meddling campaigns might have been exposed, but they are not yet curtailed or stopped.

"The Russians interfered with our elections," Reid said. "They've done it in the past. They're doing it as we speak in European countries, and they're going to do it again in America."

Comey criticism is not unusual from Reid, who has long blamed Clinton's loss on Comey's actions and inaction on Russia's election meddling.

Source: NewsMax

Georgia Fowler torched down Instagram with a recent snap.

Fowler, who has nearly 900,000 followers, posted a photo of herself braless in a white shirt for her fans to see. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

This snap is about as crazy as you can expect to get on Instagram these days, and that’s saying a whole lot. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Give it a glance below. I think you’re going to like what you see. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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To be honest with all of you, I didn’t know a ton about Fowler a few months back. I was a shade late to the party. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

However, I’m all in now, and it’s great content. Here are a few more times she tore it up on Instagram. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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Source: The Daily Caller

The Alliance of American Football released a pretty cool video late Saturday of Johnny Manziel ahead of his debut.

The Memphis Express quarterback talked about his rise to fame at Texas A&M and how it all came crashing down afterwards. He was open, honest and appeared very self-aware of the mistakes in his past. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

The Heisman winner even admitted that he has a lot of regrets about how things when down when he flamed out of Cleveland.

Watch the video below.

Now, Manziel will make his AAF debut when the Memphis Express play the Birmingham Iron tonight on the NFL Network.

Given all the things that have happened in Manziel’s life and his short stint in Canada, it’s kind of hard to believe how nicely things came together for him in the AAF. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Says He’s ‘Getting Some Of The Rust Out’ Ahead Of Memphis Express Debut)

It should be fun to see if he can still go out there and spin it like he did during his days with the Aggies.

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Make sure to tune in for the game. Johnny Football won’t be starting, but I absolutely expect him to get some snaps.

It’s going to be a good one as we watch Manziel’s return to pro football.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

The Alliance of American Football released a pretty cool video late Saturday of Johnny Manziel ahead of his debut.

The Memphis Express quarterback talked about his rise to fame at Texas A&M and how it all came crashing down afterwards. He was open, honest and appeared very self-aware of the mistakes in his past. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

The Heisman winner even admitted that he has a lot of regrets about how things when down when he flamed out of Cleveland.

Watch the video below.

Now, Manziel will make his AAF debut when the Memphis Express play the Birmingham Iron tonight on the NFL Network.

Given all the things that have happened in Manziel’s life and his short stint in Canada, it’s kind of hard to believe how nicely things came together for him in the AAF. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Says He’s ‘Getting Some Of The Rust Out’ Ahead Of Memphis Express Debut)

It should be fun to see if he can still go out there and spin it like he did during his days with the Aggies.

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Make sure to tune in for the game. Johnny Football won’t be starting, but I absolutely expect him to get some snaps.

It’s going to be a good one as we watch Manziel’s return to pro football.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Fans gave Minnesota star Jordan Murphy an emotional goodbye after losing to Michigan State Saturday night.

The Gophers got blown out by the Spartans in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but that didn’t stop the fans from showing their appreciation for Murphy, who has been a major part of the Minnesota program these past few years. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

Coach Richard Pitino pulled him from the game with just under a minute and a half left as the crowd got to its feet, and started applauding.

The senior star shared some emotional hugs as he went down the bench.

That’s how this journey will end for every single player on ever single team except one. Sports are about huge emotional swings, and most people will hang up their shoes without ever getting close to a championship.

I have no doubt last night was a hard pill to swallow for Murphy. I have no doubt at all, but the sting of losing his final March Madness game will eventually fade.

When it does, people will always remember just how great he was for the Gophers.

Props to him on a very successful career in the Big Ten. Now, it’s time for him to go make some money playing this incredible sport.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Fans gave Minnesota star Jordan Murphy an emotional goodbye after losing to Michigan State Saturday night.

The Gophers got blown out by the Spartans in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but that didn’t stop the fans from showing their appreciation for Murphy, who has been a major part of the Minnesota program these past few years. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

Coach Richard Pitino pulled him from the game with just under a minute and a half left as the crowd got to its feet, and started applauding.

The senior star shared some emotional hugs as he went down the bench.

That’s how this journey will end for every single player on ever single team except one. Sports are about huge emotional swings, and most people will hang up their shoes without ever getting close to a championship.

I have no doubt last night was a hard pill to swallow for Murphy. I have no doubt at all, but the sting of losing his final March Madness game will eventually fade.

When it does, people will always remember just how great he was for the Gophers.

Props to him on a very successful career in the Big Ten. Now, it’s time for him to go make some money playing this incredible sport.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Scott Van Pelt has gone viral for some comments defending Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Izzo tore into Aaron Henry during their first NCAA tournament game against Bradley, and he refused to apologize for his treatment of the freshman. (RELATED: Tom Izzo Goes Ballistic On Aaron Henry, Refuses To Apologize)

You can watch the intense moment below.

Obviously, some people (not me) thought Izzo took it too far. Van Pelt wasn’t having it. He absolutely shredded Izzo’s critics in an awesome recent rant on ESPN. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

He specifically called out the people who don’t “really want context,” but just “want to be mad.” Watch the incredible segment below, which has since blown up on Twitter.

I agree with pretty much every single word spoken by the ESPN host. This is major college basketball we’re talking about here. It’s going to be tough. It’s not always pretty. That’s just the fact of the matter.

Izzo wasn’t pleased with his guy, and he let him have it. That’s called coaching and holding people to a standard of excellence. If we’re not going to do that, then why are we even playing the game?

This is March Madness. Everything is on the line. Izzo should lose his mind if his players aren’t giving their all.

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Good for Izzo for refusing to apologize, and props to Van Pelt for calling out the ridiculous critics. I couldn’t agree more with either of them.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

The letter from Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress "shows that the Russia collusion investigation is exactly what President Trump always said it was – a witch hunt," former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., wrote for RealClear Politics.

It will not be just a function of what is in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but we should not be "overlooking the significance of what's not in it," according to Huckabee.

"Not one of the Democrats' high-value targets — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or any other Trump family members — were indicted by Mueller, and the Department of Justice has already said there will be no more indictments forthcoming," Huckabee wrote.

"Of course, Mueller didn't subpoena the president, either, crushing the hopes of the mainstream media journalists and pundits who had been confidently expecting that very outcome from the start of Mueller's probe. If President Trump really was an agent of Russia, as they fervently believe he is, then surely Mueller would have taken the added step of at least interviewing him before ending the investigation.

"Among those who were indicted in the Mueller investigation, moreover, not one was charged with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election – the entire purpose of assigning a special counsel."

Huckabee also noted the fact the special counsel's investigation has concluded on its own volition, meaning "President Trump did a lousy job" of obstructing it or justice.

"Here we are, two years and $30-plus million in taxpayer funds later, and nothing to show for it, except some completely discredited media commentators and partisan members of Congress who breathlessly all but guaranteed there would be evidence of the president and members of his family and staff colluding with the Russians," Huckabee wrote. "I won't hold my breath for their admissions and apologies.

". . . With the Mueller witch hunt behind him, perhaps now the President Trump can finally focus his full attention on the job that the American people elected him to do: making America great again."

Source: NewsMax

Anthony Pettis lit up Stephen Thompson at UFC Fight Night 148.

Pettis rocked Thompson late Saturday night in impressive fashion, and the video is downright incredible. (SLIDESHOW: These UFC Women Really Hate Wearing Clothes)

The Wisconsin-native put Thompson on the ground, and followed that up with a ton of brutal shots as the ref rushed in to stop the fight. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Greatest Ronda Rousey Photos On The Internet)

Watch the incredible video below.

My friends, that’s what we call getting annihilated. Pettis just absolutely destroyed his opponent, and there’s no other way to describe it. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Sexiest Paige VanZant Photos On The Internet)

I can remember the last time I saw a UFC fight that ended in such a dominating fashion. There are people who get rocked all the time, but that was on a different level.

Thompson looked like he was dead by the time Pettis stopped.

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Well done, Pettis. That’s the kind of action UFC fans are craving. It’s always good to remind the world that you’re not the man to step into the octagon with.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen
FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

March 24, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer’s management retains the backing of its supervisory board, its chief executive said, after pressure on the company increased when a second jury in the United States ruled its glyphosate-based Roundup weed killer caused cancer.

Bayer, which denies allegations that glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer, acquired Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, for $63 billion last year.

Its shares have fallen a third over the last 12 months burdened by thousands of lawsuits over a suspected cancer link to Roundup.

“The share price is significantly impacted by the legal cases related to glyphosate in America, the discounts are greatly exaggerated,” Chief Executive Werner Baumann told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).

“The management board enjoys the full backing of the supervisory board,” added Baumann, who has been Bayer CEO for almost three years.

A U.S. jury last week found that Roundup caused cancer, a blow to the company eight months after another jury issued a $289 million verdict over similar claims in a different case. That award was later reduced to $78 million and is on appeal.

Baumann defended Bayer’s move to acquire Monsanto, saying it “was and is a good idea”, according to the FAS interview.

Asked about a potential breakup of Bayer, Baumann said the group had a clear strategy based on three divisions — pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health.

“We want to strategically develop these three pillars, all three markets are attractive.”

Talk of a break-up has been fueled since it emerged in December that activist fund Elliott had taken a stake.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Members of the Iraqi Civil Defence rescue team lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River in Mosul
Members of the Iraqi Civil Defence rescue team lift a ferry which sank in the Tigris River with a crane in Mosul, Iraq March, 23, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 24, 2019

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s parliament voted on Sunday to sack the governor of Nineveh after an overloaded ferry capsized, killing at least 90 people, in the provincial capital Mosul, state media said.

The boat was carrying families heading to an outing on an island in the Tigris River on Thursday when it sank. Many of the women and children on board could not swim.

Islamic State militants were driven from Mosul nearly two years ago, but relief has given way to impatience over alleged corruption as reconstruction of the destroyed city has stalled.

Scores of protesters swarmed Iraq’s president and the governor on Friday, forcing them to leave the site of the accident. The crowd threw stones and shoes at Governor Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan’s car, which sped off hitting two people, one of whom was taken to hospital.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Saturday formally asked parliament to remove Sultan. Iraqi law gives the federal parliament the right to sack provincial governors based on the suggestion of the prime minister.

Parliament also voted to sack Sultan’s two deputies, in line with Abdul Mahdi’s request. The governor can appeal the decision at court. He has not commented on the vote yet.

Abdul Mahdi’s letter to parliament accused Sultan of negligence, dereliction of duty, and said there was evidence he was misusing public funds and abusing power.

Protesters blamed negligence by the local government for the accident. The boat was loaded to five times its capacity, according to a local official.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

More voters trust Special Counsel Robert Mueller than President Trump when it comes to learning the truth about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. At the same time, many say there is no chance Mueller’s investigation will change how they feel about the president, according to the latest Fox News Poll.

The poll, completed before the special counsel delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr, finds that by a 16-point spread, 52-36 percent, voters approve of how Mueller is handling the Russia probe. His best rating of net +22 approval was in August 2018 (59 approve vs. 37 disapprove).

CLICK TO READ COMPLETE POLL RESULTS

Opinion splits over whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the election (44 percent think it did, 42 percent disagree). However, a majority of voters, 52 percent, thinks President Trump has tried to interfere with the investigation.

In addition, just 29 percent trust Trump to tell the truth on the Russia matter compared to 45 percent who trust Mueller. Democrats (80 percent) are far more likely to trust Mueller than Republicans are to trust Trump (62 percent).

Eighty percent think the public should get to see Mueller’s report on the probe — which more consider “a legitimate investigation into an important issue” rather than “a bogus attempt to undermine Trump’s presidency” (49-39 percent).

The U.S. House unanimously passed a resolution March 14 asking the Justice Department to release the special counsel’s report.

Even if released, it is unclear how much it will sway public opinion.

Forty-one percent of voters say that there is “no chance at all” that something in Mueller’s report could change how they feel about Trump.

Half, 50 percent, say there is at least a small chance they could change their view. That includes one in five who say there is a “strong” chance (7 percent) or “some” chance (14 percent), and another 29 percent who say there is “only a small chance.”

This group of persuadable voters currently thinks Trump has tried to interfere in the investigation (by 15 points), but does not think the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia (by 6 points).

“As important as the Mueller investigation is, it may not change the minds of many Americans about the president,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson.

“Barring a bombshell revelation, voters are likely to view the report through the prism of their partisan identities.”

More Democrats (47 percent) than Republicans (39 percent) say there is no chance they will change their view of Trump.

Among Republicans, 73 percent want Mueller’s report released publicly, 23 percent approve of Mueller, 16 percent think the investigation is legitimate, and 15 percent think Trump tried to interfere with it.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from March 17-20, 2019.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

Source: Fox News Politics

So many Democrats are running for president the race feels like a March Madness bracket. If it were, the No. 1 seeds would be former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Either would be favored to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 finals, according to the latest Fox News Poll.

CLICK TO READ COMPLETE POLL RESULTS

Democratic primary voters were read a list of 20 announced and potential candidates for the 2020 nomination. Biden is the top choice at 31 percent, followed by Sanders at 23 percent.

California Sen. Kamala Harris (8 percent) and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (8 percent) make up a second tier. They are followed by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (4 percent), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (4 percent), and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (2 percent).

The other candidates are the political equivalent of a 16th seed — they receive less than two percent.

Eleven percent are unsure of their picks.

Men, women, whites, non-whites, college graduates, and non-graduate Democratic primary voters all put Biden first and Sanders second. Sanders has the edge among those under age 45, while Biden is first for those 45 and over.

Democratic primary voters are more likely to support a candidate they think can beat Trump (51 percent) than the candidate they like the most (36 percent).

While Biden is technically undeclared, he slipped up and said he is entering the 2020 race. An official April announcement is expected.

Two-thirds of Democratic primary voters want Biden to run, and he is the top choice among those who prioritize beating Trump, followed by Harris, Sanders, and O’Rourke.

Among those who say it is more important to vote for the candidate they like than the one who could win, Sanders is the first choice, followed by Biden.

“Democratic primary voters would welcome Biden into the field, should he run,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Republican Daron Shaw. “They prioritize beating Trump, and as of now Biden fares best of the more widely known Democratic candidates against Trump.”

The poll also asks Democratic primary voters about policies. Majorities are “very” likely to back a candidate who supports Medicare for all (67 percent) and a 70 percent tax rate on income over $10 million (53 percent). Less than 4 in 10 are very likely to vote for a candidate who supports passing the Green New Deal (37 percent), paying reparations to descendants of slaves (31 percent), and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE (25 percent).

The hypothetical head-to-heads among registered voters show support for Trump stays between 40-42 percent against each Democrat tested. He tops both Harris (39-41 percent) and Warren by 2 points (40-42 percent).

Sanders has a 3-point edge over the president (44-41 percent), but Biden performs best, topping Trump by 7 points (47-40 percent).

The head-to-head matchups between Trump and Sanders, Harris, and Warren are within the poll’s margin of sampling error. Biden’s lead is just outside it.

“There is ambivalence at this early stage of the nomination process,” says Shaw. “Democrats want Trump out any way possible, but they also have a set of public policy preferences that would have been considered way outside of the mainstream even 10 years ago.  This has major implications for all candidates and especially for Biden.  Democrats like him, they want him to run, and are likely to be impressed Biden currently runs well against Trump, but do they think winning the White House depends on him?  If not, the rationale for his candidacy is unclear.”

Finally, 41 percent of Democratic primary voters would rather Trump be voted out of office in 2020 than impeached. That matches the 41 percent who prefer he be impeached and removed before the election.

Now that would be a real bracket-buster.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide, including 403 Democratic primary voters, and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from March 17-20, 2019. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters and plus or minus five percentage points for Democratic primary voters.

Source: Fox News Politics

As economic worries wane, approval of President Trump’s job performance remains just two points shy of his record, according to the latest Fox News Poll. Still, a majority disapproves.

Forty-six percent approve of the job Trump is doing, while 51 percent disapprove. He received his best ratings, 48-47 percent, in February 2017, just after he took office.

CLICK TO READ COMPLETE POLL RESULTS

Almost all 2016 Trump voters (92 percent), Republicans (89 percent), and very conservatives (86 percent) approve of the president.

Plus, his approval hit high points among some groups that aren’t typically his biggest fans, such as women (43 percent), college graduates (46 percent), and suburban voters (46 percent).

A key number in the poll is the spread between those who are nervous about the economy and those who are confident. It was 31 percentage points in March 2016 when 61 percent felt nervous and 30 percent were confident.

The poll released Sunday finds more voters feel nervous (43 percent) than confident (37 percent) about the economy by just six points. A year ago, that gap was seven points. At the same time, those having “mixed” feelings about the economy went from 6 percent in 2016 to 11 percent last year to 17 percent today.

In addition, the 43 percent feeling nervous is a new low. The question was first asked in September 2010 and, at that time, 70 percent felt nervous.

President Trump receives his only net positive job rating on the economy, as 50 percent of voters approve, while 42 percent disapprove.

Outside the economy, the news isn’t as good.

Approval of how Trump is handling North Korea dropped four points to 42 percent after his recent Vietnam summit with Kim Jong Un, down from 46 percent in February. Forty-four percent disapprove.

By a narrow margin, voters think North Korea is farther (27 percent) from giving up its nuclear weapons program since Trump took office rather than closer (24 percent) to giving it up, with the largest number, 41 percent, feeling things are unchanged.

Support for the border wall ticked down a couple points, as 44 percent favor building it, while 51 percent oppose it. In February, it was 46-50.

Meanwhile, more than half disapprove (59 percent) of the president declaring a national emergency on the southern border as a way to bypass Congress and fund the wall, while 36 percent approve.

About 9 in 10 Democrats oppose the emergency declaration, while about 7 in 10 Republicans favor it. Republicans (86 percent) are more than 12 times as likely as Democrats (7 percent) to favor the wall.

A dozen Senate Republicans sided with Senate Democrats March 14 in voting for a resolution to end the president’s border-wall emergency declaration. Trump vetoed the bill, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a March 26 vote in the House to try to override the veto.

Forty-one percent of voters approve of how Trump is handling immigration, while 54 percent disapprove. That is mostly unchanged since January, when it was 42-54 percent.

Pollpourri

After news of the college bribery scandal, the poll shows twice as many voters see the admissions process as rigged as consider it fair: 49 percent rigged vs. 25 percent fair.

Those with a college degree and those without a degree are equally likely to call the process rigged (both 49 percent). Black voters (65 percent) are more likely than Hispanics (49 percent) and whites (47 percent) to feel that way.

In general, 56 percent feel things in the country are rigged to favor the wealthy, while 40 percent believe — if they work hard — they have a fair shot at getting ahead. The admissions scandal does not seem to be changing minds, as a Fox News poll last September found almost exactly the same results.

Republicans (70 percent) think people who work hard can get ahead, while Democrats (82 percent) and independents (62 percent) say things are rigged.

The Fox News Poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) (formerly named Anderson Robbins Research) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from March 17-20, 2019. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

Source: Fox News Politics

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a migration summit in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a migration summit in Budapest, Hungary March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

March 24, 2019

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government could resume media campaigns against European Union bodies, he suggested on Sunday, as his nationalist Fidesz party gears up for European Parliament elections due on May 26.

On Wednesday the European Parliament’s main center-right grouping, the European People’s Party (EPP), voted to suspend Fidesz amid concerns it has violated EU principles on the rule of law.

The action was triggered in part by Orban’s media campaign attacking European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, depicting him as a proponent of mass immigration into Europe and as a puppet of Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros.

The European Commission has dismissed the claims as fiction.

Orban had ended the media attacks and apologized to members of the EPP, but he again struck a combative tone in an interview with public radio on Sunday.

“People are a bit angry with us in Brussels because, at the start of the European Parliament election campaign, we ran an information campaign in Hungary, essentially exposing what Brussels was up to,” Orban said.

“We have exposed them and, naturally, they are angry.”

Nationalist Orban has often clashed with the EU over his anti-immigration campaigns and judicial reforms.

“Our job now is to continuously inform the people about what Brussels is up to,” Orban added in Sunday’s interview.

“We should not back down, we should not be scared because the opponent takes offence and attacks us with the anger of people who are exposed.”

Asked whether Orban’s remarks meant Budapest would resume its anti-EU media campaigns, a government spokesman declined further comment, saying: “The prime minister’s words speak for themselves.”

Orban has also leveled criticism at European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the European Socialist candidate to suceed Juncker after the May elections.

Orban cast Timmermans as an out-of-touch Brussels bureaucrat living in what Orban called a “bubble”. Dutchman Timmermans is broadly disliked by nationalist parties in Eastern Europe, including in Hungary.

“Just this week there was a vote transforming the Dutch upper house, where the party of this Timmermans fell over spectacularly. He has lost the confidence of the people. And meanwhile he comes to Budapest and tours European capitals to lecture us about democracy,” Orban said.

“Such Timmermans-types, who are given the boot at home by their own people, should not be given a position in Brussels, because that will weaken cooperation in the entire EU.”

Orban also said that the outcome of the European vote would determine whether Fidesz remains in the EPP group or seeks a new alliance in Europe.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

A man is detained after trying to hit Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini at the Korson Maalaismarkkinat country fair in Vantaa
A man is detained after trying to hit Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini at the Korson Maalaismarkkinat country fair in Vantaa, Finland March 24, 2019. Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. FINLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN FINLAND.

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – A Finnish cabinet minister was approached by “an agressive and threatening man” during an election rally on Sunday, but escaped unhurt, police said in a statement.

It did not name the minister, but a photographer from the Lehtikuva pictures agency, who took photos at the rally, said the threats were towards Foreign Minister Timo Soini.

The Foreign Ministry was not immediately available for comment. A spokeswoman for Soini declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Neither the police nor Finnish media gave any indication the would-be attacker was armed with any weapon during the skirmish at the event just north of Helsinki.

“Based on the early information an agressive and threatening man had tried to approach a minister at an election event at a local market event in Korso, Vantaa,” the police said.

The man was bundled to the ground by police, who are investigating whether he was trying to attack the minister.

Pictures from Lehtikuva showed a man lying on the ground with several people restraining him. He was wearing a black shirt with the logo of Soldiers of Odin, a right-wing anti-immigration group.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

In the first major speech of her presidential campaign Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is set to deliver a rebuke of the U.S. president as a "coward," according to notes obtained by AP and Reuters.

The speech is set at the front of Manhattan's Trump International Hotel & Tower, which she will call "a shrine to greed, division and vanity," according to AP.

"We're bringing the fight to Trump’s doorstep," the event's page reads.

Unlike some of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates, Sen. Gillibrand has not been shy to call President Donald Trump by name.

"President Trump is tearing apart the moral fabric of our country," she plans to say, Reuters reported, per The Hill. "He demonizes the vulnerable and he punches down. He puts his name in bold on every building.

"He does all of this because he wants you to believe he is strong. He is not. Our president is a coward."

Sen. Gillibrand's campaign platform will call for universal healthcare, paid family leave, and gun control.

In her remarks for Sunday, Gillibrand praises the bravery of high school students organizing to end gun violence, young people brought to the country illegally as children who are fighting for "their right to call this country home," and "of course, the formerly well-behaved women who organized, ran for office, voted and won in 2018."

"That is brave," she says.

Gillibrand also talks about her own courage, which she says is evidenced by her ability to win a House seat in a district seen as a Republican stronghold, by fighting for funds to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and survivors of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and by fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and harassment at the Pentagon, in Congress and on college campuses.

Information from the AP was used in this report.

Source: NewsMax

Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat
Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat, Morocco March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

March 24, 2019

RABAT (Reuters) – More than 10,000 Moroccan teachers staged a new protest in the capital Rabat on Sunday to demand better working conditions, a witness said, hours after police had dispersed an earlier demonstration with water cannon.

The teachers started marching peacefully from the education ministry in Rabat to the square in front of parliament where police had intervened earlier.

Police were present at the latest protest but did not take any action.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Writing by Ulf Laessing. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat
Teachers protest for better work conditions in Rabat, Morocco March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

March 24, 2019

RABAT (Reuters) – More than 10,000 Moroccan teachers staged a new protest in the capital Rabat on Sunday to demand better working conditions, a witness said, hours after police had dispersed an earlier demonstration with water cannon.

The teachers started marching peacefully from the education ministry in Rabat to the square in front of parliament where police had intervened earlier.

Police were present at the latest protest but did not take any action.

(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Writing by Ulf Laessing. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Jerusalem March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/Pool

March 24, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – With Israel’s election just two weeks away, Benjamin Netanyahu will get to showcase his close ties with Donald Trump in a U.S. visit just days after the president backed Israel’s hold over the occupied Golan Heights.

The prime minister’s White House meeting with Trump on Monday could be overshadowed in the United States by the expected release of a confidential report into a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

But Netanyahu, facing possible indictment in three corruption cases and denying any wrongdoing, will play to a domestic audience in highlighting what he hails as the strongest bond ever between an Israeli leader and an American president.

Before returning on Thursday from the long-planned trip to the home stretch of a close race, Netanyahu can expect a warm reception from Trump, who along with the First Lady, will also host a dinner for Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

Trump helped set the scene for his ally on Thursday, announcing the time had come to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, strategic territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The president’s move was widely seen in Israel – where Trump is a popular figure – as an attempt to provide an election boost to the right-wing Netanyahu, who had pressed for yet another departure from long-standing U.S. policy in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Trump had already fulfilled two major items on Netanyahu’s wish list, recognizing contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moving the American embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv last May.

Those steps angered Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem, also captured by Israel in 1967, as the capital of a state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It also set them firmly against a peace plan Washington says it will present after the Israeli ballot.

“We have never had such a bond between the prime minister of Israel and an American president,” Netanyahu, who has featured Trump on his campaign billboards, told reporters upon his departure from Tel Aviv.

For Trump, Netanyahu’s embrace resonates with U.S. evangelists, a core constituency for the Republican leader who is up for re-election in 2020.

CLOSE RACE

Before arriving in Washington on Sunday, Netanyahu said he would speak to Trump “about his historic declaration” on the Golan and “continued pressure on Iran” following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran that had relaxed sanctions on Israel’s arch-foe.

Netanyahu will also address the pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC, at its annual convention in Washington, as will his main challenger in the election, former military chief Benny Gantz who heads a centrist party.

The prime minister said he will meet leaders of Congress during the visit. Netanyahu’s relations with Democrats have been strained by his unflinching support for Trump, friction with the Democratic party’s progressive wing and his thorny relationship with Barack Obama.

Opinions polls show Netanyahu running neck and neck with Gantz. The political newcomer has called for clean governance, building on the attorney-general’s announcement in February that he intends to indict Netanyahu on bribery and fraud charges, pending a hearing after the April 9 vote.

“(Trump’s statement about the Golan) will really help Netanyahu,” said Billha Ketter, 67, an event planner, speaking to Reuters in Rosh Pina, which abuts the Golan Heights. She accused the president of intervening in Israel’s election.

Opinion polls gauging whether Trump’s move is having an effect are expected later in the week.

(Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Rosh Pina, Israel; Editing by Maayan Lubell/Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Steve Barclay appears on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London
Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Steve Barclay appears on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain, December 9, 2018. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A British election could be the consequence of parliament seizing control of the Brexit process this week if lawmakers back proposals contrary to the pledges the government was elected on, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said on Sunday.

“Ultimately at its logical conclusion, the risk of a general election increases because you potentially have a situation where parliament is instructing the executive to do something that is counter to what it was elected to do,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A Saudi royal adviser fired over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is not among the 11 suspects on trial at secretive hearings in Riyadh despite Saudi pledges to bring those responsible to justice, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of “ordering and committing the crime.” The CIA and some Western countries believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.

Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed until he was sacked then sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury over his suspected role, is not on trial and has not appeared at any of the four court sessions convened since January, said seven sources, who are familiar with the proceedings but have not attended the trial.

Two regional intelligence sources told Reuters weeks after the killing that Qahtani oversaw Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment by giving orders via Skype to a team of security and intelligence operatives.

The Saudi public prosecutor said in November that Qahtani had coordinated with deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, who ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had become a vocal critic of the crown prince’s policies following years as a royal insider.

The prosecutor said Qahtani had met the operatives charged with Khashoggi’s repatriation ahead of their journey to Istanbul. When Khashoggi resisted, the lead negotiator decided to kill him, according to the prosecutor.

Asiri is on trial, the seven sources told Reuters.

Three of the sources said that Maher Mutreb, the lead negotiator, and Salah al-Tubaigy, a forensic expert specialized in autopsies, are also on trial and could face the death penalty.

The sources said the defendants have legal counsel and have defended themselves in court by claiming they did not intend to kill Khashoggi or were merely carrying out orders.

The public prosecutor, the government media office, Qahtani and Asiri did not respond to requests for comment on the status of the trial. Reuters could not reach Mutreb, Tobaigy or any of the defendants’ lawyers.

Saudi Arabia wants to move on from the global outcry sparked by Khashoggi’s killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last October, which tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, prompted some investors to pull out, and intensified criticism of the country’s human rights record.

A credible investigation and trial are among Western demands to restore Saudi Arabia’s standing after the killing. But Riyadh has refused to cooperate with a U.N. inquiry, rejecting it as interference in its internal affairs.

It is unclear what evidence, if any, has been presented in court. Khashoggi’s remains have not been discovered, and Riyadh says it has not received evidence requested from Ankara, which says it has recordings related to the killing in which Qahtani features prominently.

A senior Turkish official said Ankara had shared all the necessary information with Saudi Arabia but that the cooperation had not been reciprocated. Turkey wants Riyadh to answer questions including where Khashoggi’s body is and who the Saudis standing trial in Riyadh are.

Three of the sources said a representative for the Khashoggi family attended at least one session to ask for an update on the public prosecutor’s investigation into Qahtani and for him to be brought before the court.

Qahtani has continued to wield influence in the crown prince’s inner circle and remains active on behalf of the royal court, Western, Arab and Saudi sources with links to the royal court told Reuters in January.

A Saudi official denied that at the time and said Qahtani remains under investigation and banned from travel.

Access to the trial has been limited to diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Turkey who are summoned on short notice and barred from bringing interpreters.

(Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Source: OANN

An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A Saudi royal adviser fired over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is not among the 11 suspects on trial at secretive hearings in Riyadh despite Saudi pledges to bring those responsible to justice, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of “ordering and committing the crime.” The CIA and some Western countries believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.

Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed until he was sacked then sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury over his suspected role, is not on trial and has not appeared at any of the four court sessions convened since January, said seven sources, who are familiar with the proceedings but have not attended the trial.

Two regional intelligence sources told Reuters weeks after the killing that Qahtani oversaw Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment by giving orders via Skype to a team of security and intelligence operatives.

The Saudi public prosecutor said in November that Qahtani had coordinated with deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, who ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had become a vocal critic of the crown prince’s policies following years as a royal insider.

The prosecutor said Qahtani had met the operatives charged with Khashoggi’s repatriation ahead of their journey to Istanbul. When Khashoggi resisted, the lead negotiator decided to kill him, according to the prosecutor.

Asiri is on trial, the seven sources told Reuters.

Three of the sources said that Maher Mutreb, the lead negotiator, and Salah al-Tubaigy, a forensic expert specialized in autopsies, are also on trial and could face the death penalty.

The sources said the defendants have legal counsel and have defended themselves in court by claiming they did not intend to kill Khashoggi or were merely carrying out orders.

The public prosecutor, the government media office, Qahtani and Asiri did not respond to requests for comment on the status of the trial. Reuters could not reach Mutreb, Tobaigy or any of the defendants’ lawyers.

Saudi Arabia wants to move on from the global outcry sparked by Khashoggi’s killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last October, which tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, prompted some investors to pull out, and intensified criticism of the country’s human rights record.

A credible investigation and trial are among Western demands to restore Saudi Arabia’s standing after the killing. But Riyadh has refused to cooperate with a U.N. inquiry, rejecting it as interference in its internal affairs.

It is unclear what evidence, if any, has been presented in court. Khashoggi’s remains have not been discovered, and Riyadh says it has not received evidence requested from Ankara, which says it has recordings related to the killing in which Qahtani features prominently.

A senior Turkish official said Ankara had shared all the necessary information with Saudi Arabia but that the cooperation had not been reciprocated. Turkey wants Riyadh to answer questions including where Khashoggi’s body is and who the Saudis standing trial in Riyadh are.

Three of the sources said a representative for the Khashoggi family attended at least one session to ask for an update on the public prosecutor’s investigation into Qahtani and for him to be brought before the court.

Qahtani has continued to wield influence in the crown prince’s inner circle and remains active on behalf of the royal court, Western, Arab and Saudi sources with links to the royal court told Reuters in January.

A Saudi official denied that at the time and said Qahtani remains under investigation and banned from travel.

Access to the trial has been limited to diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Turkey who are summoned on short notice and barred from bringing interpreters.

(Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Source: OANN

An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A Saudi royal adviser fired over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is not among the 11 suspects on trial at secretive hearings in Riyadh despite Saudi pledges to bring those responsible to justice, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Saudi public prosecutor indicted 11 unnamed suspects in November, including five who could face the death penalty on charges of “ordering and committing the crime.” The CIA and some Western countries believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.

Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed until he was sacked then sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury over his suspected role, is not on trial and has not appeared at any of the four court sessions convened since January, said seven sources, who are familiar with the proceedings but have not attended the trial.

Two regional intelligence sources told Reuters weeks after the killing that Qahtani oversaw Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment by giving orders via Skype to a team of security and intelligence operatives.

The Saudi public prosecutor said in November that Qahtani had coordinated with deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri, who ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who had become a vocal critic of the crown prince’s policies following years as a royal insider.

The prosecutor said Qahtani had met the operatives charged with Khashoggi’s repatriation ahead of their journey to Istanbul. When Khashoggi resisted, the lead negotiator decided to kill him, according to the prosecutor.

Asiri is on trial, the seven sources told Reuters.

Three of the sources said that Maher Mutreb, the lead negotiator, and Salah al-Tubaigy, a forensic expert specialized in autopsies, are also on trial and could face the death penalty.

The sources said the defendants have legal counsel and have defended themselves in court by claiming they did not intend to kill Khashoggi or were merely carrying out orders.

The public prosecutor, the government media office, Qahtani and Asiri did not respond to requests for comment on the status of the trial. Reuters could not reach Mutreb, Tobaigy or any of the defendants’ lawyers.

Saudi Arabia wants to move on from the global outcry sparked by Khashoggi’s killing in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate last October, which tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, prompted some investors to pull out, and intensified criticism of the country’s human rights record.

A credible investigation and trial are among Western demands to restore Saudi Arabia’s standing after the killing. But Riyadh has refused to cooperate with a U.N. inquiry, rejecting it as interference in its internal affairs.

It is unclear what evidence, if any, has been presented in court. Khashoggi’s remains have not been discovered, and Riyadh says it has not received evidence requested from Ankara, which says it has recordings related to the killing in which Qahtani features prominently.

A senior Turkish official said Ankara had shared all the necessary information with Saudi Arabia but that the cooperation had not been reciprocated. Turkey wants Riyadh to answer questions including where Khashoggi’s body is and who the Saudis standing trial in Riyadh are.

Three of the sources said a representative for the Khashoggi family attended at least one session to ask for an update on the public prosecutor’s investigation into Qahtani and for him to be brought before the court.

Qahtani has continued to wield influence in the crown prince’s inner circle and remains active on behalf of the royal court, Western, Arab and Saudi sources with links to the royal court told Reuters in January.

A Saudi official denied that at the time and said Qahtani remains under investigation and banned from travel.

Access to the trial has been limited to diplomats from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Turkey who are summoned on short notice and barred from bringing interpreters.

(Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi
FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 3, 2019. Picture taken January 3, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi will commit up to 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to reduce its reliance on oil revenue.

Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.

The emirate launched a 50 billion dirham ($13.6 billion) stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic.

The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a 500 million dirham fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.

The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.

Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.

Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.

Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.

Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the 1 billion dirham commitment, Ajami said.

Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.

(Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir's Kulgam district
Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Zeba Siddiqui

March 24, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari

KULGAM, India (Reuters) – Kashmiri farmer Yusuf Malik learned that his son Owais, a 22-year old arts student and apple picker, had become an armed militant via a Facebook post.

Days after Owais disappeared from his home in this picturesque valley below the Himalayan ranges, his picture appeared on the social network, posted by a user the family said they did not recognize. The short, thin, curly-haired young man in casual jeans and a T-shirt stared resolutely at the camera, both hands clutching an AK-47 rifle.

In blood red font on the photo was scribbled his new allegiance: the Hizbul Mujahideen, or ‘The Party of Warriors’, the largest of the militant groups fighting to free the mostly-Muslim Kashmir from Indian rule.

“He was a responsible kid who cared about his studies,” said Yusuf, 49, staring down at the carpeted floor of his brick home where he sat on a recent winter morning, clasping his folded hands inside his traditional pheran cloak.

The family said it has not heard from Owais since.

Owais is one of a rising number of local militants fighting for independence of Kashmir – an insurgency being spread on social media amid India’s sustained, iron-fisted rule of the region.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops and armed police are stationed in this lush region at the foot of the Himalayas. India and rival Pakistan have always disputed the area and in the past three decades, an uprising against New Delhi’s rule has killed nearly 50,000 civilians, militants and soldiers, by official count.

Historically, that insurrection has largely been led by militants from Pakistan, who have infiltrated into the valley.

But now, an increasing number of locally-born Kashmiris are picking up arms, according to Indian officials. About 400 local Kashmiris have been recruited by militants since the start of 2016, nearly double the number in the previous six years, according to government data. India says Pakistani groups continue to provide training and arms – a claim Islamabad rejects. 

Just a month before Owais Malik showed up on Facebook, another young man, Adil Ahmad Dar, left his home in a nearby part of Kashmir to join a militant group. This February, his suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy killed 40 Indian policemen, and took India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

After Dar’s attack, Indian security forces launched a major crackdown, searching Kashmiri homes and detaining hundreds of supporters, sympathizers and family members of those in armed groups. At least half a dozen gunbattles broke out between Indian police and militants.

The families of Dar and other young militants, as well as some local leaders and political experts, say run-ins between locals and security forces are one of the main reasons for anger and radicalization. After the recent crackdown, they expect more young people to take up arms.

“FREEDOM, MARTYRS”

Outside the narrow lane that leads to the Malik family home in Kulgam in southern Kashmir, children walk to school past shuttered shopfronts and walls spray-painted with the word “azadi”, the local word for “freedom”. The graveyard at the end of the lane has an area for militants, who are remembered as “martyrs”.

Dar’s family claims he’d been radicalized in 2016 after being beaten up by Indian troops on his way back from school for pelting stones at them.

“Since then, he wanted to join the militants,” said his father Ghulam Hassan Dar, a farmer.

India’s home and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In news conferences since the suicide bombing, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, India’s top military commander in Kashmir, has dismissed allegations of harassment and rights abuses by Indian troops as “propaganda”. He said the recent crackdown by security forces has resulted in the killing of the masterminds of the attack, and militant recruitment has dipped in recent months.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired army general who has served in Kashmir for over 20 years, said the rise in homegrown fighters does not surprise him. 

“Those who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the conflict started, have now come of age,” he said. “This is a generation that has only seen the jackboot. The alienation of this generation is higher than the alienation of the previous generation.”

A 17th century Mughal emperor called Kashmir “paradise on earth”. But violence has ebbed and flowed in the valley since the subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947.

The question of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, was never resolved, and it has been the catalyst for two wars and several violent clashes between the countries.

Tensions have risen after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in New Delhi in 2014. Modi promised a tougher approach to Pakistan and gave security forces the license to retaliate forcefully against the insurgency.

CULT FOLLOWING

Around that time, many young Kashmiris started rallying around Burhan Wani, who had left home at the age of 15 to join the insurgency. Wani had a large following on social media, where he appeared in videos dressed in military fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, calling for an uprising against Indian rule. 

He and his brother were beaten by security forces when they were teenagers, his family told local media. Wani was 22 when he was killed by security forces in 2016 and thousands attended his funeral despite restrictions on the movement of people and traffic.

The United Nations said in a report last year that in trying to quell mass protests in Kashmir since 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to between 130 and 145 killings, according to civil society estimates.

Thousands were injured, including around 700 who sustained eye injuries from the use of pellet guns by security forces, it said. Thousands of people had simply disappeared since the insurgency began, it said.

The Indian government has rejected the report as false. Indian forces have long been accused of rights abuses and torture in custody in Kashmir, but officials routinely deny the charges.

Instead, India points the finger at Pakistan. Officials say the rebellion in Kashmir is being funded and organized by Pakistan and if they cut off those resources, the insurgency will weaken and it can then focus on building Kashmir’s economy. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group claimed responsibility for the latest attack, which was the deadliest in the insurgency.

Pakistan says it only provides moral support to the Kashmiri right to self-determination.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Muslim spiritual leader of Kashmir who is considered a moderate separatist, contests that India has true plans to engage politically with the people of Kashmir.

“In the past five years we have seen that the government of India has only spoken to Kashmiris through the barrel of the gun, that’s it. There is no political approach,” he said.

“Nobody is dying in Kashmir for lack of roads, electricity and water.” 

LOSING ANOTHER SON

A few miles south of Owais Malik’s home in Kulgam lives Masuma Begum, who said her son and brother had been called in to an army camp two days after the latest bombing and have been held since then.

A military spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Behind the glass panes of a wall shelf above her were photos of a smiling young man, an assault rifle slung on his shoulder.

“That’s my other son, Tausif,” Masuma Begum said. The 24-year-old had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 and been killed by the army the same year, she said. “I don’t want to lose another son.”

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari in KULGAM; Editing by Martin Howell and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The front of a German railway Deutsche Bahn AG ICE high speed train is seen at the train station in Hanau
FILE PHOTO: The front of a German railway Deutsche Bahn AG ICE high speed train is seen at the train station in Hanau, Germany, November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

March 24, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government wants to inject some 50 billion euros ($57 billion) into upgrading the national rail network over the next decade, mass-selling Bild newspaper reported on Sunday.

State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn is under pressure to improve its services and reduce train delays that have become an irritation for commuters.

The company is also facing financial strain. It has a debt mountain of 20 billion euros and its financing deficit is expected to hit 5 billion euros by 2023.

Deutsche Bahn has a deficit of 1.2 billion euros a year in costs for maintaining the rail network and Bild said the finance ministry wants to boost maintenance funds to 4.6 billion euros starting next year from 3.5 billion presently.

That amount should rise to 5.6 billion euros a year between 2025 and 2029, Bild said in an unsourced report.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn said he could not immediately comment on the report as negotiations with the government were ongoing. The Finance Ministry could not be reached for comment.

Net profit for the company fell by one third in 2018 to 540 million euros, people familiar with Deutsche Bahn’s financial results said last week.

($1 = 0.8840 euros)

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must find a way to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion rather than trying to oust Prime Minister Theresa May, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

When asked by Sky about newspaper reports of a plot to oust May by senior ministers and whether she had run out of road, Hammond said: “No. I don’t think that is the case at all.”

“Changing prime minister wouldn’t help us,” he said. “To be talking about changing the players on the board, frankly, is self-indulgent at this time.”

When asked if he was trying to get May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, to take over as interim prime minister, Hammond said: “That’s not the case.”

“I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority for the prime minister’s (Brexit) deal and if that is the case then parliament will have to decide not just what it’s against but what it is for,” he said.

When asked about possible options for Brexit, Hammond said he was not sure there was a majority in parliament for a second referendum but that it was a coherent proposition.

“It’s clear there is going to be an opportunity over the next few days for the House of Commons, if it doesn’t approve the prime minister’s deal, to try to find a majority behind another proposition that it can take forward,” Hammond said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., blasted congressional Republicans on Saturday for seeking a “bluff” vote on her proposed Green New Deal – a move that other Democrats have also derided as a political stunt.

“The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record’, for leg [legislation] they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Stop wasting the American peoples’ time + learn to govern. Our jobs aren’t for campaigning, & that’s exactly what these bluff-votes are for.”

The freshman Democrat has touted the Green New Deal as an effort to rid the U.S. of greenhouse gas emissions while generating millions of high-paying jobs. Ocasio-Cortez has called climate change a "generational" issue, describing it as "our World War II" for younger people.

Republicans have mocked the ambitious plan as socialism and cite its price tag that could reach into the trillions of dollars.

It has almost no shot of passing in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to advance. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has scheduled a procedural vote on the plan for Monday, when senators will return after a one-week recess.

“Leader McConnell thinks the Green New Deal is just a resolution, but the Green New Deal is a revolution,” said U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., one the plan’s lead authors. “The Green New Deal has struck a powerful chord in this country, and it is igniting the movement of young people who are ready to make this the organizing issue for their generation.”

The legislation exists as a nonbinding resolution, which would not require the government to do anything. Democrats have yet to deliver details on how to implement the plan or pay for it.

OCASIO-CORTEZ LOOKS FORWARD TO ‘REAL VOTE’ ON GREEN NEW DEAL AFTER MCCONNELL MANEUVER

By pushing for a vote, McConnell hopes to see how far Democrats are willing to go to align themselves with the party’s new progressive wing.

“Just a good old-fashioned, state-planned economy. Garden-variety 20th-century socialism,” McConnell said in a recent speech. “Our Democratic colleagues have taken all the debunked philosophies of the last hundred years, rolled them into one giant package, and thrown a little ‘green’ paint on them to make them look new.”

“Our Democratic colleagues have taken all the debunked philosophies of the last hundred years, rolled them into one giant package, and thrown a little ‘green’ paint on them to make them look new.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Some Democrats said they plan to vote “present” on the resolution to signal their opposition to what they call a “sham” vote that seeks to quash public debate by blocking public hearings or expert testimony about the consequences of climate change.

In addition to Republicans, several major labor unions also oppose the deal.

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In response to her tweet, some on social media mocked Ocasio-Cortez for being upset that her proposed legislation will get a vote.

“Seems odd to introduce legislation with lots of fanfare if you don’t want it to receive a vote?,” one user wrote.

“This has to be the first time a sitting congressperson has ever advocated for NOT holding a vote on their own ideas,” another tweeted in response.

“Someone seems weirdly upset that the Senate will be voting on their plan," another wrote.

“If planet is in a crisis and this serious proposal (totally not a stunt!) is the only plan to save it, you would think @AOC wd be: 1) thanking McConnell for scheduling a vote & 2) working to get votes to pass it. In fact, shouldn’t she be mad at Pelosi for not doing the same?,” one user tweeted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Jason Neely

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines has rejected media reports that optional equipment for Boeing 737 MAX planes was critical for safety aboard a flight that crashed this month.

The crash of flight 302 and a similar one involving Indonesia’s Lion Air in October, both flying the new 737 MAX 8, have cost 346 lives and sparked the biggest crisis in decades for Boeing.

Grieving families, nervous travelers and airlines around the world are looking for answers while Boeing prepares updates aimed at getting the 737 MAX, with sales worth $500 billion at stake, back in the air.

In a sign of the impact on Boeing’s business, Indonesia’s Garuda is pushing to dump a $6 billion order for the grounded planes.

Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were also heading to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington over the weekend to review a software upgrade.

One focus for investigators is software Boeing installed on the MAX series designed to push a plane’s nose down if it senses too sharp an ascent and an indicator that shows that angle of flight.

OPTIONAL ITEMS

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said it was important not to confuse safety-critical equipment with optional items.

“A Toyota is imported with all the necessary equipment to drive, like the engine and the wheels, but with air conditioning and the radio optional,” Tewolde said.

“When Boeing supplies aircraft there are items which are mandatory for safety and then there are optional items,” he added, noting the angle of attack indicator was optional.

Some media reports have questioned whether having this installed may have helped the cockpit crew regain control of flight 302, which crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10 killing all 157 aboard.

Tewolde rejected this, adding: “The angle of attack indicator was on the optional list along with the inflight entertainment system.”

He echoed the words of Norwegian Air which said it had not selected the cockpit light warning of discrepancies between angle of attack sensors for its fleet of 18 MAX 8 aircraft.

“We have chosen not to fit this particular optional extra …it is not a safety critical feature nor is it a requirement by any aviation authority,” Norwegian told Reuters.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s biggest airline with a modern fleet of Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier aircraft and a flying history that dates back to the 1940s.

They have been flying Boeing planes since 1962 and have four MAX 8 jets, with another 25 worth some $3 billion on order.

GARUDA

Garuda has written to Boeing asking to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX 8 planes, CFO Fuad Rizal said on Friday. CEO Ari Askhara told Reuters customers had lost trust in the plane.

The airline might switch to other Boeing models, Rizal told Reuters, adding it was in negotiations with Boeing while a move to Airbus planes was not under consideration. Garuda rival Lion Air is weighing what to do with an even bigger order following its crash, which killed all 189 passengers and crew aboard.

It has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered.

Boeing has said it is been working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on a software upgrade and training set to be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.

The FAA which certifies planes expects to approve these design changes no later than April, it has said.

American Airlines pilots this weekend were preparing to test the planned software upgrade, saying they want their own safety guarantees on the fix.

Southwest and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates.

(Reporting by Jason Neely; additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore, Cindy Silviana and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, David Shepardson in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Potential 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Gillibrand arrives for a campaign stop in Manchester
FILE PHOTO: Potential 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) arrives for a campaign stop at Stark Brewing in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will deliver a fiery first speech as an official presidential candidate in New York City on Sunday, calling U.S. President Donald Trump a “coward” at the doorstep of one of his most famous properties.

The location in front of Trump International Hotel – which she plans to call a “shrine to greed, division and vanity,” according to excerpts from her prepared remarks – is intended to show voters that Gillibrand will attack Trump directly, in contrast to some Democratic rivals who have hesitated to focus on the Republican president early in the 2020 campaign.

“President Trump is tearing apart the moral fabric of our country,” she plans to say. “He demonizes the vulnerable and he punches down…Our President is a coward.”

While some candidates, most notably Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, have harshly criticized Trump, others have largely avoided using his name, as Democrats try out different tactics for confronting the divisive president.

“She’s trying to differentiate herself from the field,” said Maria Cardona, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. “It’s a pretty crowded field. She’s not really in the middle of it, and she needs to be in the middle of it.”

Though Gillibrand launched her formal campaign for the Democratic nomination only a week ago, she announced she was exploring a candidacy in January and spent the last two months visiting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that will hold early nominating contests next year.

But she has struggled to build momentum among a group of more than 15 announced and potential candidates, including five other sitting senators and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet decided but is expected to join the race.

“Gillibrand simply lacks the star power or national prominence that would lead to extensive free media time,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Polling Institute at Monmouth University.

In recent surveys, Gillibrand has remained stubbornly mired in the 1-percent range, while other first-time presidential candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, both U.S. senators, have shown more competitiveness.

The race remains in its infancy, however, with the first nominating contest in Iowa still 10 months away.

“Most voters are just learning the candidates’ names,” said Jesse Ferguson, a senior spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “Right now, the priority for a candidate is to introduce themselves and show what their values are and how that’s the answer to what we have in the White House.”

Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and supporting the environmental agenda known as the Green New Deal. Some liberal activists have viewed that shift with skepticism.

In recent years, she has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. But she recently was forced to defend her office’s handling of a sexual harassment investigation, after a former employee said her allegations against a supervisor were mishandled.

The theme of her speech on Sunday will focus on what it means to be “brave.” Gillibrand will argue that she has stood up against big banks, sexual assault and most importantly Trump himself, with more votes against the Trump administration than any other senator.

“Symbols are powerful, and for Democratic primary voters, no symbol more clearly represents what’s wrong than the icon of Trump’s egotism that is Trump International,” Ferguson said.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by James Oliphant in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

Democratic Party presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign announced the candidate’s next scheduled visits to Iowa on Saturday – amid talk that the senator from Massachusetts may be viewed as too much of a policy wonk to win the party’s 2020 nomination.

Warren will return to Iowa March 29-30 with plans to speak at a rally in Storm Lake, hold meet-and-greets in Marshalltown and Perry, and attend an organizing event in West Des Moines, FOX 28 of Cedar Rapids reported.

WILL THE 3 B’S (BETO, BIDEN AND BERNIE) LEAVE ELIZABETH WARREN ON THE SIDELINES IN 2020?

But her focus on breaking up tech giants, ending the electoral college, imposing lobbying bans on elected officials after they leave office and establishing universal pre-K and child care programs – all popular ideas with many Democratic voters – don’t seem to be translating into actual support for Warren, NPR reported.

“You hear from people that [Warren] sort of reminds them of Hillary [Clinton], which they mean in a purely stylistic sense,” Michelle Goldberg, a New York Times columnist, said on the newspaper’s podcast the Argument. “It leads me to wonder: What is the salience of policy in a Democratic primary — or in our politics at all?”

“You hear from people that [Warren] sort of reminds them of Hillary [Clinton], which they mean in a purely stylistic sense.”

— Michelle Goldberg, New York Times columnist

"I just don’t know if she would go over nationally," former New Hampshire state Rep. Daniel Hansberry told the Associated Press. He was among 27 current and former state lawmakers who signed a 2015 letter urging Warren to seek the presidency.

"In the Northeast and on the West Coast I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she got a huge vote," Hansberry said. "But I don’t know if she’s too progressive for other parts of the country."

In other words, when it comes time to choose a candidate, many voters may prefer the sizzle rather than the steak.

That concept may explain why Donald Trump topped Hillary Clinton in 2016, Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution wrote soon after that election.

"What Donald Trump did during the campaign was to paint in a very broad brush," Reeves wrote. "Rather than having a debate about immigration policy in the round, [Trump asked], ‘Are you for or against the wall? Are you for or against the Muslim ban?’”

Warren’s failure to catch fire seems reflected in dollars: A federal filing shows she raised at least $300,000 on the day she launched her campaign – far short of the $6.1 million raised by former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, the $6 million raised by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., or the $1.5 million raised by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Nevertheless, Warren seems to be sticking with the idea that in 2020 the devil – i.e, the votes – may be in the details.

“The rules of our economy are so rigged in favor of the rich and powerful,” Warren recently told Time magazine, “that we can’t afford to just tinker around the edges. Our fight is for big, structural change.

"The rules of our economy are so rigged in favor of the rich and powerful that we can’t afford to just tinker around the edges. Our fight is for big, structural change."

— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

“This is the time for Democrats to identify exactly what’s broken,” she continued, “and lay out exactly how we’ll fix it.”

Aside from the idea the Warren may be focused too sharply on policy details, others note that many voters may associate Warren with an event that worked against her: Her release of DNA results last October in a bid to prove her claims of Native American ancestry – which won her the derisive nickname “Pocahontas” from President Trump.

Warren ended up apologizing to the head of the Cherokee Nation in early February, amid claims that she had exaggerated her ancestry for personal gain. Then just days afterward, reports surfaced that Warren had claimed Native American heritage on a 1986 Texas State Bar registration form.

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Finally, Warren – and yes, some other Democrats in the 2020 field — faces an unfortunate historical fact: Voters seldom back U.S. senators for the presidency, preferring Congress members and governors instead.

When Sen. Barack Obama was elected in 2008, he became just the third sitting senator – behind Warren Harding and John F. Kennedy – to win the White House, Politico reported.

So the obstacles between Warren and the White House would seem to make her potential election as the nation’s first female president even more of an achievement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A woman washes clothes in a river of water running across a road that was created after Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani
A woman washes clothes in a river of water running across a road that was created after Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

March 24, 2019

BEIRA (Reuters) – The death toll after a powerful cyclone in Mozambique has risen to 446 from 417, the minister of land and environment, Celso Correia, said on Sunday, adding that 531,000 people had been affected by the disaster.

Cyclone Idai lashed the Mozambican port city of Beira with winds of up to 170 kph (105 mph), then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi, flattening buildings and putting the lives of millions at risk.

(Reporting by Yvonne Bell; Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Alison Williams)

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