attack

Vice President Mike Pence criticized Democratic presidential candidates who opted not to attend this year’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference during his speech at the event Monday.

A number of Democrats vying for the party’s nomination announced their intention not to attend the event last week after a progressive organization, MoveOn, called on politicians to boycott the committee.

Pence stated, “As I stand before you, eight Democratic candidates for president are actually boycotting this very conference.”

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the AIPAC annual meeting in Washington, DC, on March 25, 2019. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

US Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the AIPAC annual meeting in Washington, DC, on March 25, 2019. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

“So let me be clear on this point: Anyone who aspires to the highest office in the land should not be afraid to stand with the strongest supporters of Israel in America. It is wrong to boycott Israel, and it is wrong boycott AIPAC,” he continued. “President Trump and I are proud to stand with all of you — today, tomorrow and always — to strengthen the ties that bind America and Israel.”

The Democratic presidential candidates who opted to skip this year’s conference include South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete ButtigiegMassachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenVermont Sen. Bernie SandersFormer Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Julian Castro, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and California Sen. Kamala Harris.

Harris, Gillibrand, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar have all spoken at AIPAC events previously, with Klobuchar and Harris attending last year’s conference. None of their names, however, will appear this year. While Klobuchar has not made an appearance at this year’s conference, she also never made an official statement saying she would not go. (4 Democratic Presidential Candidates Have Spoken At AIPAC Before – None Will This Year)

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.

It’s not clear that the candidates’ decision not to attend the conference is related to the boycott.

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Source: The Daily Caller

An Israeli Apache helicopter releases flares as it flies over the Gaza Strip
An Israeli Apache helicopter releases flares as it flies over the Gaza Strip March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

March 25, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said on Monday it had begun carrying out strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, hours after a Palestinian rocket hit a house near Tel Aviv.

Reuters witnesses heard explosions in Gaza.

The military said in a statement that it had “begun striking Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”

One position hit was a Hamas naval position west of Gaza City, and a another was a large Hamas training camp in northern Gaza, Palestinian security officials and Hamas media outlets said.

Both positions were likely to have been evacuated, as Hamas had hours of notice that Israeli strikes were coming.

Witnesses said three missiles hit the northern target.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised a strong response to the rocket attack earlier in the day that injured seven Israelis.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Nidal al-Mughrabi, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Likud election campaign billboard depicting U.S. President Trump shaking hands with Israeli PM Netanyahu, in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Likud election campaign billboard, depicting U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump was set to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a boost for his re-election campaign on Monday as Netanyahu’s chief political opponent sought to position himself as a better alternative to lead Israel.

During a White House visit by Netanyahu, Trump was expected to sign a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The recognition, which Trump had announced in a tweet last Thursday, appeared to be the most overt gesture by the Republican president to help Netanyahu, who had been pressing Trump for the move.

The Israeli prime minister, who faces an election on April 9, on Monday cut short his U.S. visit after a rocket fired from Gaza injured seven people near Tel Aviv. He arrived in Washington on Sunday, originally for a four-day visit.

The attack in central Israel came as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel group, held its annual meeting in Washington with speaker after speaker expressing U.S. support for strong ties with Israel.

“We stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday.

Pence also talked tough against Iran, saying that under Trump, “America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu’s strongest election challenger, Benny Gantz, appeared before the gathering on Monday, and vowed to protect Israel against threats from Iran and Syria. He called for unity in Israel.

“We must remember if that we want hope, we must have unity,” he said.

With election day approaching, opinion polls put Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck and neck.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Hackers targeted “hundreds of thousands” of Asustek computer owners by pushing a backdoor update software tool from the computer maker’s own servers, cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Monday.

The attack took place between June and November 2018, according to Kaspersky.

The hackers were surgically targeting an unknown pool of users, who were identified by their network adapters’ MAC addresses.

More than 57,000 Kaspersky users installed the backdoor version of ASUS Live Update, the report said.

Asus did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was cutting his trip to the U.S. short after a rocket strike from Gaza hit a home just north of Tel Aviv and injured several people, according to Reuters.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the U.S.,” he told Reuters.

Netanyahu, who had only arrived Sunday for a four-day visit, will still meet with President Donald Trump today before boarding his return flight to Israel this afternoon.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands withIsrael Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

The rocket from Gaza landed on a home in the small agricultural town of Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, in early morning. A military spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system had not been deployed in the area and was unable to bring down the rocket.

It left one house destroyed in addition to the surrounding damage. Reuters reported one infant, a 3-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman were among those being treated for injuries.

Gazan officials have not claimed responsibility for the rocket, but are reportedly preparing for retaliation.

“There was a criminal attack on the state of Israel and we will respond forcefully,” Netanyahu said in a video statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.

The border along Israel and Gaza recently marked one year of continued border protests. President Trump recently expressed support for Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and is reportedly planning to make that statement official by signing a decree during today’s meeting, according to Reuters.

Netanyahu is running for an unprecedented fifth term. His main political rival, former Chief of the Israeli General Staff Benny Gantz, immediately issued a statement accusing Netanyahu of having “bankrupted national security” by permitting such attacks.

The election will be held April 9. (RELATED: Israel Holding Early Elections As Bribery Allegations Engulf Netanyahu)

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Kaya Jones, a former member of the Pussycat Dolls, claimed in a March 1 tweet that “every single democrat that voted against the born alive bill received money from Planned Parenthood.”

Verdict: True

Of the 44 senators who voted against ending debate and proceeding to a vote on the Born Alive bill, 42 were Democrats – all of whom received funding from Planned Parenthood during their latest election cycle.

Fact Check:

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was introduced to the Senate on Jan. 31 by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse. The legislation came after a Virginia delegate faced backlash for stating that an abortion bill under consideration in the state would allow abortions up until the moment of birth. (RELATED: Did Kathy Tran Do ‘Nothing To Change’ Virginia’s Late Term Abortion Law?)

The legislation would “prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion,” according to the bill summary.

On Feb. 25, the Born Alive bill only received 53 of the 60 votes necessary to end debate and proceed to a vote in the Senate. It received 50 “yea” votes from Republicans and three from Democrats, as well as 42 “nay” votes from Democrats and two from Independents.

Three senators were absent during the vote, all of whom were Republicans: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Staff attributed the absence to prior commitments and delayed flights.

To assess the veracity of Jones’ claim, The Daily Caller compared the roll call vote to records held by the Federal Election Commission. For each of the 42 Democrats who voted against the Born Alive bill, all received contributions from Planned Parenthood during their last election cycle.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund donated to 41 of the senators’ primary campaign committees, while for one senator – Maria Cantwell – it donated to a joint fundraising committee registered with Cantwell’s campaign.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire opposed the bill on the Senate floor saying, “This bill is just another line of attack in the ongoing war on women’s health.”

Sasse responded to the vote by saying, “I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether or not we’re okay with infanticide … Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? That is what this is about.”

Despite the failed vote in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to bring the measure to a vote in the House through a procedure known as the discharge petition. Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, has already begun the discharge petition process. He faces an uphill battle, however, as such a motion requires an absolute majority, or more than half the members of the Democrat-controlled House, for passage.

The petition will be eligible for signatures in early April.

Follow Jimmy Lewis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Kaya Jones, a former member of the Pussycat Dolls, claimed in a March 1 tweet that “every single democrat that voted against the born alive bill received money from Planned Parenthood.”

Verdict: True

Of the 44 senators who voted against ending debate and proceeding to a vote on the Born Alive bill, 42 were Democrats – all of whom received funding from Planned Parenthood during their latest election cycle.

Fact Check:

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act was introduced to the Senate on Jan. 31 by Republican Sen. Ben Sasse. The legislation came after a Virginia delegate faced backlash for stating that an abortion bill under consideration in the state would allow abortions up until the moment of birth. (RELATED: Did Kathy Tran Do ‘Nothing To Change’ Virginia’s Late Term Abortion Law?)

The legislation would “prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion,” according to the bill summary.

On Feb. 25, the Born Alive bill only received 53 of the 60 votes necessary to end debate and proceed to a vote in the Senate. It received 50 “yea” votes from Republicans and three from Democrats, as well as 42 “nay” votes from Democrats and two from Independents.

Three senators were absent during the vote, all of whom were Republicans: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Staff attributed the absence to prior commitments and delayed flights.

To assess the veracity of Jones’ claim, The Daily Caller compared the roll call vote to records held by the Federal Election Commission. For each of the 42 Democrats who voted against the Born Alive bill, all received contributions from Planned Parenthood during their last election cycle.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund donated to 41 of the senators’ primary campaign committees, while for one senator – Maria Cantwell – it donated to a joint fundraising committee registered with Cantwell’s campaign.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire opposed the bill on the Senate floor saying, “This bill is just another line of attack in the ongoing war on women’s health.”

Sasse responded to the vote by saying, “I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether or not we’re okay with infanticide … Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? That is what this is about.”

Despite the failed vote in the Senate, Republicans are hoping to bring the measure to a vote in the House through a procedure known as the discharge petition. Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, has already begun the discharge petition process. He faces an uphill battle, however, as such a motion requires an absolute majority, or more than half the members of the Democrat-controlled House, for passage.

The petition will be eligible for signatures in early April.

Follow Jimmy Lewis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a make shift memorial outside the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a make shift memorial outside the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), a leading representative of Muslims in France, on Monday said it was suing Facebook and YouTube after footage of the Christchurch massacre was streamed on their platforms.

The mass-shooting at two mosques in New Zealand was livestreamed by the attacker through his Facebook profile for 17 minutes.

A few hours after the attack, footage from the stream could still be found on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and Whatsapp.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the observatory of Islamophobia at the CFCM confirmed the legal complaint.

(Reporting by Julie Carriat; writing by Richard Lough; editing by John Irish)

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

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Houston vs Ohio State
Mar 24, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Houston Cougars guard Galen Robinson Jr. (25) and Houston Cougars guard Corey Davis Jr. (5) celebrate after their game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 25, 2019

Guard Corey Davis Jr. led a balanced attack with 21 points, and backcourt mate Galen Robinson Jr. had 13 points, five assists and a career-high six steals to lift No. 3 Houston to the Sweet 16 with a 74-59 victory over No. 11 Ohio State on Sunday night in the second round of the Midwest Regional in Tulsa, Okla.

Houston (33-3) will play No. 2 seed Kentucky (29-6) in the round of 16 in Kansas City, Missouri. Kentucky advanced with a 62-56 victory over No. 7 Wofford in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday.

Houston led 39-31 at the half but missed its first eight shots of the second half to let Ohio State (20-15) remain within striking distance.

C.J. Jackson’s fourth 3-pointer of the game drew Ohio State within 49-44 with 11:45 left. By that time, the Buckeyes had made 10 of their first 23 attempts from long range.

Ohio State got into the bonus with 9:57 left, but every time the Buckeyes appeared to be making a run, Houston blunted the push with a key basket.

Robinson, a senior leader, broke down the Ohio State defense late in the shot clock for a layup and Davis intercepted a pass in the paint and dribbled the length of the court for another point-blank leaner for a 60-49 Houston lead with 7:27 left.

Ohio State committed turnovers on its first three possessions and on four of its first five, and Houston took advantage to take a slim early lead.

The Buckeyes, however, were uncharacteristically on fire from the perimeter, making eight 3-pointers in the first half, including back-to-back bombs by forward Kaleb Wesson, who normally does most of his damage on the inside.

When Wesson picked up his second foul with 5:44 left in the first half, Ohio State led 27-25. But with Wesson on the bench for most of the rest of the half, Houston went on a 12-6 run and led 39-31 at intermission. Fabian White and Robinson had four points each and Corey Davis Jr. had a 3-pointer in the surge.

Davis, who scored 26 points and made seven 3-pointers in Houston’s first-round rout of Georgia State, led Houston with 11 first-half points.

Despite Ohio State’s 3-point success in the first half, the Cougars pounded Ohio State in the paint, 20-2. The Buckeyes also damaged their chances with eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes. They finished with 14 for the game.

Jackson led Ohio State with 18 points, and forward Wesson added 15.

White had 11 points for Houston, and Armoni Brooks had 10.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of Christchurch Botanic Gardens in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday’s shooting, in front of Christchurch Botanic Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 25, 2019

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday a royal commission inquiry into the events leading up to a March 15 attack on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 people, including into the country’s intelligence services.

“It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to the bottom of how this act of terrorism occurred and what, if any, opportunities we had to stop it,” Ardern told reporters at Parliament House in the capital, Wellington.

She said a royal commission, which are independent inquiries and are usually reserved for matters of the greatest public importance, was an appropriate response to the attack.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Praveen Menon; Edotong by Paul Tait)

Source: OANN

Bob Barr | Former Congressman (R-GA)

The college-admissions scandal announced this involved public and private colleges and universities from coast to coast. It netted the perpetrators tens of millions of dollars, and ensnared media darlings along with working-class individuals. While it may be the largest such scandal in the history of modern higher education, it is not the first and likely won’t be the last.

At the outset, it is important that this “vast college prep conspiracy” be considered and treated solely and precisely for what it is — a criminal enterprise fueled by greed. Grift on a massive scale.

Already, however, some on the Left are shifting the focus from the crass criminality of the scandal’s many participants, to a broader political attack on “privilege” in America. Others, on the conservative side are blaming affirmative action as the predicate for what the federal indictment properly characterized as a “racketeering enterprise.”

While the cheating scandal very well may exhibit elements of “class privilege” and affirmative-action abuse, obscuring the scheme by viewing it through the lens of contemporary public policy debates diminishes its importance and increases the likelihood it will be repeated.

Ten years ago, the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) system was shaken by a massive cheating scandal; orchestrated not by students trying to improve their grades, but by teachers and administrators fearful that lower student scores on standardized tests mandated by the federal “No Child Left Behind Act,” would slow the spigot of federal tax dollars on which the schools had become dependent.

When news of the APS scandal broke, many educators and public officials in Atlanta and across Georgia sought to have it addressed administratively; as a policy failure rather than a criminal enterprise. The pressure to thus downplay the scandal was pronounced. Fortunately, the venue in which the cases unfolded over the following five years remained exactly where it should have been — in criminal court.

Atlanta’s public schools still have not recovered fully from that sordid scandal, but the example set by aggressive prosecution of the teachers and administrators involved — a process free of partisan politics or racial division — remains a gold star in a state not often cited for upholding high ethical standards.

We all should hope that a decade from now, the 2019 college preparatory cheating scandal will be similarly remembered and cited as an example of how greed rising to the level of systemic criminality must be addressed by prosecution rather than policy debate. This is a task far more difficult than it should be, considering that in today’s hyper-partisan climate virtually every matter of constitutional or legal significance is distilled down to an excuse to challenge someone’s racial, gender, political or class worldview.

A review of the indictment unsealed just days ago — charging more than four dozen individuals with fraud, money laundering and racketeering in a scheme to afford children with parents of means an unfair advantage to gain admittance to top-tier universities — makes clear why the criminal process must remain front and center.

The scheme charted in the federal indictment was extensive in every important respect: taking place over several years and with tentacles reaching from university athletic and admission officials, to individuals employed by organizations supposed to fairly administer college entrance exams and even to include high school teachers; all were part of the grift. Virtually no aspect of the college-entrance process was unsullied by the racketeering scheme, including tax laws and various other federal laws designed to ensure fair competition in college admission processes.

The scheme was so brazen and sophisticated that — as detailed in the indictment — the managers of the conspiracy maintained their own “waiting lists,” so that if a child whose parents already had paid bribes (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars) to secure their admittance to a chosen university ultimately decided not to go to that school, the ringleaders simply gave that “slot” to the child of another crooked parent.

Thankfully, our federal criminal justice system remains largely insulated from the childish vagaries that have infected the parameters of public policy debate in modern America. While it would boost ratings if the scandal were presented as a “reality” show rather than a federal criminal proceeding, allowing it to be trivialized in such way would do great and lasting harm to our nation’s system of higher education.

Bob Barr (@BobBarr) represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He currently serves as president and CEO of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation.


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

American gun owners have once again been reminded that the ultimate goal of U.S. gun control advocates is firearms bans and confiscation. Since the heinous terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, American anti-gun politicians, activists, and media outlets have offered their full-throated support for the New Zealand government’s efforts to ban and confiscate firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

On March 21, the New Zealand government issued an order in council that immediately reclassified certain commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms as “military style semi-automatics,” or MSSAs. The order re-defined MSSAs in statute to include the following,

(a) a semi-automatic firearm that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine (other than one designed to hold 0.22-inch or less rimfire cartridges) that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges:

(b) a semi-automatic firearm that is a shotgun and that is capable of being used in combination with a detachable magazine that is capable of holding more than 5 cartridges.

An accompanying order in council offered regulations requiring licensed dealers to alter their records to reflect the new classifications.

MSSAs are heavily restricted in New Zealand and require a firearms licensee to acquire a difficult to obtain category “E” endorsement in order to own them.

However, this is a temporary measure. In a statement to the public, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made clear that the orders in council were a “transitional measure until the wider ban takes effect,” and further legislation is still being drafted.

Ardern noted that there will be “a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand.” Going further, she noted that, “related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.”

As with Australia’s gun bans, New Zealand’s gun control measures will feature confiscation of currently-owned firearms. Ardern noted that her “cabinet has directed officials to develop a buyback scheme.”

Speaking after Ardern, Police Minister Stuart Nash encouraged gun owners to surrender their firearms. Nash went on to say that, “police are gearing up to enable these weapons to be taken out of circulation, they’ll be supported by the New Zealand Defence Force to enable safe storage, transport, and destruction of assault rifles and MSSAs.” The New Zealand Defence Force is the New Zealand military.

Ardern also explained, “The actions announced today are the first step of the Government’s response. We will continue to develop stronger and more effective licensing rules, storage requirements and penalties for not complying with gun regulations.”

New Zealand’s new gun control measures are military-backed confiscation of commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms from law-abiding gun owners.

It is important for all freedom-loving Americans to pay close attention to the figures in this country cheering these radical confiscation policies.

Failed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton tweeted her support for Ardern’s confiscations measures, stating, “Under @jacindaardern’s leadership, New Zealand has banned assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons just six days after the Christchurch mosque attacks. Public servants didn’t stop at offering thoughts and prayers. They chose to act.” In 2015 Clinton expressed her support for Australia-style gun confiscation.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stated via Twitter, “This is what real action to stop gun violence looks like. We must follow New Zealand’s lead, take on the NRA and ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons in the United States.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted out a video of Ardern’s confiscation announcement, adding, “See. It’s not that hard.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted, “Christchurch happened, and within days New Zealand acted to get weapons of war out of the consumer market. This is what leadership looks like.”

Offering their support, Moms Demand Action, a subsidiary of the Michael Bloomberg gun control conglomerate Everytown for Gun Safety, tweeted out a Nicholas Kristoff New York Times column cheering Ardern’s actions titled, “New Zealand Shows the U.S. What Leadership Looks Like.”

Everytown frontwoman and former corporate media flack Shannon Watts shared her support for Ardern’s confiscation efforts with multiple tweets.

The New York Times issued an editorial in support of New Zealand’s measures. The piece was in line with the paper’s 2015 editorial that advocated gun confiscation.

Gun confiscation, not “common-sense reform,” is the ultimate goal of gun control advocates. This goal existed long before the Christchurch attack. The recent stateside reaction to the New Zealand government’s actions has only served to further reveal this long-held but oft-concealed position. It is up to all gun rights supporters to ensure that everyone is made aware of U.S. anti-gun advocates’ actual objective and to work against all gun control measures that bring the U.S. closer to that target.

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Donald Trump Jr. laid into Democrats and many in the media in his first full public statement regarding the conclusions reached by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“The farce that the Democrats & their media lackeys perpetrated on the American people for over 2 years should never be forgotten!” he tweeted along with a full statement.

He began with an attack on the media, blaming a number of outlets for perpetuating the collusion narrative without evidence to back it up.

After more than 2 years of non-stop conspiracy theories from CNN, MSNBC, Buzzfeed and the rest of the mainstream media, as well as daily lies and smears coming from Democrats in Washington, the Mueller Report proves what those of us with sane minds have known all along, there was ZERO collusion with Russia.

Trump also noted that in the hours since it was announced that there would be no further indictments related to the probe — and that Mueller had found no evidence of collusion or obstruction — there are a number of Democrats and media personalities who don’t appear ready to move on. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Blasts House Democrats: ‘They Are Going To Impeach The President For Being Donald Trump)

Sadly, instead of apologizing for needlessly destabilizing the country in a transparent attempt to delegitimize the 2016 election, it’s clear that the Collusion Truthers in the media and the Democrat Party are only going to double down on their sick and twisted conspiracy theories moving forward.

Trump concluded with a call to “honest journalists,” challenging them to be courageous enough to “hold these now fully debunked truthers accountable and treat them with the scorn and ridicule that they so deserve.”

It’s my hope that honest journalists within the media have the courage to hold these now fully debunked truthers accountable and treat them with the scorn and ridicule that they so deserve.

Trump Jr. may be right — in the hours since Mueller gave his report to Attorney General William Barr, a number of Democrats have indicated that they plan to forge ahead. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler told CNN’s Dana Bash that “we know there was collusion,” and he intended to continue investigating regardless of Mueller’s findings.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

A New Mexico Archbishop urged Catholic faithful to stop venerating a ‘spiritually dangerous’ folk saint of death called La Santa Muerte.

John Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, said worship of La Santa Muerte, or Our Lady Of Holy Death, contradicts church teaching because it glorifies death, a characteristic associated with Satan, who the Christian scriptures say “comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” Wester believes that people may be seduced into worshiping La Santa Muerte either because they mistakenly believe that it is a church-sanctioned saint, or because they are simply searching for answers. (RELATED: Faith, Drugs, And Human Sacrifice: A Mexican Folk Religion Has Texas Police Worried)

“It’s really wrong. I think in part, it’s (because) people are looking and searching. It’s a symptom of a search looking for answers,” Wester told The Associated Press.

“Our devotion is to the God of life,” he added.

La Santa Muerte, often depicted as a robed skeleton carrying a scythe in one hand and a globe or scales in the other, is an occult saint popular in Mexico with adherents also in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, California and elsewhere in Latino communities in the U.S.

Devotees touch the figures of Santa Muerte (Saint of Death) before the central altar asking for favors during the main celebration in the market of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, known as Tepito in Mexico City, on November 1, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Devotees touch the figures of Santa Muerte (Saint of Death) before the central altar asking for favors during the main celebration in the market of one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, known as Tepito in Mexico City, on November 1, 2012. (YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

While some depict the folk saint as a benign if bizarre figure to whom the poor direct prayers and offerings of candles, fruits and sweets in exchange for provision and fortune, there is a very real dark side to worship of the folk saint. The FBI reports that members of Mexican drug cartels often pray to the figure, asking it to bring harm to law enforcement and rivals. In some cases, cartel and gang members have murdered people in ritualistic killings as offerings to La Santa Muerte.

“For U.S. law enforcement agencies, the rise of a criminalized and dark variant of Santa Muerte worship holds many negative implications,” said Dr. Robert J. Bunker, PhD in an FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. “Of greatest concern, the inspired and ritualistic killings associated with this cult could cross the border and take place in the United States.”

“Over half of the prayers directed at her include petitions to harm other people via curses and death magic,” Bunker added.

While Wester and a few other Catholic bishops in the U.S. have openly denounced La Santa Muerte, Bishop Walter F. Sullivan and Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint, said no other high-ranking Catholic clerics in the U.S. have done so. Chestnut believes they have avoided denouncing the demonic figure because it might contradict their messaging about migrants.

“In Latin America, church officials rebuke Santa Muerte almost weekly,” Chestnut told AP. For more U.S. bishops to attack worship of La Santa Muerte, he said, would risk portraying Mexican migrants as “dangerous and all connected to drug trafficking.”

Wester, however, remains resolute in his stand against La Santa Muerte, whom he said is “spiritually dangerous.”

“It should be completely avoided,” Wester said. “It is a perversion of devotion to the saints.”

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

Andrew Wilford | National Taxpayers’ Union Foundation

Newly-announced presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has been criticized in recent weeks for being light on policy specifics. Of course, it’s hard to blame him for holding back on policy specifics when his primary electorate is hammering him for acknowledging some pretty basic realities about our debt crisis back in 2012.

Back in 2012, when he was in the middle of a primary challenge against then-incumbent Rep. Silvestre Reyes, O’Rourke stated that the size of the federal government was “extravagant” with an “out-of-control debt” and that “significant” spending cuts were necessary. That was true then, and it’s only become even more accurate as spending discipline has continued to slip.

It’s true that we are running trillion-dollar annual deficits and that the national debt has blown past $22 trillion in total debt. Unfortunately, that’s small potatoes compared to what’s on the horizon. Social Security and Medicare are going to blow our short-term budget problems out of the water as the baby boomer generation retires — these two programs alone are projected to run a deficit of $82 trillion over the next 30 years.

That’s a huge crisis in two programs that Americans contribute to from their paychecks and count on for their retirement. Unfortunately, it’s next to impossible for politicians to propose meaningful reforms to Social Security and Medicare without needing to look for work come next election cycle.

Instead, it’s become a common refrain on the left that the debt only became an issue on December 22, 2017, when President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) into law. That ignores the clear reality that we are in a debt crisis because our government overspends, not because we are undertaxed.

Even if the TCJA had never passed, our debt-to-GDP ratio would have gone from 76.65 percent in 2017 to 111.23 percent in 2027; with the tax reform law, the debt-to-GDP ratio was projected to increase just 3 percent by 2027, to 114.2 percent. An easy way to spot a dishonest partisan is when they blame the $1.43 trillion TCJA for our current debt crisis, but are mum on the $1.66 trillion bipartisan spending bill signed just a couple months later.

O’Rourke deserves praise for making tough statements while running for Congress in 2012. The candidate has been under attack from more extreme elements of the left due to his habit of taking positions that go against the tenets of democratic socialism — for example, refusing to back Elizabeth Warren’s tech breakup plan, making positive statements about capitalism and the power of the market, and seeming hesitant to endorse a single-payer plan. All of these heresies have led many on the left to suggest that O’Rourke doesn’t actually believe anything, a refrain that has been dutifully parroted by mainstream outlets.

Unfortunately, because of this pressure from the left, his spokesman has since felt the need to walk those statements back somewhat. For a primary electorate obsessed with denial of impending crises, the irony of a major candidate being savaged for acknowledging that Medicare and Social Security are in danger of not being solvent by the time millennials are ready to receive benefits from them is thick enough to choke on.

Beto O’Rourke was right to point to the need for Social Security and Medicare reform. It’s too bad that he’s stuck with an electorate that would rather engage in “deficit denial.”

Andrew Wilford (@PolicyWilford) is a policy analyst with the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fiscal policy analysis and education at all levels of government.


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

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita attends a news conference after his working lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita attends a news conference after his working lunch with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

March 24, 2019

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita sacked and replaced two generals on Sunday after gunmen killed 134 Fulani herders in a surge of violence the insurgency-plagued country.

The ethnic bloodshed took place just days after a deadly assault by jihadists on an army post killed at least 23 soldiers, both in Mali’s central region.

The army chief of staff General M’Bemba Moussa Keita was removed and replaced by General Abdoulaye Coulibaly, while chief of land forces General Abdrahamane Baby was replaced by Brigadier-General Keba Sangare.

(Reporting by Fadima Kontao; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

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

March 24, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"That is brave," she says.

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

Information from the AP was used in this report.

Source: NewsMax

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

March 24, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari

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

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

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

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

The family said it has not heard from Owais since.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“FREEDOM, MARTYRS”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CULT FOLLOWING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOSING ANOTHER SON

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

A military spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

March 24, 2019

By Jason Neely

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

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

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

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

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

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

OPTIONAL ITEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GARUDA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

March 24, 2019

By Joseph Ax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch
People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 24, 2019

By Jill Gralow and Natasha Howitt

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Thousands gathered in New Zealand’s cities on Sunday to protest racism and remember the 50 Muslims killed by a gunman in Christchurch and as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a national remembrance service to be held later this week.

About 15,000 turned out for an evening vigil in Christchurch in a park near the Al Noor mosque, where a suspected white supremacist killed more than 40 of the victims. Several more people were killed at the nearby Linwood mosque.

Many non-Muslim women wore headscarves at the vigil, some made by members of Christchurch’s Muslim community, to show their support for those of Islamic faith as they had at similar events last week.

Ardern said on Sunday that a national remembrance service would be held on March 29 to honor the victims, most of whom were migrants or refugees.

“The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values,” Ardern said in a statement.

The prime minister has been praised for her leadership following the attack. She swiftly moved to denounce the incident as terrorism, toughen gun laws and express national solidarity with the victims and their families.

The vigil started with an Islamic prayer, followed by a reading of the names of the victims, which included students from the nearby Cashmere High School.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can,” Okirano Tilaia, one of the school’s pupils, told the crowd. “Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can.”

Earlier in the day more than 1,000 people marched in a rally against racism in central Auckland, carrying “Migrant lives matters” and “Refugees welcome here,” placards.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand’s 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

As New Zealand continued to mourn and ask questions about how such an attack could have happened in the peaceful Pacific nation, the victims’ families spoke about their losses.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, arrived in New Zealand on Saturday to bring his brother’s body back to Bangladesh.

“I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my brother’s lifeless body,” he told Reuters. “I was devastated.”

Farid Ahmed, who was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting took place, escaped but his wife, Husna, was killed. On Sunday, he went door-to-door, thanking his neighbors for their support.

    “They came running… they were crying, they were in tears,” he said of his neighbors when they found out that Husna had died.

“That was a wonderful support and expression of love, and I am feeling that I should also take the opportunity to say to them that I also love them.”

(Reporting by Jill Gralow Natasha Howitt, Charlotte Greenfield in Christchurch, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, James Redmayne and Tom Westbrook in Sydney; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

NBA: Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets
Mar 23, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics forward Daniel Theis (27) in the first half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Kemba Walker had 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and the Charlotte Hornets rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit for a stunning 124-117 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

The Hornets closed out the game on a 30-5 run after falling behind 112-94 with 8:21 left in the fourth quarter. Walker keyed it all, and his 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining gave his team the lead for good.

Charlotte (33-39) has now won two straight, while the Celtics (43-30) have lost three in a row.

The Hornets also got 20 points from Miles Bridges, 13 each from Marvin Williams and Malik Monk, and 11 from Dwayne Bacon. Williams hit four free throws in the final 41.2 seconds to help salt away the win.

Hawks 129, 76ers 127

Rookie point guard Trae Young scored 32 points, including the game-winner with a tenth of a second remaining, to give Atlanta a win over visiting Philadelphia.

The Hawks tied the game 127-127 on a layup by Taurean Prince with 27.5 seconds left, then got a final shot when the 76ers allowed the 24-second clock to expire. With 3.5 seconds left, Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter inbounded the ball to Young, who made a floater over Jimmy Butler to put the Hawks ahead.

After calling timeout, Philadelphia’s inbounds pass hit the rim to end the game.

Mavs 126, Warriors 91

Luka Doncic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season, and Dallas exploded for 74 first-half points in a shocking demolition of Golden State in Oakland, Calif.

Dirk Nowitzki bombed in five 3-pointers, while Doncic and Maxi Kleber buried four apiece as the Mavericks hit 21 shots from beyond the arc, one shy of their franchise record, and outscored Golden State 63-12 on 3s.

The loss came on the front end of a home back-to-back for the Warriors, who chose to rest Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Andrew Bogut. The 35-point margin of defeat was the largest of the season at home for Golden State.

Trail Blazers 117, Pistons 112

Damian Lillard scored 28 points, and Portland outscored visiting Detroit 14-3 over the final 4 1/2 minutes en route to the victory.

Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in a season-high 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Blake Griffin tallied 27 points, Reggie Jackson added 24 points and Andre Drummond collected 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for only the fourth time in their last 12 games.

Jazz 114, Bulls 83

Rudy Gobert notched a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, and six other teammates scored in double figures to boost visiting Utah to a rout of Chicago.

The Jazz raced to a 33-18 lead after one quarter, and their 70-36 halftime lead was their largest on the road at the half in the history of the franchise, which began play in the 1974-75 season in New Orleans.

Donovan Mitchell added 16 points for the Jazz, while Joe Ingles (13), Derrick Favors (13), Ricky Rubio (12), Jae Crowder (11) and Raul Neto (10) followed to complement a balanced attack that overwhelmed the Bulls.

Heat 113, Wizards 108

Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as visiting Miami defeated Washington.

The Heat (36-37) are fighting to hold on to the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, and this victory gave them a one-game edge over idle Orlando (35-38). The two teams will meet Tuesday in Miami.

Wade went 5-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter as Miami took charge of a game that swung back and forth throughout the first three periods. The veteran guard helped the Heat take a 109-99 lead late.

Timberwolves 112, Grizzlies 99

Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 33 points and 23 rebounds as Minnesota halted a nine-game road losing streak by dominating the third quarter in a victory over Memphis.

The Timberwolves recorded their first road win since beating New York on Feb. 22. They also halted a five-game losing streak, a night after being eliminated from playoff contention.

Towns recorded his seventh straight double-double and 49th overall. He also recorded his 19th 30-point game and fifth career game with at least 30 points and 20 boards.

Kings 112, Suns 103

Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes scored 25 points apiece to lead host Sacramento to a victory over Phoenix.

Marvin Bagley III added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Nemanja Bjelica recorded 13 points and a career-best 17 rebounds and De’Aaron Fox had 13 points and nine assists.

Hield made seven 3-pointers to set a franchise single-season record with 245. He broke the mark of Peja Stojakovic (240 in 2003-04), who is now the club’s assistant general manager.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A man was charged with assault Saturday after allegedly kicking a 78-year-old woman in the face on a New York City subway as others watched on in early March.

Marc Gomez, 36, was arrested Saturday, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said to The Daily Caller News Foundation over email. He was charged with multiple counts of assault and harassment.

WATCH:

A community tip reportedly led to the arrest, according to a tweet from ABC 7 reporter Naveen Dhaliwal Saturday. (RELATED: Police: Two People Pretending To Be Officers Abduct Woman, Drop Her Off At Police Headquarters)

The elderly woman, who has not been identified, was treated for swelling, cuts to the face and bleeding after getting assaulted on the subway March 10 around 3 a.m. Video footage shows onlookers watching and yelling as she got hit.

WATCH (warning, graphic content):

“It’s terrible,” an MTA worker said, the New York Post reported. “I can’t believe something like that could happen.”

It is unclear why Gomez allegedly kicked the woman.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Demort Shea said Gomez was in custody in a tweet Saturday.

“Thank you to the worldwide community for the tremendous assistance,” Shea tweeted.

Follow Neetu on Twitter

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

FILE PHOTO: Eitan, who was involved in the capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, sits during a ceremony at Israeli President Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Rafi Eitan, who was involved in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, sits during a ceremony to mark 55 years since the Eichmann trial of at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

March 23, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Rafi Eitan, a former Israeli minister and veteran spy who led the operation to capture fugitive Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, died on Saturday at the age of 92.

“We have lost a brave fighter whose contribution to Israel’s security will be taught for generations to come,” President Reuven Rivlin said.

Eitan died after being hospitalized in Tel Aviv, YNET news website and other Israeli media reported.

Eitan played an influential role in the early years of Israel’s intelligence agencies.

In 1960, he was in charge of the Mossad operation that led to the capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, who was living in Argentina under an assumed identity. Eichmann was taken to Israel where he stood trial for crimes against humanity, was found guilty and hanged.

Eitan was also involved in the planning and implementation of the attack on the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

He then headed Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations, which was involved in the scandal surrounding Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. naval intelligence analyst arrested in 1985 and sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment for spying for Israel.

Israel has said Pollard was recruited in a rogue operation by the since-disbanded bureau. Eitan assumed responsibility for and resigned over the affair, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Eitan was elected to parliament in 2006 for three years and served as pensioners minister.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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


People take part in the “March for Love” at North Hagley Park after the mosque attacks in Christchurch, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 23, 2019

By Tom Westbrook

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – About 3,000 people walked through Christchurch in a ‘march for love’ early on Saturday, honoring the 50 worshippers massacred in the New Zealand city a week ago, as the mosques where the shooting took place reopened for prayers.

Carrying placards with signs such as, “He wanted to divide us, he only made us stronger”, “Muslims welcome, racists not”, and “Kia Kaha” – Maori for ‘stay strong’, people walked mostly in silence or softly sang a Maori hymn of peace.

“We feel like hate has brought a lot of darkness at times like this and love is the strongest cure to light the city out of that darkness,” said Manaia Butler, 16, one of the student organizers of the march.

With armed police on site, the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 of the victims were killed by a suspected white supremacist, reopened on Saturday. Police said they were reopening the nearby Linwood mosque as well.

“It is the place where we pray, where we meet, we’ll be back, yeah,” Ashif Shaikh told reporters outside the Al Noor mosque. He said he was there on the day of the shooting in which two of his housemates were killed.

Most victims of the country’s worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

At Saturday’s march security was heavy, with dozens of armed police officers and buses parked sideways across city streets to close them off for the march.

Shila Nair, a migrant from India who works for a migrant advocacy group called Shakti, traveled from Auckland to take part in the march.

“The support gives us hope and optimism that migrant and refugee communities in this country can have a level playing field,” she said.

“We appreciate the solidarity, but it must be carried on. It cannot be allowed to fizzle out. This is how social change happens.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who swiftly denounced the shooting as terrorism and has participated in many of the tributes and funerals for the victims, has announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles, some of the guns used by the shooter.

Ardern and New Zealand have been widely praised for the outpouring of empathy and unity and the response to the attacks. Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum thanked her on Twitter late on Friday.

“Thank you @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world,” he said on Twitter.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand’s 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

On Friday the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide on television and radio and about 20,000 people attended a prayer service in the park opposite Al Noor mosque in a show of solidarity.

Many women have also donned headscarves to show their support.

In Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, a special prayer was held after the Friday sermon for the victims of the attack, according to the Saudi news website Sabq.

Most of the dead were laid to rest at a mass burial in Christchurch on Friday, when 26 victims were interred. Others have been buried at private ceremonies, or repatriated to their home countries for funerals.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, told Reuters that she would bring his body back to Bangladesh.

“I don’t know when our family will be able to come out of this grief,” she said.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook, Joseph Campbell, Natasha Howitt and Jill Gralow in Christchurch, Hesham Hajali in Cairo, Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Marwa Rashad in Riyadh; Writing by Tom Westbrook and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN


People take part in the “March for Love” at North Hagley Park after the mosque attacks in Christchurch, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

March 23, 2019

By Tom Westbrook

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – About 3,000 people walked through Christchurch in a ‘march for love’ early on Saturday, honoring the 50 worshippers massacred in the New Zealand city a week ago, as the mosques where the shooting took place reopened for prayers.

Carrying placards with signs such as, “He wanted to divide us, he only made us stronger”, “Muslims welcome, racists not”, and “Kia Kaha” – Maori for ‘stay strong’, people walked mostly in silence or softly sang a Maori hymn of peace.

“We feel like hate has brought a lot of darkness at times like this and love is the strongest cure to light the city out of that darkness,” said Manaia Butler, 16, one of the student organizers of the march.

With armed police on site, the Al Noor mosque, where more than 40 of the victims were killed by a suspected white supremacist, reopened on Saturday. Police said they were reopening the nearby Linwood mosque as well.

“It is the place where we pray, where we meet, we’ll be back, yeah,” Ashif Shaikh told reporters outside the Al Noor mosque. He said he was there on the day of the shooting in which two of his housemates were killed.

Most victims of the country’s worst mass shooting were migrants or refugees from countries such as Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

At Saturday’s march security was heavy, with dozens of armed police officers and buses parked sideways across city streets to close them off for the march.

Shila Nair, a migrant from India who works for a migrant advocacy group called Shakti, traveled from Auckland to take part in the march.

“The support gives us hope and optimism that migrant and refugee communities in this country can have a level playing field,” she said.

“We appreciate the solidarity, but it must be carried on. It cannot be allowed to fizzle out. This is how social change happens.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who swiftly denounced the shooting as terrorism and has participated in many of the tributes and funerals for the victims, has announced a ban on military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles, some of the guns used by the shooter.

Ardern and New Zealand have been widely praised for the outpouring of empathy and unity and the response to the attacks. Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum thanked her on Twitter late on Friday.

“Thank you @jacindaardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world,” he said on Twitter.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand’s 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

On Friday the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide on television and radio and about 20,000 people attended a prayer service in the park opposite Al Noor mosque in a show of solidarity.

Many women have also donned headscarves to show their support.

In Mecca, Islam’s holiest site, a special prayer was held after the Friday sermon for the victims of the attack, according to the Saudi news website Sabq.

Most of the dead were laid to rest at a mass burial in Christchurch on Friday, when 26 victims were interred. Others have been buried at private ceremonies, or repatriated to their home countries for funerals.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, told Reuters that she would bring his body back to Bangladesh.

“I don’t know when our family will be able to come out of this grief,” she said.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook, Joseph Campbell, Natasha Howitt and Jill Gralow in Christchurch, Hesham Hajali in Cairo, Ruma Paul in Dhaka and Marwa Rashad in Riyadh; Writing by Tom Westbrook and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Arizona State vs Buffalo
Mar 22, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Buffalo Bulls guard CJ Massinburg (5) shoots against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the second half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. The Buffalo Bulls won 91-74. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 22, 2019

Senior guard Jeremy Harris and senior forward Nick Perkins each recorded 21 points and 10 rebounds as Buffalo trounced Arizona State 91-74 on Friday in West Region first-round play of the NCAA Tournament at Tulsa, Okla.

Senior guard CJ Massinburg buried four 3-point baskets while scoring 18 points as the sixth-seeded Bulls (32-3) notched the second NCAA Tournament victory in school history. Sophomore guard Jayvon Graves added 13 points.

Buffalo will meet third-seeded Texas Tech in Sunday’s second round.

Senior power forward Zylan Cheatham had 22 points and eight rebounds to pace the 11th-seeded Sun Devils (23-11). Sophomore forward Romello White and freshman guard Luguentz Dort added 12 points apiece.

Buffalo’s first NCAA Tournament win occurred last year when the Bulls, as a 13 seed, routed Arizona 89-68 in the first round.

Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley guided Buffalo to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015 before departing to the Pac-12 school. Current Bulls coach Nate Oats was brought on the staff as an assistant during Hurley’s stint.

“Not fun. I’d like to be cheering him on. I’d like to see us both move into the second round,” Oats said of facing Hurley, during a postgame television interview with TNT. .”.. He was really complimentary of how our kids played.”

The Sun Devils appeared tired after beating St. John’s on Wednesday night in the First Four at Dayton, Ohio before traveling to Tulsa. Arizona State was just 3 of 22 from 3-point range and shot 43.3 percent overall while being unable to keep pace with Buffalo’s up-tempo attack.

The Bulls shot 51.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 27 from 3-point range, and possessed a 42-26 rebounding advantage.

Arizona State trailed by 13 at halftime but came off the locker room strong in the second half by scoring six of the first eight points. A layup by White pulled the Sun Devils within 46-37 with 17:55 left.

But Buffalo responded with seven straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from Massinburg that pushed the lead to 16.

The Bulls continued pushing the pace, and the advantage reached 20 at 67-47 on two free throws by senior guard Dontay Caruthers with 12:15 left.

A short time later, Perkins scored five straight points as the lead reached 74-49 with 9:20 left, and Buffalo cruised to the finish.

Perkins had 12 points off the bench to help the Bulls hold a 44-31 lead at the break.

The Sun Devils led 14-10 before Buffalo exploded with eight straight points and 14 of 16. Perkins capped the surge with a layup to give the Bulls a 24-16 advantage with 9:41 remaining before the break.

Buffalo’s lead reached 39-25 on a 3-pointer by Harris with 4:23 left.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Attorney General William Barr should “swiftly prepare a declassified version” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, says Democratic Sen. Mark Warner.

"Congress and the American people deserve to judge the facts for themselves. The Special Counsel's report must be provided to Congress immediately, and the Attorney General should swiftly prepare a declassified version of the report for the public. Nothing short of that will suffice,” the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a statement Friday.
“It is also critical that all documents related to the Special Counsel's investigation be preserved and made available to the appropriate Congressional committees,” he added.
“Any attempt by the Trump Administration to cover up the results of this investigation into Russia's attack on our democracy would be unacceptable."

Mueller on Friday delivered his long-awaited report to the Justice Department, a process that took 675 days and ate up most of Trump’s presidency.

Mueller’s team has indicted or won guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies as part of his investigation that has also probed issues unrelated to the 2016 campaign.

None of Trump’s associates have been charged with crimes related to collusion, though Roger Stone in January was charged with lying about his communications with WikiLeaks, the outlet that published hacked Democratic emails during the election.

Trump has repeatedly decried the probe as a “witch hunt” and has emphatically denied he or his campaign colluded with Russia to undermine Democrat Hillary Clinton’s chances.

Source: NewsMax

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Colgate Raiders vs the Tennessee Volunteers
Mar 22, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Colgate Raiders guard Tucker Richardson (15) collects a rebound in the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

March 22, 2019

Admiral Schofield sank consecutive corner 3-pointers in the final two minutes Friday, enabling second-seeded Tennessee to avoid a major upset at the hands of 15th–seeded Colgate and earn a 77-70 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

Schofield’s first 3-pointer with 1:34 left upped the Volunteers’ lead to 70-64, and he drained his second with 45.8 seconds on the clock to make it a nine-point game. That finally provided them the separation they needed to hold off the underdog, short-handed Raiders.

Schofield paced the balanced Tennessee attack with 19 points, while Jordan Bone hit for 16. Jordan Bowden came off the bench to pump in 14 points, and Lamonte Turner finished with 13. Leading scorer Grant Williams was held to nine points.

Jordan Burns starred in defeat for Colgate (24-11), canning 8 of 12 3-point attempts and scoring a game-high 32 points. Will Rayman and Tucker Richardson each added 10.

The Raiders’ leading scorer, junior forward Rapolas Ivanauskas, missed all four shots he took and didn’t score before leaving the game early in the second half. Suffering from a bloody nose and vision problems, Ivanauskas wasn’t able to return to the game. He averaged 16.4 points per game and was named Patriot League Player of the Year this season.

The Volunteers (30-5) will meet No. 10 Iowa, which beat Cincinnati earlier Friday, in the second round of South Region action on Sunday.

The game’s beginning offered zero hint to the dramatics it later provided. Tennessee needed exactly 2:12 to score the first nine points and led 11-2 at the 16:40 mark after Williams drilled a jumper off a Schofield pass.

Colgate made its first serious push after that, slicing the margin down to 20-18 when Jack Ferguson stroked a 3-pointer from an Ivanauskas pass. At that point, the Volunteers flexed their considerable muscles, rattling off a 16-2 run.

Williams’ jumper off a feed from Turner finished the spurt and made it 36-20 with 2:51 left in the half. Two foul shots by Schofield with 24 seconds remaining enabled Tennessee to head to the locker room with a 42-30 advantage.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

A Catholic priest was stabbed several times during a live-streamed mass in Montreal on Friday morning.

Rev. Claude Grou, the rector at St. Joseph’s Oratory, was celebrating mass when a “tall, slim man” approached the altar, crossed behind it and chased after the fleeing priest to stab him repeatedly, according to CBC News. The man was thrown to the ground and restrained.

Grou was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The Montreal Diocese confirmed that the priest is recovering and in stable condition. His wounds were superficial as the knife broke during the attack, according to witnesses. (RELATED: Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse Found Shot To Death In Presumed Homicide)

The attack was captured on livestream and broadcast by the Catholic channel Salt + Light.

WATCH: 

One of the parishioners who witnessed the event, Philip Barrett, reported that there were about 60 people at the mass and that the priest was getting ready to read the Gospel when the incident occurred.

“He [the assailant)]walked past the barrier leading into the sanctuary near the altar, and everyone was just initially wondering what was going on, and some people were starting to react a little bit,” he told CBC News.

“And he walked directly behind the altar and seemed to strike the priest.”

The parishioners present do not recall seeing the man at that church before. He has been taken into custody and will be questioned by police later Friday. CBC News reported the suspect is 26 years old.

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the attack is a “horrible and inexcusable gesture that has no place in Montreal.”

“I am relieved to learn that the life of Father Claude Grou, rector of the [Oratory], is out of danger and that his condition is stable,” she tweeted. “On behalf of all Montrealers, I wish him speedy recovery.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted, “What a horrible attack at Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal this morning. Father Claude Grou, Canadians are thinking of you and wishing you a swift recovery.”

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter

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

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

American rapper Cardi B will not be charged for the alleged assault that occurred between her security team and a fan seeking an autograph.

Cardi B and her team won’t be facing any charges because the victim of the attacks refused to be interviewed by the New York Police Department, according to a report published Friday by TMZ.

The assault case has been officially closed according to authorities.

Watch the video to see what happened:

Cardi B and Offset were leaving a Met Gala party when they were approached by an enthusiastic fan asking for an autograph. Offset allegedly ordered the security to attack the fan when he wouldn’t leave the group alone. (RELATED: Cardi B Files For Trademark Of Her Famous Phrase ‘Okurrr’)

None of the security guards were arrested at the time of the alleged assault. Only Cardi B and Offset’s rapper group Migos were facing criminal charges.

Although there are no criminal charges, the alleged victim, Giovanni Arnold, filed a civil lawsuit against Cardi B following the attack in May.

Arnold claims Cardi yelled, “F**k outta here n****. I will slap the s**t out of you.” Offset allegedly followed up by yelling, “Shut up bro before a n***a beat you out here.”

Arnold claimed in the lawsuit he tried to de-escalate the argument but was attacked instead.

Source: The Daily Caller

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

  • New Zealand politicians, members of the media, and non-Muslim women embraced displays of Muslim faith Friday in an effort to show solidarity with the country’s Muslim community after the Christchurch shootings. 
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern donned a hijab, along with thousands of other non-Muslim women, and recited a passage from the Koran at a ceremony in Hagley Park shortly before the Muslim call to prayer was broadcast nationwide.
  • Despite overwhelming support for the #scarvesinsolidarity campaign, Muslim and non-Muslim critics lambasted it, arguing that hijabs are used to oppress women in Muslim majority countries. 

New Zealand politicians and journalists have embraced Islam in their efforts to show solidarity with the Muslim community after the Christchurch shootings.

Thousands of New Zealanders engaged in nationally sanctioned displays of Islamic faith Friday, ranging from the national broadcast of the Islamic call to prayer and non-Muslim women donning hijabs to newspapers running Arabic greetings on their front pages. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, police officers, and news anchors joined in the displays of faith throughout the day. (RELATED: Female News Anchors In New Zealand Are Wearing Hijabs After Attack)

New Zealand broadcast the Islamic call to prayer at 1:30 p.m. local time nationwide, the time when the attacks began the previous Friday, on both television and radio. Thousands of New Zealanders of various faiths also gathered at Hagley Park and other areas around the country to attend a live call to prayer, followed by two minutes of silence and reflection.

Ardern also recited a passage from the Koran prior to the call to prayer.

Politicians and members of the media also reportedly began their broadcasts and addresses with the Arabic greeting Al Salaam Alaykum.

Some New Zealand newspapers also featured a version of the greeting on their front pages.

Thaya Ashman, a doctor in Auckland, began the social media campaign #scarvesinsolidarity after the shooting, urging non-Muslim women to wear hijabs on Friday as a show of support for the Muslim community.

The campaign garnered massive support throughout the country, with leaders like Ardern wearing a hijab to Hagley Park and thousands of women donning hijabs for ceremonies to commemorate the mosque shooting victims, 50 of whom were killed and several others were hospitalized with wounds. Muslim volunteers even distributed hijabs at the events and helped non-Muslim women don them, according to The Washington Post.

“Why am I wearing a headscarf today? Well, my primary reason was that if anybody else turns up waving a gun, I want to stand between him and anybody he might be pointing it at. And I don’t want him to be able to tell the difference, because there is no difference,” Bell Sibly, a woman in Christchurch, told Reuters.

Women police officers providing security for the ceremonies and later for the burial of the victims also sported hijabs.

The campaign for non-Muslim women to wear hijabs garnered criticism, however, as hijabs and various other forms of Islamic headwear for women are seen as a form of oppression against women, since wearing them is not optional for women in conservative Muslim communities.

Despite the criticism from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, New Zealand women took to the embrace of conservative Islam with fervor.

“If I could I would be attending the mosque and standing outside to show my support for my Muslim whanau but I’ve got lectures and I can’t really skip them,” college student Kate Workman, who wore a hijab Friday, told The Globe Post.

Other women who wore hijabs, like Rafaela Stoakes, expressed similar sentiments.

“It is amazing how different I felt for the short time I was out this morning,” Stoakes told AFP.

“There were a lot of confused looks and some slightly aggressive ones,” she said. “I did feel a sense of pride to honor my Muslim friends, but I also felt very vulnerable and alone as I was the only person wearing one.”

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

Silent march for Utrecht shooting victims
A girl lays flowers during a silent march in Utrecht in honour of the people wounded or killed in an attack on a tram on Monday, in Utrecht, Netherlands March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

March 22, 2019

UTRECHT, Netherlands (Reuters) – Several thousand people carrying red and white flowers, the colors of the flag of Utrecht, walked in quiet solidarity on Friday to honor the victims of a shooting on a tram in the ancient Dutch city.

Three people were killed in Monday’s incident and five more were wounded – two of whom remain in critical condition.

“We’re walking … to support victims’ families, to show our sympathy, and to make it known that yes also in Utrecht there is no place for hate and violence,” said Mayor Jan van Zanen in an address before the procession.

Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis, 37, is accused of carrying out the shooting with terrorist intent. Authorities are also investigating whether he had other personal motives.

On Friday, prosecutors said he admitted his guilt in a closed-door meeting with a judge, and he said he acted alone.

Since the shooting, hundreds of people have laid flowers, candles, cards and photos in a growing tribute at the square where Friday’s procession was due to end.

Those killed were a 19-year-old woman, a 28 year-old-man, and the 49-year-old father of two young children.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte was among those who attended, along with the mayors of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague, local soccer players, youth groups, church groups, Muslim groups, one anti-Islam group, emergency service personnel, and thousands of everyday people from Utrecht and around the Netherlands.

One group carried an huge red banner reading “Utreg Never Bows”, with Utrecht spelled in the city dialect.

At the request of one of the victim’s families, Utrecht musician Martin van Doorn performed his song “If the Morning Never Comes”.

The song ends on the lines “Tell again the one you love, that you have the most faith in her, before the morning never comes again.”

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Adelle Nazarian | Contributor

We all support First Lady Melania Trump’s efforts to highlight education, values and the end of cyber-bullying. Through her “Be Best” campaign, the first lady has been a strong, consistent voice in support of our children. Unfortunately, her recent visit to the “Dove School of Discovery” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has shed light on another important issue facing our nation.

Unbeknownst to the first lady, Dove is one of many charter schools in the United States linked to the “FETO” movement headed by Fetullah Gulen. Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. With one hand — according to the Turkish government — Gulen directs attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent Turks. On the other hand, Gulen-linked schools receive taxpayer funding.

A 2017 CBS News report revealed that FETO operates about 136 charter schools in 28 states and that since 2010, those schools have received over $2.1 billion in taxpayer dollars. That amount is growing well over $750 million dollars every year. And while the schools paint a beautiful picture of educational discovery and opportunity, most Americans have not seen what else their tax dollars underwrite.

On July 15, 2016, U.S. citizens and the rest of the world saw precisely what that tuition money helps to fund.

On that day, Gulen followers in Turkey undertook a savage coup attempt that killed almost 300 innocent Turkish citizens. The Gulenists hijacked NATO jets and used NATO aircraft to strafe the Turkish Parliament with members of all political parties — majority and minority parties — inside. Gulen’s followers also rolled tanks against the masses of Turkish people who took to the streets in July of 2016 to stand up for their democratically-elected government and to fight back against ideologues and extremists who would subjugate the will of 80 million people to the will of one man living in Pennsylvania. Americans can see and read more about that failed coup here:

Despite the failed coup attempt of 2016, the people of Turkey — representing every party across the political spectrum — fought for their right to self-determination and they won. The coup plotters were overwhelmed, and order restored. Just last year, the people of Turkey again voted to support their democratic way of life, with over 88 percent of Turks going to the polls to cast their votes. International observers and the leaders of the main opposition parties called the elections free and fair. It was a triumph of peaceful democratic systems over the forces of terrorism.

While average Americans may not pay much attention to the internal affairs of Turkey, they should pay close attention to whether their tax dollars are being used to destabilize Turkey. Turkey is a strong and reliable ally in the war on terrorism and serves on the front line in the fight against ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. As NATO’s eastern border, Turkey has played a vital role in helping maintain stability in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East. It is important for Americans to fully understand that an attack on Turkey’s flank is an attack on America’s flank.

The FETO forces in the United States are smooth and know how to present the façade of peaceful education. Yet, behind the façade there is a long trail of financial irregularities hounding the movement. A simple Google search will turn up many instances in which money is allegedly siphoned from these schools for other purposes. In state after state, fraud investigations have been undertaken to determine if and how much taxpayer money has been diverted away from education. Complaints have been filed with the U.S. Department of Education, and there are reports the FBI is investigating the Gulen movement.

First Lady Trump continues serves us well by highlighting the extraordinary role of charter schools as an important part of our educational system. She has displayed her devotion and raised her voice for putting children first. In this instance, she has also done a major service by providing the United States with an opportunity to examine just how the Gulen movement uses its schools and American taxpayers as a funding source for less than reputable activities.

Adelle Nazarian (@AdelleNaz) is a documentary filmmaker. She worked previously as a journalist, including for Fox News.


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

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Female news anchors and other women in New Zealand wore hijabs Friday in solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

They took their cue from a movement within the country to honor the 50 persons killed in the mosque shootings March 15 by wearing hijabs, beginning with Auckland doctor Thaya Ashman. Ashman said she heard about a Muslim woman who was afraid to wear a hijab, thinking it would attract the attention of terrorists, so she decided to wear one in solidarity.

“I wanted to say: ‘We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you,’” Ashman said.

Samantha Hayes, who reports for Newshub, was one of New Zealand’s anchors who wore a headscarf on television.

The trend is spreading throughout New Zealand as women in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch don hijabs.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose reaction to the Christchurch mosque shootings has been widely praised by the media, also joined the movement. Ardern donned a black headscarf when comforting the families of the fallen, and announced a ban on assault rifles in New Zealand six days after the attack. (RELATED: New Zealand Broadcasts Islamic Call To Prayer To Honor Mosque Attack Victims)

A New Zealand policewoman drew attention for wearing a hijab as she guarded a funeral for some of the victims Thursday at Christchurch cemetery.

Though many applauded New Zealand women communally wearing hijabs, others said there are Muslim women who have rejected hijabs as symbols of oppression.

Asra Q. Nomini, a Washington, D.C., professor and former journalist for The Wall Street Journal, took to Twitter to voice her complaints.

“Pls do NOT wear a #headscarfforharmony with Muslims. It is a symbol of purity culture antithetical to feminist values. We have women in jail & dead, for refusing the interpretation of Islam you promote.”

Similarly, an anonymous Stuff opinion piece said Friday the movement was “nothing but cheap tokenism.”

“I don’t normally do this but I couldn’t help myself after seeing this ‘movement’ online where non-Muslim women are being encouraged to wear hijab/scarves to show ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women,” she wrote. “As a Muslim woman myself, I think this is nothing but cheap tokenism. It’s a gimmick and pretty distasteful.”

Meanwhile, a diocesan school in New Zealand is taking criticism for banning its students from wearing hijabs at school, saying it is not compliant with the school’s dress code. The school ultimately said in a statement that students would be permitted to participate only in Friday’s “Scarves for Solidarity” event being celebrated throughout New Zealand.

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter.

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

EU centre-right lead candidate Weber poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels
Manfred Weber, the centre-right European People’s Party’s lead candidate in the European Parliament elections, poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 22, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germans must be ready to spend to bolster economies elsewhere in Europe, the German lead candidate for the EU center-right said on Friday as campaigning gets underway for European Parliament elections in May.

Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party in the EU legislature and bidding to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as EU chief executive, told Reuters his compatriots had to understand that rising anti-EU nationalism in struggling economies like Italy should be countered by greater European investment to stimulate growth.

Under him, he said, the European Commission would expand the investment programs launched under Juncker, a fellow conservative, maintaining tight controls on euro zone public spending but promoting expenditure on infrastructure and new technologies to compete in the globalized world economy.

Insisting he should not be seen as the candidate of the bloc’s powerhouse Germany, Weber said: “I am a European candidate so that’s why we have a European program in mind. That’s why I go to Germany and tell people, don’t be surprised that we have so much populism in Italy and the Germans don’t care about youth unemployment in Italy.

“We have to understand that Europe can only have a good future if they care about the concerns of others.

“It’s only a solidarity based Europe that will work and that’s my message, all over Europe.”

Germany, running a budget surplus, has faced criticism from France, Italy and other governments struggling to free up funds for investment, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, with which Weber is aligned, has insisted that states must guard against wasteful expenditure and promote efficiencies.

Weber said there was funding available outside the public sector that should be encouraged: “We have a lot of money in Europe, there’s a lot of private money in Europe and we must … bring this money really alive,” he said.

The center-right would also distinguish itself from other pro-EU parties to its left by promoting free trade pacts and deepening Europe’s internal open market. It would promote better living standards in poorer EU states to curb the drive for migration of labor across the bloc, he said.

Chinese investment was welcome, he added, but there must be tougher screening to avoid the Chinese state exploiting Europe’s openness to acquire research secrets and undermine EU businesses.

DEMOCRACY DRIVE

Among challenges the next Commission will face will be from governments in the ex-Communist east, such as in Hungary and Poland, which criticize Brussels and are accused of undermining democracy by curbing media and judicial freedoms.

Weber this week helped steer the EPP to suspending its Hungarian member, Fidesz, the ruling party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Expulsion was still an option, he said, but for now Fidesz would be kept under review by an EPP monitor.

That, Weber said, was a model he could adopt if he succeeds Juncker. He would push for a mechanism to allow for annual reviews of governments’ support for the rule of law according to three criteria – fighting corruption, judicial independence and media freedom.

A Weber Commission would entrust senior independent jurists to review countries and, if need be, take them to the European Court of Justice under the EU’s infringement process. He would also seek to levy financial sanctions on states abusing rights.

Opinion polls ahead of the May 23-26 elections show the EPP would remain the biggest party in the European Parliament, giving Weber a solid chance of becoming Commission president, though he may face resistance from governments who do not want to be bound to choose from among party leaders.

Commission presidents have traditionally been former prime ministers or senior ministers but Weber said nominating a figure from parliament would bolster Europe’s democratic credentials at a time when the Union was under attack by populists.

“I want to live in a democratic Europe,” he said. “I don’t want to have a bureaucratic Europe.” He described the Council of national leaders as lacking transparency.

“I want to have a parliamentary democracy.”

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

EU centre-right lead candidate Weber poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels
Manfred Weber, the centre-right European People’s Party’s lead candidate in the European Parliament elections, poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 22, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germans must be ready to spend to bolster economies elsewhere in Europe, the German lead candidate for the EU center-right said on Friday as campaigning gets underway for European Parliament elections in May.

Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party in the EU legislature and bidding to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as EU chief executive, told Reuters his compatriots had to understand that rising anti-EU nationalism in struggling economies like Italy should be countered by greater European investment to stimulate growth.

Under him, he said, the European Commission would expand the investment programs launched under Juncker, a fellow conservative, maintaining tight controls on euro zone public spending but promoting expenditure on infrastructure and new technologies to compete in the globalized world economy.

Insisting he should not be seen as the candidate of the bloc’s powerhouse Germany, Weber said: “I am a European candidate so that’s why we have a European program in mind. That’s why I go to Germany and tell people, don’t be surprised that we have so much populism in Italy and the Germans don’t care about youth unemployment in Italy.

“We have to understand that Europe can only have a good future if they care about the concerns of others.

“It’s only a solidarity based Europe that will work and that’s my message, all over Europe.”

Germany, running a budget surplus, has faced criticism from France, Italy and other governments struggling to free up funds for investment, but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, with which Weber is aligned, has insisted that states must guard against wasteful expenditure and promote efficiencies.

Weber said there was funding available outside the public sector that should be encouraged: “We have a lot of money in Europe, there’s a lot of private money in Europe and we must … bring this money really alive,” he said.

The center-right would also distinguish itself from other pro-EU parties to its left by promoting free trade pacts and deepening Europe’s internal open market. It would promote better living standards in poorer EU states to curb the drive for migration of labor across the bloc, he said.

Chinese investment was welcome, he added, but there must be tougher screening to avoid the Chinese state exploiting Europe’s openness to acquire research secrets and undermine EU businesses.

DEMOCRACY DRIVE

Among challenges the next Commission will face will be from governments in the ex-Communist east, such as in Hungary and Poland, which criticize Brussels and are accused of undermining democracy by curbing media and judicial freedoms.

Weber this week helped steer the EPP to suspending its Hungarian member, Fidesz, the ruling party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Expulsion was still an option, he said, but for now Fidesz would be kept under review by an EPP monitor.

That, Weber said, was a model he could adopt if he succeeds Juncker. He would push for a mechanism to allow for annual reviews of governments’ support for the rule of law according to three criteria – fighting corruption, judicial independence and media freedom.

A Weber Commission would entrust senior independent jurists to review countries and, if need be, take them to the European Court of Justice under the EU’s infringement process. He would also seek to levy financial sanctions on states abusing rights.

Opinion polls ahead of the May 23-26 elections show the EPP would remain the biggest party in the European Parliament, giving Weber a solid chance of becoming Commission president, though he may face resistance from governments who do not want to be bound to choose from among party leaders.

Commission presidents have traditionally been former prime ministers or senior ministers but Weber said nominating a figure from parliament would bolster Europe’s democratic credentials at a time when the Union was under attack by populists.

“I want to live in a democratic Europe,” he said. “I don’t want to have a bureaucratic Europe.” He described the Council of national leaders as lacking transparency.

“I want to have a parliamentary democracy.”

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

The Trump administration recently warned Berlin that it may scale back intelligence sharing if Germany allows Chinese technology company Huawei to move forward with building the country’s 5G infrastructure. German Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately shot back claiming Germany would “set its own security standards” alluding to American concerns that Huawei can be utilized by China’s intelligence services.

But China isn’t the only country causing the German-U.S. relationship unwanted headaches. Iran falls under that category too. As the U.S. has expanded efforts to weaken the Iranian regime, Germany has been working to empower it. This begs the question: Why is Germany cozying up to Iran?

This policy split may be considered surprising given America and Germany’s close relationship since the end of World War II. The U.S. stuck its neck out to ensure a fair shake for Germany during the Marshall Plan negotiations. President Truman pulled off a historic feat by bypassing the Soviet blockade and executing the Berlin Airlift. Armed forces from both countries stood side-by-side to vanquish the USSR to the dust bin of history.

But new global challenges have brought strain to this crucial alliance, particularly in dealing with an increasingly bellicose Iran. President Trump, who has taken a more confrontational stance than his predecessor, has sought to implement an Iranian containment strategy.

Trump recognizes that an emboldened Iran poses a serious threat to U.S. security interests through its funding of radical Islamist terrorism and destabilization activities. In conjunction with Israel and the Gulf Arab states, America has sought to put the squeeze on Iran.

However, Germany views Iran in a different light. Berlin recognizes Tehran as a bad actor but believes it can be reasoned with if given the correct financial incentives. This is precisely why Merkel, the de facto head of the European bloc, has aggressively worked to expand commercial ties with Iran.

Nowhere is this strategic disagreement better illustrated than with the collapse of the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

The Iran deal, which was penned in 2015 under the Obama administration, sought to halt Iran’s production of nuclear weapons and adventurism by lifting sanctions and offering other economic goodies. More than $100 billion in frozen assets were sent to the regime’s coffers and western companies were permitted to conduct business in Iran. European powers signed on as part of the deal.

And yet, instead of spending its newfound funds on economic development, Tehran began to ramp up spending on its terror activities and Islamist proxies across the region. Cash and arms flowed to the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthis in Yemen.

Trump decided in response to call Tehran’s bluff and in May 2018 unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal and slapped stringent sanctions back on Tehran. The president’s team simultaneously moved to pressure America’s allies to also reapply economic sanctions.

Instead of backing Trump, Merkel took it upon herself to save the fledging agreement. She rallied the remaining European signers around the deal and began working to establish a new corporation that would allow companies to conduct business with Iran, a blunder to Trump’s strategy.

But what is more disappointing than Merkel’s reluctance to get tough on Iran is her kid gloves treatment of the regime’s proxies. In a stunning display, Berlin recently refused to designate the Lebanese-based group, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah, which is bankrolled by Iran, is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and serves as Tehran’s muscle across the region.

Even Syrian strongman and Iranian puppet Bashar Assad got a free pass after viciously gassing his own people in the Syrian city of Douma in April 2018. Hoping to provide a moment of moral clarity and a strong show of force, Trump coordinated an attack on Syrian chemical weapons facilities with the backing of both the UK and France. Notably, Germany sat on the sidelines.

Despite Merkel’s attempts to keep the mullahs above water, the Trump strategy is slowly but surely winning out. Iran’s economy is spiraling downward, and the regime is under intense pressure from everyday Iranians who are taking to the streets.

Still, if Merkel were to flip on Iran it may just be the final lynchpin to force real behavior change. Iran ending its maligned adventurism would positively benefit both American and German security interests. As such, Merkel has a unique opportunity to reconsider Germany’s approach to Iran and institute a necessary course correction.

For America’s sake, let’s hope she does just that.

Alex Titus (@ATitus7) is a Public Interest Fellow in Washington, D.C. The Public Interest Fellowship provides exceptional men and women with professional opportunities in the tradition of freedom.


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

Makeshift memorial at tram shooting site in Utrecht
FILE PHOTO: A makeshift memorial is seen at the site of a tram shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

March 22, 2019

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch judge on Friday extended for two weeks the detention of the suspect in a shooting that killed three people in the city of Utrecht this week.

Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis, 37, is accused of carrying out the shooting aboard a tram out of terrorist intent, while authorities are also investigating whether he had other personal motives.

Prosecutors a day earlier had said they believe Tanis had a radicalized ideology and that there was no evidence of any relationship between him and the victims.

Tanis, who has been convicted of illegal weapons possession, shop lifting and burglary in recent years and has to appear in court on rape charges in July, is believed to have acted alone.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to join a march through Utrecht on Friday evening, commemorating the 19-year old woman and the 28-year old and 49-year old men who were shot dead in the attack.

The Utrecht District Court said the judge had ruled that Tanis should be permitted to communicate only with a lawyer.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer; Editing by Peter Graff and Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

Democrat Party's candidate Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province
Democrat Party’s candidate for Member of Parliament Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province, Thailand, March 16, 2019. Picture taken March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Panu Wongcha-um

March 22, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) – Pateemoh Poh-itaeda-oh, 39, has lost four family members to violence in Thailand’s deep south, where a Muslim separatist movement has fought against rule from Bangkok for 15 years.

Now, she is running for a parliamentary seat in a general election on Sunday, hoping to have a hand in making government policies for the restive region.

Sunday’s vote is broadly seen as a battle between allies of the military junta leader seeking to stay in power and supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunication tycoon whose loyalists have won every general election since 2001.

But that divide has a different dynamic in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which are 80 percent Muslim, while the rest of Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist.

A separatist insurgency has dragged on since 2004, killing more than 6,900 people. In January, two Buddhist monks were shot dead in a suspected insurgent attack.

In previous elections, the deep south was not much courted by politicians seeking national power. But the arrival of several new parties on the political scene, along with stalled peace talks, have stirred interest in the campaign in the south – and enthusiasm to participate among newly minted candidates.

Pateemoh, a Muslim who is a candidate for the pro-junta Action Coalition for Thailand party (ACT), said she got involved because she felt for the first time there was a chance for the concerns of the south to be heard and – possibly – bring an end to the conflict.

“For a long time many Thais have looked at problems in the deep south as a marginal border issue, but this election I have seen changes,” she told Reuters at her party headquarters in Yala province.

Ending the insurgency is deeply personal to her. Three of her brothers and one sister have been shot dead since 2004 in suspected attacks by insurgents, who often target teachers and local officials for working with central government.

“I really want to be a voice in forming policy and solving the conflict issue in the deep south, and people have to remember that women’s voices need to matter in this process,” she said.

SELF-DETERMINATION

The three provinces, and a small part of neighboring Songkhla, were historically part of a Malay Muslim sultanate annexed by Thailand in 1909. Separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

A peace process between the Thai government and insurgent groups has made little headway, with violence still occurring even though the military has been directly in charge of security in the region for 15 years.

In February, Mara Patani, an umbrella organization representing many insurgent groups, said it has suspended all dialogue with Bangkok until after the election.

For decades, the deep south’s small tally of seats – 11 out of 350 being contested in this election – were seen as a reliable bloc for the Democrat Party, the country’s oldest political party that is officially non-aligned in the campaign but could prove crucial in post-vote coalition-building.

But the fresh attention being paid to the region by new parties has stoked pent-up desire for a say among both the pro-government and pro-autonomy camps there, said Samart Thongfhua, a political analyst at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

“Generally, people in the deep south are enthusiastic from all sides because they will feel that they can gain justice through democracy,” he said.

RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

This is the first election that a Malay Muslim from the deep south, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, 74, is a prime ministerial candidate.

Matha, a former house speaker and the leader of Prachachart Party, is a key ally to Thaksin who could help capture votes for the “democratic front” of anti-junta parties in the deep south. Pro-Thaksin parties have in the past performed badly in the region, where he was widely blamed for exacerbating the conflict with harsh tactics when he was in power from 2001 to 2006.

Prachachart has been campaigning greater people’s participation in the region’s governance and peace process.

Analysts predict that no single party will dominate the region, with the Democrats, ACT, Bhumjaithai Party, and two anti-junta parties, Prachachart and Future Forward, all seen as competitive.

All are campaigning for greater autonomy to a varying degree for the restive region, a sensitive issue for the Thai military.

Even talking about greater autonomy alarms the region’s Buddhist minority, and coincides with the emergence on the national stage of the Buddhist nationalist Pandin Dharma Party.

“There is a sentiment that Buddhism is under threat and this has been appealing to many Buddhists here,” Ruckchart Suwan, 54, of the Buddhist Network for Peace told Reuters.

Muslim politicians say more needs to be done to improve relationship between Buddhists and Muslims.

“It is good to hear real grievances from the Buddhists so we can address it properly,” said Worawit Baru, 67, a candidate for Prachachart Party in Pattani province.

“The security forces have brought Buddhists and Muslims together over meals many times and say this represent successful reconciliation,” Worawit said. “These window-dressing approaches must stop and we need the people to speak up.”

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Kay Johnson and Alex Richardson)

Source: OANN

Turkish President Erdogan makes a speech as New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston listens in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech as New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters listens during an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, March 22, 2019. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

March 22, 2019

By Sarah Dadouch and Bulent Usta

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – New Zealand on Friday defended its reaction to its worst mass shooting, telling Muslim countries meeting in Turkey that the police response to the killing of 50 people was “instantaneous” and the perpetrator would spend life in prison.

Speaking to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters was responding to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who has said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.

Erdogan’s comments at a series of election campaign rallies – including calling on New Zealand to restore the death penalty and repeatedly showing video footage of the shootings that the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook – triggered a diplomatic dispute between the nations.

“This person will face the full force of New Zealand law, and will spend the rest of his life in isolation in a New Zealand prison,” Peters told the OIC, meeting in emergency session to discuss Islamophobia and the March 15 shootings in Christchurch.

“Our police have started the largest investigation in our history,” said Peters, who had earlier condemned Erdogan’s airing of the footage as risking endangering New Zealanders abroad.

The OIC meeting in Istanbul was also attended by Erdogan, who briefly met Peters on the sidelines. No other heads of state or government attended the gathering. Iran was represented by Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Saudi Arabia by its ambassador to Turkey.

Addressing the conference separately, Erdogan struck a conciliatory tone, saying the empathy and reaction displayed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern since the incident “should be an example to the world.”

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with one murder following the attack and is likely to face more charges.

Erdogan, who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections, again showed footage of the shooting at a rally on Thursday.

For nearly a week he has described the mass shooting as part of a wider attack on Turkey and threatened to send back “in caskets” anyone who tried to take the battle to Istanbul. He has also shown extracts from a “manifesto” posted by the attacker and later taken down, drawing condemnation from New Zealand and Australia.

Ardern has said Peters went to Turkey to “confront” Erdogan’s comments, and she repeated on Friday he was there to “set the record straight.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week called Erdogan’s comments “deeply offensive” and summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting, though on Thursday he said progress had been made and “we’ve already seen the moderation of the president’s views.”

The OIC groups together Muslim countries to protect the interests of the Muslim world. Peters told the gathering “an attack on one of us observing their beliefs is an attack on all of us.”

(Additional reporting by Daren Butler, Ezgi Erkoyun and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara, Editing by Jonathan Spicer, William Maclean)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - India v New Zealand - Third Test cricket match
FILE PHOTO: Cricket – India v New Zealand – Third Test cricket match – Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore, India – 08/10/2016. India’s Gautam Gambhir walks off the field after his dismissal. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Krishna N. Das

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party on Friday, leaving a panel to decide whether to field him as a candidate in the cricket-crazy country’s upcoming general election.

With 9 million followers on Twitter, Gambhir could give Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) some extra pulling-power in the campaign for an election which will run from April 11 till May 23.

A top-order batsman from New Delhi, Gambhir played match-winning knocks in two cricket World Cup finals and also led his club team to two victories in the Indian Premier League.

“I am joining this party influenced by our prime minister, his vision,” Gambhir, 37, told reporters after being inducted into the party by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“I’ve done whatever I could in cricket, and this is a fabulous platform for me to do something really good for this country and take this party forward and make this country a better place to live.”

Jaitley said the party’s election committee would decide if Gambhir will be nominated as a candidate.

Before Gambhir, fellow batsman Navjot Singh Sidhu was a lawmaker for the BJP until he jumped ship to join the main opposition Congress party in 2017.

The BJP has many other celebrities, mainly actors, in its ranks including cabinet minister Smriti Z. Irani, MP Kirron Kher and Delhi party chief Manoj Tiwari.

Pollsters say the Hindu nationalist BJP’s chances have risen sharply since tension with arch rival Pakistan shot up after a Pakistan-based Islamist militant group claimed a deadly attack on Indian paramilitary police in the disputed region of Kashmir last month.

Since the attack, Gambhir has urged India to forfeit matches against Pakistan in the next World Cup staring end-May.

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

Police officers stand outside the Russian consulate after an explosion, in Athens
Police officers stand outside the Russian consulate after an explosion, in Athens, Greece March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

March 22, 2019

ATHENS (Reuters) – Attackers on a motorcycle threw an explosive device, possibly a hand grenade, at the Russian consulate in Athens early on Friday, police said.

“It was probably a hand grenade. No one was injured,” a police official told Reuters, adding that it was not a powerful explosion.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack on the consulate in the Athens suburb of Chalandri, where police cordoned off the area.

In 2016, a security guard was wounded in a similar incident at the French embassy in central Athens.

Small-scale attacks on businesses, police, politicians and embassies are frequent in Greece, with its long history of political violence.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Michael Perry and Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

BSF soldier checks the passport of an Indian passenger from the 'friendship bus' between Indian and Pakistan at the Wagah-Attari border crossing
A Border Security Force (BSF) soldier checks the passport of an Indian passenger from the ‘friendship bus’ between Indian and Pakistan at the Wagah-Attari border crossing, India, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Alasdair Pal

March 22, 2019

By Alasdair Pal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – One Friday morning before dawn, a half-empty Volvo coach slipped out of New Delhi’s Ambedkar bus terminal under armed guard, the sirens of a police convoy wailing.

Carrying a mixture of Indian and Pakistani tourists, the bus, emblazoned with the flags of both countries and the phrase ‘Sada-e-Sarhad’ (Call of the Frontier), is one of the few remaining transport links between the nuclear-armed neighbors, who clashed last month over the disputed Kashmir region in a conflict that alarmed world powers.

But as Reuters found on a return trip on what is also known as the ‘dosti (friendship) bus’, that runs daily except Sundays between Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore, it is a powerful symbol of hope for better relations between the rivals, who despite their political differences share strong linguistic, cultural and family ties.

After breakfast at a government-run restaurant on the highway where police seal off the grounds, passengers from both countries watch a Bollywood film on board, starring one of India’s many Muslim actors.

“Salman Khan is a Muslim, he is one of us,” said Hilal Ahmad Mir, 36, a Kashmiri apple farmer and father of four.

The journey from his home in the south Kashmir valley to Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to visit his brother Hamid, should be less than 300 km (200 miles) by the most direct route, across the contested border known as the Line of Control.

But with the ongoing conflict making that route effectively impossible, he is forced to take a lengthy detour via Delhi and Lahore, before eventually reaching Islamabad two days later.

Still, he is upbeat.

“Pakistan makes it easy for Kashmiris to get a visa,” he said. “In some ways, Pakistan and India have a very good relationship. We have had a lot of damage. We want friendship, not guns.”

SEPARATED AT BIRTH

India and Pakistan have thousands of years of shared history. Delhi and Lahore’s sandstone forts and grand mosques were all constructed by the Mughal empire, and both countries were later part of British colonial India.

When Britain gave up control of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, it hastily partitioned it into Hindu-majority India and Islamic Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands died in ethnic bloodshed and millions more became refugees.

Relations between the two countries have been strained ever since. They have fought three wars, two of them over the Muslim-majority Kashmir region that both claim in full but rule in part. Last month, they clashed over a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy in Kashmir by Pakistani militants.

In an attempt to maintain close links to Indian-administered Kashmir, Pakistan often approves visas for the Muslim-majority population on the same day.

    For the vast majority of people in both countries, however, arranging a visa to visit to the other side is a bureaucratic process that often takes as long as three months, according to half a dozen of the bus’s passengers.

“My family is divided: my wife’s side is in India, my side in Pakistan,” said Shoaib Mohammed, a banker from Karachi returning after a month in Delhi. “The visa process takes at least 45 days and is often extended.”

Though the bus, inaugurated in 1999 by India’s then-prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has been briefly suspended over the years, it ran uninterrupted through the last major clash between the two countries that erupted weeks after the launch.

Neither has it been canceled over the tensions of the last month, although passenger numbers dropped into the single digits, officials said, a testimony to the huge police operation to protect it.

Several armed police are always on board – one of whom on this trip snores on the back seat, rifle on his lap. Dozens more block off roads in Delhi and other major towns, while a convoy ahead clears traffic.

But even without policing costs, the bus loses money, according to a senior Pakistani diplomat based in New Delhi familiar with the bus’s operations.

“Commercially, the bus is a failure,” he said. “But relations between the two countries are so bad at the moment neither side can afford to cancel it.”

INTO THE SUNSET

After lunch in another deserted and heavily guarded highway restaurant, the bus passes through Wagah-Attari, one of the few active border crossings between India and Pakistan. It is best known for an elaborate dusk ceremony where high-kicking guards from both countries perform a choreographed routine at a purpose-built stadium that straddles the border.

Most days, just 100 people cross in either direction, Indian and Pakistani border officials said. Both times Reuters crossed the border, the process took close to three hours, and the terminal was deserted with no other travelers in sight apart from those on the bus.

Mir, from Kashmir, is held by Indian border officials for 40 minutes for questioning.

“Kashmiris are dangerous,” he laughed, as he returned to the bus.

Shortly before the dusk ceremony begins, the bus drives across the border through the stadium, where hundreds of spectators from both countries roar their approval.

Passengers then pass through near-identical Pakistani immigration checks.

On board, spirits are high as the bus begins its last lap to the center of Lahore, about 20 km (12 miles) away.

“We have been visiting for the last 40 years and this time there were no problems for me as a normal visitor,” Mohammed said, of his visit to Delhi when tensions were at their peak. “I didn’t feel any anger against Pakistanis. Nothing.”

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

Phillip Stucky | Contributor

Conservative commentator Mark Levin visited Sean Hannity’s show on Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of 16-year-olds voting and adding justices to the Supreme Court.

“The greatest threat to our constitution and economic system isn’t any foreign power, it’s the Democratic Party,” Levin reacted. “It’s the leftists in the Democratic Party because they use our liberty in our Constitution to destroy our liberty and our Constitution.”

Levin first attacked the “court-packing” advocated by many on the left, which would increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court. “They want to pack the Supreme Court,” he said. “Why? Because they want to fix the outcome! They want to fix the outcome of elections, they want to fix the outcome of court decisions, this is very good banana republic of the Democratic Party.”

The firebrand host then decided to excoriate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to reduce the voting age to 16. “They want to lower the voting age to 16, why not lower it to 12? Or 14? Or 15? How stupid is that? They raised the age for booze, they raised the age for tobacco at 21, but at 16 you’re going to help pick our president? Why are they doing that? Because they indoctrinate all these kids in high school and so forth and they know how they are going to vote.” (RELATED: Poll: Only 17 Percent Support Lowering The Federal Voting Age To 18)

Pelosi advocated lowering the voting age to 16 at her weekly press conference Thursday.

“I myself, personally, I’m not speaking for my caucus, I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” Pelosi said. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government to be able to vote.”

Five candidates in the 2020 Democratic Primary advocated for increasing the number of seats on the Supreme Court in an effort to “depoliticize” the justice approval process.

President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign was quick to shut down the movement, asserting to The Daily Caller News Foundation that “this is just what the Democrats always do. When they lose, they try to change the rules. This is no different from when they attack the Electoral College every time they lose the White House. Now it’s court-packing. They want to change our institutions to fit their own political desires.”

Source: The Daily Caller


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