congress

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Net neutrality advocates rally in front of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Net neutrality advocates rally in front of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington, U.S., December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives will vote in April on a bill to reinstate landmark net neutrality rules repealed by the Federal Communications Commission under U.S. President Donald Trump.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a letter to colleagues on Thursday seen by Reuters that lawmakers will vote on the bill dubbed the “Save the Internet Act” during the week of April 8.

The bill mirrors an effort last year to reverse the FCC’s December 2017 order that repealed rules approved in 2015 that

barred providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid “fast lanes.”

The reversal of net neutrality rules was a win for internet providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but opposed by content and social media companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

The bill would repeal the order introduced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, bar the FCC from reinstating it or a substantially similar order and reinstate the 2015 net neutrality order. Republicans oppose reinstating the 2015 rules that grant the FCC sweeping authority to oversee the conduct of internet providers.

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, voted in May 2018 to reinstate the rules, but the House did not take up the issue before Congress adjourned last year. The White House opposes reinstating the net neutrality rules and it is not clear that proponents will be able to force a vote in the Senate.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Family apprehensions at the border have increased by more than 800 percent since the last administration as record numbers of people enter the country illegally, marking a crisis that is an emergency and not manufactured, Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., said Thursday.

"It is a national emergency and we need to move forward to resolve it a soon as we can," the North Carolina Republican, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."

In this fiscal year alone, which started in October, there have been 138,000 criminal arrests of illegal immigrants, said Walker, and "our infrastructure, our border agents, everything is on the verge of breaking down."

He said he does applaud groups that are doing humanitarian work at the border, as there is a humanitarian and security crisis.

"When one of three young female immigrants that are coming across or trying to make it the border are being assaulted, or one of six young men or boys, I don't know how much more of a crisis it [is], said Walker.

However, there are those in Washington, D.C., who continue to turn their backs and ignore the crisis, Walker said.

"When you go down to the border you'll meet men and women putting their lives on the line," Walker said. "They don't know what kind of diseases they're intercepting, what kind of criminal activity they're intercepting, but they are willing to put their heart and soul into it," Walker said. "It is a travesty and I think it's past time we do something about it. "

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Middle East summit in Warsaw
FILE PHOTO: White House adviser Jared Kushner looks on during the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic head of a U.S. congressional investigative panel on Thursday pressed the White House for information on whether President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, used the unofficial WhatsApp messaging tool to communicate sensitive or classified information with foreign leaders.

U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings made the request in a letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, which was seen by Reuters.

In the letter, Cummings noted that Kushner’s lawyer had told Congress in December that Kushner used WhatsApp as part of his official duties but did not say whether such messages included classified information.

The congressman also said the lawyer told his committee that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and Kushner’s wife, continued to receive emails related to official business on a personal email account.

Cummings said in his letter that a law governing presidential records prohibits top White House officials, including the president and vice president, from using non-official electronic messaging accounts.

Cummings said that when it was under Republican control in March 2017, his committee started investigating whether White House officials were using personal email and messaging accounts to conduct official business.

He said that Trump’s White House had so far failed to provide documents and information and was “obstructing” his committee’s efforts to investigate possible violations of White House policy and the presidential records law.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Lighthizer testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies at a House Ways and Means Committee on U.S.-China trade in Washington U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 21, 2019

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s plans for trade negotiations with the United States fall far short of what is required and any idea of delaying formal talks would not work, the U.S. ambassador to the EU said on Thursday.

The European Commission, which negotiates trade deals on behalf of the 28 EU countries, has presented two negotiating mandates to governments for approval, one on reducing tariffs on industrial goods, the other on making it easier for companies to clear their products for sale on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The mandate that is being circulated falls far short of what even (Commission) President Juncker and President Trump discussed in July in Washington. The idea was to have a wide-ranging conversation about all aspects of our relationship,” Gordon Sondland told an AmCham business conference in Brussels.

The EU and the United States ended months of standoff in July when President Donald Trump agreed with Jean-Claude Juncker not to hit EU car imports with extra tariffs while the two sides worked on improving economic ties.

EU governments have failed so far to agree on launching formal trade talks, Germany pressing for a quick start, and France bidding for more time.

Stalling, said Sondland, would have consequences.

“The more the EU leadership plays the delay game the more we will have to use leverage to realign the relationship,” he said.

Some in Europe, he said, believed they could simply wait for a new U.S. president, but this tactic would not work.

“The (U.S.) Democrats disagree with President Trump on many issues…. but when it comes to fixing our trade imbalance with the EU there is no daylight between (us), none,” he said.

A key part of the July agreement was to remove import duties on “non-auto industrial goods”. The EU has said cars should be included and rejected Washington’s demand that agriculture should feature in talks too.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress last week that discussions were at a “complete stalemate”.

The EU says progress has been made – its two negotiating mandates, discussions of possible regulatory cooperation and the doubling of U.S. soybean imports into Europe since July, although mainly because they are cheaper than rival imports.

Sondland repeated the U.S. line that agriculture had to be part of trade discussions, but acknowledged that the two sides could build up deals piece by piece, as long as they did move though the issues.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

The progressive organization MoveOn called on Wednesday for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to boycott the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference — and many have heeded their calls.

AIPAC, an organization “committed solely to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship,” has its three-day conference scheduled for next week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are all confirmed speakers for the conference.

Multiple Democratic presidential candidates: South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete ButtigiegMassachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Former Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Julian Castro and California Sen. Kamala Harris have all announced that they will not be in attendance for this year’s conference.

Buttigieg announced he would not be in attendance prior to boycott announcement.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) afternoon general session in Washington March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

MoveOn released a statement on Wednesday that included a survey conducted internally. According to that survey, more than 74 percent of MoveOn members agree or strongly agree with the statement that “any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for President should skip the AIPAC conference.”

Comparatively, less than one-fifth of respondents, 18.6 percent, said they disagree or strongly disagree.

MoveOn cited four specific reasons why members are calling for the boycott.

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

Harris spoke off-the-record at the convention last year, where she explained her support for a two-state solution.

AIPAC was embroiled in a recent saga in which they were accused of purchasing pro-Israel support from members of Congress by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

The comment sparked significant backlash from a number of political leaders across both sides of the aisle, including some who will be speaking at the conference — such as Pelosi, Pence and Schumer(RELATED: Omar Releases Statement After Backlash Surrounding Tweet Accusing AIPAC Of Buying Israel Support)

AIPAC, Harris’ and Omar’s offices were all approached for comments, but none had responded at the time of publication.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Rep. Max Rose said Thursday he decided to tell a group of Jewish people in his district in Staten Island that he's sorry for the words of fellow Rep Ilhan Omar because he believes in changing American politics.

"Everybody is blaming each other," the New York Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "She caused pain in the Jewish community. She apologized, but we are working as hard as we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Muslims also are feeling an incredible amount of pain, said Rose, noting that Staten Island and Brooklyn have one of the largest Muslim communities in the country.

However, he said he does not believe Omar to be anti-Semitic, but he thought her tweets were, and he apologized "because they came out of Congress. This shouldn't be news that someone did this. This should be run of the mill stuff."

He also noted that on the same day or the day before Omar made her comments about Jews and the government on Twitter, there was a "very, very public threat made against her life."

"There is an incredible rise of Islamophobia in this country," said Rose, while commenting on an anti-hate resolution that was passed after Omar's tweets. Initially, the resolution was going to be against anti-Semitic statements but was widened to encompass other religions and walks of life.

"What I saw was a resolution that pronounced objection and opposition to acts of hate, as they rise across the county, particularly anti-Semitism and Islamophobia," said Rose.

Source: NewsMax

Not only is there a national emergency on the border, but there is one in Congress, too, for their inaction on immigration reform, according America First Policies vice chair Kimberly Guilfoyle in The Daily Caller.

"Congress tried to veto reality," Guilfoyle wrote. "Instead, President Trump vetoed Congress.

". . . By any measure of objective reality, there is a national emergency at the southern border. There's also another national emergency. It's in Washington where Congress refuses to recognize reality or do anything about it."

Congress' inaction has invited human traffickers to flood our borders, because they know they ostensibly protected by politics, she claimed.

The mass migration gets released into the United States by court order and the undocumented immigrants compete against Americans for jobs, perhaps even flooding the market and causing wage deflation for those laborers, she added.

"No matter how hard Congress tries to ignore, deny and dodge reality, we have a humanitarian, security, and enforcement crisis at the border," Guilfoyle wrote. "As Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen said, it is beyond a national emergency — it's a total meltdown of our immigration system.

". . . The president took an oath to preserve and protect our country. He takes that oath seriously. Congress must take off its blindfold and work with President Trump to end the immigration crisis threatening our nation."

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum
FILE PHOTO: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

March 21, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has appointed ruling party head Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), as an assistant, a presidency statement said on Thursday.

Bashir, who has faced more than three months of street protests against his rule, delegated the leadership of the National Congress Party to Haroun earlier this month.

Both Bashir and Haroun are wanted by the ICC over alleged crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Two of the top administration officials who now hold their positions in an "acting" capacity are expected to be upgraded to permanent status soon — possibly in the next week, White House sources told Newsmax.

Mick Mulvaney is expected to be moved from "acting" to "permanent" White House chief of staff, while the occupant of his previous position as Director of the Office of Management and Budget will almost certainly undergo a similar upgrade.

Russ Vought, presently "acting" OMB director, is considered certain to be nominated for permanent director.

Nomination of Vought, formerly a top aide to several conservative Members of Congress, to be OMB director will require Senate confirmation. The president's tapping "acting" chief of staff Mulvaney to be the permanent holder of the position would simply require the stroke of Trump's pen.

Trump himself has repeatedly said he has no problem working with top officials who are on "acting" status and this gives him "more flexibility." Senators of both parties disagree, saying "acting" officials carry less authority than those who have hold are permanent officials.

Mulvaney apparently agreed with them. Two months ago, the former South Carolina congressman and state legislator sent out strong signals he would not object to becoming president of the University of South Carolina and made inquiries about the job following the announced retirement of President Harris Pastides.

Mulvaney subsequently announced he was "no longer interested" in the position and would remain as Trump's chief of staff.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Source: NewsMax

Michael Cohen’s business partner on the failed Trump Tower Moscow project will testify publicly before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 27, the committee announced.

Felix Sater will testify “about his business ventures with the Trump Organization and the potential Trump Tower Moscow deal,” according to a Thursday press release from the committee.

The committee will also have an open hearing on March 28 on “Putin’s Playbook: The Kremlin’s Use of Oligarchs, Money and Intelligence in 2016 and Beyond.”

The hearings are the first under Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff’s tenure.

Sater, a real estate executive who has worked as an informant for the U.S. government for decades, worked with Cohen beginning in late 2015 to build a Trump-branded skyscraper in Moscow. (RELATED: Bruce Ohr Testimony Undercuts Adam Schiff’s Theory About FBI’s Handling Of Dossier)

Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks about President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, during an interview with Mike Allen of Axios, on Jan. 31, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sater sent several text messages touting the project and pledging to get the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also came up with the idea to offer Putin a $50 million penthouse as part of the negotiation to secure the deal. Sater said the offer was part of a “marketing conversation” he had with Cohen.

Cohen pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s probe to lying to Congress about the timeline of his work on the Trump Tower project. He claimed that negotiations ended in January 2016, before the beginning of the 2016 primaries. Cohen acknowledged in his Nov. 29 plea agreement that he continued his efforts through June 2016.

Sater, who has known Cohen since childhood, has said he saw no evidence of election-related collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Schiff, a California Democrat, has shifted his focus recently from the question of collusion to whether Russia or other foreign countries have compromised President Donald Trump through lucrative business deals.

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Source: The Daily Caller

“On the advice of counsel, Mr. Stone will not produce the documents requested by the House Committee on the Judiciary,” Stone’s attorney wrote to Nadler in a letter reviewed by The Daily Caller, adding, “whether the documents requested by the House Committee on the Judiciary exist or not, they are subject to a Fifth Amendment claim.”

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 25: U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) listens during a House Rules Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol February 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Democrat-led committee is meeting to consider a resolution to block the national emergency declaration that seeks to allow President Trump to shift spending to fund sections of a U.S.-Mexico border wall. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Stone’s attorney continued, “Mr. Stone’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights must be understood by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent citizen, who is currently defending his innocence, and one who denounces secrecy for the purposes of advancing innuendo.”

Stone instead noted that Nadler should seek relevant documents from the House Select Committee On Intelligence, where he testified in September 2017. Stone also pointed to the recent charges he faces from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.  Stone was indicted on seven counts by Mueller’s team on charges of allegedly making false statements to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing a government investigation. (EXCLUSIVE: Trump Considers Reviewing FBI Policies After Stone Raid) 

Pictured is U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“As a current criminal defendant, with the presumption of innocence guaranteed to him, it is not in Mr. Stone’s best interest to participate in any additional proceedings, outside those in federal court, until the charges are resolved,” Stone said.

The indictment against Stone claims that a “senior official” on Trump’s 2016 campaign asked Stone to inquire with Wikileaks about possible impending releases of damaging information on Hillary Clinton in July 2016. Stone told The Daily Caller at the time of his indictment he is “unfamiliar” with the email referenced within Mueller’s indictment, but noted that perhaps it needed more context.

Nadler’s document requests to Stone included anything related to Michael Cohen, contacts with foreign governments, and his communications with Trump.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza walks during a ceremony in tribute to the former late President Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza at the national congress palace in Bujumbura, Burundi
FILE PHOTO: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza walks during a ceremony in tribute to the former late President Colonel Jean-Baptiste Bagaza at the national congress palace in Bujumbura, Burundi May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana/File Photo

March 21, 2019

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Burundian authorities have charged three schoolgirls accused of defacing a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza, spokeswoman for the country’s Supreme Court, Agnès Bangiricenge, said on Thursday.

The three girls were among seven school children arrested last week in Kirundo province, in Burundi’s northeast and some 200 kilometers from the commercial capital Bujumbura. Four others were subsequently released.

All were all accused of insulting Nkurunziza by scribbling over images of him printed in their school text books.

A regional court in Kirundo decided on Wednesday to detain the three further and proceed with a full trial, Bangiricenge said.

They will await trial in a nearby prison and could face up to five years in jail on conviction, a judge told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“It is true that scribbling (on the president’s picture) is a punishable offence under the Burundian law but since it was committed by teenagers, I believe  this is a mitigating circumstance,” David Ninganza, a children’s rights defender working for local group SOGEPAE, told Reuters.

“Those school children are not engaged in any political fights and need no political posts. That’s why judges have to consider all those issues in their investigations.”

School children have in the past been kicked out of school for similar offences, with some jailed and released. 

In 2016, 11 children were jailed on accusations of defacing a photograph of Nkurunziza in a school text book.

In another incident in the same year, more than 300 students of a school in the capital’s Ruziba neighborhood were sent home after being accused of defacing Nkurunziza’s image.

Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces and half a million have fled abroad since Nkurunziza announced in 2015 he would run for a third term in what his opponents saw as a breach of the constitution. He won re-election.

Early this month, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Burundi had forced the United Nations to shut its local human rights office after 23 years.

In 2016 Burundi suspended all cooperation with the U.N. human rights office in Burundi after a U.N.-commissioned report accused the Bujumbura government and its supporters of being responsible for crimes against humanity.

Bachelet said there were still credible reports of serious human rights violations in Burundi, including arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, ill-treatment, arrests and detention, and curbs on freedom of association, expression and movement.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Elias Biryabarema and Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City
FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Dave Graham and Stefanie Eschenbacher

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – For two years, financiers at Mexico’s biggest annual banking bash issued veiled warnings about the risk of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador taking power.

Now he is president, they and industry bosses have changed tack, pledging support for the popular new leader and his plans to revive the economy from the bottom up.

Bank bosses have used the run-up to the banking convention in Acapulco beginning on Thursday to signal approval for Lopez Obrador’s plans to tackle chronic inequality via welfare handouts, ramp up financial inclusion and lift economic growth.

“The financial sector has been and will continue to be committed to Mexico’s development, which is why he celebrate and go along with the measures … announced by the Mexican government,” Marcos Martinez, head of the Mexican banking association (ABM), said at a recent event with Lopez Obrador.

Martinez and other bankers hope the president will meet pledges to tackle corruption and gang violence in Latin America’s No. 2 economy, buttressing growth with the rule of law.

Still, skepticism about his economic credentials is widespread in business circles. So far executives have reasoned they have more to gain by working with him than picking a fight with a president whose approval ratings run close to 80 percent.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, wiped billions of the value of Mexican financial assets when he canceled a new Mexico City airport on Oct. 29. Proposals floated by his MORENA party in Congress to curb bank fees also spooked markets.

Yet even as he rolls out welfare schemes across Mexico, he has promised to run a tight budget to protect the country’s investment-grade credit rating and says he can achieve average annual growth of 4 percent during his six-year term.

At this week’s conference in Acapulco, Mexico’s banks would likely deliver a clear message to the president that they will work with him to achieve his goals, said a senior financial industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

That could unlock funds for Lopez Obrador’s plan to create jobs via infrastructure spending, and complement the goal of employers’ federation COPARMEX to lift the spending power of the lowest paid by tripling the minimum wage by 2024.

Cooperating with Lopez Obrador to encourage an expansion of the Mexican middle class could become a major driver of growth, and help curb the president’s worst instincts, a senior industrialist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stating Mexico had “more financial resources than there are projects”, the new head of Mexico’s powerful CCE business lobby, Carlos Salazar, said last month it would work to end extreme poverty by the end of Lopez Obrador’s term.

By then, the ABM aims to get 30 million more people to use banking services – nearly three-quarters of those estimated to be without an account – and to support domestic demand by boosting lending to small businesses, homebuyers and families.

Deputy finance minister Arturo Herrera told Reuters the government would push hard on financial inclusion at the banking convention, where Lopez Obrador is due to speak on Friday.

However, for the president to make the most of the goodwill in boardrooms, he must work harder to undo the damage caused by poor decisions such as the scrapping of the airport, said Gustavo de Hoyos, head of employers’ lobby COPARMEX.

Business wanted to invest, but right now, the government scored only about “50 percent” on investor confidence, he added.

“If the president and his team can take advantage of these strengths,” de Hoyos told Reuters, “I think we could see really big progress in the course of this administration.”

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City
FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Dave Graham and Stefanie Eschenbacher

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – For two years, financiers at Mexico’s biggest annual banking bash issued veiled warnings about the risk of veteran leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador taking power.

Now he is president, they and industry bosses have changed tack, pledging support for the popular new leader and his plans to revive the economy from the bottom up.

Bank bosses have used the run-up to the banking convention in Acapulco beginning on Thursday to signal approval for Lopez Obrador’s plans to tackle chronic inequality via welfare handouts, ramp up financial inclusion and lift economic growth.

“The financial sector has been and will continue to be committed to Mexico’s development, which is why he celebrate and go along with the measures … announced by the Mexican government,” Marcos Martinez, head of the Mexican banking association (ABM), said at a recent event with Lopez Obrador.

Martinez and other bankers hope the president will meet pledges to tackle corruption and gang violence in Latin America’s No. 2 economy, buttressing growth with the rule of law.

Still, skepticism about his economic credentials is widespread in business circles. So far executives have reasoned they have more to gain by working with him than picking a fight with a president whose approval ratings run close to 80 percent.

Lopez Obrador, who took office in December, wiped billions of the value of Mexican financial assets when he canceled a new Mexico City airport on Oct. 29. Proposals floated by his MORENA party in Congress to curb bank fees also spooked markets.

Yet even as he rolls out welfare schemes across Mexico, he has promised to run a tight budget to protect the country’s investment-grade credit rating and says he can achieve average annual growth of 4 percent during his six-year term.

At this week’s conference in Acapulco, Mexico’s banks would likely deliver a clear message to the president that they will work with him to achieve his goals, said a senior financial industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

That could unlock funds for Lopez Obrador’s plan to create jobs via infrastructure spending, and complement the goal of employers’ federation COPARMEX to lift the spending power of the lowest paid by tripling the minimum wage by 2024.

Cooperating with Lopez Obrador to encourage an expansion of the Mexican middle class could become a major driver of growth, and help curb the president’s worst instincts, a senior industrialist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stating Mexico had “more financial resources than there are projects”, the new head of Mexico’s powerful CCE business lobby, Carlos Salazar, said last month it would work to end extreme poverty by the end of Lopez Obrador’s term.

By then, the ABM aims to get 30 million more people to use banking services – nearly three-quarters of those estimated to be without an account – and to support domestic demand by boosting lending to small businesses, homebuyers and families.

Deputy finance minister Arturo Herrera told Reuters the government would push hard on financial inclusion at the banking convention, where Lopez Obrador is due to speak on Friday.

However, for the president to make the most of the goodwill in boardrooms, he must work harder to undo the damage caused by poor decisions such as the scrapping of the airport, said Gustavo de Hoyos, head of employers’ lobby COPARMEX.

Business wanted to invest, but right now, the government scored only about “50 percent” on investor confidence, he added.

“If the president and his team can take advantage of these strengths,” de Hoyos told Reuters, “I think we could see really big progress in the course of this administration.”

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
FILE PHOTO: Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

March 21, 2019

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s data protection ombudsman said on Thursday he would investigate whether there was any data breach by Nokia-branded phones after Norway’s public broadcaster reported that it had proof the mobiles had sent data to China.

Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told Reuters he would assess whether there were any breaches that involved “personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this.”

Nokia-branded mobile phones are developed by a separate Finnish company HMD Global. Nokia declined to comment and HMD Global was not immediately available.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source: OANN

Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
FILE PHOTO: Visitors gather outside the Nokia booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

March 21, 2019

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s data protection ombudsman said on Thursday he would investigate whether there was any data breach by Nokia-branded phones after Norway’s public broadcaster reported that it had proof the mobiles had sent data to China.

Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio told Reuters he would assess whether there were any breaches that involved “personal information and if there has been a legal justification for this.”

Nokia-branded mobile phones are developed by a separate Finnish company HMD Global. Nokia declined to comment and HMD Global was not immediately available.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt -/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

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

The United States is nearing an inflection point in a years-long standoff with Turkey, a NATO ally, after so far failing to sway President Tayyip Erdogan that buying a Russian air defense system would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.

“The S-400 is a computer. The F-35 is a computer. You don’t hook your computer to your adversary’s computer and that’s basically what we would be doing,” Katie Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told Reuters.

While no decision has been made yet, U.S. officials confirmed that Washington was considering halting steps now underway to ready Turkey to receive the F-35, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

“There (are) decisions that come up constantly about things being delivered in anticipation of them eventually taking custody of the planes,” said Wheelbarger.

“So there’s a lot of things in train that can be paused to send signals to them (that we’re serious),” she added, without detailing those steps.

However, another U.S. official said one of the measures the United States was looking at was alternatives to an engine depot in Turkey, without giving more details. The official said any potential alternatives would likely be somewhere in Western Europe. Turkey is home to an F-35 engine overhaul depot in the western city of Eskisehir.

If Turkey was removed from the F-35 program, it would be the most serious crisis in the relationship between the two allies in decades, according to Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The strains on ties between Washington and Ankara already extend beyond the F-35 to include strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of U.S. consular staff.

“This (the F-35 standoff) is really a symptom, not a cause of the problem between the two countries,” Aliriza said.

Many U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, worry that Turkey is drifting away from NATO and watch improving relations between Ankara and Moscow with concern. The prospect of Russian contractors or officials on Turkish bases that also are home to the F-35 is unfathomable to many U.S. officials.

The tensions could further escalate. If Ankara goes ahead with the Russian deal, Turkey also could face U.S. sanctions.

ERDOGAN IMPASSE

Despite U.S. hopes that Turkey may still forgo the S-400, experts say Erdogan may have already backed himself into a rhetorical corner. He has repeatedly said he would not reverse course on the S-400, saying earlier in March: “Nobody should ask us to lick up what we spat.”

A decision to drop Turkey from the F-35 program would have broader repercussions, since Ankara helps manufacture parts for the aircraft, including components of the landing gear, cockpit displays and aircraft engines.

Wheelbarger acknowledged that the Pentagon, in light of the standoff, was looking “across the board” at potential alternate suppliers for F-35 parts, including in other NATO countries.

“It’s prudent program planning…to ensure that you have stability in your supply chain,” she said, without speculating that Turkey might be dropped from the program.

Washington has sought to persuade Turkey to purchase the American-made Raytheon Co Patriot defense system, instead of S-400s. Erdogan has said that Turkey was still open to buying Patriot systems from the United States but only if the conditions are suitable.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said that in addition to the Patriot air defense system, the American offer “includes significant government-to-government cooperation on advanced system development.”

Although Turkey has held out the prospect of buying both the S-400 and the Patriot system, the United States has warned Turkey it will take its offer of Patriots off the table unless it changes course.

A Turkish S-400 purchase could also trigger a fight with the U.S. Congress, which has already blocked all major arms sales to Ankara while the S-400 deal is pending.

Lawmakers could renew attempts to introduce legislation that would legally prohibit the Trump administration from allowing Turkey to have the F-35 if it secures the S-400s.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mary Milliken and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta
FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., January 30, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

March 21, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Per the report, a motion was filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys with intentions to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. The report calls the motion a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial, along with other stipulations. CNN reported Wednesday Kraft will reject the offer.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

–Much of the New York Giants’ top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to dinner Tuesday night, then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day the following day.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning with the No. 6 overall pick, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft positions. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

–Also in Columbus, potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Bosa did not participate in on-field drills after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

He said he had meetings scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the Giants. He also interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first. Bosa had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

–Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle that “more surgeries (are) on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source in saying that Baldwin will meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with a knee injury and a shoulder problem arose later in the campaign. He had surgeries to address both issues this offseason.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as assistant coaches, making them the first full-time female coaches in team history and making the Bucs the first NFL team with two female coaches on staff. Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach as Lori Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach.

–Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a reported one-year deal worth $2 million with the New York Jets. Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March. Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and ’17 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

–The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans. The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. … The Chicago Bears re-signed punter Patrick O’Donnell and backup quarterback Tyler Bray.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls have so far proposed or signaled willingness to discuss at least four major policy ideas that would require the U.S. Constitution to be amended.

  • Lowering the voting age to 16
  • Introducing term limits for Supreme Court justices
  • Dissolving the Electoral College and adopting a National Popular Vote
  • Reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment

As more and more Democrats enter the rapidly expanding field, each vying for the chance to challenge President Donald Trump’s re-election bid, it is becoming apparent that most of them are looking for ways to change the status quo — even if that means changing the Constitution as well.

Lowering the voting age to 16.

In order for the voting age to be lowered to 16, Congress would have to pass an amendment to an amendment. The 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, lowered the national voting age from 21 to 18. A new amendment would have to be ratified that would supersede the 26th.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar have not given this particular policy their full-throated endorsement, but all three have said that they are at least willing to have the conversation. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Says She Personally Supports Lowering The Voting Age To 16)

Introducing term limits for Supreme Court justices.

Article III, Section I of the Constitution states that, “The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour …” Unless they are impeached, judicial appointments are for life or until the appointee retires.

But Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has suggested that Supreme Court justices should be subject to term limits and that every president should have the opportunity to make three high court appointments during his or her term in office.

Several Democratic candidates, including former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, have said that they were open to changes on the court. Buttigieg and O’Rourke have voiced support for a new court with 15 justices — five chosen by Democrats, five chosen by Republicans and five chosen by unanimous approval of the other 10 justices.

Dissolving the Electoral College and adopting a National Popular Vote

In order to replace the Electoral College with a National Popular Vote, which would allow the president to be elected directly by the people, an amendment superseding Article II, Section I (clauses 2 and 3), as well as the 12th Amendment, would be necessary.

Democrats have been calling for a move to a popular vote, arguing that it’s the only way to make sure that “every vote counts.” A number of states have already attempted to side-step the Electoral College by opting to give all of their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. Renewed calls came from many in the party after the 2016 presidential election, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, called for the change almost immediately following Clinton’s 2016 loss.

Warren planted her flag on this particular issue during a Monday town hall in Mississippi, saying, “Every vote matters.”

O’Rourke and Buttigieg — along with former HUD Secretary Julian Castro — have also voiced support for a move to the popular vote. “We ought to actually be a place where the person who gets the most votes for president gets to win the election,” Buttigieg explained.

Reintroducing the Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Proponents argue that it would make it easier to enforce equal pay laws, protect access to abortion and help to protect women from harassment.

The ERA has been around for decades without ever getting enough states on board to ratify it. Ratification of this amendment would be a priority for Harris.

The 2020 primary is just getting underway and at least a few more candidates are expected to declare their intentions in the coming weeks, so this may just be the tip of the iceberg with regard to radical policy proposals and possible changes to the Constitution.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes speaks with journalists after meeting with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro at the National Congress, in Brasilia
Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes speaks with journalists after meeting with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro at the National Congress, in Brasilia, Brazil March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

March 20, 2019

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s military would average just 1 billion reais ($265 million) in net savings per year over the next decade under an austerity proposal from the Economy Ministry unveiled on Wednesday, with higher pay consuming most pension savings.

The bill is the final piece of a social security overhaul proposed by President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain, aimed at saving over 1 trillion reais in a decade.

Lawmakers have said they could not debate his pension bill, first presented a month ago, without details of his plans for the armed forces — and even Bolsonaro’s allies quickly questioned whether the military personnel were giving up enough.

The Economy Ministry’s proposal pointed to net savings of 10.4 billion reais over 10 years. That would result from 97.3 billion reais in savings on military pensions, partially offset by 86.9 billion reais in extra public spending on military pay.

Brazil’s currency, the real, reduced gains sharply as details of the proposal were made public. The benchmark Bovespa stock index extended losses to 1.6 percent – its biggest loss in two weeks.

“The bulk of this bearishness is the military proposal. Not the savings number per se, but the fact that the final proposal also included compensation, which is to say more spending,” said one fund manager in Sao Paulo. “It sends a bad signal for other government workers that will also want similar pay raises.”

Lawmaker Waldir Soares de Oliveira, leader of Bolsonaro’s party in the lower house of Congress, told journalists he thought it was not the moment to discuss higher military pay.

Government officials and military leaders defending the bill at a news conference said the salary hikes were making up for years of below-average adjustments to military compensation.

(Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Ricardo Brito; Additional reporting and writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

People participate in a protest against Colombia's President Duque's call for changes to the Special JEP law in Bogota
People participate in a protest against Colombia’s President Ivan Duque’s call for changes to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) law, in Bogota, Colombia March 18, 2019. The writing on the poster reads “Let’s defend peace.” REUTERS/Carlos Julio Martinez

March 20, 2019

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s constitutional court said on Wednesday it cannot rule on whether potential changes to legislation that implements a peace deal with Marxist rebels are constitutional until after they are approved by congress.

President Ivan Duque, who says the 2016 accord is too easy on former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has asked legislators to review six parts of the law that regulates a special tribunal tasked with trying war crimes.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) court is meant to investigate, hear prosecutions and sentence those judged responsible for massacres, sexual violence and other crimes during the FARC’s five-decade war with the government.

“At this time the process has not been finished in congress – which is the body tasked with deliberating the objections,” court magistrate Gloria Stella Ortiz told journalists.

Duque, who was elected on a promise to modify the peace deal, says the law should better clarify extradition rules and that the FARC must repay its victims with assets.

He also wants to toughen sentencing and objected to the suspension of investigations by ordinary authorities into cases submitted to the JEP.

Duque also asked congress to exclude sexual crimes from the tribunal’s remit.

All laws associated with the accord were approved by the previous congress, whose term ended last year, and most points received the blessing of the court in previous rulings.

Duque will need a two-thirds majority to modify the laws, which are now part of the country’s constitution.

His coalition has a slender majority in the Senate and less than half of the seats in the lower house, making substantive changes to the laws unlikely.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Luis Jaime Acosta; Editing by Helen Murphy and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro takes part in wreath laying at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro arrives during ceremonies to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery during his visit to Washington in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

March 20, 2019

BRASILIA (Reuters) – The government of Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has seen its popularity plummet since he took office in January, with just a third of those asked approving of its performance, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

Despite easily winning October’s election, Bolsonaro’s government has the worst approval rating of any administration at this early stage since Brazil returned to democracy three decades ago.

Pollster Ibope said 34 percent of those surveyed found the Bolsonaro government doing a “great/good” job, compared to 49 percent in mid-January. The government’s “bad/terrible” rating rose 13 percentage points to 24 percent, Ibope said.

Bolsonaro spent the week cosying up to U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, without receiving much in return, sparking frustration among trade officials.

Back home, criticism of Bolsonaro is growing just as he has put before Congress his fiscally crucial but highly unpopular plan to reform the pension system. Most economists agree the system must be overhauled to shore up public finances and foster growth.

Brazil’s Congress is typically not particularly responsive to public opinion, but if the pension reforms were to spark street protests, the pressure on lawmakers to balk at the bill could have an impact.

Those surveyed who said they trusted Bolsonaro in the role dropped 13 percentage points from January to 49 percent. Those who say they have no trust in him jumped 13 points to 44 percent.

Bolsonaro’s strongest approval ratings are among higher income Brazilians, while the lowest ratings were registered in large cities, and in the poorer Northeast region, Ibope said.

Evangelical Christians were the social group that most trust in Bolsonaro, the poll showed.

Ibope surveyed 2,002 people between March 16-19 across Brazil. The poll’s margin of error is 2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; editing by Brad Brooks and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke claimed recently that climate scientists are “absolutely unanimous” that “we have no more than 12 years to take bold action” on climate change.

Verdict: False

O’Rourke appears to be misconstruing the findings of a 2018 U.N. report. While climate scientists believe that global warming is a serious concern, experts we spoke to say there is no 12-year deadline to avert catastrophic climate change.

Fact Check:

O’Rourke was in Iowa on one of his first campaign stops of the 2020 presidential cycle when he took an audience question about the Green New Deal, a resolution proposed by Democrats in Congress to combat climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions to net zero.

“The question is on the Green New Deal, and by extension, if you don’t mind, I’ll take the spirit of the question. We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet, even if we were to stop emitting carbon today, right now, at this moment,” O’Rourke began.

“This is our final chance. The scientists are absolutely unanimous on this – that we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis,” he claimed March 14.

O’Rourke appears to be referencing a 2018 report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that says global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also cited the IPCC report when she warned that “the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change” in January, and several news outlets have similarly covered the report, with one headline proclaiming a 12-year deadline to avert a “climate change catastrophe.”

Neither these articles nor O’Rourke’s comments are an accurate reflection of the report’s findings, though. The report “does not state that we have 12 years left to limit/stop/counteract climate change,” Jonathan Lynn, head of communications and media relations for the IPCC, told The Daily Caller in an email.

The Paris climate accord seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, which led policymakers to ask the IPCC what it would take to meet that benchmark.

The world has already experienced roughly 1 degree Celsius of global warming, according to the IPCC report, and in order to avoid surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius, it estimated that net global carbon emissions would have to decline 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by around 2050.

“The lower the emissions in 2030, the lower the challenge in limiting global warming to 1.5ºC after 2030 with no or limited overshoot,” Lynn told the Caller.

Lynn emphasized, however, that the 1.5-degree benchmark should not be thought of as a point of no return. “One key finding could be summarized as ‘every bit of warming matters,’” he said. “So if you end up at 1.6 that would be worse than 1.5, but better than 1.7 or 2.0. It’s not as if going through one of those thresholds changes everything.”

Jason Smerdon, a climate researcher at Columbia University, described the impacts of climate change as a “sliding scale.”

“This is not a binary choice that will decide whether or not we fall off a cliff in 12 years,” he told the Caller in an email. “The formula is simple: the warmer things get the bigger the challenges and risks will be.”

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe estimates that the impacts of climate change would be generally adaptable at 1.5 degrees Celsius, challenging at 2 degrees Celsius and system altering at 3 degrees Celsius, but she cautioned that there’s no “magic number” in terms of a benchmark.

“Trying to put a number on exactly how much global temperature change is dangerous, and how much carbon we can put into the atmosphere before we hit that level, is like trying to put a number on exactly how many cigarettes we can smoke before we develop lung cancer,” she said in a PBS video last year.

Regardless, climate scientists believe that climate change does pose a serious threat.

“I would say there is strong consensus in the scientific community that limiting warming to 1.5 or 2C is important if we want to avoid dangerous levels of climate change and that avoiding those levels requires swift, immediate, and urgent action,” Smerdon told the Caller. “But the scientific community does not believe that we only have 12 years and then all is lost.”

The O’Rourke campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow Aryssa on Twitter 

Source: The Daily Caller

Guns and Gear | Contributor

By Larry Keane

Memories are short in Washington, D.C. That is, at least, when it’s convenient for a presidential bid.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) visited New Hampshire voters last week, trying to make her mark in a crowded Democratic primary field. As a tactic, she decided to demonize firearms manufacturers. We’re not going to stay quiet.

Facts be damned. The junior senator from New York went full bore, leveling unfounded accusations, issuing factually nonsensical indictments and using the familiar buzz words of revisionist history that ring bells for those politicians seeking to burnish their gun-control bona fides with voters they can confuse.

And Now For Something Completely False

“Unfortunately, because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales, they oppose the common sense reform that can save lives,” Sen. Gillibrand told her audience. “They want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart or to someone on a terror watch list or to someone who is gravely mentally ill with a violent background or to someone with a criminal conviction for a violent crime.”

All of this is patently false.

Sen. Gillibrand was one of 78 co-sponsors of the Fix NICS legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Senate and President Trump signed into law. The federal legislation was modeled on the National Shooting Sports Foundation® initiative of the same name that worked to get states to submit all disqualifying criminal and adjudicated mental health records into the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS). Let’s be clear: the same gun industry she has chosen to attack to try to attract Democratic primary voters was getting laws changed in 16 states before Congress even took up the matter.

Sen. Gillibrand signed her name to the bill – and voted for – legislation brought by the very manufacturers she claims want to sell guns to everyone. She knows better.

Maybe Sen. Gillibrand has conveniently forgotten that the firearms industry was the originator of the point-of-sale instant background check, to ensure that only those who could be legally entrusted to possess a gun could buy them.

The senator also should know that so-called universal background checks are aimed at private gun sales, not the sales by retailers to private citizens that are already subject to background checks. The truth is she wants to make illegal the transfer of firearms between private parties. The firearms industry, however, cannot support making a criminal of an individual selling a friend a keepsake firearm or lending a shotgun for a duck hunt.

Trafficking In Untruth

The senator’s end-run on the truth didn’t stop there, though.

“They want to sell those things, no matter what, to anybody,” Sen. Gillibrand continued. “It is why they will not do common sense things like have an anti-trafficking law. In a state like New York, our number one problem is guns used in crimes get trafficked from out of state right into the hands of gang members. They will not support an anti-federal gun trafficking law.”

The senator should have a staffer call ATF or the Department of Justice. Federal laws now on the books already cover those offenses. We bring to the Senator’s attention this case from less than a year ago involving the arrests of three individuals attempting to move 40 guns from Virginia to, you guessed it, her state of New York. The guns were recovered on the street.

Moreover, Department of Justice surveys shows guns used in crimes are obtained through theft and the black market. It’s another reason her quest for a universal background check bill is ill-conceived. Criminals aren’t stopping for background checks when they steal dozens of guns at a time in smash-and-grab thefts.

Those thefts are trending down, the rapid response and continuing cooperation between federal and regional law enforcement assisted by a highly cooperative industry making that possible. Operation Secure Store®, a partnership between ATF and the firearms industry to help retailers improve security and reduce thefts from their stores, is contributing to this effort.

No Co-sponsorship For FFL Protection Act

More can be done. Sen. Gillibrand had a chance in the last Congress to co-sponsor the Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act, S. 1854,introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). It would have set a minimum sentence of three years for burglaries of firearms retailers and five years for robberies. The firearms industry supported this legislation because we know stolen guns move onward for use in other crimes. This legislation is still a priority for the firearms industry, but not for Sen. Gillibrand, apparently. She’s yet to agree to sign on to a bill that would take and keep gun traffickers off the street.

At one time, Sen. Gillibrand supported gun manufacturers. A decade ago, she announced she kept “two guns under her bed.” While not the wisest storage option, she was aligning herself with law-abiding gun owners. That changed for her when faced with political headwinds and rising ambitions. More recently, she said she’s embarrassed by her previous stance.

While memories are short in Washington D.C., the rest of America remembers.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Foreign nationals from three Central American countries that send some of the highest numbers of illegal immigrants to the U.S. are sending back a record amount of money to their home countries.

Immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras sent back a record $120 billion in remittances this decade, according to an immigration expert who spoke to the Washington Examiner using U.N. and Latin American banking statistics. The numbers are expected to keep rising, with immigrants from these three nations having sent $17 billion in 2018 alone, and Central American bank data indicates that the trend will keeping going.

“The sums of money involved are huge, particularly as a share of GDP and personal income in the Central American countries,” Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert with the Center for Immigration Studies, said to the Examiner. “It offers a big clue as to why these countries are giving only token efforts to stem the tide of migrants to the United States, especially El Salvador and Honduras.”

The issue of remittances — money sent to the home countries of immigrants living and working in the U.S. — has remained a hot topic of debate. U.S. lawmakers have, in the past, proposed legislation that would tax remittances.

One proposal that did not make it through Congress would have taxed these payments at seven percent. If such a tax was levied on the $138 billion all immigrants sent in remittances in 2016, the revenue would have paid for President Donald Trump’s border wall within three years’ time.

However, the enormous size of the remittances play a significant role in the Central American economies — creating an incentive for their governments to not seek reform. Remittances to Honduras and El Salvador made up over 20 percent of their economies, with over 90 percent of remittances sent to these countries originating from the U.S.

Migrants are hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, return to Mexico after being hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the United States in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

While the Trump administration has threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid to Central American nations for their continued toleration of migrant caravans into the U.S., the aid is just a fraction of the billions in remittances that are sent annually. (RELATED: More Than 400 Illegals Were Caught By Border Patrol In Five Minutes)

At the same time, people from Central America are making up a significant portion of the migrants attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, while speaking to a congressional committee in February, said the influx of Central American migrants and unaccompanied children — who cannot be quickly deported — has strained her agency’s resources.

Follow Jason 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

Rep. Francis Rooney | Florida Congressman

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This quote, attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall, is the embodiment of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Unfortunately, this constitutional right is under siege on university campuses across the country.

Many colleges and universities use dangerous and insidious methods to suppress free speech. One example is “free speech zones”, which are specifically delineated areas on a campus where “free speech” is allowed, converting these words into an oxymoron. An absolute truth, a right guaranteed under the Constitution, should not become a negotiable, transient issue of policy. When we go down the road of dismissing or flouting elements of the Constitution we are damaging the institutions which have flourished under it and risk inviting similar attacks on other constitutional rights.

At the University of Cincinnati, freedom of speech was limited to a “zone” that comprised only 0.1 percent of their 137-acre campus and required up to 15 business days’ notice for students to use the space. Additionally, a UC student group was told its members could be arrested if they went outside the zone while collecting signatures for a statewide ballot initiative.

In an ironic case at Kellogg Community College in Michigan, students were arrested for handing out copies of the United States Constitution without the administration’s permission. How incredible is this? In their greatest hopes, Marx and Lenin couldn’t have been bold enough to conceive of this.

Although the examples above have become all too common, not all colleges have succumbed to political correctness. In 2016, John Ellison, dean of students at the University of Chicago, sent an email to incoming freshman defending academic freedom and free speech while denouncing the politically correct invention of “safe spaces.”

Recently, the Nevada System of Higher Education adopted a similar position on free speech, stating, in part “History shows that when institutions of higher education attempt to censor or punish the free expression of ideas, they undermine their core function of promoting rational discussion, inquiry, discovery, and the dissemination of knowledge. It is not the proper response of NSHE and its institutions to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

We need more examples like the University of Chicago and NSHE.

This assault on the First Amendment is occurring with greater frequency on campuses every day and is wholly unacceptable. For this reason, I have introduced H.R. 1672, the Free Right to Expression in Education Act. This legislation, which was first introduced in the 115th Congress by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, will prevent colleges from quarantining free expression and end the unconstitutional “zones” used to stifle student speech.

There are a multitude of other assaults on our constitutional right of free speech that must also be addressed, such as college professors that seek to indoctrinate and block free debate in classes, leading to groupthink — the phenomenon where the desire for conformity replaces rational thought. Banning conservative speakers from campus is another violation.

In combination with President Trump’s executive order cutting off research funding to schools that do not respect freedom of speech, we can stop this erosion of our constitutional rights. Higher education should be a platform for the peaceful but free exchange of ideas and open debate. Learning occurs when one’s beliefs are challenged and defended.  This is what the original idea of the university was all about.

In a climate of free expression our American ideals, as embodied in the Bill of Rights, will be championed rather than compromised. Zealously protecting our constitutional rights is critical for assuring the evolution of a generation of graduates who can think critically, accept differences of opinion and assure that our hard-earned freedoms are protected and nurtured in America in the future as in the past.

Francis Rooney (@RepRooney) has represented Florida’s 19th congressional district since 2017 and is the ranking member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He previously served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008.


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

Rep. Francis Rooney | Florida Congressman

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This quote, attributed to Evelyn Beatrice Hall, is the embodiment of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Unfortunately, this constitutional right is under siege on university campuses across the country.

Many colleges and universities use dangerous and insidious methods to suppress free speech. One example is “free speech zones”, which are specifically delineated areas on a campus where “free speech” is allowed, converting these words into an oxymoron. An absolute truth, a right guaranteed under the Constitution, should not become a negotiable, transient issue of policy. When we go down the road of dismissing or flouting elements of the Constitution we are damaging the institutions which have flourished under it and risk inviting similar attacks on other constitutional rights.

At the University of Cincinnati, freedom of speech was limited to a “zone” that comprised only 0.1 percent of their 137-acre campus and required up to 15 business days’ notice for students to use the space. Additionally, a UC student group was told its members could be arrested if they went outside the zone while collecting signatures for a statewide ballot initiative.

In an ironic case at Kellogg Community College in Michigan, students were arrested for handing out copies of the United States Constitution without the administration’s permission. How incredible is this? In their greatest hopes, Marx and Lenin couldn’t have been bold enough to conceive of this.

Although the examples above have become all too common, not all colleges have succumbed to political correctness. In 2016, John Ellison, dean of students at the University of Chicago, sent an email to incoming freshman defending academic freedom and free speech while denouncing the politically correct invention of “safe spaces.”

Recently, the Nevada System of Higher Education adopted a similar position on free speech, stating, in part “History shows that when institutions of higher education attempt to censor or punish the free expression of ideas, they undermine their core function of promoting rational discussion, inquiry, discovery, and the dissemination of knowledge. It is not the proper response of NSHE and its institutions to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

We need more examples like the University of Chicago and NSHE.

This assault on the First Amendment is occurring with greater frequency on campuses every day and is wholly unacceptable. For this reason, I have introduced H.R. 1672, the Free Right to Expression in Education Act. This legislation, which was first introduced in the 115th Congress by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, will prevent colleges from quarantining free expression and end the unconstitutional “zones” used to stifle student speech.

There are a multitude of other assaults on our constitutional right of free speech that must also be addressed, such as college professors that seek to indoctrinate and block free debate in classes, leading to groupthink — the phenomenon where the desire for conformity replaces rational thought. Banning conservative speakers from campus is another violation.

In combination with President Trump’s executive order cutting off research funding to schools that do not respect freedom of speech, we can stop this erosion of our constitutional rights. Higher education should be a platform for the peaceful but free exchange of ideas and open debate. Learning occurs when one’s beliefs are challenged and defended.  This is what the original idea of the university was all about.

In a climate of free expression our American ideals, as embodied in the Bill of Rights, will be championed rather than compromised. Zealously protecting our constitutional rights is critical for assuring the evolution of a generation of graduates who can think critically, accept differences of opinion and assure that our hard-earned freedoms are protected and nurtured in America in the future as in the past.

Francis Rooney (@RepRooney) has represented Florida’s 19th congressional district since 2017 and is the ranking member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He previously served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2008.


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

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

Economic growth averaging 2.8 percent reached under President Donald Trump's policies can be sustained over the next decade, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said Wednesday.

"What happened is we went from 1 percent growth, the new normal that would be disappointing forever, to 3 percent growth over the last two years with deregulation and tax cuts," Hassett told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday morning. "Everything has lifted off and our view is it will continue. It is continuing because the policies are working."

The Trump administration is assuming Congress will make tax cuts permanent, as some will expire, Hassett said.

"Regulatory costs in the U.S. declined under President Trump last year because he has a regulatory budget, and paperwork costs are going down for the U.S. government," Hassett said. "As far back as we looked, we couldn't see a year like that."

The forecast assumes Trump's policies are enacted, Hassett said, and "hopefully Congress will look at that and be convinced."

Analysts from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve paint a different picture for the economy, projecting 1.9 percent growth for the long-run forecast, noted show co-anchor Sandra Smith, but Hassett disagreed.

"If you go back to the first year that we said growth would inch up a little bit, everybody said we were crazy," Hassett said. "Our policies are working the way the academic literature says they should and confident they'll continue to grow going forward. The people criticizing us were wrong. How many years in a row do we have to be right before they question their models?"

Source: NewsMax

Economic growth averaging 2.8 percent reached under President Donald Trump's policies can be sustained over the next decade, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said Wednesday.

"What happened is we went from 1 percent growth, the new normal that would be disappointing forever, to 3 percent growth over the last two years with deregulation and tax cuts," Hassett told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday morning. "Everything has lifted off and our view is it will continue. It is continuing because the policies are working."

The Trump administration is assuming Congress will make tax cuts permanent, as some will expire, Hassett said.

"Regulatory costs in the U.S. declined under President Trump last year because he has a regulatory budget, and paperwork costs are going down for the U.S. government," Hassett said. "As far back as we looked, we couldn't see a year like that."

The forecast assumes Trump's policies are enacted, Hassett said, and "hopefully Congress will look at that and be convinced."

Analysts from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve paint a different picture for the economy, projecting 1.9 percent growth for the long-run forecast, noted show co-anchor Sandra Smith, but Hassett disagreed.

"If you go back to the first year that we said growth would inch up a little bit, everybody said we were crazy," Hassett said. "Our policies are working the way the academic literature says they should and confident they'll continue to grow going forward. The people criticizing us were wrong. How many years in a row do we have to be right before they question their models?"

Source: NewsMax

President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized the forthcoming report from special counsel Robert Mueller, but said he has no qualms about the document being made public.

“Let it come out. Let people see it. That’s up to the attorney general,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.

“We have a very good attorney general. He’s a very highly respected man, and we’ll see what happens,” he continued, referring to Attorney General William Barr.

Barr will have the final say on how much of Mueller’s report to make public. Mueller is believed to be writing a lengthy report summarizing his investigation, which has focused on possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as any obstruction of justice on the part of Trump. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Says He Will Leave Mueller Report Decision To DOJ)

Mueller will provide the report to Barr when it is finalized. Barr is required to notify Congress when he receives the report and can decide whether to release parts of the report to lawmakers or the public.

He has not committed to releasing the entire document, much to the chagrin of congressional Democrats.

In his rambling commentary Wednesday, Trump suggested he wants to see Mueller’s report before it is made public. He also took thinly veiled shots at Mueller, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“It’s very interesting that a man just out of the blue writes a report,” Trump said, referring to Mueller, whom Rosenstein appointed special counsel May 17, 2017.

Rosenstein oversaw the probe after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia-related matters.

“I don’t mind, I mean frankly I told the House, ‘If you want, let them see it,’” said Trump, adding: “I think it’s ridiculous, but I want to see the report.”

Follow Chuck 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

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

“The View” co-host Joy Behar took a swipe at President Donald Trump Wednesday, claiming he jumped into a Twitter feud with George Conway because “he likes separating families.”

WATCH:

Conway, who is married to Senior White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway, has repeatedly attacked Trump on Twitter — leading some to question how the couple gets along at home is he really feels so strongly about his wife’s job and her boss. Trump has responded to Conway, leading still more to question why he would get involved.

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who is back on the ABC program after a lengthy illness, kicked off the segment saying, “So, you-know-who also had time to lash out at the continuing attacks from George Conway, calling him ‘Mr. Kellyanne Conway,’ like that’s an insult, claiming that he didn’t get a job at the White House and that he’s, quote, ‘a stone cold loser and husband from hell.’” (RELATED: Trump Rips George Conway: ‘Total Loser’)

Behar jumped right in, arguing that it made perfect sense for Trump to insert himself into the conversation. “It makes sense that he would — Trump would get in the middle of this because he likes to separate families, if you noticed, at the border at the wherever else he can do it,” she claimed.

Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume took a more philosophical approach, suggesting that there was little to gain for the president in attacking someone “no one has ever heard of.”

There are, however, a number of people — who happen to have national platforms — who have elevated Conway’s criticisms of the president to the point that he may no longer qualify as “someone most Americans have never heard of.”

What none of those elevating Conway to the level of “Twitter Ph.D.” mention is the fact that, in real life, he is an attorney.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Ford logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan
FILE PHOTO: The Ford logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 20, 2019

By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it is adding production of a fully electric vehicle at a second North American plant as part of its $11 billion investment plan set last year.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it is investing about $900 million in southeast Michigan and creating 900 jobs through 2023 as part of its electric vehicle push. That includes a plan to invest more than $850 million to expand production capacity at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to build EVs.

“When we were taking a look at our $11 billion investment in electrification, it became obvious to us that we were going to need a second plant in the not-too-distant future to add capacity for our battery electric vehicles,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said in a telephone interview.

Ford is negotiating an alliance with Germany’s Volkswagen AG to work together on electric and autonomous vehicles. Hinrichs said those talks have been positive, but that there was nothing to announce.

Ford in January 2018 said it would increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup. That investment figure was up from the previous target of $4.5 billion by 2020.

Automakers have been boosting investment in the development of EVs in part because of pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are being pushed by electric carmakers like Tesla Inc.

Of the 40 vehicles, Ford said at the time that 16 would be fully electric and the rest would be plug-in hybrids.

The Flat Rock plant, which currently employs 3,400 people, builds the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental cars. The plant investment includes adding a second shift and funding to build the next-generation Mustang.

Ford already was planning an all-electric sport utility vehicle in 2020 that will be built at its Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker also said on Wednesday that it will build its first self-driving vehicles for use by commercial customers at a new manufacturing center in southeast Michigan starting in 2021, and will build its next-generation North American Transit Connect commercial and passenger van in Mexico starting that same year.

The next-generation Transit Connect small van will be built at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant and increases U.S. and Canadian vehicle content consistent with the proposed new North American trade agreement, the company said. The vehicle is now built in Spain.

Hinrichs said he is optimistic Congress will approve the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

Ganesh Bhalerao, a cartoonist, draws a political cartoon inside his home in Pune
Ganesh Bhalerao, a cartoonist hired by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, draws a political cartoon inside his home in Pune, India, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Rajendra Jadhav

March 20, 2019

By Rajendra Jadhav and Sankalp Phartiyal

PUNE, India (Reuters) – Ganesh Bhalerao is a cartoonist hoping to go viral in the battle to secure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election when India votes over the next two months.

Hired by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to find amusing ways to lionize Modi or lampoon opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, Bhalerao is a social media warrior in an election campaign being fought online as never before.

“Political parties are realizing the importance of cartoons as they elicit a huge response,” the 29-year-old former art teacher told Reuters while feverishly sketching a piece glorifying the Modi government for ordering India’s recent air strikes against Pakistan.

Cartoons posted on BJP-run Facebook pages, Twitter handles and WhatsApp groups are shared hundreds of times and reach millions, Bhalerao told Reuters as he worked in his apartment in the western city of Pune.

“A cartoon conveys the message of a 500-1,000 word article in just a minute,” he said.

The scale of elections in India means voting is staggered, with the first regions going to vote on April 11, and the count to be completed on May 23.

Each day Bhalerao reads the local newspapers, watches the television news, and checks his WhatsApp messages, seeking ideas for an image or issue that might resonate with supporters of the Hindu nationalist BJP.

Being a Modi supporter himself makes it easier.

Like the BJP, Gandhi’s Congress Party and other rivals have their own armies of artists, video editors and journalists to create online content for the social media war.

Hired for the campaign season, they get paid a few hundred dollars a month, according to half a dozen party workers who spoke with Reuters.

Social media has made it a lot easier for political parties to get out their message to more voters. But nowadays, India’s masses want politics served with more pizzazz.

Nearly two-thirds of the population is under 35 years old. Most have little time or patience for attending political rallies, or wading through turgid party manifestoes.

“The larger audience is now more inclined to short videos, cartoons and visuals,” Dimptangshu Chowdhury told Reuters in Kolkata, where he heads the IT wing of Trinamool Congress, a powerful regional party in West Bengal.

(For an interactive graphic on social media presence, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Oa2V84)

(For an interactive graphic on social media users in India, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2FicEGn)

LIMITED OVERSIGHT

India is by far the world’s biggest democracy, but most of its 1.3 billion population belong to lower income groups. And, at a time when more mature democracies than India’s are grappling with the impact of social media, there are concerns about the electorate’s susceptibility to false messages spread online.

As more than two-thirds of Indians live in rural areas, political parties are trying to extend their social media reach through regional languages, to go beyond urban areas where Hindi and English are more commonly spoken.

When Modi’s BJP won a landslide victory in 2014, social media had not become as pervasive as it is today. Data plans were expensive and pricey smartphones were unaffordable for far more people.

Now there are more than 400 million smartphones users and consumers are able to access nearly 50 gigabytes of data for as little as $3 per month.

It all helps explain why social media platforms like Facebook, its messenger WhatsApp and micro-blogging site Twitter have become such fierce political battlegrounds.

In 2014, parties spent less than half a million dollars on digital advertising, but this time round it is likely to be closer to $26 million, according to a top media and marketing firm, which did not want to be named.

India’s Election Commission has asked candidates to report their spending on social media and it also requires them to seek approval for advertisements, but such rules can be bypassed by the use of proxies.

A code of conduct, which prohibits political campaigning 48 hours before voting in any area, will apply for online campaigns too, the commission said earlier this month.

But the new rule is unlikely to stop thousands of party workers from spreading messages on social media platforms.

Putting a cut-off on campaigning doesn’t have any effect anymore, as the Commission is unable to control what is posted online, according to Nikhil Pahwa, digital rights activist and editor of MediaNama, a Delhi-based publication.

“It just doesn’t know how to deal with the idea of content being available online in perpetuity,” Pahwa said.

(This story corrects date of vote count to May 23 in sixth paragraph, and spelling of Trinamool Congress official’s first name in paragraph 13)

(Additional reporting by Subrata Nag Choudhury in Kolkata and Jatindra Dash in Bhubaneswar; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

Combination photo of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates
2020 Democratic presidential candidates are seen in a combination of file photos (L-R top row): U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, (L-R bottom row): U.S.Senator Kamala Harris, Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. REUTERS/Files

March 20, 2019

By Ginger Gibson

HEMINGWAY, S.C. (Reuters) – In the most polarized political environment in decades, Democratic voters want to know how their eventual nominee will match up against President Donald Trump in the November 2020 general election.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York appears willing to go the furthest yet, at least symbolically, in trying to prove she is ready to go toe-to-toe with the president.

On Sunday, she will deliver her campaign launch speech at a rally in view of one of Trump’s hotels in New York City, taking her “vision of restoring America’s moral integrity straight to President Trump’s doorstep,” her campaign said.

The backdrop for her speech underscores a defining theme of the Democratic nominating contest. Trump is present at every campaign stop – not physically, but as a constant topic of discussion, even if his name is not uttered by those seeking to defeat him.

Candidates are trying to convince voters in early primary states that they would provide the best Trump opposition. And in a large field with few variations on policy so far, each contender is using different tactics to make their case.

“Voters need to believe that a candidate can stand on stage, take a rhetoric punch from Trump and still look strong and viable,” said Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 White House race.

Potential and declared candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders “have likely already passed that litmus test with voters,” Payne added. “Others who are less known to the public probably still have some proving to do.”

A February poll by Emerson College found every Democratic hopeful out-performed Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, except when a third-party candidacy was added to the equation.

At campaign events in rural South Carolina this month, Senator Kamala Harris used a simple refrain to begin answers about complicated policy questions: “We need a new president.”

Harris, a former prosecutor, is seeking to convince voters that her courtroom experience prepared her to be able to successfully “prosecute” Trump on the debate stage, a campaign aide said.

But Harris does not plan to make her case using any demeaning nicknames for Trump, something the president did during the 2016 campaign to deride his opponents.

“They don’t want someone who is going to mimic his tactics,” the aide said of Democratic voters. “Democrats want someone who can confront from him.”

VOTERS FOCUSED ON ELECTABILITY

A February poll by Monmouth University found that 56 percent of Democrats would prefer a nominee who has a good shot at defeating Trump even if they do not agree on policy positions.

The poll found women voters – who turned out in droves during the 2018 midterm elections to help send a historic number of women to Congress – were even more inclined to prioritize electability over ideology with 61 percent putting their positions aside in favor of a candidate who can defeat the president, compared to 45 percent of men.

The high level of Democrats citing electability over “kitchen table” issues like jobs and the economy was surprising to Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.

But Hagle thinks it could be a product of the large field of Democrats, with voters looking for ways to whittle it down. Once the field narrows, policy issues such as immigration and jobs could again emerge as top concerns, he said.

“What is different this time is the intensity about wanting to defeat Trump,” Hagle said.

Even candidates who are inclined not to tussle with Trump directly still talk about him a lot.

In Mount Vernon, Iowa on Friday, Beto O’Rourke largely spoke of Trump in the context of using his campaign to try and bring people together. He criticized Trump – not using his name – for how the president talks about immigrants and Muslims.

“We’ve never been as divided as we are right now. And we’ve never seen the kind of rhetoric employed by this president in our history,” said O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman. “This is absolutely wrong. And there’s a consequence to this rhetoric and the policies employed by the president.”

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Democratic hopeful, insists Trump can be defeated by a candidate who offers a calmer tone instead of attacks.

“I know there’s some ‘fight fire with fire’ people out there, and God bless ’em, if they become the nominee, I’m behind them,” Booker told a group of voters at a New Hampshire pub last week. “But I’m willing to die on this hill, because I believe that when we as Americans extend grace to one another, we’re not weaker, but stronger.

“My mom taught Sunday school, and she taught me to love my enemies,” Booker said. “I’m not going to let anybody drag me so low as to contort my soul and make me hate them.”

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax in New Hampshire and James Oliphant in Iowa; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

Chinese President Xi Jinping claps at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping claps at the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

March 20, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Misunderstandings over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are “hard to avoid”, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday ahead of a trip to Europe by President Xi Jinping during which Italy is set to join the multi-billion dollar trade scheme.

Italy has angered its EU partners by planning to sign infrastructure deals with China, pushing itself as a big backer of the initiative at the heart of Beijing’s foreign policy strategy that is Xi’s signature diplomatic and trade push.

“I think anything new will have a development process,” Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao told a news briefing when asked about recent controversy in Italy over the accord to be signed this month.

“It is hard to avoid misunderstandings occurring during the process of advancing the construction of the Belt and Road. Of course, the facts are the best proof,” Wang said.

More than 150 countries, regions and international groups have already signed BRI cooperation pacts bringing some benefits to all, he added.

Italy, which is expected to send a high-level delegation to the second Belt and Road summit in Beijing in late April, will be the first stop on Xi’s tour from March 21 to 26 that will also take in France and the tiny principality of Monaco.

With ports that offer easy gateways into Europe’s richest markets, Italy is a promising and prestigious prize for China.

Asked about China’s possible investment in a port in Italy, Wang said investment decisions by its companies would be based on market conditions.

Xi will hold talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome, and visit the Sicilian capital of Palermo, Wang said.

The two sides will sign commercial pacts on infrastructure, machinery and finance, he added.

Italy’s drive to be the first Group of Seven industrialized nation to join the ambitious venture has upset Washington and alarmed Brussels, raising fears of a sellout of sensitive technology and the handover of critical infrastructure.

On Tuesday, Conte said the commercial and economic deals he will seal with China have no implications for Italy’s geo-political position, in a bid to reassure the European Union and the United States.

In France, Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron will witness the signing of cooperation agreements on energy, transportation, agriculture, finance, culture and science and technology, Wang said.

(Reporting by Tom Daly and Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Liangping Gao; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump says a site near Brazil's Atlantic coast is the "ideal launch location" for U.S. rocket companies, reports CNBC.

Trump made the comments after signing a deal with Brazil's new right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro that allows the U.S. to use Brazil's Alcantara Aerospace Launch base for its satellites.

"After 20 years of talks we are finalizing a technology safeguards agreement to allow U.S. companies to conduct space launches from Brazil," Trump said at a press conference with Bolsonaro. "Because of the location, tremendous amounts of money would be saved."

Air Force officers told Reuters that launches from Brazil burn 30 percent less fuel and rockets can carry larger payloads because of the country's location close to the equator.

Brazil is hoping to get a piece of the $300 billion-a-year space launch business by drawing U.S. companies interested in launching small satellites at a lower cost from the Alcantara base run by the Brazilian Air Force on the South American country's north coast.

The deal with the U.S. still needs to be approved by the Brazilian Congress.

The Alcantara site has already drawn interest from U.S. space companies, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Vector and Microcosm, but is not ready for rocket launches yet.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

Source: NewsMax

Women labourers work in a pearl millet field at Narayangaon
Women labourers work in a pearl millet field at Narayangaon, India, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

March 20, 2019

By Suvashree Choudhury and Alexandra Ulmer

CHINCHOLI, India (Reuters) – A few years ago, in this sweltering corner of western India, the horizon was dotted with hunched, barefoot women swinging sickles all day to cut wheat for the spring harvest.

Now, a giant green harvester clears an entire half-acre field within minutes, allowing farmers to save money and quickly sell the wheat, typically used to make Indian flat breads.

Chhaya Kharade, 36, and other women doing lighter farm work were gradually replaced by the machines that now crisscross wheat, sugar cane and onion fields surrounding Chincholi, a village 190 km (120 miles) east of India’s financial hub of Mumbai.

“I should be busy now, as the wheat harvesting is going on. But there is hardly any work for me. Almost all farmers are using machines,” Kharade said in her spartan two-room house.

Indian women, especially those working in precarious informal sectors, are at the sharp end of what economists and opposition politicians describe as a jobs crisis in India. According to the private Center for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), 90 percent of around 10 million jobs lost last year were held by women.

Several unemployed women interviewed by Reuters said they had soured on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist who swept to power in 2014 vowing to turn India into an economic powerhouse but has struggled to create jobs.

While Modi remains the favorite in general elections that kick off next month, insufficient employment – despite India’s roughly 7 percent economic growth rate – is a major voter worry.

“Modi’s government has not done anything to create employment in this region. We would like to vote for a party that will set up factories and create jobs,” said Mumtaj Mulani, a 40-year-old woman who was plucking weeds from a pearl millet field in the area. She said she usually struggles to find work due to the spread of machines.

The dwindling female labor participation rate could have far-reaching implications for India’s economic development and the progress of women’s rights in the often deeply conservative country.

“When nearly fifty percent of the labor force is unable to live up to its potential, India is foregoing significant growth, investment, and productivity gains,” said Milan Vaishnav, director of the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment.

“The social costs, while less tangible, are nevertheless acute,” Vaishnav added, noting research suggests women’s economic empowerment reduces inequality and ensures women have a greater voice in society.

Measuring the problem is tricky, and Modi’s government has delayed the release of controversial jobs data. [L3N2121QE]

But the official report, leaked to local newspaper Business Standard in February, shows the female labor participation rate was merely 23.3 percent in 2017-2018, down about 8 percentage points from 2011-2012.

Private estimates are gloomier. CMIE puts the figure at just 10.7 percent between May and August 2018.

For an interactive graphic on India’s female labor force participation rate, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2FbrbDK

DOUBLE WHAMMY: NOTE BAN AND GST

To be sure, the loss of jobs to machines is a global issue, but Indian women have a more limited range of alternative work than their male counterparts. And in family-focused India, women across economic lines often quit work after getting married or having children.

Also, as some families’ earnings rise, more women can afford to become caregivers.

Still, when compared to nations with similar income levels, India’s female labor participation rate is “a distinct outlier,” according to Vaishnav.

Economists say Modi’s two signature economic policies – a ban on high-value banknotes in 2016 and the implementation of a national sales tax rate (GST) in 2017 – have hurt women more than men because they are more likely to be employed in vulnerable, informal workplaces.

Demonetisation thrust the informal, cash-based economy into turmoil. A year later, many small businesses went under, unable to deal with GST’s complexities or rate increases.

“If there are fewer jobs available, who will move out? The women will move out, because they get lower wages. The men will go compete for the few jobs,” said CMIE’s CEO Mahesh Vyas.

In Dharavi, a Mumbai slum that is one of Asia’s largest, 33 year-old Farzana Begum has struggled to provide for her five children since the workshop she stitched buttons for shut shop in the wake of GST.

“I have stopped all extra spending on clothes and good food,” said Begum. “If you ask anyone in Dharavi, everyone has seen a fall in income, lost their jobs or seen factories close after GST.”

Her dismay was echoed on the other side of the country, in a village near the eastern city of Kolkata, where Nuren Nesa’s earnings from embroidering saris fell from 700 rupees a week to 300 after demonetisation. Following GST, work ground to a halt and her embroidery machine is gathering dust.

“Modi’s note ban and GST measures have destroyed our source of income,” said Nesa, 41, who withdrew her son from university because tuition fees grew out of reach.

“I will vote for the leader who will help us out with proper work and income,” she added.

As the battle for women’s votes heats up, Modi has pointed to programs to provide toilets and subsidized cooking gas cylinders as evidence his administration cares for women. This month, the main opposition party, Congress, vowed to reserve a third of federal government jobs for women if elected.

HARD WORK TO HIRE WOMEN?

Some business owners say they receive few applications from women.

“We do not find too many women in the segment we service, even though we would like to hire more women because they are more sincere, there is less attrition and they can multi-task,” said Vineet Pandey, who owns Mumbai-based housekeeping firms Kaarya Facilities & Services and Hecqo.com.

Indian women sometimes do not take jobs far from home due to fears for their safety.

Call centers or factories run by multinationals often attract women workers by providing transport after late shifts, but working at many other jobs entails commutes on packed trains and buses through India’s teeming and cities.

One businessman who employees roughly 1,000 men at his chemical factory in southern India, says hiring women would mean providing separate bathrooms and transport at night.

He argues bypassing men would also stoke tensions in India, where economic transformations and an influx of technology are testing the social fabric.

“In the rural areas, it is a more patriarchal society, if we give jobs to women and not men, there will be complaints from men,” said the businessman, who asked to remain anonymous.

“It is to maintain harmony.”

In any case, it is a moot point for now. His plant, struggling with high costs of power and transport, is not hiring.

For an interactive graphic on the regional female labor force participation rate, click https://tmsnrt.rs/2O4rinC

(Reporting by Suvashree Choudhury in Mumbai and Alexandra Ulmer in Hivare, Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Hivare and Subrata Nag Choudhury in Kolkata, Graphics by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru, Writing by Alexandra Ulmer, Editing by Euan Rocha and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

U.S. scientists reportedly purchased hundreds of cats and dogs from Asian meat markets, used them for experiments and fed the remains to other lab cats, according to the White Coat Waste Project.

Scientists reportedly conducted the experiments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s lab in Maryland between 2003 and 2015. The experiments involved hundreds of animals from markets in Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, China and Ethiopia, according to the watchdog group. Some of the meat markets in question have been condemned by Congress.

“It’s crazy,” former USDA scientist Jim Keen told NBC News, which obtained a copy of the report. “Cannibal cats, cats eating dogs — I don’t see the logic.”

“It’s totally unrelated to the food safety mission,” Keen said. “We shouldn’t be paying for that as taxpayers.”

Lawmakers are already targeting the Agriculture Department labs with legislation to curb testing on cats. (RELATED: Congressmen Introduce Bill To Stop Government Cat Killers)

“The details of these kitten experiments keep getting worse and they need to end now,” Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida told NBC. “The fact that the USDA has been rounding up pets and other innocent dogs and cats in foreign countries — including at Chinese meat markets condemned by Congress — killing them and feeding them to lab cats back here in the States is simply disgusting and unjustifiable.”

Cat smacking her lips. Shutterstock/AltamashUrooj

Cat smacking her lips. Shutterstock/AltamashUrooj

Mast is a cosponsor of the legislation called Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now, or KITTEN.

The White Coat Waste Project previously uncovered other cat-related experiments in a 2018 report.

After the experiments are completed, the kittens are often euthanized and their bodies burned, according to the report.

The USDA did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Kim Guilfoyle | Contributor

Congress tried to veto reality.

Instead, President Trump vetoed Congress.

When Congress voted to block President Trump’s emergency declaration on the southern border, the president vetoed their measure.

No matter how hard Congress tries to ignore, deny and dodge reality, we have a humanitarian, security and enforcement crisis at the border. As Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen said, it is beyond a national emergency — it’s a total meltdown of our immigration system.

Sadly, their willful ignorance, ideological blindfold and hatred of President Trump prevent Congress from acknowledging it.

Illegal immigrant apprehensions on our southern border are at the highest level in a decade. But even that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story.

The number of migrant families with young children is higher than ever. In the first five months of this year, over 136 thousand were apprehended — that’s almost a third higher than were apprehended all of last year. (RELATED: Guilfoyle: President Trump’s State Of The Union Was A Grand Slam)

Human traffickers have put the word out in Central America that bringing a child provides a free pass to enter our country.  Business is so brisk smugglers are now offering a volume discount and using luxury express buses to take migrants from Guatemala to the U.S. with children traveling free, the Washington Post reports.

Once at the frontier, migrants don’t try to evade the Border Patrol. They willingly surrender, often in groups of a hundred or more, lining up in an orderly fashion as if they were entering our country legally.

So far this year, over 268,000 immigrants were apprehended on our southwestern border. Another 100,000 could cross in March. On one night alone in early March, agents took in 700 migrants just in El Paso.

At the current rate, one million of the poorest people on Earth could show up at the Rio Grande this year.  Once they are released into our country, as courts dictate, they will compete against the most vulnerable Americans for jobs on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Many of the arriving migrants have medical issues and require emergency care. Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, sayson a typical day the United States Border Patrol refers 50 individuals to a hospital or medical provider. All children receive medical screening.

As a former prosecutor who fought for justice for women and children who were victims of sexual assault, it gives me chills when I hear CBP must screen every female over 10 years of age for rape. Doctors Without Borders reports more than 30 percent of women migrants it interviewed are sexually assaulted on the way north.

At the same time Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer deny there is an emergency at the border, they asked for nearly a half billion dollars from taxpayers to provide medical care and food for illegal immigrants showing up at the border. (RELATED: Guilfoyle: Americans Can Have A Merry Christmas Thanks To President Trump)

But there’s more to the emergency than migrants. The same criminal gangs that traffic people also traffic drugs. They will use migrants to divert Border Patrol agents in order to bring drugs across.

Drug overdoses are now the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 55.

Over 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017.  The Centers for Disease Control reports the sharpest increase in deaths came from fentanyl, cheap synthetic heroin that is flooding our country.

Fentanyl is made in China and smuggled into America by Mexican cartels.  One load of fentanyl seized by customs agents on the Mexican border in January was enough to kill more than 115 million people.

By any measure of objective reality, there is a national emergency at the southern border.

There’s also another national emergency. It’s in Washington where Congress refuses to recognize reality or do anything about it.

The president took an oath to preserve and protect our country.

He takes that oath seriously.

Congress must take off its blindfold and work with President Trump to end the immigration crisis threatening our nation.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is vice chairwoman of America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first.


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

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Tuesday was named a board member of Fox Corporation, the new parent company of Fox News.

Ryan will be one of seven board of directors, according to a press release from the company. He will serve alongside Rupert Murdoch, the founder of Fox, and Lachlan Murdoch, the company’s chief executive and chairman. News of Ryan’s appointment comes after Murdoch sold 21st Century Fox — the former parent company of Fox News — to Walt Disney. Fox Corporation was established in its place.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new colleagues to the FOX board. We look forward to working with and being guided by them as we begin a new chapter, steadfastly committed to providing the best in news, sports and entertainment programming,” Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert, said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

It’s not immediately clear how much Ryan will make at Fox Corporation, but, according to SEC filings, 21st Century Fox board members earned around $300,000 in cash and equity annually.

The position, which marks Ryan’s first gig since leaving Congress, will require him to periodically meet with other board members and offer advice to the company.

After serving in House of Representatives for two decades, Ryan declined to run for re-election in 2018, citing a need to spend more time with family in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. He chaired the Budget Committee and the prestigious Ways and Means Committee during his congressional career. He was the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, and ended his congressional tenure as the speaker of the House. (RELATED: Paul Ryan Wants ‘To Be Clear’ About Statement Suggesting Democrats Could Beat Trump In 2020)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day president-elect Trump met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day president-elect Trump met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Republican had a notably rocky start to his relationship with Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Ryan said he wasn’t “ready to do that” when asked about endorsing then-presumptive GOP nominee Trump in May 2016. Trump returned fire shortly after, saying he was “not quite there yet” on supporting the speaker.

However, the two later warmed to each other, with one high-point being Trump’s passage of tax reform in December 2017, a long-sought goal by Ryan for years. The president offered Ryan strong praise in a tweet that congratulated his successor in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.

“Congratulations to Bryan Steil on a wonderful win last night,” Trump tweeted in August 2018. “You will be replacing a great guy in Paul Ryan, and your win in November will make the entire State of Wisconsin very proud.”

Follow Jason 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: Homeland Security Committee Chairman Thompson chairs hearing on border security on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) listens to testimony from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on “The Way Forward on Border Security” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts?

March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Following the live-streaming on social media of the mass shooting in New Zealand, the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security wrote a letter to top executives of four major technology companies urging them to do a better job of removing violent political content.

In a letter dated Monday and released on Tuesday, Representative Bennie Thompson urged the chief executives of Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, which owns YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft to more swiftly remove content that would spawn political extremism.

The letter follows the fatal shootings of 50 worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch last week. The shooter, a suspected white supremacist, live-streamed the killings on social media, where it was widely shared.

“Your companies must prioritize responding to these toxic and violent ideologies with resources and attention,” Thomson wrote. “If you are unwilling to do so, Congress must consider policies to ensure that terrorist content is not distributed on your platforms, including by studying the examples being set by other countries.

“The video was widely available on your platforms well after the attack, despite calls from New Zealand authorities to take these videos down,” he wrote.

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos showing the attack in the first 24 hours after it occurred.

Thompson also asked the companies for a briefing on the matter.

A Facebook spokesman said the company “will brief the committee soon.” Google, Twitter and Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been critical of Facebook for privacy lapses, said on Tuesday that the government should tread carefully in reining in tech companies for fear of aiding dictators and other bad actors.

Wyden warned against revoking protections given in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that specifies tech companies are not responsible for what users say on their platform.

“If politicians want to restrict the First Amendment or eliminate the tools with which much of the world communicates in real time, they should understand they are also taking away the tools that bear witness to government brutality, war crimes, corporate lawlessness and incidents of racial bias,” Wyden said in a statement. 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit that advocates for civil liberties in the digital world, cautioned policymakers last week not to rush to regulate speech on online platforms or else it could “disproportionately silence” the most vulnerable users, such as Egyptian journalist Wael Abbas, who was kicked off YouTube for posting videos on police brutality.

EFF also called for guidelines that urge social platforms to be transparent about how many posts and accounts they remove, and give users notice and a chance to appeal if one of their posts is taken down.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by David Shepardson and Sarah Lynch; editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

Jeremy Dys | Senior Counsel, First Liberty Institute

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced this month that she will no longer enforce a federal law barring religious organizations from providing federally funded educational services to private schools. The action is a natural development to follow President Trump’s 2017 executive order on religious freedom.

Trump’s order directed the attorney general to issue guidance to all federal agencies interpreting the provisions of federal law on religious liberty. Several months later, the Department of Justice issued that very guidance.

In her letter to Congress, DeVos explained that the DOE would no longer enforce a statute that prohibited religious organizations from providing educational services to students. The rationale is simple: the DOJ and its guidance memo applied the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, making it clear that religious organizations must be treated equally under the law and participate at the same level as secular organizations.

Or, as DeVos said, “Those seeking to provide high-quality educational services to students and teachers should not be discriminated against simply based on the religious character of their organization.”

Like the rest of the president’s executive order, there is no new law created here. What DeVos has rightly done is to examine her department for compliance with federal law — including recent decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Trinity Lutheran concluded that the government cannot preclude religious organizations from participation in a state benefit, merely because they are religious. In the context of the DOE, religious organizations may now participate as educational service providers.

Meaning, of course, that at one time they were not permitted to participate in programs that provide tutoring, mentoring, and other services to local students and teachers. The law of the United States prevented their participation solely on the grounds that these providers were religious. It was not that their product was subpar, their accounting was sloppy, or they imposed religious doctrines upon students and teachers. Their singular, disqualifying feature was that they identified as a religious organization that provided tutoring, mentoring, and special education services to local students and teachers.

How could that be anything but the kind of discrimination against religion that our Constitution forbids and that our country has long opposed? As Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in a statement following a denial of review in Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, et al. v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, “Barring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion.”

DeVos should be commended for following the law.

“It shall be the policy of the executive branch,” President Trump wrote in his executive order, “to vigorously enforce federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom … Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the federal government.”

Secretary DeVos, and the actions of her Education Department, have done just that.

Jeremy Dys (@JeremyDys) is deputy general counsel for First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to defending religious freedom for all Americans.


 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

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

The Department of the Interior is offering up to $1,000 to people willing to adopt a wild horse or burro, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced.

BLM, which runs the federal government’s wild horse and burro adoption program, launched the new incentive program on March 12. (RELATED: Animal Rights Groups Sue Over Trump’s Plan To Keep Overpopulated Wild Horses From Getting Pregnant)

“The goal of the program is to reduce BLM’s recurring costs to care for unadopted and untrained wild horses and burros while helping to enable the BLM to confront a growing over-population of wild horses and burros on fragile public rangelands,” the BLM press release says.

The number of wild horses and burros on federal lands passed most areas’ holding capacity years ago. The BLM currently manages roughly 82,000 animals in pastures that cannot sustainably support more than about 27,000, according to BLM data.

The federal government is required by law to remove animals over the limit that the land can support, but federally controlled corrals and private partners are at or nearing their limits. The cash incentive for adoption is aimed at taking away excess animals currently held in the corrals.

The BLM adoption and sales programs have declined over recent decades. In 1995, the government placed, either through adoption or sales, about 9,700 wild horses and burros into private homes. In 2005, the number had dropped to 5,700, and in 2017, just 4,099 animals were removed from federal holding corrals to private homes.

Wild horses are herded into corrals by a helicopter during a Bureau of Land Management round-up outside Milford, Utah, U.S., January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Wild horses are herded into corrals by a helicopter during a Bureau of Land Management round-up outside Milford, Utah, U.S., January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

Federal law prevents BLM officials from selling the animals for slaughter or giving or selling animals to individuals who intend on killing them. To control the burgeoning population, BLM officials rely on PZP, a drug used to prevent contraception. Officials must administer the drug to each mare at least once a year for four years before the effects begin to become permanent.

An amendment proposed in Congress last year would have lifted the restriction on horse and burro euthanasia. The BLM issued a statement in support of the amendment, though the amendment was later dropped.

“With few natural predators and limited tools for controlling herd growth, our nation’s wild horse and burro herds are chronically overpopulated and increasing exponentially,” the BLM said. “Given the extensive overpopulation, wild horses and burros routinely face starvation and death from lack of water. The high number of excess wild horses and burros causes habitat damage that forces animals to leave public lands and travel onto private property or even highways in search of food and water.”

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Source: The Daily Caller


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