FOOD

  • Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories. 
  • Tribe has amplified conspiracies about President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia teaming up to expose Jeff Bezos and Russia orchestrating a plane crash to cover up collusion, among others.
  • Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t kept media outlets from promoting him on TV and in news articles.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has habitually spread conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t prevented him from maintaining a presence in the national media.

Tribe was among several high-profile figures to amplify a false conspiracy theory in February that President Donald Trump had teamed up with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman to leak Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s affair to the National Enquirer.

“Are Donald Trump and the murderous Saudi Prince bin Salman co-conspirators with David Pecker and AMI in a failed criminal plot to blackmail and extort Jeff Bezos as owner of the Washington Post? Asking for a friend in the Southern District of New York,” Tribe wrote on Twitter, where he has more than 492,000 followers. (RELATED: Majority Of Democrats Believe A Straight-Up Conspiracy Theory)

His conspiratorial post was shared thousands of times across Twitter.

Screenshot/Twitter

Screenshot/Twitter

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Enquirer had paid the brother of Bezos’s mistress $200,000 for text messages between the two lovers, confirming a Daily Beast report that identified the brother — not the Saudis — as the Enquirer’s source. Tribe’s tweet was still up as of Wednesday evening.

The Harvard Law professor has made a habit of spreading baseless conspiracy theories, seemingly without repercussion.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Attorney Laurence H. Tribe attends The ACLU of Southern California’s 2011 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on Dec. 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In one instance, Tribe implied that a Russian plane crash in February 2018 was a cover-up of collusion between Trump and Russia.

His tweet, which again received thousands of retweets, read: “Among those killed in the tragic plane crash yesterday: Sergei Millian, a Papadopoulis [sic] friend who had emailed Kushner and is said to be behind one of the most salacious claims in the dossier on Trump’s involvement with Russia. Probably just coincidence. .”

He sarcastically added that the “coincidence” “[s]ounds plausible.”

Tribe’s viral claim was nowhere close to the truth. Millian wasn’t on the plane.

In December 2018, Tribe shared a left-wing blog post titled “Mueller Hints That Mike Pence May Be Indicted Soon.” There is no evidence to support that headline, and the vice president has not been indicted.

“The title of this piece gets well ahead of its skis in terms of actual substance,” Tribe conceded, before continuing “but the evidence described provides rich food for thought. And if Pence is truly in Mueller’s cross-hairs, that’s a huge game-changer.”

No reporting to date supports the claim that Pence is “in Mueller’s cross-hairs.” The blog Tribe cited, PoliticusUSA.com, has a track record of spreading misinformation.

In January, Tribe cited the same blog to say that Trump’s announcement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to travel to Afghanistan during the government shutdown bordered on “treason” by giving “aid and comfort” to the Taliban.

Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t prevented national media outlets from elevating his profile, quoting him in their articles and hosting him on their panels.

Tribe has appeared on MSNBC five times this year, according to a transcript search on the media monitoring service Grabien.

The Washington Post cited Tribe in an article Monday about Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King, who shared a meme on Facebook saying that Republican states would win in a civil war because they have “8 trillion more bullets.” King deleted the post after criticism.

The Post quoted a tweet from Tribe, who said that King “isn’t actually COMMITTING treason, but he is fomenting and inciting it.” Tribe said King’s meme provided the House of Representatives “[a]mple reason to expel him.”

Tribe’s media appearances have continued long after a May 2017 BuzzFeed report noted his established track record of spreading anti-Trump conspiracy theories.

In one instance BuzzFeed documented, Tribe shared an article from the Palmer Report, a left-wing blog known for spreading misinformation, that claimed Trump had paid then-Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz “$10 million in Russian money” in advance of the 2016 election.

The only source for the conspiracy theory was a tweet from an anonymous Twitter user.

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FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at scarves on sale at a department store in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at scarves on sale at a department store in Tokyo March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

March 20, 2019

By Ritsuko Ando

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s 24-hour convenience stores are struggling to stay open around the clock as an industry that has continually expanded now finds itself at the sharp end of a labor shortage.

Franchise owners, some of whom were forced to work amid massive snowstorms or in the wake of a family death, have launched a campaign to persuade industry leader 7-Eleven to allow stores to close earlier.

Although the debate has focused on their plight, it has also raised doubts over the future of a $100 billion industry that faces an aging population, slow economic growth and new competitors such as Amazon Prime.

“The question is, how much demand is there for 24-hour service in an age when online shopping is expanding?” said Takayuki Kurabayashi, a Nomura Research Institute partner who specializes in consulting for the retail industry.

Japanese convenience stores began expanding in the 1970s as their 24-hour accessibility proved a perfect match with the country’s dense population and late-night work culture.

The brightly lit stores, which locals call “combini,” are ubiquitous and an essential part of modern Japanese life, offering everything from neckties to packaged “bento” lunches for city workers.

Rural Japanese rely on the stores for parcel and ATM services, or even as lifelines during disasters such as earthquakes.

The franchise system promoted a nationwide expansion that took the total number of stores to roughly 58,000 last year, a majority operated by the big three: 7-Eleven, originating in the U.S. but now Japanese-owned; FamilyMart, UNY Holdings’ convenience store arm; and Lawson, a subsidiary of trading house Mitsubishi Corp.

For years, the franchise model shielded operations from the direct effects of Japan’s labor crunch. But now, the tightest labor market more than 40 years is hurting store owners, who pay salaries after handing over royalty fees.

A union of convenience store owners said they were finding it increasingly hard to hire enough employees. Many owners said they worked long hours themselves to keep stores open 24 hours – a requirement in most franchise contracts.

“At the time of the agreement, we could not foresee the current labor shortage or spike in minimum wages,” said Mitoshi Matsumoto, a union member who owns a 7-Eleven store in Osaka, referring to the deal he and his wife signed with the company.

Struggling to keep the store running after his wife’s death last year, he began closing it for a few hours at night, and was threatened with a fine.

His pleas to management and lawmakers drew widespread sympathy in a country in which “work-life balance” has become a buzzword and employers have come under fire for cases of death by overwork.

Even the pro-business Nikkei newspaper wrote an editorial saying stores should be allowed reasonable working hours even if consumers suffer slight inconveniences.

Amid such pressure, the company said that on Thursday, it would begin testing shorter hours at 10 of its more than 20,700 stores. It emphasized that the change was experimental and that it was not yet altering its 24-7 format.

SATURATION AND INNOVATION

Roy Larke, who analyses Japan’s retail industry as editor of JapanConsuming.com, said he sees the sector as saturated and consolidation inevitable.

“We do have too many convenience stores now, sometimes literally next door to each other. There are probably around 10 percent too many,” he said.

Katsuhiko Shimizu, spokesman for Seven & i Holdings which owns 7-Eleven and general merchandise chain Ito-Yokado, disagreed.

“There’s room for innovation,” he said, citing the company’s efforts to incorporate more automation and artificial intelligence in processes ranging from stocking to check-out.

Chains are also testing new formats such as outlets that combine drugstores, dry cleaners and even gyms. FamilyMart has opened some such stores with the country’s largest discount chain, Don Quijote, to inject excitement.

Analysts warn against underestimating a sector known for maintaining high margins and rarely discounting, helped by constant product renewals and staples like 100-yen (90-cent) coffees.

They also say it’s too early to predict the outcome of Japan’s online grocery delivery race, which is only getting started.

Although Amazon’s grocery and same-day delivery services are considered threats, convenience stores are also launching online platforms; their affiliations with traditional supermarkets and logistics networks are seen as advantages.

“It’s not clear-cut whether Amazon will be overwhelmingly powerful here,” said Larke. “Especially in food, it doesn’t have the game to itself.”

Convenience stores, like other Japanese businesses, have also been expanding abroad. But Nomura Research’s Kurabayashi warned that those foreign markets, including China, were also aging.

“What’s happening in Japan is eventually going to happen elsewhere in Asia,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

Arizona police said a YouTube star allegedly threatened her seven adopted kids if they did not appear in her videos, with abuses ranging from pepper spraying the children to forcing them to take ice baths.

Authorities arraigned Machelle Hackney, 48, Tuesday and booked her into Pinal County Jail for child molestation, child abuse, unlawful imprisonment and child neglect counts, ABC News reported Wednesday.

The mother said she disciplined her kids by spanking, grounding or having them stand in a corner, but denied abusing them, NBC News reported.

Hackney runs the channel “Fantastic Adventures,” which has close to 800,000 subscribers and 250 million views. It was started on June 17, 2012.

YouTube confirmed that they stopped monetizing Hackney’s channel once they found out about her arrest. (RELATED: Teacher On Leave After Alleged Link To Punishing Preschoolers By Having Them Stand Naked In A Closet)

Officers were first tipped about the alleged abuse by Hackney’s biological daughter, who was not named, NBC reported. The adopted children allegedly told the biological daughter about the abuse.

The children allegedly “appeared to be malnourished, due to their pale completion, dark rings under their eyes, underweight, and they stated they were thirsty and hungry” upon a welfare check by police, according to ABC.

Pictured is a scared child. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Dean Drobot

Pictured is a scared child. SHUTTERSTOCK/ Dean Drobot

Police reportedly found one child wearing a pull-up diaper in an unlocked closet, according to NBC. The children’s ages were not released.

One child claimed she was in pain for days after getting pepper sprayed between her legs, according to ABC.

“I either get beat with a hanger or belt,” “or a brush,” “or get pepper sprayed from head to toe,” a second child said, ABC reported.

The second child said that Hackney grabbed his “privates,” and pinched him until he bled, according to ABC.

Hackney allegedly wore a mask while using the pepper spray, NBC reported. Police found two cans of pepper spray in the mother’s room.

A probable cause statement said the children were not in school “for years” due to filming purposes, according to ABC. Hackney’s adult sons Logan Hackney and Ryan Hackney were also taken into custody for not reporting the abuses even when they knew about them on March 15.

Ryan Hackney secretly gave the children food when they were locked inside the closet. Logan Hackney admitted to officers that he knew about the pepper spray and ice bath incidents and also heard the kids scream and cry, ABC reported.

The YouTube channel could be terminated if Machelle Hackney pleads guilty or is convicted, according to YouTube.

Machelle Hackney has a preliminary hearing set for March 26, ABC reported.

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The Food and Drug Administration approved Tuesday a drug that will help women suffering from postpartum depression, but only very wealthy women will be able to afford the drug.

“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening. Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child,” the FDA said in a Tuesday statement, announcing the approval of the drug. Women can access the drug brexanolone, also known as Zulresso, through a restricted distribution program at certified health care facility, according to the statement.

The drug is the first treatment for postpartum depression ever to be approved by the FDA. Approximately 400,000 women suffer from postpartum depression in the U.S. every year.

The approval comes after two successful clinical trials showed major improvement in women suffering from postpartum depression after taking the drug. The drug is administered intravenously for a total of 60 hours and patients are monitored throughout.

“This can potentially transform women’s lives and that of their families,” said Sage Therapeutics CEO Steve Kanes, whose company developed the drug, NBC News reported Tuesday. “We’re talking about a single treatment that has durable effects,” he said. “This really is a one-time intervention that gets people on their way. It’s transformative.”

Risks include loss of consciousness and abnormal oxygen levels in the blood, according to the FDA which hasn’t yet decided if the drug is safe for women who are breastfeeding.

The drug infusion costs between $20,000 to $35,000, according to NBC.

“This is for postpartum depression, but it is a step in understanding how we treat depression more broadly,” said brexanolone trial investigator Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody. “We have had the same treatments for depression for 30 years. There’s an enormous need for new, novel ways to treat depression, and to treat it quickly.”

Meltzer-Brody is also the director of the perinatal psychiatry program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to NBC.

The FDA recently approved a nasal spray containing ketamine as a treatment for severe depression. Ketamine is a medication used largely by veterinarians as an anesthetic. It has hallucinogenic effects and produces a trance-like state. (RELATED: FDA Recommends New Nasal Drug For Treating Depression)

“I woke up from a nap, and the thoughts were gone. And they never came back,” said Stephanie Hathaway who suffered from postpartum and participated in a brexanolone trial. “And then hour after hour, I got my energy back. I got my appetite back. I was eating because I was actually hungry, not because people were making me eat,” she said, according to NBC.

The drug will be available in June, according to CNN.

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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

The Food and Drug Administration approved Tuesday a drug that will help women suffering from postpartum depression, but only very wealthy women will be able to afford the drug.

“Postpartum depression is a serious condition that, when severe, can be life-threatening. Women may experience thoughts about harming themselves or harming their child,” the FDA said in a Tuesday statement, announcing the approval of the drug. Women can access the drug brexanolone, also known as Zulresso, through a restricted distribution program at certified health care facility, according to the statement.

The drug is the first treatment for postpartum depression ever to be approved by the FDA. Approximately 400,000 women suffer from postpartum depression in the U.S. every year.

The approval comes after two successful clinical trials showed major improvement in women suffering from postpartum depression after taking the drug. The drug is administered intravenously for a total of 60 hours and patients are monitored throughout.

“This can potentially transform women’s lives and that of their families,” said Sage Therapeutics CEO Steve Kanes, whose company developed the drug, NBC News reported Tuesday. “We’re talking about a single treatment that has durable effects,” he said. “This really is a one-time intervention that gets people on their way. It’s transformative.”

Risks include loss of consciousness and abnormal oxygen levels in the blood, according to the FDA which hasn’t yet decided if the drug is safe for women who are breastfeeding.

The drug infusion costs between $20,000 to $35,000, according to NBC.

“This is for postpartum depression, but it is a step in understanding how we treat depression more broadly,” said brexanolone trial investigator Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody. “We have had the same treatments for depression for 30 years. There’s an enormous need for new, novel ways to treat depression, and to treat it quickly.”

Meltzer-Brody is also the director of the perinatal psychiatry program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to NBC.

The FDA recently approved a nasal spray containing ketamine as a treatment for severe depression. Ketamine is a medication used largely by veterinarians as an anesthetic. It has hallucinogenic effects and produces a trance-like state. (RELATED: FDA Recommends New Nasal Drug For Treating Depression)

“I woke up from a nap, and the thoughts were gone. And they never came back,” said Stephanie Hathaway who suffered from postpartum and participated in a brexanolone trial. “And then hour after hour, I got my energy back. I got my appetite back. I was eating because I was actually hungry, not because people were making me eat,” she said, according to NBC.

The drug will be available in June, according to CNN.

Follow Grace 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: Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi speaks during a news conference at the Carthage Palace in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi speaks during a news conference at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Tarek Amara

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s president called on Wednesday for changes to the new constitution to give the presidency more power, in the latest escalation of a dispute between the two highest offices in the country.

The constitution, adopted in 2014 after the uprising of 2011 that ousted autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, significantly erodes the previously extensive power of the presidency and gives the prime minister and parliament a much bigger role.

But President Beji Caid Essebsi and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed have been at loggerheads since last year, culminating in the president’s son being suspended from the ruling party in September.

Essebsi has called on Chahed to resign but he defied him and formed a new governing coalition last November with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.

Now, with a parliamentary election due in October and a presidential vote starting in November, Essebsi is calling for an overhaul of the nation’s ruling charter.

The parliamentary race is expected to be fought closely by Ennahda, the more secular Tahya Tounes party of Chahed, and the Nidaa Tounes party now led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the president’s son. No one has yet declared their candidacy for the presidency.

“The president has no major functions and the executive power is in the hands of the prime minister,” Essessbi said in a speech broadcast on state television at the Palace of Carthage to mark Independence Day.

“It would be better to think about amending some chapters of the constitution,” he said. The president controls defense and foreign policy – both in reality relatively minor policy areas.

The political wrangling over the past months has alarmed donors who have kept the country afloat with loans granted in exchange for a promise of reforms such as cutting a bloated public service.

The president’s son has accused Chahed of failing to tackle high inflation, unemployment and other problems.

The North African country has been hailed as the Arab Spring’s only democratic success, because protests toppled Ben Ali without triggering the violent upheaval seen in Syria and Libya.

But since 2011, nine cabinets have failed to resolve Tunisia’s economic problems, which include high inflation and unemployment, and impatience is rising among lenders such as the International Monetary Fund.

Annual inflation hit a record high of 7.5 percent in 2018 as the dinar currency tanked, making food imports more expensive.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet attends a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva
FILE PHOTO: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

March 20, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday that Venezuelan security forces, backed by pro-government militias, have cracked down on peaceful dissent, with excessive use of force, killings and torture documented by her office.

Bachelet, addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council, also voiced concern that the latest U.S. sanctions on financial transfers linked to the sale of Venezuelan oil “may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis”.

Venezuelan authorities had failed to acknowledge the extent and severity of the health and food crisis that has driven more than 3 million Venezuelans to flee abroad and they had adopted “insufficient” measures, she told the Geneva forum.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Tom Miles)

Source: OANN

A Starbucks logo hangs outside of one of the 8,000 Starbucks-owned American stores that will close around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday as a first step in training 175,000 employees on racial tolerance in the Brooklyn borough of New York
FILE PHOTO: A Starbucks logo hangs outside of one of the 8,000 Starbucks-owned American stores that will close around 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday as a first step in training 175,000 employees on racial tolerance in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

March 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp is investing $100 million in a newly created fund that will be managed by Tesla Inc investor Valor Equity Partners to promote companies developing new technologies and products for the food and retail industry.

The fund, Valor Siren Ventures Fund, will later seek to raise an additional $300 million, the world’s largest coffee chain said on Wednesday, ahead of its annual shareholder meeting.

“We are inspired by, and want to support the creative, entrepreneurial businesses of tomorrow with whom we may explore commercial relationships down the road,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

Starbucks is the latest U.S. food company to invest in startups. The largest U.S. meat producer, Tyson Foods, started a fund called “Tyson Ventures” in 2016 to invest in businesses that focus on developing plant-based protein, while a clutch of other food and drink brands including Kraft Heinz and PepsiCo Inc have also set up similar funds.

Starbucks reaffirmed its longer-term revenue and profit targets and said it would buy back $2 billion in shares, as part of a commitment to return $25 billion to shareholders through 2020.

The annual shareholder meeting comes as the coffee chain counters sluggish performance in its U.S. business through a revamp of its stores and introduction of fresher food and cold brews that has driven market-beating same-store sales in the past two quarters.

The company’s shares are up about 11 percent since the beginning of the year, compared with a 13 percent gain in the S&P 500 Index.

Valor Equity is an early stage investor in Tesla and its portfolio includes investments in Chicago-based Roti Modern Mediterranean and Wow Bao.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

As the U.S. economy continues to produce positive employment numbers, some Democratic presidential contenders are saying more people than ever are working more than one job to sustain their livelihoods.

But that appears to be more of a political talking point than economic reality, as a Washington Post fact-checker revealed Tuesday. The number of people who have to work more than one job is actually shrinking in Trump’s economy, and in January,  applications for unemployment insurance fell to 1969 levels.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 5: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence look on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence look on as U.S. President Donald Trump … (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

But that hasn’t stopped California Democratic Rep. Kamala Harris from putting her own data out there for voters to consider. (RELATED: February Jobs Report: 20,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment 3.8 Percent)

“[They say,] ‘The economy is great. It is doing great for everybody.’ And then you ask them, ‘Well, how is that?’ Well, they’ll point to the stock market. Well, that’s fine if you own stocks. Then you’ll ask them, what’s your other measure? And they’ll talk about well, the unemployment rate is down. That’s fine,” the Post quotes Harris as saying.

“Yeah, well, I’ve been traveling our country. People are working. They’re working two and three jobs to pay the bills. It’s not working for working people,” she continued, offering anecdotal evidence. Harris also doesn’t talk about the black unemployment being the lowest in history under Trump.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to her supporters during her presidential campaign rally launch … (Mason Trinca/Getty Images)

But the economy is working better than it was a year ago, with only 251,000 workers out of a total workforce of 156 million being forced to find a second full-time job. As the Post notes, that’s 100,000 fewer people than 2018 data shows. There are 7.8 million people who work full-time and supplement their income with another part-time position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is also inclined to push the multi-job panic button when he speaks to supporters. Last week, he declared, “Millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.” (RELATED: The Key To Winning In 2020 Will Be Properly Explaining Socialism, Says Bernie Sanders)

Sanders did not mention that those millions comprise just 5 percent of all employed Americans, according to the Post report. Of that 5 percent, the majority have a secondary job that is part-time.

Former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, also running for his party’s presidential nomination, has painted a similar employment picture of over-worked Americans with little time for rest or relaxation.

“I have already shared with you that many are working second or third jobs. In fact, in Texas, half of your colleagues are working a second or third job just to put food on the table,” O’Rourke told an Iowa crowd, according to Fox News.

The Post fact checker, however, points out that O’Rourke and his team claimed that statistic of “half” the workforce in Texas is working two jobs was actually in regard to teachers only. But the U.S. Department of Education study that used a random sample of teachers showed that only 18 percent of teachers nationwide took up more than one job to earn more money.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Houses are seen in London
Houses are seen in London, Britain January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

March 20, 2019

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain’s main inflation rate ticked up last month but stayed close to January’s two-year low, helping consumers maintain their spending power even as Brexit remained uncertain.

Wednesday’s official data also showed house prices rose at the weakest annual pace seen in five-and-a-half years, dragged by London prices falling by the most since September 2009 — just after the low point of the global financial crisis.

Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in February after a 1.8 percent increase in January, the Office for National Statistics said. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a rate of 1.8 percent.

But core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, edged down, leaving the overall picture of domestic price pressures in Britain muted ahead of Brexit.

The weakening of inflation, combined with the lowest unemployment rate in 44 years and rising wages, has taken the edge off the uncertainty about Brexit for many households whose spending drives Britain’s economy.

Data due for release on Thursday are expected to show retail sales grew by an annual 3.3 percent last month, weaker than immediately before the Brexit referendum in 2016 but above its average for much of the last decade.

Britain’s modest inflation rate is also helping the Bank of England as it holds off on fresh interest rate hikes while it waits for the outcome of Britain’s Brexit impasse.

A group of officials at the central bank have said over the past couple of weeks that they want to see firm evidence of domestic inflation pressure building before they vote to raise rates.

“The rate of inflation is stable, with a modest rise in food as well as alcohol and tobacco offset by clothing and footwear prices rising by less than they did a year ago,” ONS statistician Mike Hardie said.

The ONS said house prices in January rose by an annual 1.7 percent across the United Kingdom as a whole, the smallest increase since June 2013, when Britain was still struggling to shake off the effects of the global financial crisis.

Prices in London alone fell by 1.6 percent, marking 11 months where prices have not risen. The ONS said prices in the capital were down 3.3 percent from their recent peúak in June 2017.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg)

Source: OANN

Police officers and workers in protective suits are seen at a checkpoint on a road leading to a farm owned by Hebei Dawu Group where African swine fever was detected, in Xushui
Police officers and workers in protective suits are seen at a checkpoint on a road leading to a farm owned by Hebei Dawu Group where African swine fever was detected, in Xushui district of Baoding, Hebei province, China February 26, 2019. Picture taken February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Hallie Gu

March 20, 2019

By Dominique Patton

BAODING, China (Reuters) – When pigs on the Xinda Husbandry Co. Ltd breeding farm in northern China began dying in growing numbers in early January, it looked increasingly likely that the farm had been struck by the much feared African swine fever, an incurable disease that has spread rapidly across the country since last year.

But after taking samples from some pigs, local officials in the Xushui district of Baoding city, about an hour’s drive from Beijing, said their tests came back negative, said Sun Dawu, chairman of Hebei Dawu Agriculture Group, the farm owner.

As hundreds of pigs began dying daily on the 20,000-head farm, the company obtained a test kit that showed some positive results for the virus. But after further lobbying by Xinda, officials just offered the company subsidies for farm buildings and other investments, said Sun.

Sun’s account of events and pictures taken by farm staff of dead pigs lying in rows and a pile outside the farm could not be independently verified.

Xushui district said in a faxed response to Reuters on Tuesday that it was opening an investigation into the case, adding that it had found some “discrepancies” with the reported version of events.

“If there is illegal behavior, relevant departments will handle it according to the law,” added the statement from the local government’s investigative committee.

Farmers and other industry insiders told Reuters that China’s African swine fever epidemic is far more extensive than official reports suggest, making the disease harder to contain, potentially causing pork shortages and increasing the likelihood that it will spread beyond China’s borders.

“Our full expectation is that the number of cases is under-reported,” said Paul Sundberg, executive director at the Swine Health Information Center in Ames, Iowa, which is funded by American pork producers.

“And if there’s so much of that virus in the environment in China, then we are at increased risk of importing it.”

China does not permit the commercial sale of African swine fever test kits, though many are now available. Official confirmation must come from a state-approved laboratory.

“Public confirmation of disease is the government’s job,” Sun told Reuters at his company headquarters in Xushui in late February.

Frustrated by the lack of action and mounting losses from the disease, Sun eventually published details of the suspected outbreak on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo on Feb. 22.

Two days later, it became the first African swine fever case in Hebei province, one of the north’s top pig producing regions, to be reported by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, about seven weeks after the company says it had alerted local authorities.

By then, more than 15,000 pigs on the Xinda farm had already died, said Sun, and the company even sold on thousands of pigs – potentially spreading the disease further.

Sun said officials did not explain why their first test had been negative, though he suggested it may have been because they took samples from live pigs on the farm and did not test the dead ones.

China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs did not reply to a faxed request for comment on the case.

The agriculture ministry has warned against covering up outbreaks of the disease, and in January highlighted two large farms that had tried to conceal outbreaks.

UNCONFIRMED OUTBREAKS

Detailed accounts of unconfirmed outbreaks shared with Reuters by two other farm company managers suggest Sun’s experience is not unique.

In one case in northern China last year, local officials declined to even carry out a test. In another case in Shandong province, official test results came back negative, despite clinical symptoms that strongly pointed to African swine fever and a positive test result obtained by the company itself.

Neither manager was willing to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Once an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) is confirmed, all pigs on the farm, as well as any within a 3-km (1.8-mile) radius, must be culled and disposed of, according to Chinese law, and farmers should be paid 1,200 yuan ($180) per pig culled.

For some cash-strapped county governments, avoiding compensation payments could be an incentive not to report disease, said a senior official with a major pig producer.

When the disease hit one of the company’s 6,000-head sow farms in the northeast in November, local authorities did nothing, the official said.

“It was never tested by the government. We couldn’t do the test because we didn’t have the capability. But there’s no question it was ASF, based on the symptoms and lesions,” he told Reuters, declining to be identified because of company policy.

A county official in northeastern Liaoning province told Reuters in January that the local government had poured so much money and resources into preventing and controlling African swine fever that it risked bankrupting the county.

But wealthy Shandong province, northern China’s biggest producer of hogs, has only confirmed one case of the disease, on Feb. 20.

Insiders at one company said four of its farms in the province had suffered swine fever infections, however, suggesting more unconfirmed outbreaks may have occurred.

After the company’s first outbreak in early January the local government tested and the results came back negative, said an executive, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Shandong province’s animal husbandry bureau did not respond to a fax seeking comment on unreported cases.

‘SPATIAL RANDOMNESS’

There is no cure or vaccine for African swine fever and it kills about 90 percent of infected pigs.

Analysts forecast pig production in China, which eats about half of the world’s pork, will fall more than during the 2006 ‘blue ear’ epidemic, one of the worst disease outbreaks in recent years, with some expecting a decline of around 30 percent in 2019.

That would send meat prices soaring and trigger huge demand for imports.

The agriculture ministry said last week the pig herd in February had dropped 16.6 percent year-on-year, and sow stocks were down more than 19 percent.

China also has a patchy record of reporting disease. Details of the blue ear outbreak, which infected more than 2 million hogs, did not emerge until months after the damage had already been done, and the number of pigs that died is still disputed.

Like blue ear, African swine fever does not harm people. But it is classified a reportable disease by the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), a global body that promotes transparency, and member country China is obliged to report each outbreak.

“You need to move faster than the virus, it’s a very simple equation of how to control disease,” said Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at the national research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. “If you don’t know where the virus is, you can’t stop it.”

Since August 2018, Beijing has reported 112 outbreaks in 28 provinces and regions. The increase has slowed considerably in 2019 and the agriculture ministry said earlier this month the situation was “gradually improving”.

But some suspect the disease is worse than the official data suggest.

“I am very much hoping that I am wrong, but if I consider the epidemiological characteristics of this virus disease, I would have to be extremely skeptical,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary epidemiology at the City University of Hong Kong.

He pointed to the “spatial randomness” of the reported outbreaks, unusual for an infectious disease, which normally develops in clusters.

The high rate of detection of the virus in food products carried from China to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia, as well as domestically, also indicated a much higher presence of the virus in Chinese pigs than reported, said Pfeiffer and others.

LARGE FARMS, LARGE LOSSES

With extremely high density of pigs, raised largely on low-biosecurity farms, tackling disease is widely recognized as a major challenge for China.

But the disease has hit both small farms and large producers, say industry insiders, despite better hygiene and training at factory farms.

“The large producers have not been spared,” said a manager with a company that supplies several of China’s top pig producers. “Everyone is trying really hard on biosecurity, but they’re still getting outbreaks, and they’re frustrated and losing hope.”

He said he knew of eight large breeding farms that had experienced outbreaks, including two on very large, 10,000-head sow farms. None were officially reported.

He declined to be named or to reveal the names of the producers because of client confidentiality.

Beijing has not officially reported any swine fever on the farms of large listed producers, whose shares are trading at record levels as investors bet the big producers will benefit from tighter supplies.

Qin Yinglin, chairman of China’s No.2 producer, Muyuan Foods Co Ltd, which raised 11 million pigs for slaughter last year, said most large companies were likely to be infected.

“If you checked carefully, testing one-by-one, then for sure everyone has it,” he told Reuters in an interview. “This is a high probability event.”

He said it was “not yet known” if his firm had been hit.

(For a graphic on ‘African swine fever in China’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2QMhmzL)

(Reporting by Dominique Patton and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Tony Munroe and Alex Richardson)

Source: OANN

Drone footage shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in the settlement of Praia Nova, which sits on the edge of Beira
Drone footage shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in the settlement of Praia Nova, which sits on the edge of Beira, Mozambique, March 18, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 19, 2019. International Federation Of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

MAPUTO/HARARE (Reuters) – Mozambique started three days of national mourning on Wednesday after powerful cyclone winds and flooding killed hundreds of people and left a massive trail of destruction across swathes of southeast Africa.

Cylone Idai, which hit Mozambique’s port city of Beira on Thursday before moving inland, brought winds of up to 170 kph (105 mph) which flattened buildings and put the lives of millions of people at risk.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi said in a televised statement on Tuesday that the cyclone had killed more than 200 people in Mozambique but that more bodies were still being discovered.

In neighboring Zimbabwe, the official death count stands at 98 but is likely to grow as hundreds are still missing.

Rescue crews are still struggling to reach victims, while aid groups say many survivors are trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads and submerged villages.

“Challenges remain in terms of the search and rescue of thousands of people, including children,” UNICEF said. It estimated that 260,000 children were at risk in Mozambique. The Red Cross has said at least 400,000 people have been made homeless in central Mozambique alone.

Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, is home to Mozambique’s second-largest port and serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

Local media reported that there were food and fuel shortages in central Mozambique because Beira was cut off by road.

In eastern Zimbabwe grieving families are rushing to bury their dead because the cyclone has knocked out power supplies and stopped mortuaries from functioning. Zimbabwe’s Grain Millers Association said 100 trucks carrying wheat destined for Zimbabwe were stuck in Beira.

The European Union announced on Tuesday an initial emergency aid package of 3.5 million euros ($3.97 million) to Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe for emergency shelters, hygiene, sanitation and health care. Britain has also pledged aid.

(Reporting by Manuel Mucari and MacDonald Dzirutwe; Additional reporting by Catarina Demony; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Journalists taste test the plant-based hamburgers during a media tour of Impossible Foods labs and processing plant in Redwood City, California
FILE PHOTO: Journalists taste test the plant-based hamburgers during a media tour of Impossible Foods labs and processing plant in Redwood City, California, U.S. October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Vincent Chow

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Start-ups specializing in alternative protein, from eggless eggs to pea-stuffed burgers and cell-grown fish products, are piling into the Chinese territory of Hong Kong to tap the mainland’s booming multi-billion dollar food market.

At a time when traditional meat farmers have seen profits hurt by the U.S.-China trade war and the spread of swine fever, companies such as Impossible Foods, JUST and Beyond Meat are luring affluent Asian consumers with products they say are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than conventional meat.

The global meat substitutes market was estimated at $4.6 billion last year and is predicted to reach $6.4 billion by 2023, according to research firm Markets and Markets. Asia is the fastest growing region.

Backed by some of the world’s top billionaires including Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing, philanthropist Bill Gates and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, plant protein firms are expanding into China for the first time this year.

San Francisco-based JUST, valued at $1 billion and which counts venture capitalist Peter Thiel as one of its backers, is planning to launch its mung bean faux egg product in six Chinese cities starting next month.

“China is the most important market to JUST globally,” said Cyrus Pan, JUST’s China general manager.

JUST has inked deals with Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com to distribute its egg product starting in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen, before expanding to other cities.

The company says the use of mung bean as its key ingredient is important for food security and appeals to the Chinese market given its tradition as a dietary staple.

China has a history of food safety scandals from melamine-tainted eggs, smuggled frozen meat years beyond its expiry date and recycled “gutter oil” to crops tainted with heavy metals.

Nick Cooney, managing partner of Lever VC, a U.S.-Asian venture capital fund focused on alternative protein startups, said firms like his are eyeing joint ventures, exports and product technology licensing opportunities in China.

“Chinese consumers seem to be more open to novel foods than those in nearly any other country,” he said.

Beyond Meat, which makes burgers and sausages from pea protein, has seen sales in Hong Kong increase 300 percent last year, said David Yeung, Beyond Meat’s distributor in the special administrative region.

Backed by Tyson, the world’s largest meat processor, Beyond Meat filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq last November and plans to start distributing in the mainland in the second half of this year.

Rival Impossible Foods, which makes burgers out of soy, has said plant-based meat will eliminate the need for animals in the food chain and make the global food system sustainable.

The group has received around $450 million in funding since 2011 with investments from Lee Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Google Ventures.

Since launching in five restaurants in Hong Kong last April, the group’s products are now in over 100 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau.

Impossible plans to open in mainland China within the next two years. ASIAN TASTES

Hong Kong-based Avant Meats, which uses cell technology to replicate fish and seafood products, is developing a cell-based fish maw prototype due for launch in the third quarter of this year, its chief executive Carrie Chan told Reuters.

Fish maw, or swim bladders, are popular in Asian soups and stews and are used to add collagen to food.

Right Treat, another Hong Kong company headed by Yeung, is replicating Asia’s favorite meat – pork – using mushrooms, peas and rice for use in dumplings and meatballs.

The company has seen its sales of its Omnipork triple since launching in Hong Kong in April 2018. It has since expanded to Singapore, Macau and Taiwan, and plans to sell in mainland China this year.

“If we want to change the world, we must find ways to shift Asian diet and consumption, which means we must find ways to reduce Asia’s dependence on pork and other meat products,” said Yeung, who also runs Green Monday, a startup tackling global food insecurity and climate change.

Omnipork is available at more than 40 stores and will be stocked in major Hong Kong supermarket chains by the end of March, Yeung says.

Advocates say meat substitutes are healthier and also use less water, produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use less land than producing the same amount of meat.

Consumers, however, must be willing to pay a premium.

Omnipork retails for HK$43 ($5.48) for 230g (8 ounces) versus HK$37 for the same amount of minced pork.

Impossible’s burger at HK$88 is more than double the price of a Shake Shack burger in Hong Kong.

Yet the explosion of alternative protein products across Hong Kong has given consumers such as executive recruiter Shazz Sabnani, greater variety.

“Before I had to rely more on vegetables and tofu-based products, whereas now I’ve introduced more of these fake meats to my diet.”

Still, not everyone is convinced about the fake meat trend.

Tseung So, a retired 70-year-old said the spaghetti bolognaise made with omnipork at Green Monday’s “Kind Kitchen” in Hong Kong, was not as tasty as real meat.

“Why would we eat this when we can eat the same dish but with normal pork? I don’t think this will make meat eaters eat less meat but they will probably become more popular with real vegetarians.”

($1 = 7.8496 Hong Kong dollars)

(Writing by Farah Master; Additional reporting by Forina Fu; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: OANN

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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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

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

Ex-Teen Voguer Lauren Duca was on the griddle Tuesday afternoon for a syllabus she wrote for a journalism class she’s teaching this summer at NYU.

The feminist who wrote a column called “Thigh High Politics” is catching major heat on social media for a syllabus that requires students to be on Twitter — or else. In fact, 20 percent of a student’s grade depends on it.

“Do I get an F if she blocked me already?” asked Hannah Gais, who writes for The New Republic and The Baffler.

Gais explained the blocking incident, tweeting, “I’m pleased to note that my social media presence is already ‘fully conceptualized’ as @laurenduca blocked me over a year ago for saying a joke she made while clearly hammered on a Tuesday was bad.”

Brains are already exploding imagining the nightmare this is going to create. After all, this is the woman who once tweeted that she was prepared to “bite some dicks off.” It was in response to some Evangelicals and The Handmaid’s Tale(Related: Lauren Duca Bites Off More Than She Can Chew) 

The Daily Beast‘s media writer Max Tani also mocked her class, tweeting to himself, “Max, you’ll be receiving a c- for your overusage of the phrase ‘let’s get this bread’ in your tweets.”

On Tuesday, Duca attempted self-deprecation in a response to Tani’s tweet.

“20% of the grade in my class is based on the practical application of crafting a personal brand based in journalistic ethics, but maybe I should add in more reading comprehension?” she asked, inserting a cutesy emoji. “Anyway, NYU students, let’s get weird this summer.”

After self-deprecation, she tried another tactic: verbal stabbing.

“For someone whose career has flourished with the help of a routinely captivating Twitter account, this seems oddly bitter,” Duca wrote. “Keep on keepin’ on, Tani.”

“Country Stan,” an arts and culture editor at the Montana Kaimin, the student newspaper at the University of Montana, tweeted, “Lauren Duca is clearly a moron but a lot of NYC media people who spend nine hours a day on twitter and have 30k followers are making fun of the ‘building a social media brand’ aspect of the course and uh ya’ll might need to sit this one out lmao.”

Deadspin‘s Luis Paez-Pumar tweaked her further, saying, “Lauren Duca is assigning TWO of her own stories as readings for the same class, it’s almost admirable how bold that is.”

The class is called “The Feminist Journalist,” and according to her class description, the course involves taking a pointed opinion.

“The truth is not a math equation,” Duca states. “In the middle of the ongoing American dumpster fire, there is, I believe, only one side to journalism, and it is motivated by building a truer, more equitable democracy. As this course will establish, not only does this effort allow for feminist journalists, it renders feminist journalism a moral necessity. We cannot build to social justice without adequate representation of intersectional perspectives.”

Nothing against women or moral necessities, but can’t a woman be a skillful, prominent journalist and not possess Ms. Duca’s quest for feminism?

As Duca puts it, “Media coverage of our current political climate has been plagued by the mental Napalm that I call ‘both sides-ism.’ This is a kind of classic ‘he said she said’ form of journalism where the reporter tries to give both sides of an issue, even if one side is completely bogus.” (RELATED: Lauren Duca Tells Billy Graham To ‘Have Fun In Hell’) 

Has Ms. Duca been attending the Brian Stelter School of Journalism at CNN?

This should be good — in other words, really bad. Yes, journalism typically involves presenting both sides of a story. Unless you’re an opinion writer, that’s the goal.

The course requires two writing assignments and a “fully-conceptualized social media presence.” Each student will invent his or her “brand.” Each week, the student’s “progress” on this stupid front will be discussed.

The goal in Ms. Duca’s class will be whatever is the opposite of objectivity. So here’s some big thoughts strung together by some punctuation: “Our goal will be to create a concrete set of ethics for guiding radical transparency: rather than attempting to pretend the brain is a white board that might be erased, as is the misinterpretation of objectivity, we will aim to share as much as possible, detailing the precise vantage point from which the truth is told.”

This monstrosity of a class will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Duca declares, “In short: It is not only possible to be a feminist journalist, we all ought to be.”

By August, the students should be ready to eat their feelings.

“Let’s eat junk food and have feelings about our past six weeks together,” she writes. “I will plan this week’s activities and discussion based on our conversations throughout the session. Also, carbs.”

Duca deployed sarcasm in response to her critics.

“Shit, slipped up for a quick sec and forgot that being a young woman means I’m supposed to be perfect in every conceivable way,” she wrote.

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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Graeme Gallagher | Contributor

More than 1,000 people are feared dead, four days since Cyclone Idai smashed into the African country of Mozambique, the nation’s president said.

Located in the southeastern part of Africa, Mozambique has over 30 million people and has lately seen entire villages submerged and destroyed by strong winds and heavy rains.

“It is a real disaster of great proportions,” said President Filipe Nyusi on state Radio Mozambique.

While the death toll currently stands at 84 in the nation, Nyusi said that “it appears we can register more than 1,000 deaths.”

Residents are seen protecting themselves by the rain in the aftermath of the passage of the cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, on March 17, 2019. (ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents are seen protecting themselves by the rain in the aftermath of the passage of the cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, on March 17, 2019. (ADRIEN BARBIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Having no way to know officially if the death toll will rise to the president’s number, emergency officials still warned that they expect the death toll to rise significantly. (RELATED: ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Forces Airlines To Cancel Thousands Of Flights)

President Nyusi cut short a visit with a neighboring country over the weekend after hearing news of the storm. After flying over Beira, a port city in Mozambique, and two other rural provinces, Nyusi recalled the devastation he saw.

“The waters of Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” said Nyusi.

The cyclone first struck Beira on Thursday before moving inland to hit neighboring countries Zimbabwe and Malawi. In total, more than 215 people between the three countries were killed by the storm, according to official figures. Specifically, more than 80 people have been killed in eastern Zimbabwe and more than 50 from Malawi.

To help the devastated countries, the Red Cross and U.N. agencies have sent emergency food and medicine by helicopter. The food will be essential, particularly in Beira, where the storm has come right before harvesting season. (RELATED: What Does The Science Actually Say About Global Warming And Midwest Floods?)

“As this damage is occurring just before the main harvest season, it could exacerbate food security in the region,” said OCHA, a U.N. humanitarian office.

Riverbanks have been broken due to the heavy rains in southern Malawi, leading to around 11,000 households to be submerged and displaced. In addition, the flooding has also affected Mount Chiluvo in central Mozambique, causing mudslides that forced families to flee to higher ground.

A man stands next to the wreckage a vehicles washed away on March 18, 2019 in Chimanimani, eastern Zimbabwe, after the area was hit by the cyclone Idai. (ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images)

A man stands next to the wreckage a vehicles washed away on March 18, 2019 in Chimanimani, eastern Zimbabwe, after the area was hit by the cyclone Idai. (ZINYANGE AUNTONY/AFP/Getty Images)

“I was indoors with my children, but when we looked we saw mud coming down the road towards the houses and we fled,” said Francisco Carlitos told Portuguese News Agency, Lusa.

Over 90 percent of Beira has been destroyed or damaged by Idai. In addition, the cyclone has knocked out electricity, cut access to the city by road and shut down the airport, according to the Red Cross. Beira’s Central Hospital’s emergency room has also been flooded, without power and that much of the building’s roof had collapsed. (RELATED: Before And After Image Shows The Extent Of The Flooding In Houston)

Prone to cyclones and typhoons in this time of year, Mozambique has been hit by major floods before. In 2000, weeks of heavy rain caused severe flooding that killed approximately 700 people.

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David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hopes a new speechwriter, a former apologist for the socialist government in Venezuela, will help propel his 2020 campaign to victory. 

Sanders has hired David Sirota to write speeches and act as a communications consultant as the Democratic-Socialist senator continues his quest to win the Democratic nomination for 2020, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally In Des Moines

Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally In Des Moines. Steve Pope/Getty Images

Sirota exhibited his devotion to Venezuela’s brand of socialism during the years of left-wing strongman Hugo Chavez, whose “brand of socialism achieved real economic gains,” according to Sihota. (RELATED: The Key To Winning In 2020 Will Be Properly Explaining Socialism, Says Bernie Sanders)

The journalist was a contributor to Salon magazine in 2013 when he wrote an essay remembering Chavez, who had recently died, praising the despot’s political legacy as an “economic miracle.”

“Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving,” Sirota wrote in Salon. He also argued that the Venezuelan socialism “suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.”

Today, Venezuela appears more than ever a threat to its own citizens as food shortages and a country-wide blackout — phenomenons for which Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro blames on America —have devastated millions of citizens.

There is mass looting on the streets. According to a 2019 United Nations Human Rights Office report, at least 40 Venezuelans have died while protesting in recent years. The country’s possession of huge oil deposits hasn’t prevented it from approaching the makings of a civil war as the political opposition demands change.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido (C), arrives to take part in a demonstration called by the transportation sector to support him, in Caracas on February 20, 2019. (FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader and self declared acting president Juan Guaido (C), arrives to take part in a demonstration called by the transportation sector to support him, in Caracas on Feb. 20, 2019. (FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images)

But for Sirota, the problem was the United States that had “become more unequal than many Latin American nations” and he asked, “Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez’s grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution?”

Sirota’s defense of Venezuela could well be embraced by Sanders, who criticized America’s free market policies and well-stocked supermarkets in the 1980s and argued that queuing-up for bread in the Soviet Union was a symptom of economic freedom. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders, Climate Hawk Spends Nearly $300K On Private Jet Travel In A Month)

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death,” said the Vermont senator, according to the Examiner. Sanders also blamed the United States for the Cold War.

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A general view shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in Beira
A general view shows destruction after Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, March 16-17, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video on March 19, 2019. Care International/Josh Estey via REUTERS

March 19, 2019

MAPUTO/HARARE (Reuters) – Cyclone winds and floods that swept across southeastern Africa affected more than 2.6 million people and could rank as one of the worst weather-related disaster recorded in the southern hemisphere, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.

Rescue crews are still struggling to reach victims five days after Cyclone Idai raced in at speeds of up to 170 kph (105 mph) from the Indian Ocean into Mozambique, then its inland neighbors Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Aid groups said many survivors were trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads, flattened buildings and submerged villages.

“There’s a sense from people on the ground that the world still really hasn’t caught on to how severe this disaster is,” Matthew Cochrane, spokesman for International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

“The full horror, the full impact is only going to emerge over coming days,” he added.

The official death count in Mozambique stands at 84 – but its president Filipe Nyusi said on Monday he had flown over some of the worst-hit zones, seen bodies floating in rivers and now estimated more than 1,000 people may have died there.

The cyclone hit land near Mozambique’s port of Beira on Thursday and moved inland throughout the weekend, leaving heavy rains in its wake on Tuesday.

Studies of satellite images suggested 1.7 million people were in the path of the cyclone in Mozambique and another 920,000 affected in Malawi, Herve Verhoosel, senior spokesman at the U.N World Food Programme said. It gave no figures for Zimbabwe.

WORST FEARS

Several rivers had broken their banks, or were about to, leaving a huge area covered by the waters, and only accessible by air and water, Lola Castro, WFP regional director for Southern Africa, told the U.N. briefing by phone from Johannesburg.

Heavy rains preceded the cyclone, compounding the problems, said Clare Nullis of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said .

“It the worst fears are realized … then we can say that it is one of the worst weather-related disasters, tropical-cyclone-related disasters in the southern hemisphere.” Droughts are classed as climate-related not weather-related.

In Beira, a low-lying coastal city of 500,000 people, Nullis said the water had nowhere to drain. “This is not going to go away quickly,” she said.

Beira is also home to Mozambique’s second largest port, which serves as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

The control room of a pipeline that runs from Beira to Zimbabwe and supplies the majority of that country’s fuel had been damaged, Zimbabwe’s Energy Minister Jorum Gumbo told state-owned Herald newspaper on Tuesday.

“We, however, have enough stocks in the country and I am told the repairs at Beira may take a week,” he was quoted as saying.

(Reporting Manuel Mucari in Maputo and Macdonald Dzirutwe in Harare; Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva and Mfuneko Toyana and Emma Rumney in Johannesburg; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

The Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel pauses during a news conference after a monetary policy review in Mumbai
FILE PHOTO: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel pauses during a news conference after a monetary policy review in Mumbai, India, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

March 19, 2019

By Suvashree Choudhury

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Economists raised concerns over a sharp slowdown in Indian economy and pitched for a monetary policy boost to support growth at a meeting with the nation’s central bank chief on Tuesday, according to three participants.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das met more than a dozen economists to get their views on the economy ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision due on April 4.

Most economists expect the six-member MPC to cut the repo rate by 25 basis points for the second time in a row next month to 6.00 percent, a level last seen in August 2017.

While the economists did not specify the extent of rate cut that the RBI could consider, one of them called for a 50-basis- point reduction, one of the participants said.

“Most of the participants said that monetary policy needs to do the heavy lifting to boost growth as there was no space for fiscal expansion,” another participant said.

The meeting under Das, who took charge in December, was in sharp contrast to the previous ones under former governor Urjit Patel, who was slightly reclusive and preferred to meet a small group of 5-6 economists. Das’ style has, however, been more open and communicative.

India’s economy expanded by 6.6 percent during October-December, its slowest pace in five quarters, on weak consumer demand and investments, dealing a major blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he seeks a second term in office at a general election that kicks off next month.

Slowing growth has hit the federal government’s tax collections, constraining its ability to substantially boost spending ahead of elections.

However, neither Das nor any RBI official from the monetary policy department gave any indication of their thoughts or views, as is typical in such big-group meetings.

Economists and strategists spoke of several issues including drought, liquidity management, exchange rate, inflation, growth, bank credit growth, real interest rates and monetary policy transmission.

“The meeting went on for two-and-a-half hours as there were many participants,” said another economist who attended the meeting.

“But they didn’t say a single word on these topics.”

The RBI did not respond to an email seeking comment on the meeting with economists.

Some economists pointed out that food inflation could begin inching up after September if monsoon rains were not sufficient, but was unlikely to push retail inflation past the RBI’s 4 percent target.

Consumer inflation was at 2.57 percent on-year in February as food prices continued to fall for a fifth straight month.

The economists also raised concerns over a slowdown in global growth that has hurt India’s exports. India’s outbound shipments grew 2.4 percent annually in February, slower than 3.7 percent in January.

“Overall, the view was that the downside risks to growth have increased since the last policy while inflation risks have remained muted,” said a third participant.

“Not many of us clearly specified how much rate cut we wanted, but we presented the facts to make it clear to RBI that there was a need for a big boost to the economy.”

(Reporting by Suvashree Choudhury; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

NFL star Haloti Ngata’s days playing pro football are over, and he had a unique way to announce his retirement.

Ngata, who played for the Ravens, Lions and Eagles during his career, posted a video and photo of himself from Mount Kilimanjaro letting the world know that he is done playing. (RELATED: Eagles Teammates Say Carson Wentz Is ‘Selfish’)

He wrote the following caption:

Just a man standing on top of the world with a heart full of gratitude. Thank you Lord for letting me play the game I love for 13 unforgettable years. I’m retiring on top. I might be finished playing football, but I’m holding tight to the friendships, memories and wisdom I’ve gained along the way. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” Walking away with no regrets, just peace in knowing I gave it my all and had a helluva lot of fun doing it. #kissestotheskyformomanddad @ravens @detroitlionsnfl @philadelphiaeagles

If you’re going to go out, then you might as well go out like a boss. I’m not sure it gets any more boss-like than climbing to the top of a massive mountain with a flag to announce your retirement.

My friends, that’s about as badass as it gets.

On a slight side note, Ngata made nearly $90 million in his 13-year career, which is just a staggering amount of money.

That’s a lot of cash, and I’m sure he won’t be struggling to put food on the table anytime soon.

Best of luck in retirement, Ngata. He’s earned it, and it looks like he’s about to start engaging in a lot of other adventures.

Major props to him for his incredible creativity to break the news.

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FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

March 18, 2019

By John Irish

NAIROBI (Reuters) – On a trip to East Africa last week, a beaming French President Emmanuel Macron was driven through the grounds of the Kenyan president’s official residence in a locally assembled Peugeot 3008 car.

Two days earlier, he toured churches hewn into the rock in Ethiopia. On a visit last year, he went to a Nigerian nightclub.

Macron, 41, is trying to recast the style of France’s engagement in Africa, where it was once a colonial power, hoping that building warmer cultural and personal ties will help boost business, trade and investment.

He signed contracts worth about 2 billion euros ($2.27 billion) while in Kenya, whereas British Prime Minister Theresa May did not conclude any on a similar trip last August.

A consortium led by Vinci secured a 30-year concession worth 1.6 billion euros to operate a highway linking the Kenyan capital and Mau Summit in western Kenya. Renewables firm Voltalia sealed a 70-million-euro contract for a solar power plant and an Airbus-led consortium won a 200 million euro deal for coastal and maritime surveillance.

But Macron’s four-day tour of Kenya, Ethiopia and former colony Djibouti showed how big a battle France faces in Africa, where China, Turkey and others have moved in quickly and aggressively, and competition is fierce from African countries.

In 2017, French exports to Kenya, a former British colony, were about $200 million — about half Uganda’s exports to its neighbor. China exported $3.8 billion, making it Kenya’s biggest trading partner.

The personal touch is vital when competing with China, French officials say.

“We’ve always used that form of diplomacy to implant ourselves,” said a French diplomat in the region. “But it becomes all the more important when facing China, because it differentiates us from their contract-oriented, low-cost, low-interest model of doing business.”

TOUGH TASK

Trade figures across the continent show how tough the task ahead is for France, the world’s sixth largest economy.

From 2000 to 2017, the portion of all French exports that went to Africa halved from 11 percent to 5.5 percent. The main competition has come from Chinese goods, particularly in French-speaking West Africa.

Since coming to office in May 2017, Macron, who spent several months as a diplomatic intern in Nigeria in the early 2000s, has visited 16 African states, with two visits each to Mali and Morocco.

He has focused mainly on long-running relationships in French-speaking Africa, particularly the Sahel, where the responsibilities of the 4,500 French troops deployed there include fighting Islamic State. But he also has sought to build ties with Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Last week’s trip was a chance for Macron to show that “for too long we treated these East African countries like Banana Republics and they don’t like that,” said a former French envoy.

“They have resources, financial means and growth. “I’m not convinced that what is seen as ‘our Africa’ (France’s former colonies) can offer the business opportunities we have elsewhere on the continent.”

France is now seeking more targeted investments in specific sectors. The national development agency pours about 5 billion euros a year into Africa yet that barely scratches the surface alongside the cheap loans, big infrastructure investments and financing by China.

“It’s not easy to develop these economic links,” said Francois Gualme of the French Institute of International Relations, who worked for France’s development agency. “There’s a political presence, but the economic presence remains small.”

“FRANCE MUST COME BACK”

In Ethiopia, Macron said he wanted a new economic relationship, but Beijing has also been forging economic ties with Addis Ababa. China rebuilt, and financed through a multi-billion dollar loan, the rail link between the Ethiopian capital and Djibouti that was constructed by the French in 1917.

There are many signs of China’s presence, including Chinese laborers building skyscrapers or greetings of “Ni Hao” from children. Some Ethiopians resent the Chinese influence and hark back to when French and European influence was felt more widely.

Near the old French railway terminus in Addis Ababa, a group of former rail employees sat chatting in French at the Railway Workers’ Club in between games of petanque.

“You are from Paris, this is all from Paris,” said one who gave his name only as Getachew. “France must come back.”

That sentiment was expressed elsewhere in Ethiopia, where France has said it will share its expertise to develop tourism and rebuild the landlocked country’s navy.

“China is bad for us,” said Wonde, a 30-year-old taxi driver. “They bring China here — workers, food, women — and leave nothing for the Ethiopians.”

But the small group of business leaders that accompanied Macron on his trip showed few signs of cashing in on this sentiment. The delegation included the chief executive of telecoms group Orange, which wants to position itself in Ethiopia before the state telecoms operator is privatized, but its prospects are no clearer after the trip.

Diplomats and members of the delegation said the potential is great in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people, but complained about slow and excessive bureaucracy.

“There’s the political will from the prime minister, but the administration doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that’s being done,” said one French executive. “It will take time to clear the bureaucratic hurdles.”

PROSPECTS IN KENYA

In Kenya, an economy with a long record of enterprise and a British-style bureaucracy, the prospects appear brighter.

Automaker Peugeot assembles two models in the country and a range of French companies — from Vinci to water and waste utility Veolia, energy firm Total and electricity group EDF — are vying for opportunities in the East African country.

But French businesses account for just 1.4 percent of the total market share in Kenya, and France ranks only 17th among trading partners in the region’s most dynamic economy.

“The relationship is not so much unbalanced between our two countries,” Macron said alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “It is worse — it is weak to poor.

Macron said France should develop manufacturing projects based in Kenya. Kenyatta appeared to welcome that but did not respond directly when asked what France could offer that China and other countries could not.

There was, at least, success during the trip for a smaller business. Christophe Passelande, chief executive of Malteries Soufflet, said his barley malting company broke ground on a vast new plant on the outskirts of Nairobi he hopes will tap into Kenya’s large and growing beer market.

“When it comes to malting, the important actors are not Chinese,” Passelande told Reuters. “Our industry has real French know-how, and because of that we’re here first.”

But there is no sign that France is about to catch up with China in Ethiopia.

Asked whether France was a preferable partner to China, an Ethiopian businessman accustomed to working with the Chinese said: “Why would we want to put all our eggs in one basket?”

(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier and Richard Lough; Editing by Luke Baker and Timothy Heritage)

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Flooding caused by Cyclone Idai is seen in Chipinge
Flooding caused by Cyclone Idai is seen in Chipinge, Zimbabwe, March 16, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video obtained March 17, 2019. Tony Saywood via REUTERS

March 18, 2019

HARARE (Reuters) – At least 89 people have died in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai tore across the eastern and southern parts of the country, a government official said on Monday, creating a humanitarian crisis in a nation grappling with economic woes and a drought.

The scale of destruction is only becoming apparent as rescuers reach the most affected areas, near the border with Mozambique.

Chimanimani district has been cut off from the rest of the country by torrential rains and winds of up to 170 km per hour that swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power and communication lines.

“The number of confirmed deaths throughout the country is now 89,” Nick Mangwana, the secretary for ministry of information told Reuters via a text message.

Local officials say the body count is expected to rise.

The United Nations says more than 100 people have died in weeks of heavy rain and flooding in Mozambique and Malawi, where villages were left underwater.

Rescuers are struggling to reach people in Chimanimani, many of whom have been sleeping in the mountains since Friday, after their homes were flattened by rock falls and mudslides or washed away by torrential rains. Many families cannot bury the dead due to the floods.

The government has declared a state of disaster in areas affected by the storm, the worst to hit the country since Cyclone Eline devastated eastern and southern Zimbabwe in 2000.

The country of 15 million people is already suffering a severe drought that has wilted crops. A United Nations humanitarian agency says 5.3 million people will require food aid.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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FILE PHOTO: Injured Islamic state militants are seen in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province
FILE PHOTO: Injured Islamic state militants are seen in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah/File Photo

March 18, 2019

DEIR AL-ZOR PROVINCE, Syria (Reuters) – U.S.-backed fighters have taken positions in Islamic State’s last enclave in eastern Syria, they said late on Sunday, after pounding the tiny patch of land by the banks of the Euphrates.

“Several positions captured and an ammunition storage has been blown up,” said Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, on Twitter.

The enclave resembles an encampment, filled with stationary vehicles and rough shelters with blankets or tarpaulins that could be seen flapping in the wind on Sunday during a lull in fighting as people walked among them.

Backed by air power and special forces from a U.S.-led coalition, the SDF has pushed Islamic State from almost the entire northeastern corner of Syria, defeating it in Raqqa in 2017 and driving it to its last enclave at Baghouz last year.

However, while its defeat at Baghouz will end its control of populated land in the third of Syria and Iraq that it captured in 2014, the group will remain a threat, regional and Western officials say.

The SDF has waged a staggered assault on the enclave, pausing for long periods over recent weeks to allow surrendering fighters, their families and other civilians to pour out.

Since Jan. 9, more than 60,000 people have left the enclave, about half of them surrendering Islamic State supporters including some 5,000 fighters, the SDF said on Sunday.

People leaving the area have spoken of harsh conditions inside, under coalition bombardment and with supplies of food so scarce some resorted to eating grass.

Last month, the SDF said it had found a mass grave in an area it captured.

Still, many of those who left Baghouz have vowed their allegiance to the jihadist group, which last week put out a propaganda film from inside the enclave calling on its supporters to keep faith.

Suicide attacks on Friday targeted families of Islamic State fighters attempting to leave the enclave and surrender, killing six people, the SDF said.

Late on Sunday, the Kurdish Ronahi TV station aired footage showing a renewed assault on the enclave, with fires seen to be raging inside and tracer fire and rockets zooming into the tiny area.

The SDF and the coalition say the Islamic State fighters inside Baghouz are among the group’s most hardened foreign fighters, though Western countries believe its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has left the area.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Asparagus ready for picking is seen in a growing tunnel at Cobrey Farm in Ross-on-Wye
Asparagus ready for picking is seen in a growing tunnel at Cobrey Farm in Ross-on-Wye, Britain, March 11, 2019. Picture taken March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

March 18, 2019

By James Davey and Kate Holton

ROSS-ON-WYE, England (Reuters) – For almost 100 years, Chris Chinn’s family has farmed asparagus in the rolling hills of the Wye Valley in western England.

This year, he fears uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union will keep his eastern European workers away and the asparagus will stay in the ground.

Asparagus grown in Britain is feted by chefs as among the world’s best but the seasonal worker shortage threatens the country’s asparagus industry and the viability of Chinn’s Cobrey Farms business.

It is a predicament shared by many British fruit and vegetable farmers, almost totally reliant on seasonal migrant workers from EU member states Romania and Bulgaria taking short-term jobs that British workers do not want.

At Chinn’s farm, which turns over more than 10 million pounds ($13 million) a year, the workers pick the premium asparagus spears that can grow up to 20 cm a day by hand. Sometimes they pick them twice a day before dispatching them to customers such as Marks and Spencer. and Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco.

“It is incredibly clear cut – there is no UK asparagus on your supermarket shelves without seasonal migrant workers,” Chinn, whose great grandfather started as a tenant farmer in 1925, told Reuters.

“We’re really at the point where we either import the workers or we import the asparagus.”

Britain’s asparagus season is short and early – traditionally running from April 23, known as Saint George’s Day, to Midsummer’s Day in mid-June. It will be the first big test of the 2019 seasonal labor crisis.

NO SHOWS

This year Chinn’s team has had to work much harder to recruit Romanians and Bulgarians who are perplexed by the long Brexit process as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks parliament’s approval for a divorce deal with the EU. They are also wary of the welcome they will receive from Britons, who voted in 2016 to leave the EU.

Though Cobrey Farms has signed up 1,200 workers who are due to start arriving at the end of this month, Chinn fears many will not turn up. He does not think he will be able to harvest the entire crop, meaning valuable asparagus will be left in the fields.

“If we’re 20 percent short of people then we will harvest 20 percent less asparagus,” said Chinn. “UK agriculture’s not a high-margin game, so 20 percent less means we’re in loss-making territory. Fifty percent could sink us.”

Chinn’s concern grew after 20 of the 100 or so workers due to help cultivate the crops in January failed to turn up.

Of 247 workers due to arrive between March 31 and April 6, 125 are yet to book flights, he said. They include 38 who have worked at Cobrey Farms before and stayed in the dozens of static caravans that stand at the foot of the hills on the farm.

Chinn, who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, said uncertainty over eastern Europeans’ employment rights and how long they can stay, combined with a fall in the value of the pound, meant Germany and the Netherlands were now considered more attractive destinations.

“They go somewhere which is most straightforward and any, even minor, hurdles you put in their way is just nudging them ever closer to going somewhere else,” he said.

With just 11 days to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to agree a withdrawal arrangement or an extension, meaning the risk of a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit cannot be ruled out.

If Britain agrees on a divorce deal, a transition period will kick in, maintaining freedom of movement until the end of 2020. In the event of no deal, EU citizens arriving after March 29 would need to register to work for more than three months.

Elina Kostadinova, a 28 year-old harvest manager at Cobrey Farms who is from Varna on Bulgaria’s Black Sea, said many workers were worried about coming to Britain because of Brexit.

“They don’t know if they will be welcomed in the country, how long they may be able to stay, how they may be able to travel and what the future may hold,” she said. “It would be wonderful if the UK government could make a decision, so we can relay this message.”

British farms typically pay workers the national minimum wage of 7.83 pounds an hour plus performance-related bonuses.

Chinn said the idea of British workers plugging the gap was fanciful. He does not expect much help from the supermarkets, where sales volumes have already been negotiated for the season and prices have been fixed, barring exceptional circumstances.

PERMIT TRIAL

Britain’s fruit and vegetable sector relies on up to 80,000 seasonal workers from the EU each year. Having previously been inundated with applications, labor agencies say interest dropped off in 2017 and 2018 as workers from Romania and Bulgaria opted to go elsewhere in the EU.

For the last two seasons, Britain has been short by around 10,000 workers, threatening the food supply and forcing farms to pay higher wages and bonuses. At the end of the summer as workers want to leave, farms will offer free accommodation and to pay the cost of flights to try to persuade them to stay on.

Concordia, a labor agency charity that finds EU pickers for British farms, said it now has to work much harder to recruit.

“U.K. agriculture is definitely entering into a crisis. No labor means no harvesting, which means no fruit and no vegetables on shelves in British supermarkets,” Chief Executive Stephanie Maurel told Reuters.

She was speaking in Moscow after the British government sanctioned a pilot trial for 2,500 workers to enter the country from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova for up to six months over the next two years.

Chinn, who has 3,500 acres of land, wants the government to increase the numbers to 10,000 this summer and over 50,000 in the next couple of years.

“We can’t change this natural cycle of the crop … the crop will come out the ground when it warms up,” he said. “So the key is about not waiting for a total disaster that wipes out large swathes of UK horticulture.”

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Freshman Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Mike Braun of Indiana are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act.
  • Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street” — using their connections to become well-heeled lobbyists once they are out of office.
  • “I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, co-sponsor of a recently introduced bill banning ex-members of Congress from lobbying Congress, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview his bill would help get Congress out of a “rut” — but he’s not expecting the legislation to gain traction anytime soon.

“I think that here you’d attract better people if you didn’t have them make a career out of it,” Braun said. “But so many incentives are put in place with pensions, the ability after you’re done to become a lobbyist, so you do nestle in, and then you start maybe not making the right long-term decisions. You basically make a decision: what will be best for me to nestle in further, be around here longer.”

Braun and Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott are the cosponsors of the Banning Lobbying and Safeguarding Trust (BLAST) Act, introduced Feb. 28. Braun connected the legislation to his reform agenda, including doing away with taxpayer-funded pensions for members of Congress(RELATED: Two Senators Introduce Bill To Keep Members Of Congress From Cashing In As Lobbyists)

Although the lawmakers are “barking up the right tree,” their solution might not be realistic, a government transparency expert told TheDCNF.

(L-R) Incoming Senator Mike Braun, incoming Senator Mitt Romney, incoming Senator Josh Hawley, incoming Senator Marcha Blackburn, Florida Governor and Senatorial connate Rick Scott, and incoming Senator Kevin Cramer pose with Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (3rdR) before a meeting on Capitol Hill November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

(L-R) Incoming Senator Mike Braun, incoming Senator Mitt Romney, incoming Senator Josh Hawley, incoming Senator Marcha Blackburn, Florida Governor and Senatorial connate Rick Scott, and incoming Senator Kevin Cramer pose with Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (3rdR) before a meeting on Capitol Hill November 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

“You generally do see more of a reform agenda from some of the newer members that come into the Senate or into the House. We’re hoping some of their policies actually gain traction and can be supported in a bipartisan way,” Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said in a phone interview. “The public is tired of politics as usual.”

Scott and Braun want to put an end to lawmakers stepping into the so-called “revolving door of K Street.” Current law mandates ex-House members must wait a year to lobby their former colleagues, while ex-senators must wait two.

Few have voiced opposition to the BLAST Act, but Braun predicts “people from everywhere coming out against it” if it ever received a committee hearing. 

“Part of it would have to be where you grandfather the people that are here so you can get people to vote for it,” Braun said. “To be honest, there’s not enough urgency among the average individual here … That’s what we’ve had running the place the last three, four decades and look at the results.”

Scott and Braun’s bill could have unintended consequences, Bruce Mehlman of lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas told TheDCNF.

“The bigger challenge is that registered lobbying represents only a small part of the total spent on influencing government policy, and this proposed law would merely encourage even more ex-Members to avoid disclosure while serving as ‘senior advisors,’ ‘strategists’ or ‘consultants at law and PR firms,’” Mehlman said in an email.

“Whenever you’ve got a system that is so ingrained like this one, I’m sure there will be resourceful ways to skirt,” Braun said in response. “If you craft good legislation from the get-go … you have a way to at least throw something out there as the first barricade.”

Braun also discussed President Donald Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” slogan, which the senator said he used some while campaigning.

“I think [Trump] just shook the system, like maybe on the Richter scale a seven earthquake, but not many buildings toppled,” Braun said.

Braun and Scott want to topple those buildings one at a time, although it’s slow-going. Both were in the small club of freshman senators who arrived on Capitol Hill for the start of the 116th Congress. They would always beat the other lawmakers to lunch by at least 15 minutes, and a friendship was born, Braun said.

“Scott said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve always believed in being punctual,’ and I said, ‘Well, I just like to be the first one in the food line,’” Braun said with a laugh.

They’ve worked on numerous reform-minded pieces of legislation together, including a bill introduced during the partial government shutdown to cut off congressional salaries if Congress fails to pass a budget. It gathered more than 10 cosponsors.

“I think until Scott and I got here a lot of people spoke about it in their campaigns, but we’re in here actually dropping bills. That’s the difference,” Braun said.

Braun is serving his first term in the Senate after beating former Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly in a close race during the 2018 midterm elections. A former state representative, Braun grew his father’s automotive parts business Meyer Distributing and has a multimillion-dollar net worth. He self-funded his Senate campaign through the Republican primary, reported The Indianapolis Business Journal.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his visit to the Hydroelectric Generation System on the Caroni River, near Ciudad Guayana
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during his visit to the Hydroelectric Generation System on the Caroni River, near Ciudad Guayana, Bolivar State, Venezuela March 16, 2019. Miraflores Palace/Handout via REUTERS

March 17, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is planning a “deep restructuring” of his government, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said on Sunday, as the country recovers from a prolonged blackout amid a power struggle with the opposition.

“President @NicolasMaduro has asked the entire executive Cabinet to put their roles up for review in a deep restructuring of the methods and functions of the Bolivarian government, to protect the fatherland of Bolivar and Chavez from any threat,” Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, referring to independence leader Simon Bolivar and former President Hugo Chavez.

The possible reshuffling comes on the heels of a nearly weeklong blackout that paralyzed the OPEC nation, which had already been experiencing a hyperinflationary economic collapse, shortages of food and medicine and the emigration of millions of citizens.

Maduro has blamed the blackout on a cyber attack perpetrated by the United States and sabotage by the domestic opposition, but local electrical engineers told Reuters it was the result of years of underinvestment and lack of maintenance of the country’s power plants and electricity grid.

He is facing a challenge to his presidency from Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, arguing that Maduro’s May 2018 re-election was illegitimate. Most Western countries have recognized Guaido as the country’s rightful leader.

Maduro has repeatedly changed Cabinet members since taking office in 2013, with members of the military rising to posts heading the oil, interior and electricity ministries.

In a visit to electricity workers in southern Bolivar state on Saturday, Maduro pledged a restructuring of state power company Corpoelec and promised to create a unit in the armed forces focussed on protecting key infrastructure from cyber attacks.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

Alexander Markovsky | London Center for Policy Research

Welcome to Venezuela, the latest shining exemplar of the triumphant socialism.

In 2013, David Sirota summarized the prevailing sentiment of the left in his article “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle.” He wrote, “The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.”

It was then. Today, “real economic gains” resulted in complete collapse of the economy; hyperinflation, the blackouts, shortages of food and medicines, lack of basic services and three million of refugees. It proves what should be self-evident — democratic socialism, loved and revered by American socialists, is substantively no different from any other socialist brands.

Yet the true believers do not relinquish ideas that have been disproved repeatedly by historical precedents, and no amount of reality can shake their convictions. For them, acceptance of reality equates to a denial of faith.

It’s always the same — this time it is different; this time socialism is democratic. So, what is this mysterious democratic socialism? The defining characteristic of democratic socialism is its relation between power and legitimacy. Democratic socialists use legitimacy to gain power and then use power to validate their legitimacy. They took a page from their Bolshevik predecessors whose peculiar relation between power and legitimacy was defined by Yaakov Sverdlov, the chairman of the Bolshevik Central Executive Committee, who famously declared, “power is always legitimate because power makes laws.”

Regardless of how the socialists came to power, and despite some differences in interpretation between Christian democratic socialism, Soviet-style revolutionary socialism, social democratic socialism or any other kind of socialism, they all are branches of the same egalitarian tree that produced Marxism, Leninism, and Stalinism and share the common mantra, “fair and equitable.”

The differences are superficial. The goal of socialism is economic equality. The ultimate irony is that economic equality can only be achieved in poverty. There is no equality in wealth. In this context, socialism always works, it works as it supposed to. Venezuela is not socialism’s failure; it is actually a fulfillment.

Democratic socialism is the Marxist’s Trojan horse. It enacts socialism by installing the Hugo Chavezes of this world through the democratic process.

Whether the Venezuelans voted for socialist serfdom knowingly or not is irrelevant. In a democracy the will of the majority is supreme. Hugo Chavez was a democratically elected leader of Venezuela and enjoyed wide popular support. Nicolás Maduro is his legal successor. We have to respect the people’s will and let them have it. They deserve it. Elections have consequences. For Americans who haven’t learned much in school or suffered a memory loss and voted for Democrats in the last elections, Venezuela is a foretaste of what is yet to come.

Some hotheads in Washington are contemplating military intervention. Whatever the underlining justification for intervention may be, there is no inevitable necessity for it, neither from security nor from political considerations.

Although the United States has every reason historically and geopolitically to prevent Latin America from going socialist, the most efficient way to do so is nurture and preserve Venezuela’s socialist rule as an example for other psychopaths calling for equality and left-wing lunatics willing to vote for it. But, most importantly, from geopolitical point of view, what would be the lesson? If irresponsible voters need fear no consequence other than a return to status quo ante, would a recurrence of democratic socialism somewhere else including the US not be likely?

A military intervention may turn into another unmitigated disaster costing American lives and billions of dollars. We will undoubtedly end up morally invested in Venezuela helping to rebuilt failed nations at the expense of American taxpayers.

I do not personally regard the whole of Venezuela, even if it burns down to the ground, as worth the life of a single American marine.

The great axiom of political science is to never interfere with an enemy that is about to destroy itself.

Alexander G. Markovsky (@AlexMarkovsky) is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think hosted at King’s College, New York City, which examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues, He is the author of “Anatomy of a Bolshevik” and “Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It.” He is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC.


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: Surrendering families of Islamic State militants in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria
FILE PHOTO: Surrendering families of Islamic State militants in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah/File Photo

March 17, 2019

BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) – The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday over 60,000 people, mostly civilians, had flooded out of the Islamic State militant group’s last enclave in eastern Syria since a final assault to capture it began over two months ago.

SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told journalists that 29,600 people, the majority of whom were families of fighters of the group, had surrendered since the U.S.-backed forces led by the Kurdish YPG laid siege to the town of Baghouz and its hinterland on the Euphrates River.

Among them were 5,000 militants, the SDF said.

Another 34,000 civilians were evacuated from Baghouz, the last shred of territory held by the jihadists who have been driven from roughly one third of Iraq and Syria over the past four years, Gabriel said.

The group said that 1,306 “terrorists” had been killed alongside many who were injured in the military campaign that began on Jan. 9 while 82 SDF fighters had been killed and 61 injured.

The SDF said another 520 militants were captured during special operations conducted in the last militant bastion that comprises a group of villages surrounded by farmland where IS fighters and followers retreated as their “caliphate” was driven from once vast territories.

Former residents say hundreds of civilians have been killed in months of heavy aerial bombing by the U.S. led coalition that have leveled to the ground many of the hamlets in area along the border with Iraq.

The SDF has mostly transferred the tens of thousands who have fled Islamic State’s shrinking territory in recent months to a camp at al-Hol in the northeast.

The United Nations says the camp now holds around 67,000 people, 90 percent of them women and children – well beyond its capacity. Camp workers say they do not have enough tents, food or medicine. They have warned of diseases spreading.

(Writing by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An electric scooter from the ride sharing company Lyft is shown on a downtown sidewalk in San Diego
FILE PHOTO: An electric scooter from the ride sharing company Lyft is shown on a downtown sidewalk in San Diego, California, U.S., March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

March 17, 2019

By Carl O’Donnell and Joshua Franklin

(Reuters) – Ride-hailing platform Lyft Inc will launch the investor road show for its initial public offering on Monday, seeking to raise as much as $2 billion and to be valued at more than $20 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lyft will be seeking to convince investors to make large commitments to its IPO, rather than hold out for its larger rival Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], which is planning to launch its own public offering next month, the sources said.

Lyft will meet with investors across the United States before pricing the IPO and listing on the Nasdaq at the end of the month, the sources said. It will be pitching itself as a more focused bet on ride-hailing to differentiate itself from Uber, which has diversified to areas such as food delivery and freight hauling and expanded around the world, the sources said.

Uber is seeking a valuation as high as $120 billion at its IPO, although some analysts have pegged it closer to $100 billion based on selected financial figures it has disclosed. Neither Uber nor Lyft are profitable.

Lyft’s IPO will give provide a funding boost as it continues to subsidize rides with promotions to attract passengers. The windfall from the IPO will also help finance investments in areas such as autonomous driving, the sources said.

Lyft declined to comment.

After a quiet start to the year, technology companies are lining up for public listings as public equity markets hover near historic highs, but remain vulnerable to geopolitical concerns, including tensions over trade agreements and a slowdown in economies including Europe and China.

Other Silicon Valley unicorns – startup companies with valuations of at least $1 billion – including business messaging company Slack Technologies Inc and image-sharing company Pinterest Inc, are waiting in the wings to go public later in 2019, sources have said.

FIRST OF ITS KIND

Lyft’s IPO will mark the first time a ride-hailing company has debuted on the U.S. public markets. Lyft launched in 2012 and is led by its founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer.

The ride-hailing industry, which touted $36.5 billion in sales globally in 2017, is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, but is fraught with questions about the future of automated driving, regulatory pushback and legal challenges over drivers’ pay and benefits.

Lyft will emphasize to investors its rapid growth in the United States and its relatively uncomplicated business model, which focuses on selling rides in cars, bikes and scooters, Reuters has reported.

In its IPO filing, Lyft said its U.S. market share has risen to 39 percent, from 35 percent early in 2018, gaining some ground on long-dominant Uber. Unlike Uber, Lyft operates only in North America.

Lyft’s revenue was $2.16 billion for 2018, double the previous year and up 528 percent from $343 million in 2016. But Lyft posted a loss of $911 million for 2018, which climbed from $688 million in 2017 and $682 million in 2016, according to its IPO filing.

Losses could continue to mount, Lyft cautioned, as it continues to invest and eye a broader international expansion, and it could be forced to increase driver pay.

Uber’s revenue last year was $11.3 billion, while its gross bookings from rides were $50 billion. But the company lost $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russia and Southeast Asia.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Toyota Motor Corp are part of a consortium of investors in talks to invest $1 billion in Uber’s self-driving car unit, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Taking on large investors that will influence a key business is an unusual move for a company so close to an IPO.

(Reporting by Carl O’Donnell and Joshua Franklin in New York; additional reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country's rightful interim ruler, takes part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government, in Guacara
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognised as the country’s rightful interim ruler, takes part in a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government, in Guacara, Venezuela March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

March 16, 2019

By Tibisay Romero

VALENCIA, Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader and National Assembly head Juan Guaido said on Saturday he was launching a “new phase” in his push to oust President Nicolas Maduro, pledging to travel across the country before “reclaiming” the presidential palace.

Guaido, who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, saying Maduro’s re-election was illegitimate, called on thousands of supporters to stay committed to what he dubbed “Operation Freedom.”

“Very soon, when we have visited and organized every inch … we will go to Miraflores and reclaim what belongs to the Venezuelan people,” Guaido said, referring to the palace, in a speech in the industrial city of Valencia 176 km (109 miles) west of Caracas.

Most Western countries, including the United States, have recognized Guaido as the OPEC nation’s legitimate head of state and called on Maduro to step aside. But Maduro, a socialist who says he is the victim of an attempted U.S.-led coup, retains the support of the armed forces and control of state functions.

Guaido’s campaign until now has mostly focused on mobilizing supporters in the capital Caracas, where power has largely been restored following a nearly weeklong blackout that paralyzed a country already suffering from a hyperinflationary economic collapse and chronic shortages of food and medicine.

But the restoration of basic services has been slower in the country’s interior. In sweltering Maracaibo, the second-largest city, prolonged power outages led to the looting of shops and factories, and many merchants demanded foreign currency for purchases while electronic payment systems were down.

“I am certain we will move forward,” said hairdresser Irasai Torres, 60, who attended Guaido’s speech in Valencia, which has been hard-hit by factory closures and the departure of foreign firms. “My life is at a crossroads – we never have water, electricity has been going out for years, and we need to wait in line for food. We do not deserve this.”

Maduro has blamed a U.S. cyber attack for the outage, and this week the country’s chief prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to probe Guaido for alleged involvement in “sabotage” of the country’s electricity system. But local electrical engineers told Reuters the blackout was the result of years of lack of maintenance.

(Additional reporting by Corina Pons in Caracas; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Richard Chang)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in Baar
FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company’s headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

March 16, 2019

By Aditya Kalra and Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s antitrust watchdog raided units of global commodities trader Glencore and two other firms in Mumbai on Saturday in an inquiry into alleged collusion on the price of pulses, four sources with knowledge of the raids told Reuters.

More than 25 antitrust officials carried out the raids at the offices of local units of Glencore and Africa’s Export Trading Group, and India’s Edelweiss group which previously had a commodities business, two government sources told Reuters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been investigating allegations that the companies formed a cartel to discuss the pricing of pulses while importing and selling them in the Indian market at higher prices in 2015 and 2016, when India faced an acute shortage, the sources said.

A spokesman for Switzerland-based Glencore, Charles Watenphul, declined to comment, while India’s Edelweiss, which sold its commodities trading business in November 2016, and the Export Trading Group did not respond to requests for comment.

Two years of drought pushed up prices of pulses such as chickpeas and black grams, which are a staple of Indian cuisine, in 2015 and forced New Delhi to offer duty-free imports, encouraging foreign and Indian traders who imported pulses to sell locally.

“The collusion by these companies led to higher prices of pulses,” one of the government sources said, adding that the CCI’s inquiry started three months ago.

The investigation will also assess whether the companies have continued their alleged collusion even after the prices of pulses stabilized in recent years, the source said.

IMPORT PRICES

The raids on five company offices in India’s financial capital began on Friday and were concluded on Saturday.

Antitrust officials collected evidence, including documents and e-mails, and questioned company officials during the raids, a second government source said.

Another source, an industry executive, told Reuters that CCI’s search involved going through company records at Glencore’s office in Mumbai, confirming it was part of the watchdog’s probe into accusations of fixing import prices.

The drought during 2015 wilted crops and exacerbated shortages of food such as protein-rich pulses and India, which consumes about 22 million tonnes of pulses annually, faced a shortfall of 7-8 million tonnes in 2015-16.

The CCI’s raids on commodities traders mark only its fourth such search operation in its near 10-year history. They can only be conducted with approval from a judge.

In October, the CCI raided the offices of global brewers such as Carlsberg and Anheuser Busch InBev and found e-mails which allegedly showed violations of Indian anti-trust laws. (https://reut.rs/2JeQKEs)

The brewing companies have pleaded leniency under a CCI program, Reuters has reported.

(Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Mayank Bhardwaj; Additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Aditi Shah; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

Apple watches are seen at a new Apple store in Chicago
Apple watches are seen at a new Apple store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., October 19, 2017. REUTERS/John Gress

March 16, 2019

By Manas Mishra

(Reuters) – The Apple Watch was able to detect irregular heart pulse rates that could signal the need for further monitoring for a serious heart rhythm problem, according to data from a large study funded by Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, demonstrating a potential future role for wearable consumer technology in healthcare.

Researchers hope the technology can assist in early detection of atrial fibrillation, the most common form of irregular heart beat. Patients with untreated AF are five times more likely to have a stroke.

Results of the largest AF screening and detection study, involving over 400,000 Apple Watch users who were invited to participate, were presented on Saturday at the American College of Cardiology meeting in New Orleans.

Of the 400,000 participants, 0.5 percent, or about 2,000 subjects, received notifications of an irregular pulse. Those people were sent an ECG (electrocardiography) patch to wear for subsequent detection of atrial fibrillation episodes.

A third of those whose watches detected an irregular pulse were confirmed to have atrial fibrillation using the ECG technology, researchers said.

Some 84 percent of the irregular pulse notifications were later confirmed to have been AF episodes, data showed.

“The physician can use the information from the study, combine it with their assessment … and then guide clinical decisions around what to do with an alert,” said Dr. Marco Perez, one of the study’s lead investigators from Stanford School of Medicine.

The study also found that 57 percent of participants who received an alert on their watch sought medical attention.

For Apple, the data provides firepower as it pushes into healthcare. Its new Series 4 Watch, which became available only after the study began so was not used, has the ability to take an electrocardiogram to detect heart problems and required clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who was not involved in the trial, called it an important study as use of this type of wearable technology is only going to become more prevalent.

“The study is an important first step in figuring out how can we use these technologies in a way that’s evidence based,” he said.

Researchers urged caution by doctors in using data from consumer devices when treating patients. But they also see great future potential for this type of technology.

“Atrial fibrillation is just the beginning, as this study opens the door to further research into wearable technologies and how they might be used to prevent disease before it strikes,” said Lloyd Minor, dean of Stanford School of Medicine.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Friday that his 2020 campaign voluntarily recognized a bargaining unit organized with a labor union, making it the first major party presidential campaign to do so.

“I’m proud that our campaign is the first presidential campaign to unionize. We cannot just support unions with words, we must back it up with actions,” the Independent senator tweeted. “On this campaign and when we are in the White House, we are going make it easier for people to join unions, not harder.”

A majority of the Sanders campaign staffers decided upon United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 as the representative union. The union primarily represents food and retail service workers, however, it also represents employees of Solidarity Strategies, which is Chuck Rocha’s consulting firm, reported The Huffington Post. Rocha has a close relationship with Sanders, serving as his senior advisor on both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

“Bernie Sanders is the most pro-union candidate in the field,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement. “He’ll be the most pro-union president in the White House and we’re honored that his campaign will be the first to have a unionized workforce.” (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Emerges As Early Frontrunner As Democrats Line Up To Announce For 2020 Race)

Steve Pope/Getty Images

Steve Pope/Getty Images

After months of speculation, Sanders announced in February that he will enter the race to run for president on the Democratic ticket. He kicked off his campaign as the party’s frontrunner, consistently polling as the top contender behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who has yet to reveal his presidential aspirations. Of the candidates who have officially entered the race, Sanders has been leading the pack for months.

Follow Molly @mollyfprince

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Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Sanders takes the stage in Concord
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) takes the stage at a campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

March 15, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Workers on Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign have joined a labor union, becoming the first presidential campaign in history to unionize.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 will represent the campaign workers as Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, seeks the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Sanders, a progressive who is a staunch supporter of unions, said on Twitter he was “proud that our campaign is the first presidential campaign to unionize.”

Mark Federici, president of Local 400, said in a statement he hoped “this breakthrough serves as a model for other presidential campaigns, as well as party committees and candidates for other offices.”

Sanders, 77, announced his candidacy in February and will compete in a crowded field of more than a dozen Democratic challengers seeking the nomination to face the likely Republican candidate – President Donald Trump – in the 2020 election.

Sanders, who narrowly lost the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, has been among the leaders in early opinion polls of prospective 2020 Democratic candidates.

In January, Sanders apologized to women campaign workers who said they had been harassed or mistreated by male campaign staffers during his 2016 White House bid.

A majority of Sanders’ campaign workers signed a union card by Friday, triggering the union’s recognition, the union said. All campaign employees below the rank of deputy director will be represented by the union, which said the number could grow to more than 1,000 members.

The next step is for the campaign and the union to begin negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement, the union said.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

Workers on Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' campaign have joined a labor union, becoming the first presidential campaign in history to unionize.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 will represent the campaign workers as Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, seeks the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Sanders, a progressive who is a staunch supporter of unions, said on Twitter he was "proud that our campaign is the first presidential campaign to unionize."

Mark Federici, president of Local 400, said in a statement he hoped "this breakthrough serves as a model for other presidential campaigns, as well as party committees and candidates for other offices."

Sanders, 77, announced his candidacy in February and will compete in a crowded field of more than a dozen Democratic challengers seeking the nomination to face the likely Republican candidate – President Donald Trump – in the 2020 election.

Sanders, who narrowly lost the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, has been among the leaders in early opinion polls of prospective 2020 Democratic candidates.

In January, Sanders apologized to women campaign workers who said they had been harassed or mistreated by male campaign staffers during his 2016 White House bid.

A majority of Sanders' campaign workers signed a union card by Friday, triggering the union's recognition, the union said. All campaign employees below the rank of deputy director will be represented by the union, which said the number could grow to more than 1,000 members.

The next step is for the campaign and the union to begin negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement, the union said.

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO - The Midnight Stone ship carrying containers with humanitarian aid for Venezuela is docked, in the port of Willemstad on the island of Curacao
FILE PHOTO – The Midnight Stone ship carrying containers with humanitarian aid for Venezuela is docked, in the port of Willemstad on the island of Curacao, February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

March 15, 2019

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands and the United States reached an agreement on Friday to use facilities on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao for possible distribution of aid to nearby Venezuela, Curacao’s prime minister said.

The island will only be used for civilian operations to deliver aid, such as food and medicines, to Venezuela if the Venezuelan government explicitly allows it, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said last month.

Curacao Prime Minister Eugene Ruggenaath said on Twitter the United States and the Netherlands signed an agreement detailing the access and use of facilities in Curacao as a humanitarian hub for aid to Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly refused to let foreign aid into Venezuela, despite a deep economic crisis marked by shortages of food and medicine and hyperinflation.

Maduro has called U.S.-led aid efforts a veiled invasion meant to push him from power, and has insisted that there is no crisis in the country.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has been pressing for humanitarian aid to be allowed in. The Netherlands has joined the United States and around 50 other countries in recognizing Guaido, who is head of the National Assembly, as the interim president of the country.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Quote of the Day:

“Yes, the one way to show empathy for people murdered at their place of worship is to mock prayer.” 

Ben McDonald, Washington correspondent, Campus Reform, in reaction to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who wasted no time in angering some people with her reaction to the New Zealand massacre.

She tweeted, “At 1st I thought of saying, ‘Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.’ But I couldn’t say ‘imagine.’ Because of Charleston. Pittsburgh. Sutherland Springs. What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”

AOC went on to say, “This is a time of great vulnerability for our communities. We must come together, fight for each other, & stand up for neighbors. Isolation, dehumanizing stereotypes, hysterical conspiracy theories, & hatred ultimately lead to the anarchy of violence. We cannot stand for it.” (RELATED: AOC Wants Reporters To Stop Harassing Her, But Enjoy Her Mom’s Lasagna) 

Journo tries to conserve her energy while covering New Zealand massacre 

“I’ve refrained from reading much on the #NZmosqueattacks this morning because I know once I get to work this afternoon I will be knee-deep in it. Frankly, I‘m trying to conserve my emotional energy.” Ginella Massa, reporter, City News in Toronto.

The late Maya Angelou is offending some young people

That’s Ms. Angelou to you.

Things are going terribly for Howard Schultz on the campaign trail 

“Yesterday I gave a speech on failed political leadership in this country. A point I tried to make is that leaders must take responsibility and own their mistakes. Today I said I spent more time with the military than any candidate running for president. That was wrong. I apologize to @PeteButtigieg @TulsiGabbard who served our country honorably. In that moment I made something that should unite us all, about me. I made a mistake and I apologize.” — Howard Schultz, possible Independent candidate for prez in 2020. One day you’re up, the next you’re down. On Thursday, he called out WaPo for being fake news.

How President Trump lulled Erick Erickson out of the ‘Never Trump’ category 

“My hands were literally inside the branches of our Christmas tree trying to push it into place in storage with my phone ringing and I had to answer on my Apple Watch with my nose because I couldn’t move my other hand to get the phone out of my pocket. And suddenly there’s a lady who says ‘Is this Erick Erickson?’ and when I say yes she says, ‘please hold for the president.’ I let the tree fall and got my phone out of my pocket.” — The Resurgent‘s Erick Erickson told The Daily Beast‘s Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay. Read the story here.

WTF to person who RSVP’d to this dude’s wedding without his or her name 

“Shout out to the person who appears to have RSVP’d no to our wedding, but didn’t write their name on the card, didn’t write a return address and managed to not actually put the check in either of the boxes for yes or no.” — Kyle Feldscher, breaking news editor, CNN Politics.

The Observer

“Beto has youth pastor energy; that’s for sure. But youth pastors never want to stay youth pastors. They always want to be senior pastors. The thing is…they never should be.” — Laura Turner, San Francisco-based freelance writer, working on a book about anxiety.

Ex-Obama aide basically advises Beto to be a honey badger 

“If Beto continues to create his own weather, he won’t need to care much about elites/press/Republican reaction to him. We’ve all seen how you can beat establishment at its own game if you are willing to not care what they think.” — Jennifer Palmieri, former comms director for Hillary Clinton and former President Obama.

CNNer says New Zealand’s ‘sheltering in place’ is necessary 

“The universal question in every crisis: how are my kids? This is why sheltering in place of all school children is so difficult but necessary. Parents need to listen, not violate lockdown, free resources for public safety. It is, of course, unbearable. #ChristchurchMosqueAttack.” — Juliette Kayyem, CNN.

Washington isn’t so ‘shitty’ — Daily Beast reporter says city has phenomenal Chinese food

“Washington DC is an amazing city, and to all of you esp. in other places who shit all over it all the time because all u know of it is like Metro Center & rancidly corrupt politicians, I would argue that the quality of the best Chinese food in DC alone makes the city worth it.” — Asawin Suebsaeng, reporter, The Daily Beast.

Rev. Jesse Jackson’s shoutout to Quincy Jones 

“Happy Birthday @QuincyDJones. Q, we love you! May you have 86 more! Keep Hope Alive!” — Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. 

Avenatti threatens Jacob Wohl with ‘enormous trouble’ 

“To Jacob Wohl: I can promise you that you are about to be in an enormous amount of trouble. And I am going to enjoy every minute of my involvement. When you fabricated claims against Mueller and me, you made a very serious mistake. You will shortly learn a very costly lesson.” — Michael Avenatti, ex-lawyer to Stormy Daniels.

NYT columnist warms media to be careful covering the New Zealand manifesto 

If he can’t figure it out, what makes you think you can? 

“Media: be careful with the NZ shooter’s apparent manifesto. It’s thick with irony and meta-text and very easy to misinterpret if you’re not steeped in this stuff all the time (and even if you are).”— Kevin Roose, tech columnist, NYT. “Seriously, this entire thing is a minefield. I am Very Online and I don’t feel 100% certain about what’s genuine and what’s just trolling/posting/media-baiting. Please be careful.”

Journo says there was ‘pure evil’ in New Zealand 

“It’s hard to fathom the pure evil on display in New Zealand tonight. God be with the victims and their families.” — David French,  National Review Institute.

Gossip Roundup

Tamron Hall, 48, is expecting a baby within weeks. She secretly wed music exec Steven Greener. Here.

Meet the 23-year-old… who uncovered the shitty things Media Matters Prez Angelo Carusone wrote about in his past. Here.

Meghan Markle‘s family from hell continues. Her half-brother is in diversion program for a DUI. Here.

NBC’s Chuck Todd is traveling to Iowa to interview presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) for this Sunday’s “Meet the Press.”

Presidential Dem hopeful Beto O’Rourke allegedly wrote a murder fantasy about children being run over in the street. Here.

Fox News’s Sean Hannity had no idea a bug was crawling across his neck on air. Comedian Sarah Silverman was pretty disgusted about it.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard University
FILE PHOTO: Ricardo Hausmann from Harvard University speaks on Day 1 of Securing Sport 2015 – the annual conference of the International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS). Photo Andrew Kelly for ICSS/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Inter-American Development Bank on Friday ousted the representative of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and replaced him with an economist backed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, a major setback for the Maduro government.

The decision makes Latin America’s largest regional lender the first financial institution to back Guaido and would free up development lending to Venezuela if Maduro steps down.

Guaido, who has the support of over 50 countries, including the United States and many in Latin America, named Harvard University economist Ricardo Hausmann as his representative to the IADB.

Washington has said that billions of dollars of financing from multilateral banks will be needed to rebuild Venezuela’s economy, which has been crippled by years of hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine.

The IADB said in a statement the appointment of Hausmann was effective immediately, following a vote by the lender’s 48-member board of governors.

The Washington-headquartered lender said a sufficient number of members had voted “to meet the requirements of quorum and favorable votes for a decision.”

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund’s board of member countries agreed to delay a discussion on recognizing Guaido until next week, board sources with knowledge of discussions told Reuters.

The board meeting, which was scheduled for Thursday, was delayed at the request of several European countries which needed to consult with their governments, the sources said.

Maduro retains the support of China, Russia, and some regional countries, including Cuba and Bolivia, whose leftist President Evo Morales criticized foreign meddling in Venezuela earlier on Friday.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Looters have all but emptied stores and warehouses across western Venezuela as large parts of the country remain without power more than a week after a mass blackout.

The mobs overwhelmed Venezuela’s security forces and broke into buildings. People stole cars, trucks and equipment. Hundreds of businesses in the Venezuelan oil capital of Maracaibo were emptied and left in shambles. (RELATED: Dems Panicked Trump’s Venezuela Policy Will Be Popular With Their Voters)

WATCH:

Looters broke through the cinder-block walls of a Pepsi plant and took thousands of cases of beer and soda and 160 pallets of food. They destroyed or stole 22 trucks and five forklifts, Bloomberg reported Friday.

“If people made enough to make ends meet, we wouldn’t be trying to get by like this,” Enrique Gonzalez, an 18-year-old bus conductor, told Bloomberg. “This country has gone to hell.”

Police and other emergency officials have stayed away from the carnage and refused to help businesses and property owners protect their property and assets.

“It’s hard to swallow,” Bernardo Morillo, a 60-year-old mall manager, told Bloomberg. “The national guard stood by as this vandalism happened and the firefighters didn’t even show.”

WATCH:

A mass blackout hit large swaths of the country on March 7. Experts blamed poor Venezuela infrastructure. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro blamed the power outage on a U.S. cyberattack. Maduro’s chief prosecutor Tarek Saab is pressuring the country’s supreme court to investigate opposition leader Juan Guaido for alleged sabotage, BBC reported.

Maduro is under pressure to step down as president as many world leaders have renounced his regime and recognized Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. The Trump administration is applying increasing pressure to Maduro through sanctions and has not ruled out using military force to depose the South American leader.

Follow Tim Pearce 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

A woman looks at fruits and vegetables at a market stall in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at fruits and vegetables at a market stall in Madrid January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

March 15, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone inflation edged higher as expected in February, the European Union’s statistics office confirmed on Friday, mainly because of more expensive services, food, alcohol an tobacco.

Eurostat confirmed its earlier estimates that consumer prices in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.3 percent month-on-month for a 1.5 percent year-on-year gain, accelerating from 1.4 percent year-on-year in January.

The European Central Bank wants to keep inflation below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term, but inflation has been well below that target since 2013.

Finnish central bank chief Olli Rehn said the bank needed to review its policy since it failed to boost inflation back to target despite years of extraordinary stimulus.

The ECB has kept record low interest rates and pumped 2.6 trillion euros into the banking system through bond purchases and several rounds of ultra-cheap funding for banks.

Eurostat said price rises of services contributed 0.61 points to the overall year-on-year result in February, while food alcohol and tobacco added another 0.44 points and more expensive energy 0.35 points.

Without the volatile energy and unprocessed food components, or what the ECB calls core inflation and looks at in monetary policy decisions, prices grew 0.3 percent on the month and 1.2 percent in annual terms, the same as in January.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Birds fly in front of Mt. Fuji and a crane at a port in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO – Birds fly in front of Mt. Fuji and a crane at a port in Tokyo, Japan January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

March 15, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports in February likely fell at a much slower pace than the previous month, but weak global demand and U.S.-China trade frictions continue to cloud the outlook, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Exports are expected to have slipped 0.9 percent in February from a year earlier, the poll of 17 economists found, after slumping 8.4 percent in January, the biggest decline in more than two years.

Imports, however, likely declined at a sharper pace of 5.8 percent in February after falling 0.6 percent in January, according to the poll.

“We expect exports in February made up for some of their losses (in January) caused by the Lunar New Year holiday,” said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank Research Institute. The holiday, which causes significant business disruptions across much of Asia, began in early February this year and in mid-February in 2018.

“But the nation’s exports to Asia, especially shipments of IT-related items, are expected to have stayed weak.”

The trade balance likely swung back to a surplus of 310.2 billion yen ($2.78 billion) from a deficit of 1.41 trillion yen in January, the poll showed.

Global trade has slowed amid weaker Chinese and European economic growth and as Washington and Beijing remain locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle, which is taking an increasing toll on Japan’s export-reliant economy.

The Finance Ministry will release trade data at 8:50 a.m. Japan time on Monday, March 18 (2350 GMT, March 17).

On inflation, Japan’s core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food costs, is forecast to have risen 0.8 percent in February, the same pace as in January.

“Energy bills likely supported core CPI, while prices of gasoline and telecommunications weighed on,” said Shinichiro Kobayashi, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting.

“Core CPI will likely stay lackluster for a while as falls in oil prices will start to appear and mobile carriers are expected to cut phone charges.”

The Internal Affairs Ministry will publish data on consumer prices at 8:30 a.m. Tokyo time on March 22 (2330 GMT on March 21)

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy settings steady on Friday but tempered its optimism that robust exports and factory output will underpin growth, in a nod to heightened overseas risks that threaten to derail a fragile economic recovery.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

Toyota's Human Support Robot delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair at a demonstration of Tokyo 2020 Robot Project for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo
Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair at a demonstration of Tokyo 2020 Robot Project for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-hoon

March 15, 2019

By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics organizers launched their ambitious Robot Project on Friday, unveiling two of the robots designed to assist supporters, workers and athletes at the Games.

The two products, Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) and the Power Assist Suit from Panasonic, were demonstrated to the public for the first time in Tokyo.

The HSR, a small white robot with built-in facial features, will assist wheelchair users at the Olympics, which begin in July 2020.

The robots can carry food and other goods, guide viewers to their seats and provide event information.

“We will support people at the Olympics and at the stadium in wheelchair accessible areas,” said Minoru Yamauchi, who is in charge of Toyota’s 2020 robots program.

“In terms of service, we will be offering stress-free entry and viewing and the robot can also carry bags and other luggage items for the customers.”

There will be 16 HSR robots at Tokyo 2020 venues and Toyota hope to have similar products available for general sale by the early 2030s.

Panasonic also presented their offering, a battery-powered exoskeleton that assists with picking up heavy objects.

People are strapped into the Power Assist Suits, which enable users to repetitively lift and carry objects without putting a strain on their back.

They will be used by workers at Olympic and Paralympic venues, as well as the athletes’ village.

Tokyo 2020 organizers have long maintained next year’s summer showpiece will be the most innovative ever and more robots are expected to be announced later.

“At Pyeongchang there are examples of robots being used at the Games but I don’t think it was to this sort of practical level,” said Tokyo 2020 Vice Director General Maasaki Komiya.

“So, let me reiterate, we want to give the impression that robots are actually usable and they can become part of our daily lives.”

“At past Games I do not believe that we really saw robots as part of the Games.”

The Olympics begin on July 24, 2020 with the Paralympics commencing a month later.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Sheets of Lincoln five dollar bill are fanned out at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Sheets of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on the five-dollar bill currency are fanned out at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

March 14, 2019

By Mayela Armas and Mariela Nava

SAN ANTONIO/MARACAIBO, Venezuela (Reuters) – In San Antonio del Tachira, like scores of Venezuelan towns near the border with Colombia, if you want to buy food or medicine it is no use amassing huge piles of bolivar currency. You need Colombian pesos or U.S. dollars.

Hyperinflation running above 2 million percent per year in Venezuela has made the Venezuelan bolivar practically worthless. For those without electronic payment cards, foreign currency has become the only practical means of trade within the South American country.

Moises Hernandez, who works as a cleaner in San Antonio, is paid in Colombia pesos, which allows him to cross the border to the city of Cucuta to buy basic necessities.

“Unless we buy over there, we cannot eat,” the 40-year-old told Reuters. “In Venezuela everything is more expensive.”

Since Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro legalized the use of foreign currencies last year, they have increasingly become the norm in many aspects of life.

In border areas and major towns, doctors, merchants and even plumbers require payment in Colombian, Brazilian, U.S. or European currency.

During a blackout that left much of Venezuela without electricity this week, the few bakeries, restaurants and pharmacies that remained open demanded cash because electronic payment systems were down. For most, that meant foreign currency.

In the western city of Maracaibo – the second-largest in Venezuela – those shops that remained open only accepted payments in U.S. dollars – 5-dollar bills and above.

“Everything is for sale in dollars and where do you find those bills?” asked Lila Matheus, 50, a mother of a 14-year-old boy in Maracaibo. “The truth is I’m afraid because I don’t know where I am going to buy food.”

Much of the foreign currency in Venezuela comes from the more than three million people who have migrated since 2015, according to the United Nations.

Those without friends and relatives outside the country can struggle. The minimum wage in Venezuela of 18,000 bolivars is equivalent to less than six dollars at the official rate.

But as basic goods become scarcer, even those able to pay in dollars are finding that inflation is soaring.

According to calculations by local firm Ecoanalitica, a basket of basic goods that would have cost $100 a year ago would now require $675 to purchase even in U.S. currency.

This week’s blackout appears to have accelerated that trend. Bags of ice cost a dollar the first day of the outage in Caracas or six dollars in Maracaibo, according to Reuters witnesses. A few days later the price in dollars had tripled.

“A year ago, we managed to get by with the money sent from abroad,” says Omaira Rodriguez, a retiree who lives in the sprawling Caracas slum of Petare. She receives remittances every fortnight from family members in Colombia and Spain.

“With what they send now, we have to work miracles because we are living through hyperinflation,” said the former public servant, adding that her monthly pension in bolivars was only enough to buy a bag of laundry soap.

In border regions and in major cities, many businesses now openly set prices in foreign currency so as not to have to change their prices every day.

Near the southern border with Brazil, hotels, restaurants and shops list prices in the Brazilian currency, the real.

“On the border, nobody accepts the bolivar, the real is our currency,” said the mayor of the border municipality of Gran Sabana, Emilio Gonzalez. “What we are going through is very complicated.”

(Additional reporting by Corina Pons in Caracas and Maria Ramirez in Santa Elena; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

Protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government in Caracas
People wave the national flag from their windows during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

March 14, 2019

By Shaylim Valderrama

CARACAS (Reuters) – Four people were killed and at least 300 were detained in association with protests and looting that took place during Venezuela’s nationwide blackout, rights groups said on Thursday.

The OPEC nation suffered its worst blackout in history last week following technical problems that the government of President Nicolas Maduro called an act of U.S.-backed sabotage but critics dismissed as the result of incompetence.

Rights groups Provea and the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict said via Twitter that three people were killed in the central state of Lara and one person was killed in the western state of Zulia. The cause of the deaths was unclear.

Alfredo Romero of rights group Foro Penal said at a news conference that 124 people had been detained in protests over public services since the March 8 blackout and that another 200 were arrested over looting.

The Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Power has returned to many parts of Venezuela, though service has not been fully restored to scattered areas of the capital Caracas and much of the western region.

Venezuela plunged into a deep political crisis in January when Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled congress, invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a sham.

That move has put Venezuela at the heart of a geopolitical tussle, with the United States leading most Western nations in recognizing Guaido as the legitimate head of state, while Russia, China and others support Maduro.

Guaido is scheduled to join a meeting of local residents in the El Hatillo district of the capital of Caracas on Thursday.

The blackout that began a week ago left hospitals struggling to keep equipment running, and food rotted in the tropical heat. The nongovernmental organization Doctors for Health said 26 people died in public hospitals during the blackout.

The western state of Zulia suffered intense looting that hit some 350 businesses.

(Reporting by Shaylim Valderrama and Vivian Sequera, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

The Daily Caller Shop | Contributor

CBD is in the headlines everywhere these days, and now it’s even finding its way into the market for pets. This CBD Pet Spray can bring CBD’s potential benefits to your furry friends, and it’s on sale for only $32.99 today.

CBD Pet Spray can help with anxiety, chronic pain, and other common medical conditions with just two to three sprays to your pet's food once a day!

CBD Pet Spray can help with anxiety, chronic pain, and other common medical conditions with just two to three sprays to your pet’s food once a day!

Take 25 percent off this CBD spray that can be used for your pet to reduce pain 

You might have heard of the benefits CBD can offer humans; studies suggest it can work just as well for pets. CBD Pet Spray can help with anxiety, chronic pain, and other common medical conditions. Just add two to three sprays to your pet’s food once a day for effective use.

Of course, we’re not veterinarians; and, as with any product, please consult your veterinarian before treating your pet with anything new.

Introduce your pet to the power of CBD by picking up CBD Pet Spray in the Daily Caller shop for a sale price of $32.99, more than 25% off the usual price.

Like this deal? Check out Vault, the best way to secure your online data for just $9.99/mo.

You can find even more great deals like this at The Daily Caller Shop.

Source: The Daily Caller

A container ship is shown at port in Long Beach, California
FILE PHOTO: A container ship is shown at port in Long Beach, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

March 14, 2019

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. import prices increased by the most in nine months in February, but the trend remained weak, with prices declining for a third straight month on an annual basis.

The Labor Department said on Thursday import prices rose 0.6 percent last month, the biggest gain since May, boosted by increases in the costs of fuels and consumer goods. Data for January was revised higher to show import prices edging up 0.1 percent instead of falling 0.5 percent as previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast import prices rising 0.3 percent in February.

In the 12 months through February, import prices fell 1.3 percent. That followed a 1.6 percent decline in January.

The report came on the heels of data showing tame producer and consumer inflation readings in February. The jump in the monthly import prices probably does not change economists’ expectations that inflation will remain moderate through the first half of 2019, and allow the Federal Reserve to stay pat on interest rates.

The U.S. central bank has pledged to be “patient” before tightening monetary policy further this year. The Fed increased rates four times last year

Last month, prices for imported fuels and lubricants rose 4.9 percent after increasing 4.1 percent in January. Prices for imported petroleum increased 4.7 percent after rebounding 7.1 percent in January.

Food prices fell 0.8 percent in February after decreasing 0.4 percent in the prior month. Excluding fuels and food, import prices rose rebounded 0.2 percent last month after falling 0.3 percent in January.

The so-called core import prices fell 0.3 percent in the 12 months through February. Increases in the core import prices have been curbed by last year’s strength in the dollar. Prices for imported consumer goods excluding automobiles rose 0.3 percent in February, reversing January’s drop,.

The report also showed export prices increased 0.6 percent in February after declining 0.5 percent in January. There were increases in the prices of both agricultural and nonagricultural exports. Export prices rose 0.3 percent on a year-on-year basis in February after falling 0.2 percent in January.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Source: OANN

Derek Hunter | Contributor

On the show today we get into all the ways liberals are actively destroying societal norms and basic decency in the name of a left-wing agenda. Disagree with their agenda? You’re a monster who must be destroyed. Become successful? You must be destroyed. Pass a ballot initiative they disapprove of? The people who chant “this is what democracy looks like” will simply overrule the will of the people. We explain it all on today’s show.

Listen to the show:

The attempted professional assassination of Tucker Carlson by liberal activists and journalists continues, but Tucker is fighting back, some. Last night on his show, Tucker reminded viewers of the racist and transphobic past of the president of the organization leading the charge against him. But he and other conservatives aren’t willing to go all the way and hold these smear-merchants to their own standards, including the punishments they impose on everyone else. It’s time for that to change.

The daughter of actress Lori Loughlin — who was among dozens charged in a massive bribery scheme to get the unqualified children into prestigious colleges— found out about the criminal charges against her mother while spending spring break on a yacht owned by one of the trustees of the college Loughlin is alleged to have scammed to get her into. Talk about awkward.

President Donald Trump grounded the entire fleet of Boeing 737s, joining most of the rest of the world in halting flights of one of the most popular new planes in the market. Naturally, conspiracy theories abound on the left over this move.

Paul Manafort could be spending the rest of his life in prison for crimes, like not paying his taxes and not registering as a lobbyist for a foreign government. Feel safer now? Liberals, who fought hard to release drug dealers from prison, cheered this development without a hint of irony.

Beto O’Rourke is set to join the crowded Democratic field for the 2020 nomination. He was also the subject of an embarrassing article in Vanity Fair in which the “reporter” who wrote it was so far up Beto’s backside that he could’ve chewed O’Rourke’s food for him. We have the quotes.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ended executions in the state. The party of people who chant “this is what democracy looks like” cheered the executive overriding of the unambiguous will of the voters of California because they don’t give a damn about democracy.

Please help spread the word about The Daily Daily Caller Podcast. Please take a minute to rate and review on iTunes, share on social media and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode:

The Daily Daily Caller Podcast is a daily look and mocking of the news from a conservative perspective. Hosted by Derek Hunter, it is available in audio form Monday-Thursday and will have a video option on Fridays.

Derek Hunter is a columnist and contributing editor for The Daily Caller and author of “Outrage, INC: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood” from HarperCollins, available nowPick Up a copy, or several copies, here. Send compliments and complaints to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @derekahunter.

Source: The Daily Caller


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