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David Hookstead | Reporter

Wealthy people tired of their cluttered yachts are in luck because you can now buy a “support yacht.”

Everybody knows that one of the worst parts about yachting is the lack of room at times for all your luxurious items. This is day one stuff. Anybody who is in the yacht game knows exactly what I’m talking about, and now that problem has been solved. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Hottest Women On Instagram)

Bloomberg reported the following details on these new vessels:

Enter the support yacht. It’s essentially a boat designed to trail your main yacht and carry all the toys you don’t want cluttering up the mothership. Pioneered in the 1990s from old offshore oil and gas craft, support yachts have become as slick as the vessels they’re intended to serve.

Dutch shipbuilder Damen has delivered a half-dozen 70-meter support yachts with premium finishes like high-specification air conditioning and entertainment systems that cost about $50 million. The Damen Yacht Support line starts at 46 meters and $14 million.

You can check out a photo of the support yacht here. (RELATED:Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Spends $180 Million On New Yacht)

It’s about time somebody started looking out for the wealthy. My friends, the top .0001 percent also struggles. Do you have any idea what it’s like to yacht around Europe with a cluttered deck because of too many jet skis?

Never again will this be an issue for anybody willing to write a very small and reasonable check.

In all seriousness, imagine having so much money that you might spend up to $50 million on a support vessel for your main yacht. That’s the kind of money that starts wars.

If your backup yacht costs more than massive ranch in Montana, then you’re living life the right way.

Life must be nice when your toys clutter your main boat, so you buy a second one just to follow you around. That’s what America is all about.

If there was ever a better example of “f**k you money,” I certainly haven’t found it yet. I need to get myself one of these bad boys ASAP.

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Source: The Daily Caller

The Nike swoosh logo is pictured on a store in New York City
The Nike swoosh logo is pictured on a store in New York City, New York, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider reviving a copyright case in which Nike Inc was accused of unauthorized use of photographer Jacobus Rentmeester’s famous 1984 photograph of basketball superstar Michael Jordan soaring through the air.

The justices turned away an appeal by Rentmeester, a former Life Magazine photographer, of a lower court’s ruling throwing out his copyright infringement lawsuit against the sportswear company. Rentmeester had said the decision against him by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could stifle creativity and reward piracy.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham and Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 22, 2019. Julien Warnand/Pool via REUTERS

March 25, 2019

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Turkish jets buzzed his helicopter as he was flying on Monday to a Greek island to mark the anniversary of the 1821 uprising against Ottoman rule.

“They forced the helicopter I was on to maneuver low until Greek jets intercepted the forces violating our national air space,” Tsipras said in a speech on the island of Agathonisi, a few miles from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

“The message I want to send them is that such foolish actions have no meaning, they spend their gasoline for nothing. We will always be there to defend our national integrity.”

A Greek military official told Reuters that Greek F-16 fighter jets intercepted the Turkish jets about four miles away from Tsipras’s helicopter.

There was no immediate comment from Turkish authorities.

Though NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have long been at odds over issues ranging from ethnically split Cyprus to air space and overflight rights. Relations have worsened since Greece blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of involvement in 2016’s failed military coup.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Kosovo's Prime Minister Haradinaj talks during an interview withe Reuters in Pristina
FILE PHOTO: Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj talks during an interview withe Reuters in Pristina, Kosovo, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Hazir Reka/File Photo

March 25, 2019

PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has fired the country’s ethnic Serb deputy justice minister after she called NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign against Serbia a “planned genocide”.

Deputy minister Vesna Mikic comes from Kosovo’s Serb minority which accounts for about 5 percent of the country’s population of 1.8 million.

“The NATO alliance committed a deliberately planned genocide against a sovereign country that fought Albanian terrorism inside its own borders,” Mikic said on her Facebook account on Sunday, marking the 20th anniversary of the NATO bombing.

NATO carried out air strikes in 1999 against the now defunct Yugoslavia, comprised of Serbia and Montenegro, to halt a brutal crackdown against Kosovo Albanians by Serbian security forces.

After 78 days of bombing, under the terms of an armistice, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic ordered his troops to withdraw from Kosovo and be replaced with NATO control.

Mikic’s post sparked criticism in the predominantly ethnic Albanian Kosovo where most people praise NATO for halting the two-year war and clearing the way for its independence in 2008. As many as 4,000 NATO peacekeepers are still deployed.

Mikic was not immediately available for comment.

Haradinaj dismissed the deputy minister with immediate effect.

“In Kosovo government there will be no place for individuals, despite their ethnicity, to denigrate our common euro-Atlantic values,” Haradinaj said in a statement.

More than 13,000 thousand people, mainly local Albanians, were killed in the 1998-99 war.

Kosovo has earned recognition from the United States and most EU countries, but Serbia and its major allies Russia and China remain adamantly opposed to Kosovo’s independence.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi
FILE PHOTO – Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, talks to media during a roundtable conference in New Delhi, India, September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 25, 2019

By Sylvia Westall

MUSCAT (Reuters) – Qatar Airways threw its support behind Boeing on Monday as the U.S. planemaker faces its biggest crisis in years after deadly crashes of its flagship 737 MAX jet.

Regulators grounded the worldwide MAX fleet after an Ethiopian Airlines MAX crash killed all 157 people on board this month, wiping nearly 15 percent off shares in the world’s biggest planemaker.

“We have confidence in the Boeing airplanes and we are sure they will find the issue they had which is still under investigation,” Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker told reporters in Muscat.

Qatar Airways, one of the largest Middle East carriers, is a major Boeing customer. It has ordered 20 MAX jets and committed to buying a further 40. It has taken delivery of five of the aircraft, according to Boeing’s website.

The airline will delay the April delivery of a single MAX jet until the cause of the crash is known, Baker said.

“I am sure that the aircraft will get back into the skies soon and that Boeing will get to the bottom of what happened and if there is something technical wrong that they will find a fix for it,” he said.

Attention has focused on the anti-stall system, known as MCAS, and the sensors that activate it. MCAS pushes the plane’s nose down if it believes it is ascending at too steep an angle.

Qatar Airways will attend a Boeing briefing this week on software and training updates for the MAX, Baker said.

The MAX is an upgrade to Boeing’s best-selling 737 narrowbody jet and only entered service in 2017. Boeing has booked orders worth more than $500 billion for the MAX.

The Ethiopian crash is the second fatal crash involving the MAX jet. In October, a MAX operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air fatally crashed killing all 189 on board.

Baker said he believed the worldwide grounding was driven by public perception. Passengers around the world asked airlines to change flights or refunds to avoid flying on the MAX after the Ethiopian crash.

“The regulator had to act to give confidence to the people, that the regulators were looking after their interests,” he said.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Louise Heavens and Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A340-300 of Iranian airline Mahan Air taxis at Duesseldorf airport
FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A340-300 of Iranian airline Mahan Air taxis at Duesseldorf airport DUS, Germany January 16, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – France has revoked the license of Iranian airline Mahan Air from April 1 on its activities outside of Europe, three French officials said on Monday.

The decision, which follows a similar German move in January, was made on the grounds of the airline transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, two diplomatic sources said.

“Mahan Air can no longer serve French territory as of April 1,” a French Foreign Ministry official said.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

Source: OANN

Israeli policemen and soldiers inspect a damaged house that was hit by a rocket north of Tel Aviv Israel
Israeli policemen and soldiers inspect a damaged house that was hit by a rocket north of Tel Aviv Israel March 25, 2019. REUTERS/ Ammar Awad

March 25, 2019

By Tova Cohen

MISHMERET, Israel (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he will cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the projectile was fired from Gaza, an enclave controlled by the militant Hamas group, and Netanyahu said Israel would respond forcefully.

Netanyahu, who arrived in Washington on Sunday for a four-day visit ahead of an April 9 Israeli election, said he would fly home immediately after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, as planned, later on Monday.

The early morning attack on Mishmeret, an agricultural town north of Tel Aviv, came at a time of high tension ahead of the anniversary of Gaza border protests at the weekend, and Trump’s expression of support for Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the U.S.,” Netanyahu said, calling the rocket fire a “heinous attack”.

In Mishmeret one house was completely destroyed, and at least one other house and cars were left badly damaged.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating seven people, including an infant, a 3-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman who was suffering from blast injuries, burns and shrapnel wounds.

The strike came minutes after the Israeli military activated air raid sirens in the area and said one rocket had been launched out of the Gaza Strip, a coastal territory 50 miles (80 km) away where Hamas and other factions possess such weapons.

Smadar Castelnovo, a Mishmeret resident who lives opposite the destroyed house, said they were woken up shortly after 5 a.m.

“We heard the siren and we didn’t think it was anything, but my daughter made us go into the reinforced room,” said Castelnovo, still in her pajamas.

“My daughter was upset because we had left the dog out. We went out to get the dog and as soon as we went back in there was a very loud boom.”

Police sealed off streets, and emergency services were working at the scene, as Israeli politicians visited to talk to media crews.

GAZA BRACING

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza, where Palestinians were preparing for Israeli retaliation.

Israel told Palestinian officials it was closing all Gaza crossings as well as access to the sea from the blockaded territory.

Yahya Sinwar, the head of the Islamist militant group Hamas in the coastal enclave, canceled a planned public meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon, with Hamas officials citing “developments.”

Netanyahu said his decision to return to Israel was made after he consulted with Israeli military and intelligence chiefs. He had been due to address AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, on Tuesday.

But early on Monday he said: “In a few hours, I will meet President Trump and immediately after that I will return to Israel to direct our actions close-hand.”

His chief rival in next month’s election, centrist ex-general Benny Gantz, issued a statement accusing the rightist premier of having “bankrupted national security” by permitting such attacks. Gantz, who is also in Washington to address AIPAC, had urged Netanyahu to return home.

Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, and outlying communities had last come under a long-range rocket attack that caused casualties during the 2014 war with Hamas.

Two rockets were launched at Tel Aviv on March 14 but caused no injuries or damage. Israel blamed those rocket launches on Hamas, though a security official later said the salvo had been set off by accident.

The latest attack follows disturbances involving Palestinian prisoners in southern Israel. Palestinian officials said 20 prisoners in Israel’s jail in the Negev were injured during violence inside the prison in the wake of “humiliating searches” by prison guards. Israeli officials said two guards were stabbed and wounded.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell and Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

Source: OANN

A damaged house that was hit by a rocket can be seen north of Tel Aviv
A damaged house that was hit by a rocket can be seen north of Tel Aviv, Israel, March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Yair Sagi

March 25, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Sirens sounded in central Israel and police and medics said a house was on fire and six people were wounded on Monday after a suspected rocket attack from the Gaza Strip.

The early morning incident in Mishmeret, an agricultural town north of Tel Aviv, came at a time of high tension ahead of the anniversary of Gaza border protests and an April 9 election campaign in Israel.

Police said a house was on fire and there were reports it had been hit by a rocket. The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating six of the building’s occupants for wounds.

That came minutes after the Israeli military activated air raid sires in the area and said one rocket had been launched out of Gaza, a Palestinian enclave whose dominant Hamas Islamists and other militant groups possess such weaponry.

There was no immediate Palestinian confirmation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking a fifth term in next month’s ballot, was in Washington on Monday and due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

(Writing by Dan Williams; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, on Caribbean tour
Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive in Havana, Cuba, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble

March 25, 2019

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Prince Charles and his wife Camilla landed in Havana on Sunday for the first official trip by the British royal family to Communist-run Cuba even as Britain’s top ally the United States seeks to isolate the island nation.

Shortly after arriving on a Royal Air Force plane, the heir to the British throne laid a wreath of flowers at the memorial to independence hero Jose Marti on Havana’s Revolution Square dominated by massive portraits of guerrilla fighters including Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

During his three-day historic visit, which is part of a broader Caribbean tour, the 70-year old Prince of Wales is set to dine with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, tour Havana’s restored colonial district, visit community and green energy projects and review a parade of antique British cars.

The royal visit, in line with a broader normalization in relations between the West and Cuba, comes three years after one by former U.S. President Barack Obama then billed as the start of a new chapter for ties between the old Cold War foes

Since Donald Trump became U.S. president, however, the United States has reverted to its decades-old strategy of seeking to pressure Cuba to change, including tightening its crippling trade embargo on the island.

The Trump administration has ramped up that pressure over the crisis in Cuba’s socialist ally Venezuela.

“It’s always good for Cuba to strengthen its relations with important international actors but all the more so when the United States has a president responding to the interests of extreme right-wing people who want to hurt Cuba,” said one Havana resident, Arian Rubio, 26, a historian.

William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, said such visits by high level delegations of major powers “lend legitimacy to the Cuban government and represent an implicit warning to the United States that hostile actions against Cuba may incur a diplomatic cost with important allies.”

The UK government had asked the royal couple to add Cuba to their Caribbean tour of former and current British territories in hopes of boosting commercial and cultural ties and political influence.

British trade with Cuba was less than $100 million last year while only a handful of well-known British companies have investments there through subsidiaries, for example Imperial Brands Plc, British-American Tobacco Plc and Unilever.

Opportunities to do business, however, are expected to grow as the Caribbean’s largest island continues opening up its beleaguered, state-dominated economy. Those include opportunities in its expanding tourism sector, that already attracts some 200,000 British tourists annually.

Moreover Britain has sought to drum up more trade with alternative partners since a referendum to exit the European Union three years ago.

Plans for high-level officials to accompany the Prince of Wales were scuttled by the political drama playing out in London over how best to leave the EU before a March 29 deadline.

Underscoring the thaw in British-Cuban relations, when Diaz-Canel receives Charles at the presidential Palace of the Revolution on Monday evening, it will be their second meeting in a year.

The 58-year old Cuban president paid the prince a visit last November in London on his first tour of several countries since replacing Raul Castro last April.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Additional reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as the president returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that Donald Trump did not collude with Russia to win the presidency in 2016 gives the president a powerful weapon to use against his Democratic opponents and a potential boost to what is shaping up to be a tough bid for re-election in 2020.

Mueller’s conclusion that neither Trump nor his aides conspired with Russia in 2016 takes away a central charge that Democrats have flung at Trump for two years – that he did not win the presidency fairly or cleanly. The allegations have played out on an endless loop on cable TV news shows, overshadowing Trump’s presidency from day one.

Democrats have vowed to continue congressional investigations into the 2016 election campaign and Trump’s business practices. But without the solid foundation of a Mueller report that found evidence of any crimes by the president, they now risk seeming to overplay their hand.

“This is a gold star day for Donald Trump,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “Now the shackles are off. He’s able to demonize the news media and Democrats as perpetuating what he calls a hoax. And he’ll be able to use his innocence as fodder for the campaign trail.”

The question for Trump now is whether he will be able to bring a minimum of discipline to his campaign messaging and to the presidency itself.

History suggests he will have trouble with self-discipline. Just last week, he was immersed in a strange fight with a dead man, sharply criticizing the late Republican Senator John McCain and falsely accusing him of being at the root of some of the collusion allegations against him.

He has also been prone to making baffling abrupt decisions, such as occurred last week when he called off a round of sanctions against North Korea before they had even been imposed.

Despite the Mueller report’s conclusions, Trump remains an intemperate president, eager to lash out at any and all critics and perceived slights.

“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” Trump said on Sunday, even though Mueller left open the question of whether the former real estate magnate had attempted to obstruct the Russia probe, which did find extensive evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

“Now is the time to get back on the offense on the economy and growth,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “This is a good time to get back to a real healthy dose of message discipline for the entire administration, department-wide and the White House. That’s what you do when something like this happens.”

Trump, on a golfing weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, got the news in his private quarters at his Mar-a-Lago retreat from White House counsel Emmett Flood, and watched TV coverage of the Mueller report in his cabin on Air Force One.

Trump’s initial comments in reacting to the Mueller conclusion suggests he is not inclined to move past the investigation.

Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for the flight back to Washington, Trump called for Democrats to be investigated, expanding on his often repeated assertion that the Mueller probe was Democrat-inspired. Mueller was appointed by Trump’s Department of Justice in 2017 after he fired FBI director James Comey.

“It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this,” Trump said. “Before I even got elected it began, and it began illegally.”

Trump’s comments could foreshadow an effort by his supporters to seek payback for the cloud that has hung over his time in the White House.

“I’m interested in moving on and trying to get this behind us, but people have to pay for what they’ve done for the past two years,” said former Trump campaign aide David Bossie. “We must investigate the investigators.”

CHALLENGES FOR DEMOCRATS

Trump’s path to re-election remains a perilous one. Analysts say he will probably need to win the Midwestern states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, just as he did in his improbable 2016 victory, and Democrats are already pouring resources into those states.

Trump will foreshadow his campaign message on Thursday night when he headlines a “Make America Great Again” rally in Michigan.

Trump supporters viewed the Mueller report as a blow to the more than a dozen Democrats who are campaigning for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

“This is very problematic for any Democrat who’s running for president in 2020 that was hoping they would face a weakened or beaten-down President Trump,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said. “In fact, President Trump will likely see a ratings boost coming out of this and a strong tailwind pushing him toward the upcoming election.”

Reuters/Ipsos polling has shown that Americans decided early on in Mueller’s investigation whether they thought Trump was guilty of collusion or not. The polling found few undecided voters.

Brinkley said Democrats will need to adjust their tactics and emphasize their differences with Trump’s record on issues ranging from healthcare and climate change to immigration.

“Some of those charges are going to have to rise to be the main charges against Trump,” he said, noting there was fatigue with the Russia issue.

(Reporting By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ross Colvin and Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

Over the past several decades, the think tank world in Washington has led the conservative movement down a path in which it is essentially the president of the local debate society but has precious little impact on public policy outcomes that affect the lives of real Americans. 

Recent criticisms of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol by the Competitive Enterprise Institute demonstrate this clearly. In addition, these criticisms make plain that the same think tank culture has yet to grapple with the ascent of President Trump and all he represents.

The Kigali Amendment is a relatively obscure proposal, but one that would have a significant and positive impact on American manufacturers and their employees.

In the next decade, one billion air-conditioners will be installed around the world, making it a good time to be in the air conditioning business. America has been the global AC leader since American innovation first brought it to market in 1902. The Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration industry — or HVACR — is a domestic powerhouse. It is responsible for over 2.5 million American jobs, almost 700,000 manufacturing jobs, and $621 billion of economic output per year. 

Kigali initiates a phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in air conditioning systems and replaces them with new coolants. As it happens, American manufacturers hold the patents on the bulk of those new products. By signing onto Kigali, America will remain the global leader in the industry.

Despite the undeniable advantages Kigali provides to American manufacturers, it deals with a climate-related issue, so the folks at CEI have adjusted their spectacles and straightened their bow ties and have begun to lecture American workers on how terrible it is.  

CEI argues that China gets more lenient treatment under Kigali. While it’s true that China will be permitted to continue producing HFCs under Kigali, as he states, they will not be permitted to sell these products in the U.S if we sign on Kigali. It’s irrelevant how many HFCs China will be permitted to make, let alone for how long, if it’s illegal to sell them. 

Kigali will have a positive impact on U.S. manufacturing and the U.S. economy. A recent study conducted by Inforum and JMS Consulting titled, “Economic Impacts of U.S. Ratification of the Kigali Amendment,” shows is will have a net positive impact on America’s trade imbalance of more than $12.5 billion by 2027.

But China cheats, they argue in their second point. Well, duh. Of course China cheats. They’ve already gotten pinched for dumping cheap coolants into the U.S. market. But that was under a different president. If nothing else, President Trump has shown he will not stand by as China cheats its way to global economic dominance.  The truth is, Kigali stops Chinese cheating. This is a principal reason why the economic impact study cited above found that ratification would lead to $6.5 billion in reduced imports.  

CEI’s third point is their most onerous and sloppy. They claim U.S. companies like Honeywell and Chemours will just manufacture new products in China anyway. Wrong. So wrong, in fact, that their supporting documentation for this fake news states, “On the fluoroproducts side, Chemours plans to shift most production of its Opteon hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant to its new plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, US.”  That story went on to quote Chemours’ CEO saying that the company “will shift most of our production to Corpus Christi as soon as possible.” 

Overall, American companies have invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and expanded domestic production of next generation coolants.  What’s more, Kigali has the support of virtually the entire U.S. business community, large and small.

Donald Trump is a master negotiator whose stated goal as president of the United States is to reconfigure global agreements to benefit America. He isn’t an ideologue. He isn’t concerned with legacy disputes between competing think tanks in Washington. And he’s tired of deals that meet some precious standard for “free market” purity but hurt American workers.  These are some of the reasons people like me, regular working Americans, flocked to his campaign early and stuck with him when the establishment tried to take him down.

I trust that President Trump will send the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for ratification on its merits, where it will be well received by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

Paul Nagy (SouthTrentonGuy) has worked as a conservative activist in New Hampshire for over 30 years. He is the founder and chairman of Americans for Secure Borders, and worked previously as northeast campaign director for Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and as the northeast regional director for the National Christian Coalition.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Celebrating "no collusion and no obstruction" as reported by Attorney General William Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, President Donald Trump claimed "complete and total exoneration."

"Collusion, the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard," President Trump told the media before boarding Air Force One, leaving Florida's Mar-a-Lago during a weekend away from the White House. "No collusion and no obstruction.

"Complete and total exoneration." 

President Trump called the witch hunt of his administration and campaign "an illegal takedown that failed."

"It's a shame our country has had to go through this," he said. "It is a shame your president had to go through this."

President Trump also expressed hope "the other side of this" will be investigated, suggesting potential investigative abuses of FISA warrants and investigating the political opposition.

"The president was totally vindicated," Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News after Trump's statement to the media. "And investigation by people who hate him."

Source: NewsMax

Democrat commentator Donna Brazile said Sunday that U.S. voters should "celebrate" that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation determined "the Russians had no help from Americans” during the 2016 election.

In remarks on Fox News regarding Attorney General William Barr's release Sunday of a summary of the Mueller probe, Brazile, who has served as chair of the National Democratic Committee and now works as a Fox commentator, said she hopes, however, Americans will take time to "absorb" the news.

"We have to evaluate," she said.

"We were told just a few minutes ago what was in the report, we have not seen any of the summaries," she cautioned. "I mean, I want to believe when I heard . . . the Russians had no help from Americans. I want to believe that because I understand Mr. Mueller interviewed 500 people, had 2,900 subpoenas, I want to believe that that occurred.

"And I trust the fact because I have never spent one day on air criticizing the Justice Department, the president has," she continued.

"All I'm asking is give the American people opportunity to absorb the information."

She also said "democracy today is still on trial."

"As our president, [Donald Trump] needs to understand that this rises above just himself and his party but it calls upon us as Americans to look at ourselves and say, 'OK, the Russians were at it, they did not get us.'

"But the president of the United States now needs to understand that our democracy must be protected, if he's able to do that, then the victory, his victory, it is our victory because we have to protect our country."

Source: NewsMax

Democrat commentator Donna Brazile said Sunday that U.S. voters should "celebrate" that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation determined "the Russians had no help from Americans” during the 2016 election.

In remarks on Fox News regarding Attorney General William Barr's release Sunday of a summary of the Mueller probe, Brazile, who has served as chair of the National Democratic Committee and now works as a Fox commentator, said she hopes, however, Americans will take time to "absorb" the news.

"We have to evaluate," she said.

"We were told just a few minutes ago what was in the report, we have not seen any of the summaries," she cautioned. "I mean, I want to believe when I heard . . . the Russians had no help from Americans. I want to believe that because I understand Mr. Mueller interviewed 500 people, had 2,900 subpoenas, I want to believe that that occurred.

"And I trust the fact because I have never spent one day on air criticizing the Justice Department, the president has," she continued.

"All I'm asking is give the American people opportunity to absorb the information."

She also said "democracy today is still on trial."

"As our president, [Donald Trump] needs to understand that this rises above just himself and his party but it calls upon us as Americans to look at ourselves and say, 'OK, the Russians were at it, they did not get us.'

"But the president of the United States now needs to understand that our democracy must be protected, if he's able to do that, then the victory, his victory, it is our victory because we have to protect our country."

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) – Turkey will not go back on the purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia no matter what the United States says, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

He made the comment in an interview with broadcaster TGRT Haber.

The United States could soon freeze preparations for delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, officials told Reuters, in what would be the strongest signal yet by Washington that Ankara cannot have both the advanced aircraft and Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen)

Source: OANN

An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas
An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

March 24, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to a local journalist, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

The report comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

It was not immediately evident why the planes had come to Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking a comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.

(Reporting by Carlos Garcia, Carlos Jasso, Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, and Maria Tsvetkova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas
An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

March 24, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to a local journalist, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.

A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.

The report comes three months after the two nations held military exercises on Venezuelan soil that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as Russian encroachment in the region.

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

A Reuters witness saw what appeared to be the passenger jet at the Maiquetia airport on Sunday.

It was not immediately evident why the planes had come to Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Russia’s Defense Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not reply to messages seeking a comment. The Kremlin spokesman also did not reply to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has levied crippling sanctions on the OPEC nation’s oil industry in efforts to push Maduro from power and has called on Venezuelan military leaders to abandon him. Maduro has denounced the sanctions as U.S. interventionism and has won diplomatic backing from Russia and China.

In December, two Russian strategic bomber aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons landed Venezuela in a show of support for Maduro’s socialist government that infuriated Washington.

Maduro on Wednesday said Russia would send medicine “next week” to Venezuela, without describing how it would arrive, adding that Moscow in February had sent some 300 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

Venezuela in February had blocked a convoy carrying humanitarian aid for the crisis-stricken country that was coordinated with the team of opposition leader Juan Guaido, including supplies provided by the United States, from entering via the border with Colombia.

(Reporting by Carlos Garcia, Carlos Jasso, Diego Ore and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, and Maria Tsvetkova and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was born Mar. 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The legendary ex-athlete and American television icon turned 43 years old on Sunday. A star quarterback at Tennessee, Manning was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Manning played in the NFL for nearly two decades before retiring in early 2016. (RELATED: Vote: Who Is The Best Quarterback Of All Time?)

Over the course of his career, Manning amassed five MVP awards and two Super Bowl titles. He is deservedly considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. (RELATED: 18 Times Peyton Manning Looked Like An Average Guy Than An Athlete [Slideshow])

Manning overcame some early playoff struggles to finally win a Super Bowl in 2006, and he was named the MVP of Super Bowl 41 with the Colts. Nine years later with the Denver Broncos, Manning won another Super Bowl, solidifying his career as a champion.

He then retired two months later.

While Manning’s future plans are still up in the air, I can’t imagine anybody with more options than he has. Will he head to the broadcast booth? Or, will he head to Congress?

Millions of Americans are anticipating his next move, but for now, we wish him a happy birthday!

Follow William Davis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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

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: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight/File Photo

March 23, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were heading to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, even as Southwest Airlines Co began parking its 34 MAXs near the California desert.

The factory visits indicate Boeing may be nearing completion of a planned software patch for its newest 737 following a fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October, but the timing for a resumption of passenger flights on the jets remains uncertain.

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which must approve the software fix and new training, are under U.S. and global scrutiny since the MAX suffered a second deadly crash involving Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on March 10, which led to a worldwide grounding of the fleet.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, said it has been in talks with Boeing, the FAA and airlines to get the airplanes flying again as soon as possible, albeit with an acceptable level of safety.

“Right now we’re in wait and see mode to see what Boeing comes up with,” Captain Jason Goldberg, a spokesman for APA, said on Saturday. “We’re hopeful, but at the same time the process can’t be rushed.”

APA is among a delegation of airline safety experts and pilots set to test Boeing’s software upgrade, meant to change how much authority is given to a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX, in Renton.

The system, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is suspected of playing a role in both disasters, which together killed 346 people.

Both crashes are still under investigation.

Southwest, the largest operator of the MAX in the world, and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates on Saturday. United has 14 MAXs while American has 24.

Meanwhile, Southwest said it was starting to move on Saturday its entire MAX fleet to a facility in Victorville, California, at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, while the global grounding remains in effect.

“The planes being in one place will be more efficient for performing the repetitive maintenance necessary for stationary aircraft, as well as any future software enhancements that need to take place,” spokeswoman Brandy King said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad
Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

March 23, 2019

By Saad Sayeed

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan wants peace with India and they should focus on health and education, the Pakistani president said on Saturday during a parade to show off its military might following a tense standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Conflict between the rivals erupted last month following a suicide bomb attack claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group in the Indian party of the disputed and divided Kashmir region that killed 40 paramilitary police.

“We do not believe in war and want to solve problems through dialogue,” President Arif Alvi said in his Pakistani Republic Day speech.

“Instead of war we should focus on education and health.”

Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight with Indian aircraft over Kashmir on Feb. 27, a day after a raid by Indian jets on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan.

In their first such clash since their last war, in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The pilot was later released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.

The president, who largely holds ceremonial duties, said India had blamed Pakistan for the suicide-bomb attack without evidence, which he said was irresponsible.

Saturday’s military parade included an air show featuring the Pakistani-built JF-17 fighter jet. One of the aircraft shot down the Indian plane last month.

“Today’s parade is sending the message that we are a peaceful people but we will never be oblivious of our defense,” Alvi said.

The parade was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was invited to attend as the chief guest, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan said on Twitter earlier that he had received a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his best wishes for Republic Day and calling for peace and regional cooperation.

“I welcome PM Modi’s message to our people,” Khan said.

“I believe it’s time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address and resolve all issues.The dispute over the former princely state of Kashmir sparked the first two of three wars between India and Pakistan after independence in 1947. They fought the second in 1965, and a third, largely over what become Bangladesh, in 1971.

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata
A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata, India, March 22, 2019. Picture taken March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

March 23, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – For over a decade Arvind Singh has worked as a watchman in New Delhi, doing the rounds of the streets with a whistle and a wooden stick to keep vigil at night.

Watchmen like him are so ubiquitous in India, guarding everything from offices to homes and stores to factories, that their presence goes almost unnoticed. But over the past week, the watchman has dominated India’s headlines.

That’s because the latest campaign to be launched this week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before a general election beginning on April 11 is the “Main bhi chowkidar” or “I am also a watchman” campaign.

He tied an appeal to tens of millions of often poorly paid watchmen to the priorities of his own job, following a suicide bomb attack that killed 40 paramilitary policemen in the northern region of Kashmir last month.

“We both work day and night. You guard homes and I guard the nation,” Modi said in an audio speech addressed to watchmen on Wednesday.

“The watchman has become a symbol of the country’s nationalism,” he said, equating everyone from teachers and doctors to watchmen guarding the country in their own way.

The campaign came in response to the opposition Congress party’s slogan “chowkidar chor hai”, or the nation’s “watchman is a thief”, which it began using late last year to refer to Modi in connection with allegations of irregularities in the awarding of a defense contract. Modi has denied any wrongdoing.

In recent days, leaders and supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have launched a coordinated effort to popularize his watchman campaign, with many changing their social media names to add the prefix ‘chowkidar’.

But for many watchmen, who are among the millions in India’s vast informal economy where workers are often poorly paid and barely protected by labor laws, Modi’s campaign is a political gimmick that is unlikely to improve their lives.

“I don’t know why they started it,” said Rakesh Yadav, a 37-year-old watchman from India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

“In the last four years they have done nothing for us,” he said, looking up from a newspaper while on duty outside a residential complex in New Delhi.

“If PM was a chowkidar, would Nirav Modi run away?” said another watchman, Mohammed Nayyar, referring to a billionaire jeweler who fled to Britain last year before an alleged $2 billion loan fraud he is accused of being involved in came to light. The jeweler is not related to the prime minister.

The cash-based economy suffered a serious hit from the Modi government’s shock move to ban high-value currency notes in 2016.

‘DONE A LOT’

Singh remembers being unable to feed his children for some days and standing in long queues at the banks to exchange the voided currency for new notes.

“What has changed in our lives? We are doing the same duty we were doing some years ago,” he said, adding that his salary had not increased from about $130 a month in three years.

The chowkidar campaign is a distinct reminder of Modi’s 2014 “chaiwallah” campaign in which he flaunted his past working for his father as a chaiwallah, or tea vendor.

It may be a gimmick, but such things have worked for Modi in the past, said Priyavadan Patel, a veteran political scientist from Modi’s home state of Gujarat and scholar at the Lokniti research program of Delhi’s Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

“The chaiwalla campaign worked in a big way,” Patel said.

Such connections with the common man helped the BJP to gain a big parliamentary majority, the likes of which had not been seen in three decades in India, in 2014.

But that’s unlikely to be repeated this time.

Polls predict Modi might win a second term but with a much smaller majority, amid concerns about a lack of jobs growth and millions of farmers dissatisfied over depressed crop prices.

Some of the most challenging battleground states for Modi’s party are those that depend on the farm economy. “The chowkidar campaign may not work in such areas,” Patel said.

One of those states is Bihar, where the watchman Singh migrated from 12 years ago. He said he wouldn’t go back because working on the farm back home was not profitable.

Yet, he said he believes in Modi, and praised him for air strikes on neighboring Pakistan in response to last month’s bomb attack.

“I feel like Modi ji has done a lot,” he said, using a suffix that denotes respect. “And I think he will do a lot more in the coming years.”

(Edited by Martin Howell, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft at Midway International Airport in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft sit next to the maintenance area after landing at Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Kraczynski/File Photo

March 23, 2019

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines Co is sending experts from its technical pilot and training teams to review documentation and training associated with Boeing Co’s updated speed trim system on its 737 MAX aircraft, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Friday.

Southwest, the largest operator of 737 MAX in the world, is also preparing to park its 34 MAX jets at a facility in Victorville, California, while a global grounding remains in place following two fatal crashes of the new Boeing jets in five months.

The crashes involving an Indonesian Lion Air plane on Oct. 29 and an Ethiopian Airlines plane on March 10 killed 346 people.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski)

Source: OANN

Chris White | Energy Reporter

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff said Friday that his committee might subpoena special counsel Robert Mueller to get a fuller understanding about the details of his report.

“If necessary, we will call Bob Mueller or others before our committee,” Schiff told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, noting also that the Judiciary Committee might summon Attorney General Bill Barr to answer questions as well.

The California Democrat’s comments came shortly after Mueller delivered Barr his report on Russia’s intervention into the U.S. election.

Schiff added: “This began as a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. It began as the same in our committee, and we have a right to be informed and we will demand to be informed about it.” (RELATED: BREAKING: Mueller Submits Report To Justice Department)

U.S. President Donald Trump exits Air Force One as he arrives in Lima, Ohio, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RC17EB089160

U.S. President Donald Trump exits Air Force One as he arrives in Lima, Ohio, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The Department of Justice is required by regulations governing the special counsel to disclose whether the agency rebuffed any major investigative requests from the special counsel. Mueller was never ordered to stand down on any major areas of inquiry throughout the more than two-year long probe, according to Barr.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he believes the public should have the opportunity to see the document, though the president added he would ultimately like to see it beforehand.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Jon Brown | Associate Editor

United Airlines announced in a Friday press release that it will be the first U.S. airline to allow customers to identify themselves with a non-binary gender.

“United Airlines today announced it has become the first U.S. airline to offer non-binary gender options throughout all booking channels in addition to providing the option to select the title ‘Mx.’ during booking and in a MileagePlus customer profile,” the release began. “Customers now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.” (RELATED: Catholic Journalist Gets Visit From Police After ‘Misgendering’ A Trans Person)

The company tweeted out the announcement with the slogan “Fly how you identify.”

The statement goes on to explain that United Airlines teamed up with Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and The Trevor Project to compile initiatives by which employees will be trained about “preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms, LGBT competency in the workplace and other steps to make United an inclusive space for both customers and employees.” (RELATED: LGBT Group Targets ‘Far-Right’ Brett Kavanaugh As ‘Direct Threat’)

Though United Airlines did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for specifics of their training initiatives, HRC’s “Diversity Training on Gender Identity and Gender Expression” website explains that “to ensure compliance with employment policies, all employees should at a minimum have clear guidance regarding appropriate workplace behavior and the consequences of failing to comply with anti-discrimination policies that include gender identity.”

United Airlines did not indicate what, if any, disciplinary or legal actions would be taken against any employee who misgendered a passenger.

HRC further stipulates that “supervisory employees should receive diversity training that includes clear examples of discrimination based on gender identity shortly after starting employment and on a regular basis thereafter.” (RELATED: Tucker Interviews Teacher Fired After Refusing To Call Trans Student By Preferred Pronoun)

United Airlines is the first airline to implement the policy after members of the industry trade groups Airlines for America (A4A) and International Air Transport Association “approved a new international standard for non-binary passengers effective June 1,” per CNN.

Source: The Daily Caller

Four Democratic presidential candidates — California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar — have previously spoken at AIPAC events, but are not scheduled to do so during next week’s conference after a progressive organization called for a boycott.

Harris has spoken to AIPAC on at least two occasions. Last year, she spoke in an off-the-record breakout session, The Intercept reported. She also spoke the year before publicly.

“I stand with Israel because of our shared values, which are so fundamental to the founding of both our nations. I believe the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and we can never let anyone drive a wedge between us,” Harris said, during AIPAC’s 2017 conference.

Klobuchar, who has been silent about her plans surrounding this year’s AIPAC conference, was interviewed by Claire Shipman at the event last year.

“The last thing I would say is just the importance of taking on anti-Semitism across the world because we’re going to have trouble getting allies against Iran if we just let that fester,” she said during the interview. “And that means the 100 senators adjoin together to push back at the U.N. for the anti-Semitism that we have seen there, and it also means securing ourselves internationally, but at home.”

Gillibrand, another presidential candidate who won’t be in attendance next week, took part in an AIPAC panel with late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Israeli Air Force general Amos Yadlin.

WATCH:

Booker, who has not shared his plans on the upcoming conference publicly, spoke at an event with Rabbi Shmuley back in 2010.

Many other Democratic candidates revealed that they wouldn’t attend the annual AIPAC event after progressive group MoveOn called for the boycott the day before. Others who have announced they will not attend this year’s conference include South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete ButtigiegMassachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenVermont Sen. Bernie SandersFormer HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. (RELATED: Progressive Organization Calls For 2020 Dems To Boycott AIPAC And Many Are)

MoveOn cited four reasons for the boycott:

  • AIPAC advocated against the Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • One of the speakers is Netanyahu, who was indicted earlier this year.
  • AIPAC has “been known to peddle anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to Islamophobes.”
  • AIPAC “has refused to condemn the antisemitism of Republicans,” and they specifically called out Steve Bannon.

Gillibrand, Harris, Klobuchar and Booker’s offices did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

A bill that would allow taxpayers to donate a part of their refunds to a nonprofit collecting money to build more border wall has successfully passed the Alabama Senate.

Alabama state senators voted 23-6 along party lines Thursday in favor of SB 22, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. The legislation would add We Build The Wall Inc. to a list of about 20 groups and programs on state income tax forms that residents can check off and donate with their tax refunds.

“I think it’s a way for Alabamians to say to the president and to the nation that we think strong border security is important. We want to promote that. We want Washington to build that wall,” GOP Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, the bill’s sponsor, stated according to The Associated Press.

“This bill is about sending a message to Washington that we support President Trump and his mission to secure our southern border,” Marsh said, who is mulling a 2020 U.S. Senate bid.

We Build The Wall — which began in December as a viral GoFundMe campaign by Air Force veteran and triple amputee Brian Kolfage — is a nonprofit group that is raising money for wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border. The GoFundMe page is nearing $21,000,000 in donations.

However, the legislation may be more symbolic than anything else. Before funds from We Build The Wall can be used, Congress must vote to allow the money to be directed to the Department of Homeland Security. Given that the Democratic Party controls the House of Representatives, this is unlikely to happen in the immediate future.

The private contributions are rolling in as President Donald Trump continues to fight for more wall funding. Trump signed into law a resolution that gave him $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of barrier on the Texas border. He then declared a national emergency that has allowed him a total of $8 billion in funding, but numerous progressive groups are suing his emergency declaration in court.

People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People work on the U.S.-Mexic0 border wall on Feb. 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The president, in his latest budget proposal, is asking for an additional $8.6 billion in wall funding.

Back in Alabama, local Democrats derided SB 22, which will later be voted on by the state House.

“What about the Northern border? More people are crossing over the Northern border but you don’t want to pay them any attention,” Alabama state Sen. Bobby Singleton, a Democrat who called the measure a “feel good” bill, said according to AP. (RELATED: Overwhelmed ICE Facilities Forced To Release 100,000 Illegal Aliens In Past Three Months)

Singleton’s comments are technically correct. Over 960 people have illegally crossed the U.S.-Canada border in 2018, according to government data, representing a 91 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. However, that number remains a minuscule fraction of the apprehensions taking place on the U.S.-Mexico border, where border officials expect to find nearly 100,000 foreign nationals in the month of March alone.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

U.S. President Trump departs on travel to Florida from the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs the White House to depart on travel to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida from the White House in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 22, 2019

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that U.S.-backed forces had dislodged the Islamic State militant group from its last holdout in Syria.

“Here’s ISIS on Election Day. And here’s ISIS right now,” Trump said, using the acronym for the group, as he displayed a before-and-after map to reporters, with the “before” portion full of red dots and the after-map empty.

“You guys can have the map. Congratulations,” Trump said. “I think it’s about time.” The president has previously displayed a map illustrating the diminution of Islamic State.

Trump has said Islamic State no longer holds territory several times over the past few weeks. But U.S. officials told Reuters that fighting still continued late into Thursday between U.S.-backed forces and Islamic State militants in the last remaining territory it holds.

Earlier on Friday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Islamic State no longer held any territory in Syria and that U.S. acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had briefed the president on the milestone as he was traveling to Florida on Air Force One.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battled Islamic State militants holed up in the Baghouz area overnight, supported by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, the SDF said, seeking to defeat the last pockets of jihadist resistance.

The SDF has been battling for weeks to defeat Islamic State in the Baghouz enclave in southeastern Syria at the Iraqi border, all that remained of the territory the militants ruled, which once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.

While the U.S.-backed SDF has captured most of the area, Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, told Reuters SDF fighters were clashing late on Thursday with IS militants in more than two positions where they were refusing to surrender.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Idrees Ali; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Alwyn Scott and Eric M. Johnson

NEW YORK/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Much like tapping the brake pedal in a car to disengage cruise control, a sharp tug on the controls of older models of Boeing Co’s 737 used to shut off an automatic trim system that keeps the plane flying level, giving the pilot control.

But Boeing disabled the “yoke jerk” function when it brought out the 737 MAX, the latest version of its top-selling jet – and many pilots were unaware of the change, aviation experts told Reuters.

(Understanding controls on the Boeing 737 MAX: https://tmsnrt.rs/2OjLSAt)

(Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question interactive: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

The difference may help explain why pilots struggled to keep their aircraft climbing after takeoff on two fatal 737 MAX flights less than five months apart that killed 346 people.

Pilots of a Lion Air flight that crashed in October scoured a handbook for answers as the plane repeatedly lurched downward in the first minutes of flight, Reuters reported.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight that went down on March 10 showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air accident, aviation authorities said after seeing black-box data.

A pair of switches on the center console between the pilots will turn off the automatic trim and a mechanism, new on the 737 MAX, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, that is suspected of playing a role in both disasters.

TRAINING MATERIAL ‘NOT CLEAR’

But pilots would have needed to know that MCAS existed, that it had unusual power to force the plane down and that “a hard pull on the yoke” would no longer turn off the automatic trim that uses MCAS, John Hansman, an aeronautics professor at MIT, said in an interview.

“That wasn’t clear to the pilots flying the airplane,” Hansman said. “The training material was not clear on that.”

Boeing declined to comment. In the aftermath of the Lion Air crash, Boeing pointed to long-established procedures that pilots could have used to handle a malfunction of the anti-stall system, regardless of whether the pilots knew MCAS existed.

That checklist tells pilots to switch off the two stabilizer trim cutout switches on the central console, and then to adjust the aircraft’s stabilizers manually using trim wheels.

An American Airlines flight manual mentions MCAS only in a table of acronyms, according to an October 2018 edition of the 1,400-page book seen by Reuters. Pilots have raised questions about why more detail on MCAS was not included.

The American Airlines manual’s two-page description of trim controls describes a “trim circuit,” but not how MCAS could be triggered by a faulty sensor reading, which is also suspected in the two crashes.

PREVENTING A DANGEROUS STALL

The MCAS system was designed to counteract the effect on the plane’s handling caused by new larger 737 MAX engines, which had to be placed farther forward and higher on the wings because the 50-year-old 737 design sits relatively low to the ground. That move gave the MAX a tendency to nose up into a stall, a dangerous position in which a plane loses lift as too little air flows across its wings.

MCAS, essentially a few lines of computer code in the flight control system, relies on data from two small, blade-shaped sensors near the nose of the aircraft that measure the angle of air flow. Faults in the sensors are not uncommon, and MCAS relies on only one sensor at a time during flight. In the Lion Air crash, investigators found a faulty reading led the plane’s computer to believe it was stalled and to push the nose down.

Boeing later issued a bulletin reminding pilots how to respond to such a faulty reading. An optional warning light could have alerted pilots to the faulty sensor.

MAINTENANCE, TRAINING UNDER SCRUTINY

Investigators unraveling the Lion Air crash are looking at maintenance records and whether the pilots had enough training to handle the emergency, among other factors.

The 737 MAX can fly without MCAS, so the feature was not considered “flight-critical” even though it has extraordinary power to steer the plane, said an industry expert with knowledge of the system who spoke on condition of anonymity. MCAS controls the large horizontal wing on the plane’s tail known as the stabilizer, while the pilot controls smaller flaps or “elevators” on the stabilizer.

Over several minutes, the stabilizer can shift position enough that the elevator controls can no longer counteract the downward direction of the plane, the source said.

“They gave more control power to the automation than to the pilot,” the source said of the MCAS design.

The Lion Air pilots flew for about five minutes by using the elevator to counteract the stabilizer every 15 or 20 seconds, said Hansman, based on readings from the flight data recorder. After that, the pilot tried pulling back hard on the controls.

“That’s what suggests that the crew didn’t understand the system. They thought they were shutting MCAS off and didn’t,” Hansman said. “Whereas any time during the entire sequence, they could have reached to the middle console and just shut it off.”

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

I watched the latest episode of “SEAL Team,” and it didn’t disappoint.

WARNING: THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME SPOILERS BELOW. DO NOT KEEP READING IF YOU AREN’T CAUGHT UP.

The CBS hit show has been off the air for two months. It felt like an eternity without “SEAL Team” on TV. Luckily, “What Appears To Be” was a solid episode to kick off the backend of the second season.

Was it the most exciting episode? No. Was it packed full of action? No, but it was still solid. Jason, Clay, Sonny and the rest of Bravo Team deploys over to Africa to smoke some warlords, but things take a very unexpected twist when it appears a terrorist leader believed to be dead is actually alive. (RELATED: ‘SEAL Team’ Star Max Thieriot Discusses Season 2, Teases Some ‘Great Action’ In Coming Episodes)

Naturally, this requires a quick pivot and puts the U.S. leadership on a collision course with a Congolese general hellbent on hitting a building full of women in children with an airstrike, even if the target might not be there. (RELATED: ‘SEAL Team‘ Is Excellent In New Episode ‘Things Not Seen’)

Once again, the show focuses on moral issues, and Bravo Team is split on whether or not the airstrike should proceed. I won’t ruin what happens, but it doesn’t disappoint. It forces the audience to ponder what we would do in the same shoes.

It wasn’t the flashiest of episodes, but it was a nice start to the new content. I look forward to seeing what we get down the stretch.

It’s going to be a hell of a fun ride!

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopians search for remains at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash before a commemoration ceremony at the scene of the crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 22, 2019

By Maggie Fick

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A child’s foot. Fingers. A passport.

Body parts and personal effects were still strewn across the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 15, a witness told Reuters, five days after the disaster and the day before recovery efforts were halted.

With the site now fenced off, bereaved families are worried the remains of their loved ones may be left at the scene, compounding their anguish.

Citizens of 35 nations were aboard when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet nosedived into a field on March 10 six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard.

Families of those who perished complain of a lack of information about recovery efforts, which saw Ethiopian workers using metal parts of the aircraft to dig in the soil.

Religions such as Islam and Judaism require quick burials, but authorities said last week that identifying remains – many burned or in small pieces – might take six months.

“At the beginning, (the Ethiopian authorities) should have blocked off that place and sent an organized team to search, instead of just leaving it open. I’m unhappy about that. It’s supposed to be easier if it’s in the government’s hands,” said Milka Yimam, a dual Ethiopia-Israeli citizen whose 26-year-old son Sidrak died.

Relatives of the victims who visited the site on Monday said it had been cordoned off and the ground leveled, apart from the impact crater. The dead included a grand-niece of consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Excavation was halted last Saturday, ministry of transport spokesman Musie Yehyies told Reuters.

“Excavation has ended for the moment since we have got everything we think we need at the moment. The site has been enclosed and can be revisited,” he said on Friday.

Global attention has mostly shifted to an investigation into the cause of the disaster, and similarities with the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX plane in Indonesia last October that killed 189 people. Pilots of both aircraft reported control problems and crashed minutes after take-off.

The world’s entire 737 MAX fleet was grounded after the Ethiopia crash, with Boeing losing about 12 percent – or $28 billion – of its market value since the disaster.

But as headlines focus on the investigation and its financial fallout, families fear the spotlight has shifted from recovery efforts.

DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE

Israelis whose bodies are not recovered are officially listed at home as “disappeared” rather than “dead” – a status that can cause complications for relatives in matters ranging from inheritance to remarrying.

Some Jewish traditions also require a piece of the body be buried before mourning can begin, with the soul not able to rest until then, giving the families’ quest an agonizing urgency.

So the Israeli embassy has been working hard to retrieve the remains of its two citizens who died in the crash, families told Reuters.

But it hasn’t been easy. After being bounced between various government ministries, the ambassador eventually wrote to the airline to get access to the crash site, a source familiar with matter said. He got no reply – until the Israeli prime minister intervened by phoning his Ethiopian counterpart.

The ambassador and representatives of Israeli volunteer rescue and recovery organization ZAKA were finally able to access the site last Friday. They have not been allowed back.

The embassy said on Thursday ZAKA had been told it could not return to retrieve remains due to a “procedural matter” and that Ethiopia did not want to grant access for other nations.

The Ethiopian ministries of transport and foreign affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

CONFUSION OVER PASSENGERS

An Interpol-led group of nations including Germany and Canada are supporting the DNA testing, three Addis Ababa-based diplomatic sources said. Ethiopia has also contracted British firm Blake Emergency Services to recover and return the remains. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

Remains recovered so far have been bagged and stored in an out-of-the-way area of Addis Ababa’s Bole airport, in refrigeration units usually used to store roses destined for export, before being moved to the capital’s St. Paul’s Hospital, two sources told Reuters.

Halting excavations could complicate matters for many countries, some of which are still unsure how many of their citizens were lost.

Although 18 of the victims have been identified as Canadian, others had connections to Canada, meaning its embassy has been supporting more families, said Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Antoine Chevrier. Some were also dual nationals.

Ethiopian Airlines has not published the full passenger list with names and dates of birth. It did not respond to questions over when the list might be published.

Until that is done, confusion remains over dual nationals, and the citizenship of seven people onboard the flight is still not public, diplomats told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa and Katharine Houreld in Nairobi; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

Nike shoes are seen on display in New York
FILE PHOTO: Nike shoes are seen on display in New York, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

March 22, 2019

By Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Shares of Nike Inc fell 4 percent on Friday after the sportswear maker’s North America sales fell short of estimates for the first time in a year, but Wall Street analysts seemed more enthused about its new products and online growth.

The company faced intense pressure from European rivals Adidas and Puma a year ago, but has managed to win back market share with new launches of its popular Air Max and Jordan sneakers, increased focus on women’s wear and higher investment in online business.

“The athletic footwear cycle and brand power are solid. Nike’s business is strengthening in North America, and we expect the company to continue to recapture the share it has lost to Adidas,” said Jefferies analyst, adding that the stock might be slightly down given “high expectations”.

The company on Thursday blamed delay in new launches for a slowdown in apparel sales in North America during the quarter, which was marked by an outcry on social media after a Nike sneaker worn by Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson ripped open during a high-profile game.

Still, the stock continues to be one of Wall Street’s favorites. Out of 34 brokerages covering the stock, 25 analysts rate it ‘buy’ or higher and only one analyst has a sell rating on the stock.

Nike’s shares trade at 28.6 times the company’s 12-month forward earnings, compared with rival Adidas’ 21.5 times and Under Armour’s 59.5 times, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Just two brokerages – Credit Suisse and UBS – lowered their target on the stock. Credit Suisse cut its price by $3 to $97, still well above the median price target of $92.5.

Nike’s online business, which includes sales from the SNKRS and Nike apps, was the main profit driver in the reported quarter. Revenue from that business rose 36 percent in the quarter.

While most analysts were enthusiastic about the results, some said higher expenses as the only dark spot in an otherwise strong report.

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik flagged a rise in selling, general and administrative expenses due to wage-related expenses.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Writing by Sweta Singh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: OANN

Nike shoes are seen on display in New York
FILE PHOTO: Nike shoes are seen on display in New York, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

March 22, 2019

By Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Shares of Nike Inc fell 4 percent on Friday after the sportswear maker’s North America sales fell short of estimates for the first time in a year, but Wall Street analysts seemed more enthused about its new products and online growth.

The company faced intense pressure from European rivals Adidas and Puma a year ago, but has managed to win back market share with new launches of its popular Air Max and Jordan sneakers, increased focus on women’s wear and higher investment in online business.

“The athletic footwear cycle and brand power are solid. Nike’s business is strengthening in North America, and we expect the company to continue to recapture the share it has lost to Adidas,” said Jefferies analyst, adding that the stock might be slightly down given “high expectations”.

The company on Thursday blamed delay in new launches for a slowdown in apparel sales in North America during the quarter, which was marked by an outcry on social media after a Nike sneaker worn by Duke University basketball star Zion Williamson ripped open during a high-profile game.

Still, the stock continues to be one of Wall Street’s favorites. Out of 34 brokerages covering the stock, 25 analysts rate it ‘buy’ or higher and only one analyst has a sell rating on the stock.

Nike’s shares trade at 28.6 times the company’s 12-month forward earnings, compared with rival Adidas’ 21.5 times and Under Armour’s 59.5 times, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Just two brokerages – Credit Suisse and UBS – lowered their target on the stock. Credit Suisse cut its price by $3 to $97, still well above the median price target of $92.5.

Nike’s online business, which includes sales from the SNKRS and Nike apps, was the main profit driver in the reported quarter. Revenue from that business rose 36 percent in the quarter.

While most analysts were enthusiastic about the results, some said higher expenses as the only dark spot in an otherwise strong report.

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik flagged a rise in selling, general and administrative expenses due to wage-related expenses.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Writing by Sweta Singh; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: OANN

An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 22, 2019

By Cindy Silviana and Tracy Rucinski

JAKARTA/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co will mandate on MAX jets a previously optional cockpit warning light, which might have warned of problems that possibly played a role in the recent crashes of Ethiopian and Indonesian planes, two officials briefed on the matter said.

The safety feature is expected to be offered as part of a software update to the MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said the officials who asked not to be identified.

The crash set off one of the widest inquiries in aviation history and cast a shadow over the Boeing MAX model intended to be a standard for decades.

Boeing did not immediately comment on the plan to make the safety feature standard, but separately said it was moving quickly to make software changes and expects the upgrade to be approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the coming weeks.

But Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda said on Friday that customers had lost trust in the planes and it has sent a letter to Boeing asking to cancel an order for 49 MAX 8s – the first airline to publicly confirm plans to cancel an order for the troubled aircraft.

The current order was valued at $6 billion at list prices and Garuda, which currently has one MAX in its fleet, said it could switch to other Boeing models.

While a direct link between the crashes has not been proven, initial investigations show similarities and attention has focused on an automated flight-control system, MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), that came into service two years ago with the MAX.

The software is designed to prevent a loss of lift that can cause an aerodynamic stall, sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way. In the Lion Air crash, it may have been erroneously activated by a faulty sensor, investigators believe.

Chicago-based Boeing will also retrofit older planes with the cockpit warning light, the officials told Reuters. The world’s largest plane maker previously offered the alert, but it was not required by aviation regulators.

Boeing has said it plans to make software changes to the aircraft, but it is unclear how long it will take Boeing to refit existing MAX planes with new software or hardware.

Experts said it could take weeks or months to be done, and for regulators to review and approve the changes. Regulators in Europe and Canada have said they will conduct their own reviews of any new systems.

The FAA has said installation of the new software and related training was a priority.

SOFTWARE FIX

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing, said the software changes include changes in the control laws of the airplane, an update of the displays, the flight manual, as well as the training.

Boeing has tested the improvements in a simulator and in the air, he said on Thursday. He defended Boeing’s design and production processes, adding that it was too early to speculate on what the investigations will show.

The company has said there was a documented procedure to handle the automated system at the heart of the problem.

The pilots’ union of Southwest Airlines, the largest operator of the MAX, said it is working with the company, Boeing, other pilot unions and the FAA to test and validate the new software.

“We still would like to have more detail on the development, control parameters and testing done on the algorithm that will trigger an MCAS event,” the union said in a statement.

The American Airlines’ pilots union told Reuters it expects to test the software fix on simulators this weekend in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.

MAX simulator training is currently not required, partly because not many simulators exist.

Southwest and American expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday the simulators are not designed to replicate the MCAS problems. The airline is among the few that do have a simulator but the captain of the doomed flight had no chance to practise on it before the crash, a pilot colleague said.

MOUNTING PRESSURE

The two crashes killed almost 350 people.

Since the Ethiopian crash, Boeing shares have fallen 12 percent and $28 billion has been wiped off its market value.

Pressure has mounted on the company from U.S. legislators, who are also expected to question the FAA. The company also faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Several lawsuits already filed on behalf of victims of the Lion Air crash referring to the Ethiopian accident. Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader lost a grand-niece in the Ethiopian crash and urged whistleblowers to help challenge the aviation industry and get to the bottom of what happened.

“They lulled us into complacency,” he said in an interview in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.

(For a graphic on ‘Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(For a graphic on ‘Grounded 737 MAX fleet’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(For a graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh, Georgina Prodhan and Ben Klayman)

Source: OANN

Fighters from SDF stand together in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand together in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said

March 22, 2019

QAMISHLI, Syria (Reuters) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) battled Islamic State militants holed up in the Baghouz area overnight, supported by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, the SDF said, seeking to defeat the last pockets of jihadist resistance.

The SDF has been battling for weeks to defeat Islamic State at the Baghouz enclave in southeastern Syria at the Iraqi border, all that remained of the territory the militants ruled, which once spanned a third of Syria and Iraq.

While the U.S.-backed SDF has captured most of the area, Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, told Reuters SDF fighters were clashing late on Thursday with IS militants in more than two positions where they were refusing to surrender.

The jihadists were holed up in what appeared to be caves in a rocky shelf overlooking Baghouz, and in trenches by the nearby Euphrates River, he said. U.S.-led coalition war planes had conducted two raids on Thursday evening against IS movements.

“Our forces are trying to force them to surrender, but so far the clashes are continuing,” Bali said.

Though the defeat of Islamic State at Baghouz ends its grip over populated territory, the group remains a threat, with fighters operating in remote territory elsewhere and capable of mounting insurgent attacks.

(Reporting by Rodi Said; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Aircraft flies over the head office of Asiana Airlines in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: Aircraft flies over the head office of Asiana Airlines in Seoul, July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

March 22, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – The Korea Exchange on Thursday halted trading in shares of South Korea’s Asiana Airlines Inc through Monday after an auditor submitted a report pointing out a lack of evidence to judge the stock value of the airline.

“Based on the report of Asiana Airlines’ auditing firm Samil PwC, the scope of the audit was limited as the auditor could not obtain comprehensive evidence to decide the value of the airline,” an official at the Korea Exchange said on Friday.

Trading in shares of South Korea’s second-biggest carrier will be resumed on Tuesday, according to the Korea Exchange.

In response to the trading halt, Asiana Airlines said in a statement it will swiftly request the auditor resolve the reasons which caused the qualified opinion.

Shares of Asiana Airlines’ affiliates plunged on the bourse’s suspension of the carrier’s stock.

Asiana IDT Inc saw its shares fall as much as 13.5 percent by 0200 GMT, while budget affiliate Air Busan Co Ltd lost 2.3 percent.

The broader KOSPI market was trading up 0.09 percent.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Additional reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 22, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – American Airlines Group Inc pilots expect to test Boeing Co’s 737 MAX software fix on the U.S. manufacturer’s simulators this weekend, officials from the pilots’ union told Reuters on Thursday, a key step in restoring pilots’ confidence in the aircraft after two fatal crashes.

Boeing has been working on a software upgrade for an anti-stall system and pilot displays on its fastest-selling jetliner in the wake of the deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.

Similarities between the flight path in the Lion Air incident and a fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 have raised fresh questions about the system, and pilots want assurances that the update is solid. The two crashes killed everyone aboard both planes, a total of 346 people.

American is the second largest U.S. operator of the MAX, behind Southwest Airlines. United Airlines is the third U.S. carrier to operate the MAX.

“This airplane can be a safe airplane, and there have been great strides on getting a fix in the works, but I’ll have a better feel after we can test it out,” said Mike Michaelis, safety committee chairman of the Allied Pilots Association, or APA, which represent American Airline pilots.

Michaelis said one APA pilot and one pilot from American’s management team would test the software fix in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.

Boeing declined to comment.

The MAX jets were grounded worldwide in the wake of the Ethiopian crash. For the aircraft to fly in the United States again, the Federal Aviation Administration must approve the planned software fix and new training, which pilots must complete.

Boeing also plans to offer as standard a safety feature that might have warned earlier of problems that possibly played a role in the two crashes.

As for training, Boeing has proposed new computer-based training on the software update, followed by a mandatory test.

Jon Weaks, head of Southwest Airline’s pilots’ union, told members on Wednesday that the FAA-mandated training should be enhanced.

MAX simulator training is not required, partly because not many simulators exist.

Southwest and American, which operate 34 and 24 MAX jets, respectively, have said they expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.

Canada’s CAE Inc, the main simulator producer, said it has delivered nine of the simulators, which are now in high demand by airlines but take about a year to build. CAE expects to deliver 20 more in 2019.

“For now we want to get our safety experts in these unicorn simulators to show us what the software fix does,” said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the American Airlines pilot union and a 737 pilot. “When it comes to safely issues, it has to be a full-course meal, nothing a la carte.”

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

There were some tense moments during an interview President Donald Trump did with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo regarding his continued bashing of the late Sen. John McCain.

Bartiromo sat down with Trump on Thursday for an interview that will air Friday morning. The network released snippets of the interview, including a part about Trump's ongoing feud with McCain — the Republican senator, war hero, and former POW who died last August following a battle with brain cancer.

"You spent a good portion of your time in Ohio the other day trashing John McCain," Bartiromo said. "Sen. John McCain is dead. Why are you doing this?"

Trump replied, "It's not a good portion of my time, it's a very small portion. But if you realize, about three days ago, it came out that his main person gave to the FBI the fake news dossier. It was a fake, it was a fraud, it was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. They gave it to John McCain, who gave it to the FBI for very evil purposes. That's not good.

"And the other thing, he voted against repeal and replace [Obamacare]. Now, he's been campaigning for years for repeal and replace. I'm not a fan. After all of this time, think of this. Repeal and replace. We would've had great healthcare."

Bartiromo then pushed back, reiterating the point McCain is no longer living.

"But Mr. President, he's dead. He can't punch back. I know you punch back, but he's dead," she said.

Trump then got more defensive, saying, "I don't talk about it. People ask me the question. I didn't bring this up. You just brought it up. You asked the question."

Bartiromo interjected and replied, "You talked about it this week."

Trump then repeated his point about the press asking him about McCain rather than him bringing up the topic — despite the fact Trump tweeted disparaging remarks about McCain last weekend and also spoke ill of him, unprompted, during a speech Wednesday.

"You asked me the question. When I went out yesterday to the [press] scrum, they asked me the question. When they ask me the question, I answer the question. But you people bring it up, I don't bring it up," Trump told Bartiromo.

"I'm not a fan, he was horrible what he did with repeal and replace. What he did to the Republican Party and to the nation and to sick people that could've had great healthcare was not good. So I'm not a fan of John McCain, and that's fine."

Source: NewsMax

United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues 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 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI

March 21, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – At the headquarters of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, a paper sign balanced above room 107 and a threadbare square of carpet welcome a stream of foreign visitors to the Accident Investigation Bureau.

The office – with three investigators and an annual budget of less than 2.5 million Birr ($89,000) – is leading a multi-party, multi-nation probe into what caused an Ethiopian Airlines flight to crash on March 10, killing all 157 people on board.

Brusque foreign investigators in cargo pants and Ethiopians in suits or reflective vests wave away questions from reporters on how their inquiries are progressing.

This modest agency is under intense international scrutiny because the results of its investigation could have far-reaching consequences for the global aviation industry.

If the investigators highlight flaws in the 737 MAX 8 that echo a recent crash of the same model in Indonesia, their report could deal a major blow to Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker and a massive U.S. exporter.

But if investigators find Ethiopian Airlines fell short in maintenance, training or piloting, that could damage one of Africa’s most successful companies, a symbol of Ethiopia’s emergence as a regional power.

Disagreements have broken out in Addis Ababa between Ethiopian authorities and foreign investigators over issues including the handling of evidence and crash site management, according to several sources close to the investigation.

Kevin Humphreys, a former Irish regulator who founded the country’s air investigation agency, told Reuters the high stakes involved tend to make probes like this one particularly tough.

“There are tensions because it is unrealistic to assume that international protocols are always going to work. There is a potentially important economic impact from such investigations.”

An 18-strong team of American investigators has been sent to aid the Ethiopians with the inquiry, including representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Boeing, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which certified 737 MAX planes as safe.

U.S. and some other foreign investigators are unhappy because Ethiopia is so far sharing only limited information, the sources said.

“There is no opportunity for the international community to benefit and learn from this,” said one of them, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Some foreign officials are also unhappy about the prominent role Ethiopian Airlines played in the probe, suggesting a possible conflict of interests, they said.

But one Addis Ababa-based source said the carrier’s role in the investigation does not necessarily indicate it is trying to exert undue influence. The airline is more likely involved because it is the most well-funded and staffed state enterprise able to help the over-stretched inquiry team, he added.

“When you have a vacuum, someone has to fill it,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines’ spokesman Asrat Begachew said the carrier was supporting the investigation. “We are not taking the lead,” he added, declining to comment further.

Under global aviation rules, interested parties like airlines and manufacturers are discouraged from speaking publicly about the investigation.

Yet in the first days after the Flight 302 crash, Ethiopian Airlines made all of the public statements, including announcing the black box recorders would be sent overseas for data extraction.

It was not until six days after the tragedy that the Ministry of Transport began briefing the media and public.

Hours after the crash, Ethiopian Airlines tweeted a picture of its CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holding a piece of debris in the crater of the crash site, surprising aviation experts who said the site should have been preserved for investigators.

Musie Yehyies, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the government had been quick to share information about the crash. He denied there was any mistrust between the Ethiopians and other parties.

“Our friendship with the United States is obvious,” he told Reuters. “Plenty of governments have been offering assistance, and some of them have helped practically.”

The ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the airline’s role in the investigation or any potential conflict of interest.

Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau and civil aviation authority, which fall under the transport ministry, declined to comment on the investigation or any grievances of parties involved.

Boeing, the FAA and the NTSB also declined to comment.

BLACK BOXES

The cockpit voice and flight data recorders were recovered the day after the crash, but it took Ethiopian investigators three days to decide where to send them for the information to be extracted and decoded. Like many fast-growing players, the Ethiopians do not have the technology to perform the task.

In a sign of the distrust between the parties, the Ethiopians turned down an American offer to perform the analysis in the United States, according to two sources.

U.S. authorities declined to comment.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde personally approached German authorities to request to send the black boxes to Germany to have the data extracted there, a separate source with knowledge of matter told Reuters. Airlines are not usually involved in such decisions, according to current and former investigators.

The airline could not comment on the investigation, a spokesman said in response to questions about the incident.

However German officials said they too did not have the most recent software needed to extract the data, so the devices were eventually sent to France.

Partial data from the flight data recorder was shared informally late on Monday with U.S. and French investigators in Paris, but nothing from the cockpit voice recorder, three sources familiar with the matter said.

It is common for the host investigator to closely guard voice recordings to protect privacy but unusual for relatively little data to be available a week after being downloaded.

“As an investigator, it is hard to understand the logic behind withholding safety-of-flight information,” Greg Feith, a former senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, said on Facebook on Thursday.

Ethiopia said on Thursday it had begun analyzing cockpit data and was working with U.S. and European experts.

Following Ethiopian Airlines’ last major crash, outside Beirut in 2010, an investigation led by the Lebanese and to which France contributed blamed crew mismanagement of the aircraft and poor communication in the cockpit.

The airline – led by the same CEO as today – said the report was “biased, lacking evidence, incomplete,” pointing to evidence of an explosion on board.

HIGH STAKES

Most crash investigations end up pinpointing a combination of factors.

For decades, reconstructions by independent investigators have been credited with reducing air accidents to record low levels. The system of co-operation works by sticking to technical details and avoiding blame or other agendas.

Safety experts worry that too many turf battles can cloud the progress of an investigation.

“The sole purpose of an accident investigation is to reduce the chances of something ever happening again,” said Paul Hayes, safety director at the Flight Ascend Consultancy.

The Flight 302 crash triggered the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, wiping billions off the company’s market value. Also on the line are more than $500 billion worth of 737 MAX orders.

Ethiopian Airlines is regulated by the country’s civil aviation authority, but its resources are far more extensive. The carrier’s operating revenue in the 2017/18 financial year was $3.7 billion. This dwarfs the regulator’s budget, which is 360 million Birr ($12.5 million) for this fiscal year.

CRASH SITE

Responsibility for leading the probe fell to Ethiopia because the crash occurred on its soil. Nairobi-bound Flight 302 went down into farmland minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The crash killed people from 35 countries, all of which are also entitled to examine the crash site and join in the investigation. America, China, Kenya, Britain, Canada, Israel, France and other nations have sent investigators.

Some nations were unhappy that Ethiopia was using heavy earth-moving equipment at the site, potentially damaging evidence or human remains, although others said that was the only way to move heavy items such as engines.

Some foreign officials also complained of being unable to access the site in the days after the crash.

After Israel’s team were not given permission to visit the site, the Israeli prime minister eventually called the Ethiopian prime minister on Wednesday, a statement on the Israeli prime minister’s website said. 

A permission letter – from Ethiopian Airlines – was issued late on Thursday for the Israeli ambassador and emergency response unit ZAKA, a source familiar with the incident added.

The European Union’s aviation safety agency, EASA, waited more than a week to be allowed to join the crash investigation.

“The Ethiopian investigation body is very keen to keep a very, very closed circle around the investigation,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told the European parliament on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Georgina Prodhan in Paris and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

A Republican fundraiser pleaded guilty to wire fraud and elections violations Thursday, allegedly using more than $1 million in PAC donations for personal expenses including escort services.

H. Russell Taub, an ex-congressional candidate from Rhode Island, appeared in U.S. District Court to face charges related to defrauding political donors of nearly $1.6 million, according to the Associated Press. Taub pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully violating the Federal Election Campaign Act for running phony political action committees and misusing funds.

Taub raised money for two PACs he claimed were legitimate, one called Keeping America in Republican Control (KAIRC), and the other Keeping Ohio in Republican Control (KOIRC). Not only had Taub never filed disclosure paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he never registered either committee. Taub collected 166 donations totaling nearly $1.6 million. (RELATED: 80-Year-Old Man Raises $250K For Bernie And Beto. Buys Mercedes Instead)

Court papers allege Taub converted nearly $1 million dollars for personal use, transferring $715,000 directly into his personal accounts, withdrawing $100,000 in cash and using $217,000 to pay for inappropriate expenses including “international and domestic air travel, hotels, restaurants, clothing, cigars, adult entertainment, and escort services.”

$1.3 million came from just one couple, who were not disclosed in court papers. Taub faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and is scheduled to appear again for sentencing July 12.

Taub unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2016 against incumbent Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Democratic presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is being criticized for comments he made during a town hall meeting asking why female presidential candidates weren’t being asked whether they were willing to put men on their ticket as vice president, The Free Beacon reports.

"Governor, some of your male competitors have vowed to put a woman on the ticket. Yes or no, would you do the same?" asked CNN’s Dana Bash.

"Of course," Hickenlooper said. "Well, I’ll ask you another question. … How come we're not asking more often the women, ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?'"

The Denver Post said Hickenlooper was known for “putting his foot in his mouth," while Elle questioned his focus.

“Why don't the women get asked about gender parity?” wrote R. Eric Thomas. “Do we care about equality or not, people? Will a man ever get a chance to be vice president or are we stuck with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Robin Wright forever? Oh, and Glenn Close in Air Force One. So many women! It's an epidemic!”

Hickenlooper has a history of verbal miscues, including in 2014 when he said the vast majority of Latinos “don’t care about a pathway to citizenship.”

"They want to be able to get on an airplane and get down to Mexico City and visit their grandparents. And they want to get a job and be able to get paid over the table,” he told the Wall Street Journal back then.

Source: NewsMax

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Auburn vs New Mexico State
Mar 21, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Mexico State Aggies player react on the bench during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament against the Auburn Tigers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Jared Harper scored a game-high 17 points as No. 5 seed Auburn survived potential game-winning free throws by No. 12 seed New Mexico State to win 78-77 Thursday in a Midwest Region first-round game in Salt Lake City.

Auburn led by 13 points with 7:10 left but committed six turnovers after that and was hanging on to a 78-76 lead with 6.0 seconds left after Samir Doughty made the second of two free throw attempts.

AJ Harris took the inbounds pass and sped up court. He was wide open driving through the paint to the basket to potentially tie the game with a layup before deciding to whip the ball back out to Terrell Brown, who missed a 3-point attempt but was fouled by Bryce Brown with 1.7 seconds left.

Terrell Brown, a 78.0 percent free throw shooter, missed the first, made the second and his third attempt went in and out, with the rebound going out of bounds to the Aggies with 1.1 seconds to go. Trevelin Queen, off a screen, got a open look from the left corner but his shot was an air ball.

The Tigers (27-9) will play Saturday in the second round against the winner of No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern.

WAC champion New Mexico State finished 30-5 after its 19-game winning streak was stopped.

Auburn made just 3 of 12 from behind the arc in the first half but was 9 of 19 in the second half to extend its SEC season record for 3-pointers to 408. This was the Tigers’ 24th game of the season with double-digit makes from long range.

Auburn junior guard J’Von McCormick scored a season-high 16 points. Chuma Okeke scored 13.

Johnny McCants led New Mexico State with 16 points. Queen scored 14, including a deep three with 28.1 seconds remaining. Terrell Brown also scored 14. Ivan Aurrecoechea had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Auburn committed three turnovers in the final 1:05 and missed the front end of a one-and-one.

The Aggies got within 77-76 when JoJo Zamora drained a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left.

Auburn led 32-29 at halftime, then hit its first two 3-point shots, forced turnovers on four consecutive possessions and went on a 10-0 run, capped by Bryce Brown’s steal near midcourt that led to a layup and a 45-33 lead.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

  • Robert Mueller is widely believed to be close to turning over a report of his Russia investigation to the Justice Department.
  • The report will be the culmination of perhaps the most closely watched investigation in U.S. history.
  • Will the report be made public? When will it drop? Here is a primer on what happens next.

With the Mueller report expected to drop any day, here is a guide to what the special counsel investigated and how this heavily anticipated document will be released.

Spoiler alert: A lot of questions about the report’s release and its contents have no clear answer. That’s largely a function of the lack of leaks from the special counsel’s office and the stoic approach Mueller has taken during the 22-month investigation.

When will the report be finished?

All signs point to Mueller nearing the very end of the investigation.

Several top prosecutors working on the investigation are leaving the special counsel’s office, including Andrew Weissmann and Zainab Ahmad. Weissmann was the lead prosecutor on Mueller’s case against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was sentenced to prison on charges related to his work for the Ukrainian government.

Reporters have also seen Mueller team members removing boxes of files from their offices in Washington, D.C.

The grand jury Mueller used in the investigation has also reportedly not heard from witnesses since Jan. 24, the same day Trump confidant Roger Stone was indicted.

What happens when Mueller finishes the report?

Once Mueller finalizes his report, he is expected to notify Attorney General William Barr. What happens then is up in the air.

Barr could announce that he has received the report, or he could provide portions of it directly to leaders on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

William Barr testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be attorney general of the United States on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Congressional sources familiar with those committees’ business say they are as in the dark as anyone else about how the process will unfold. Barr could announce he has the Mueller document before or after he informs Congress. He could avoid a public announcement and inform Congress that Mueller concluded the investigation.

What will be in the report?

As with most questions about Mueller’s findings, it is unclear what he will actually say in the document provided to Barr.

Barr testified at his confirmation hearing that under the current statute governing special counsels, Mueller will be required to provide a summary of his findings to the Justice Department along with a rationale for any decisions to decline specific prosecutions.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the investigation since its inception May 17, 2017, recently laid out what information Barr is legally required to share with Congress.

“If the special counsel proposes to take an action and is overruled by the attorney general … we’re required to report that to the Congress,” he said at an event Feb. 25.

The report might also be hindered by legal restrictions against indicting sitting presidents. But Mueller could, if he sees fit, suggest areas where Trump could face impeachment proceedings.

What will the public see? 

That also remains unclear.

Barr could release as much of the report as he wants, but he is first expected to write a summary of Mueller’s findings.

Whatever documents are eventually made public are likely to contain redactions for classified information. It is also unlikely that the report will contain any information gleaned from grand jury testimony.

Legal observers cautioned the public against expecting Mueller to lay out all of the details of his investigation. But they also said it is unlikely Mueller and Barr can completely avoid explaining whether or not Trump colluded with Russia or obstructed justice.

Congressional Democrats vowed to subpoena the report if Barr withholds it. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff also pledged to subpoena Mueller if details of the report are withheld from Congress.

What will Trump do?

The answer to that question likely hinges on what the report says.

Trump has given mixed signals about how he will handle Mueller’s findings. He said Wednesday that the public should see the document, but he added that he would like to review it beforehand.

“Let it come out. Let people see it,” he said, before adding that the final decision is up to Barr.

The Republican has long decried the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”

What has Mueller investigated?

Mueller was appointed special counsel May 17, 2017, eight days after President Donald Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. A former FBI director himself, Mueller inherited “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI’s code name for the counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign associates’ possible ties to Russia.

FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok opened Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016. The probe targeted Trump aides George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Manafort and Michael Flynn.

After Comey’s firing, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe expanded the probe to include Trump himself. McCabe ordered an investigation into whether Trump himself was a Russian agent as well as whether he obstructed justice by firing Comey.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to sign an executive order on veterans suicide prevention in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony to sign an executive order on veterans suicide prevention in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Mueller’s investigation has expanded in numerous directions since its beginning.

He indicted or secured guilty pleas from 34 individuals, including six Trump associates. But so far, none of the indictments have involved coordination between Trump associates and Russians.

Mueller indicted 25 Russian operatives accused of hacking Democrats’ emails or planting disinformation on social media networks.

Four Trump associates — George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and Michael Cohen — pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation.

Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, was indicted Jan. 24 on seven counts related to the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. Mueller’s team alleges Stone lied about his communications with associates and Trump campaign officials regarding WikiLeaks. (RELATED: Trump Confidant Roger Stone Indicted In Mueller Probe)

Manafort was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on a variety of charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine.

Mueller also secured guilty pleas from Alex van der Zwaan and Richard Pinedo, both of whom appear to have no direct links to Trump. Konstantin Kilimnik, a Manafort business partner suspected of having links to Russian intelligence, was also indicted on witness tampering charges.

Has Mueller found any evidence of collusion?

Most of what Mueller has found in his investigation remains secret, but some clues have come out through the numerous indictments and guilty pleas secured during the probe.

And so far, none of those cases revealed evidence that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russians to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The source of the collusion conspiracy theory — the Steele dossier — has come under intense scrutiny since it was published in January 2017.

The dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and Russian government, accused Page, Cohen and Manafort of conspiring with Kremlin officials to influence the election. The dossier also alleged that the Russian government was blackmailing Trump with video of him with prostitutes in Moscow in 2013.

Circumstantial evidence has cut against the Steele dossier. Page has appeared before Mueller’s grand jury, but has not been charged with any crimes. Prosecutors have never accused Manafort of conspiring with Russia, even though he has already been sentenced in two cases brought by Mueller’s team.

Cohen, who is a cooperating witness for Mueller, undercut the dossier’s most specific allegation about collusion during congressional testimony in February.

The former Trump fixer testified under oath Feb. 27 that he has never visited Prague. The dossier claims Cohen visited there in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials to discuss paying off Russian hackers.

Are more indictments on the way?

This is another question that remains to be seen. Trump critics have held out hope that Mueller will issue a barrage of indictments against Trump family members like Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner just as he submits his report to the Justice Department.

Mueller has investigated a variety of areas that have so far not resulted in indictments. Mueller’s prosecutors also offered a plea deal to Jerome Corsi, a conspiracy theorist who was in close contact with Stone during the 2016 campaign. Corsi has said Mueller believes he might have had contact during the campaign with WikiLeaks, the group that published emails stolen from Democrats.

Mueller’s grand jury heard testimony from Corsi’s stepson on the same day the indictment against Stone was handed down.

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Source: The Daily Caller

“SEAL Team” star Max Thieriot was kind enough to speak to me about the second season of the CBS hit series, and it sounds like there are some great things on the horizon.

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I have been ever since the first episode aired. That’s why I was so pumped to speak with Max, who plays Bravo Team member Clay Spenser in the series. (RELATED: ‘SEAL Team‘ Is Excellent In New Episode ‘Things Not Seen’)

Let’s dive right into what he had to say!

*Some of the questions and answers have been slightly edited for clarity and smoothness.

We’ve been off the air now for about two months (interview was conducted Wednesday before the newest episode aired). We’re coming back tonight. What’s it like to finally be back? Lot of anticipation, lot of fans that were waiting. What’s it like to know we finally got some new episodes?

Oh man, it’s a relief. … One of the hardest things … I think is keeping everybody waiting, and in a holding pattern, waiting to see new episodes because I know there are a lot of people who are itching to watch them. So, I’m excited. I think leading up to this last eight-nine episodes of the season, I can say confidently that the back half of the season is awesome. I mean, it really ramps up. There is some really really great action stuff along with a great storyline, character development stuff. We kind of dive into a lot of stuff we really haven’t really talked about before. It’s great. We got some of our best episodes ever for sure are coming up.

One of the big storylines was when Jason’s wife was killed off the show — a gut-wrenching turn of events. Was the cast pretty surprised to find out that was going to happen? Because as an audience member who watched all of it, that was like getting hit by a train.

If I’m being honest, I think yes and no. We were surprised because it’s such a big decision; it’s such a big commitment to make and such a bold card to play that early on such a great character. But at the same time, from a film and television viewer, it’s also weirdly important sometimes to do that stuff because it keeps the audience on their toes. You don’t want people to be able to think they will be able to expect everything all the time. As far as us being surprised or not, the only reason why we weren’t totally surprised is [because] Michaela’s a fantastic actor, and she had booked another television show that she was going on to do. And so, scheduling-wise, it was going to be really hard to work it out. That sort of helps in that decision-making process.

Speaking of women on the show, can we expect anything between Clay and Stella going forward, or is that pretty much over? Because it obviously didn’t end well. Clay carried a lot of that with him when he deployed right afterward. Is that storyline done or can we, as fans, hold out hope that those two might still have a future?

As far as the future, I’m not sure. But, I think, as fans, you can expect that it hasn’t been fully resolved and figured out. We’ll see some of Stella again. It’s just a matter of what way we are going to be seeing her.

We have a huge military audience, and they really like how the show shines a light on the personal aspect of the military. How important is it to you guys when you’re out there — both in the action scenes and in the personal life stuff — to really give the respect and shine a light on the people who have actually been through this? Is that always in the back of your mind, that, ‘Hey, we really got to hit home runs here because this isn’t a game. There are people who actually make these sacrifices every day.’

One-hundred percent, David. I think the thing is, to be honest, that’s the most important thing to us. Whether the technical aspect [of] the military tactics or the stuff that now goes on in this community or if it’s the personal life stories or, like you said, the sacrifices that these men and women make … to make sure we are as authentic as we can possibly be is, by far, the most important thing. And sometimes, like Adam’s death, those things aren’t necessarily what we want to see, but they’re realities. They’re realities of the job and what these people go through. And so, obviously, it’s the most important thing for us, to show it in the best possible way, but also the most real way.

Speaking of the tactics and stuff, what type of training do they run you guys through to make sure that when you are handling the weapons it looks realistic, when you’re moving, when you’re breaching doors, it all looks realistic? How much time did it take for you guys to go through before you started feeling comfortable with it?

[For] the pilot, we sort of jumped right into it. We didn’t have a whole lot of time. We had amazing technical advisors on set and we still … have a couple Delta guys, guys from various field teams, we have Marine Force Recon, we have guys from all different branches of the military that are on the show as producers, writers, actors, stuntmen, crew and, so, we have a lot of time rehearsing now. It’s repeated motion, right? It’s like riding a bike. The more and more you do it, the more comfortable you get and the more normal it looks. I’m a country boy so I came from a small town, Northern California, where everybody owned guns. We grew up, you know, hunting and fishing. It’s obviously not the same gun movement, but I spend a lot of times around guns and have been around them since I was eight or nine years old. For me, it was kind of more learning some of the technical stuff.

One of the neat things about the show, especially the Mexico storyline and the storyline about the rescuing of the ISIS bride — there really seems like there are a lot of things that are in the news that are often reflected in the show. Do the writers try to leave a lot of room so that they can try to mold things to current events? Or is it just kind of coincidence when stuff like that happens?

Both. I think the writers’ goal is to half an overlying arch that the audience can track, but also we can have these missions and things going on that are current events. We can kind of jump in and out of those while following character development and these storylines throughout the season. A lot of those current events and things going on, we try to not remake identically, but certainly, the cartel stuff and those things are all sorts of related to things that are going on.

If any of the actors on Bravo Team actually had to go through BUDS, who would be the first one to quit? Who would likely make it the farthest?

I can say confidently that I would make it the farthest. The first one to quit? I think that AJ will willingly say that he would probably be the first one to quit. He’s kind of stated that before. I think he’s like, “Dude, you’re out of your mind.”

On the show, characters are, obviously, a really tight-knit group, a lot of great comradery stuff like that. When cameras aren’t rolling, do you guys like to do anything fun? Keep loose? Pranks on set? Or anything like that to keep morale high?

Yeah, I’m the biggest prankster on set. As you can see on my Instagram, I’m pretty much always, specifically, I prank AJ more than anybody. But, it’s because he and I are just such buddies and he’s an easy target and I’m always around him. So he makes it easy and fun to pick on [him]. But, yeah, we kind of keep it as light as we possibly can in between. Clearly, there are days that are really serious and emotional and, on those days, yeah, things are a little different. But, when we’re out there running in the hills and shooting late nights and stacking up on doors to breach, we keep it as light as we possibly can and joke around.

Make sure to tune in to “SEAL Team” Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST to catch new episodes.

You know that I’ll be watching and keeping you all as updated as I can on the show!

Special thanks to Graham Gallagher for transcribing the interview.

Source: The Daily Caller

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

The so-called “Black Widow” killer Aurea Vazquez Rijos was convicted Friday in a complex murder plot against her late husband, Canadian millionaire Adam Anhang.

Vazquez Rijos of Puerto Rico was convicted and sentenced to life in prison along with her ex-boyfriend, Jose Ferrer Sosa, and her sister, Marcia Vazquez Rijos. The three were involved in an intricate murder-for-hire scheme and the subsequent decade-long evasion of police that earned Vazquez Rijos the title “Black Widow” throughout European news coverage.

Their motive? Anhang’s millions, according to police.

“I am innocent and time will prove it,” Vázquez Rijos said in court Friday. “I lost a man I love. I was murdered. A part of me died.”

Anhang was killed on Sept. 22, 2005, after about a year-long relationship with Vazquez Rijos. The two married in 2005 after Vazquez Rijos pretended she was pregnant and insisted on marriage.

Though Anhang stayed with her when he discovered the lie, he reportedly grew increasingly uneasy about her companions and went so far as to hire a bodyguard. Ultimately, the two agreed to divorce and met for dinner without Anhang’s bodyguard.

As they walked after dinner, Anhang was killed by small-time drug dealer, Alex “El Loco” Pabon Colon, hired by Vazquez Rijos for $3 million. (RELATED: Hurricane Maria Destroyed Hundreds Of Puerto Rican Graves. The Caskets Haven’t Been Reburied)

“Run baby, run!” Anhang reportedly shouted to her as he was killed.

Vazquez Rijos subsequently sued his family for $8 million of Anhang’s estate and fled the country for Italy. The slain man’s family hired a private investigator to track her down and found she was romantically involved with an Italian air conditioning contractor and had given birth to twin girls to secure residency in the country, according to The Associated Press.

Vazquez Rijos fled again when her new lover discovered her identity .

In 2013, American and Spanish authorities collaborated to trick her into going to Spain, where she was arrested and held in a Spanish jail. She entered another sexual relationship while in jail with an inmate and used another pregnancy to plea that she should remain on Spanish soil.

Two years later, when assured she would not receive the death penalty, Vazquez Rijos returned to Puerto Rico with her one-month-old daughter and was taken into custody. Her twin daughters remained with their father in Italy, while her Spanish-born daughter was taken into protective care in Puerto Rico.

Vazquez Rijos and her accomplices were sentenced to life in prison on Friday.

“I hope you’re happy now,” she told Anhang’s father after being sentenced. “You lost [a son] but I lost, too.”

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the LABACE fair in Sao Paulo
FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. Picture taken August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

March 21, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co will mandate a previously optional cockpit warning light as part of a forthcoming software update to the 737 MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of two fatal crashes, two officials briefed on the matter said Thursday.

Boeing previously offered the AOA DISAGREE alert, which warns pilots when the “angle of attack” (AOA) readings do not match, but it was not required by regulators. Boeing will now retrofit older planes with the light that did not initially receive it, the officials said. Boeing did not immediately comment Thursday.

There has been a long-running industry debate about how much information should be displayed in the cockpit, notably about the angle at which the wing is slicing through the air.

Federal prosecutors, the Transportation Department’s inspector general and U.S. lawmakers are investigating the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification of the 737 MAX.

The FAA declined to comment on the software upgrade Thursday but said last week it planned to mandate “design changes” coming from Boeing in its software upgrade by April for the 737 MAX.

Indonesia’s Lion Air did not install the warning light. Lion Air Fight 610 crashed in October minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 onboard. The company told Reuters in November it did not install it because it was not required.

The angle is a key flight parameter that must remain narrow enough to preserve lift and avoid an aerodynamic stall. A faulty AOA reading led the doomed Lion Air jet’s computer to believe it was stalled, prompting the plane’s anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), to repeatedly push down the plane’s nose.

The planemaker has come under fire in the wake of the Lion Air crash for not outlining the automated system, MCAS, in the flight manual for the 737 MAX.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Eric Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

Graeme Gallagher | Contributor

Six people have been killed and 30 are seriously injured after a chemical plant explosion in eastern China on Thursday.

Occurring at around 2:50 p.m. local time, the blast at the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical factory, which produces fertilizer and pesticides, created a fireball and billowing clouds over the industrial park area in Yancheng, Jiangsu, province, according to BBC.

Damaging further buildings in the radius, the explosion is believed to have caused a 2.2-magnitude earthquake that was recorded by China’s earthquake administration at the same time as the factory erupted.

Videos and images of the deadly explosion have surfaced social media. (RELATED: Multiple Fatalities After Explosion Devastates Kindergarten In China)

Shockwaves from the explosion shattered nearby windows of residential buildings and destroyed cars, injuring many through flying debris. Children are among those injured as online maps show 10 schools are within the 5K radius of the explosion.

“Workers were trapped after buildings were knocked down by the shock wave, which also shattered windows of nearby homes,” reported state-run news agency Xinhua. “Witnesses said many workers were seen running out of the factory covered in blood after the blast.”

A total of 176 fire trucks and 928 firefights have been sent to the site for rescue operations and to combat the ongoing flames from the blast. (RELATED: China Backs Venezuela’s Claim That Blackout Is Result Of U.S. Sabotage, Offers Help)

Paramilitary police officers and a medical staff transfer an injuried man as smoke rises from an explosion site behind them in Yancheng in China's eastern Jiangsu province on March 21, 2019. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Paramilitary police officers and a medical staff transfer an injuried man as smoke rises from an explosion site behind them in Yancheng in China’s eastern Jiangsu province on March 21, 2019. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The chemical company, Tianjiayi Chemical, was founded in 2007 and was listed by the State Administration of Work Safety to have had 13 safety problems, including a lack of safety training among management, at the plant. In addition, the company has received past punishments for “failures regarding solid waste management, environmental impact assessments and air pollution,” according to the South China Morning Post.

Industrial accidents have become prevalent in the East Asian country, as poor safety regulations have led to past factory explosions.

Two massive explosions, linked to haphazard management of explosive materials and poor regulations, in the port of Tianjin killed more than 160 people in 2015. Similarly, another explosive, due to problems in their safety management systems, in the Hebei province, near Beijing, killed 23 people last year.

Source: The Daily Caller

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to greet the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Manila
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to greet the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte said Manila’s relations with Beijing will not be jeopardised despite two former officials filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court over China’s aggression in the disputed South China Sea.

Since taking office in 2016, the Philippine leader re-oriented his foreign policy away from longtime ally the United States and toward China, despite decades of mistrust and bitter maritime disputes with Beijing.

However, the country’s former anti-graft chief and former foreign affairs minister is asking the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination on China’s role in the South China Sea.

The letter was dated March 13 – four days before the Philippines’ unilateral withdrawal from the ICC was formalized.

Duterte said: “They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China.”

Close ties will remain as China understands that anyone can file a case as the Philippines is a democratic country, he told reporters late on Thursday.

Duterte is facing criticism from opponents for making too many political concessions to China in return for billions of dollars of pledged Chinese loans and investment, most of which have yet to materialize.

China says it has irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them.

Under the ICC rules, any individual, group or state can communicate with the prosecutor on alleged crimes falling under the court’s jurisdiction. The complaints can form the initial basis of the preliminary examinations.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the financial district in Oslo,
FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the financial district in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tarmo Virki

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Norway’s capital Oslo will become the first city in the world to install wireless charging systems for electric taxis, hoping to make recharging quick and efficient enough to speed the takeup of non-polluting cabs.

The project will use induction technology, with charging plates installed in the road at taxi ranks linking to receivers installed in the vehicle, Finnish utility Fortum said on Thursday.

From 2023 onward all taxis in Oslo will have to be zero emission and Norway wants all new cars to be zero emission by 2025. Among other nations, Britain and France have similar goals for 2040.

Fortum, which is working with U.S. firm Momentum Dynamics and the City of Oslo on the scheme, said the greatest hurdle for electrification of taxis had so far been the infrastructure, as it is too time consuming for cabbies to find a charger, plug in, then wait for the car to charge.

Induction is more energy efficient and enables charging the taxis while they are in the slowly moving queues at taxi ranks.

“Time equals money when taxi drivers are working,” said Ole Gudbrann Hempel, head of Fortum’s public charging network in Norway.

Norway has the world’s highest rate of electric car ownership, partly thanks to long-term perks such as free or discounted road tolls, parking and charging points. Last year, almost one in three new cars sold was electric.

The government also exempts electric vehicles from taxes on traditional vehicles that are very high in a country which does not have its own fossil fuel car industry to lobby against them.

With just five million people, Norway bought 46,143 new battery electric cars in 2018, making it the biggest market in Europe, ahead of Germany with 36,216 and France on 31,095, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

(Editing by Terje Solsvik and David Holmes)

Source: OANN


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