Irish

An employee of Airbus works on a computer in a new A320 production line at the Airbus plant in Hamburg
An employee of Airbus works on a computer in a new A320 production line at the Airbus plant in Hamburg, Germany, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus signed a deal on Monday to sell 300 aircraft to China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, including 290 A320 planes and 10 A350, the French presidency said in a statement.

“The conclusion of a big (aviation) contract … is an important step forward and an excellent signal in the current context,” said French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint address with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

(Reporting by John Irish, Marine Pennetier, Michel Rose)

Source: OANN

The Airbus logo is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: The Airbus logo is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – European planemaker Airbus is close to signing a deal worth billions of dollars with China following a delay of more than a year in the negotiations, industry sources said on Monday.

The deal is part of a package of trade deals coinciding with a visit to Europe by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Airbus declined to comment.

Boeing shares pared gains briefly on the news and were up about 1.2 percent at 16.26 GMT.

China has become a key hunting ground for Airbus and its leading rival Boeing, thanks to surging travel demand, but the outlook has been complicated by Beijing’s desire to grow its own industrial champions and, more recently for Boeing, the U.S.-China trade war.

French President Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly failed to clinch the Airbus order during a trip to China in early 2018 and the French government and Airbus have been working since to salvage it.

Macron said at the time that China would buy 184 A320 narrow-body jets, an order worth $18 billion at list prices.

Xi arrived in France from Italy on Sunday on a three-day state visit.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by John Irish)

Source: OANN

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

March 25, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

March 25, 2019

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister attached to the Foreign Affairs Minister, attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris
FILE PHOTO – Nathalie Loiseau, French Minister attached to the Foreign Affairs Minister, attends the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s European Affairs minister will resign later on Monday to lead President Emmanuel Macron’s party in May’s European Parliament elections, a government source said.

Nathalie Loiseau, a career diplomat who headed the elite ENA school of administration before joining Macron’s government, had put herself forward as the headline candidate for the elections.

Her departure from the government is likely to lead to a cabinet reshuffle.

(Reporting by Marine Pennetier; writing by John Irish; editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, near High Wycombe
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, near High Wycombe, Britain March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 25, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure on Monday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.

With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial that May must announce she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved and the United Kingdom has left the EU.

“Time’s up, Theresa,” the newspaper said on its front page. The newspaper said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

May called rebel lawmakers including Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker to her Chequers residence on Sunday, Downing Street said, along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove.

The two ministers denied reports they were being lined up as a possible caretaker prime minister.

“The meeting discussed a range of issues, including whether there is sufficient support in the Commons to bring back a meaningful vote (for her deal) this week,” a spokesman said.

May was told by Brexiteers at the meeting that she must set out a timetable to leave office if she wants to get her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.

The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers were urging May to pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.

May’s deal was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs: dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some Labour MPs, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The Sunday Times reported 11 unidentified ministers agreed May should stand down, warning she has become a toxic and erratic figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.

Brexit had been due to happen on March 29 before May secured a delay in talks with the EU.

Now a departure date of May 22 will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. If she fails, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty.

Some lawmakers have asked May to name her departure date as the price for supporting her deal.

Lawmakers are due on Monday to debate the government’s next steps on Brexit, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes, or amendments, including one which seeks to wrest control of the process from the government in order to hold votes on alternative ways forward.

Amendments are not legally binding, but do exert political pressure on May to change course.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, near High Wycombe
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church, near High Wycombe, Britain March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 25, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May was under pressure on Monday to give a date for leaving office as the price to bring Brexit-supporting rebel lawmakers in her party behind her twice-defeated European Union divorce treaty.

At one of the most important junctures for the country in at least a generation, British politics was at fever pitch and, nearly three years since the 2016 referendum, it was still unclear how, when or if Brexit will ever take place.

With May humiliated and weakened, ministers lined up to insist she was still in charge and to deny a reported plot to demand she name a date to leave office at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial that May must announce she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved and the United Kingdom has left the EU.

“Time’s up, Theresa,” the newspaper said on its front page. The newspaper said her one chance of getting the deal approved by parliament was to name a date for her departure.

May called rebel lawmakers including Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker to her Chequers residence on Sunday, Downing Street said, along with ministers David Lidington and Michael Gove.

The two ministers denied reports they were being lined up as a possible caretaker prime minister.

“The meeting discussed a range of issues, including whether there is sufficient support in the Commons to bring back a meaningful vote (for her deal) this week,” a spokesman said.

May was told by Brexiteers at the meeting that she must set out a timetable to leave office if she wants to get her deal ratified, Buzzfeed reporter Alex Wickham said on Twitter.

The Sun’s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, said some ministers were urging May to pivot to a no-deal Brexit as the only way to survive in power.

May’s deal was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

To get it passed, she must win over at least 75 MPs: dozens of rebels in her Conservative Party, some Labour MPs, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The Sunday Times reported 11 unidentified ministers agreed May should stand down, warning she has become a toxic and erratic figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.

Brexit had been due to happen on March 29 before May secured a delay in talks with the EU.

Now a departure date of May 22 will apply if parliament passes May’s deal. If she fails, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or decide to leave without a treaty.

Some lawmakers have asked May to name her departure date as the price for supporting her deal.

Lawmakers are due on Monday to debate the government’s next steps on Brexit, including the delayed exit date. They have proposed changes, or amendments, including one which seeks to wrest control of the process from the government in order to hold votes on alternative ways forward.

Amendments are not legally binding, but do exert political pressure on May to change course.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton)

Source: OANN

Sheep graze on grass and hay on a farm near the County Wicklow village of Roundwood
Sheep graze on grass and hay on a farm near the County Wicklow village of Roundwood, Ireland December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 23, 2019

By Graham Fahy

WEXFORD, Ireland (Reuters) – Ireland’s agriculture minister Michael Creed on Saturday promised farmers a “substantial” aid package if they suffer losses as a result of new UK tariffs under a no-deal Brexit.

The Irish Farmers Association estimates that WTO tariffs on Ireland’s beef and livestock sector will impose a direct cost of 800 million euro per year, devastating the 3-billion-euro industry and putting thousands of farmers out of business.

The beef sector is especially exposed to new tariffs, with half of all exports going to the UK.

The government will seek to provide domestic state aid such as grants and intervention, Creed told Reuters in an interview. Dublin may also provide private storage aid (PSA) for the industry, an EU measure usually reserved for smoothing out seasonal imbalances between supply and demand.

In addition, Ireland would apply to the European Commission for exceptional aid under Common Market Organisation rules covering agricultural products, Creed said.

“We are very satisfied that the Commission recognizes the necessity for that and we have a substantial package,” he said. “What we have also secured is the ability of the exchequer here under state aid rules to also intervene.”

Ireland would seek EU financial aid based on the precedent set when exceptional support was given to the Baltic states and Finland following Russia’s 2014 ban on EU food imports, Creed said. Moscow imposed the ban in retaliation for EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.

Creed said Ireland would make a case to the Commission that support for its primary producers would limit any possible contagion from UK tariffs to other European countries.

“Because otherwise we’ll be looking for a home for 300,000 tonnes of beef in other European Union markets,” he said.

The fallout from the UK leaving the European Union without a deal cannot be completely eliminated, he said, whatever the level of preparedness or government intervention.

“There will be cost implications, there will be job implications, there will be profit implications. And that’s the tragic reality of Brexit, in any manifestation.”

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

OTTAWA, CANADA — Karl Rove said Friday he’s not surprised that the Mueller report has apparently found no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.

The former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush was speaking to 2,000 people at the Manning Networking Conference that brings together Canada’s conservative politicians, political action committees and opinion leaders every year.

Karl Rove answers questions from the crowd at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 22, 2019. Dailiy Caller photo by Janet Krayden

Karl Rove answers questions from the crowd at the Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, Canada on March 22, 2019. The Daily Caller photo by Janet Krayden

Rove said if there had been any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, we would have known about it long before Robert Mueller, whom Rove described as being a “straight arrow.” (RELATED: White House Reacts To Mueller Report Release)

“Every campaign leaks … no campaign in my experience has leaked worse than the Donald Trump campaign: 2016 was like if you wanted to know who had gone to the restroom at 11 o’clock in the morning, somebody would tell you,” Rove quipped.

Rove, who is known as “The Architect” for having masterminded Bush’s election victories, reserved his harshest words for former FBI Director James Comey.

Former FBI director James Comey arrives at the Irish Film Institute for for a public interview in Dublin, Ireland June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Former FBI director James Comey arrives at the Irish Film Institute for for a public interview in Dublin, Ireland June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

“Under U.S. law, [Comey] had no authority whatsoever to make the decision not to indict Hillary Clinton … He’s the head of the FBI. His job is to investigate and to make what’s called ‘a referral’ to the main Justice Department. He decided not to. Why? Because the attorney general of the United States was compromised by having met with William Jefferson Clinton on the tarmac in Phoenix. Well, fine. He should have referred it to the Justice Department. She should have said ‘I recuse myself.’”

Rove added that having decided not to charge Hillary Clinton, there was no point in then describing her email habits as “extremely careless.” (RELATED: New Emails Revealed By Judicial Watch Seem To Show More Classified Documents On Clinton’s Private Server)

When asked if he thinks the Mueller report will still hurt Trump’s chances for re-election, Rove said the ball is in the president’s court.

“I think it all depends upon how Trump reacts,” he said, suggesting that the chief executive should focus on his successful fiscal policies.

”Our economy is going to beat the band. We’ve got low unemployment, we’ve got wages growing faster than the economy, we’ve got more job openings than we’ve got job seekers, we’ve got the lowest unemployment rates for African-Americans since we began keeping the records by race in 1948 … ”

Rove said Trump has proven his economic critics wrong. “I love all these idiots who served in the previous administration who said, ‘Oh no, conservative economics will never achieve growth of three percent’… all these smart people who said, ‘That’s a fairy tale; it’s not going to happen.’”

“Well, welcome to fairytale land.”

Follow David on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux
The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux, France, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Apple Inc is expected to unveil a new video streaming service and a news subscription platform at an event on Monday at its California headquarters.

The iPhone maker is banking on growing its services business to offset a dip in smartphone sales.

While the Wall Street Journal plans to join Apple’s new subscription news service, other major publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, have declined, according to a New York Times report.

Apple has also partnered with Hollywood celebrities to make a streaming debut with a slate of original content, taking a page out of Netflix Inc’s playbook.

Below are some of the shows, curated from media reports and Apple’s own announcements, which are part of the iPhone maker’s content library.

SHOWS CONFIRMED BY APPLE:

** UNTITLED DRAMA SERIES WITH REESE WITHERSPOON AND JENNIFER ANISTON

Two seasons of a drama series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston that looks at the lives of people working on a morning television show.

** REVIVAL OF STEVEN SPIELBERG’S 1985 “AMAZING STORIES”

The tech giant has also struck a deal with director Steven Spielberg to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” a science fiction and horror anthology series that ran on NBC in the 1980s.

** A NEW THRILLER BY M NIGHT SHYAMALAN

Plot of the story has not been disclosed.

** “ARE YOU SLEEPING?” – A MYSTERY SERIES

A drama featuring Octavia Spencer, based on a crime novel by Kathleen Barber.

** AN ANTHOLOGY SERIES CALLED “LITTLE AMERICA”

Focuses on stories of immigrants coming to the United States.

** AN ANIMATED CARTOON MUSICAL CALLED “CENTRAL PARK”

The animated musical comedy is about a family of caretakers who end up saving the park and the world.

** “DICKINSON”, AN EMILY DICKINSON COMEDY

A half-hour comedy series that is set during American poet Emily Dickinson’s era with a modern sensibility and tone.

** OPRAH WINFREY PARTNERSHIP

Apple in June last year announced a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey to create original programming.

SHOWS REPORTED BY MEDIA:

** TIME BANDITS – A FANTASY SERIES

The potential series is an adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy film of the same name, about a young boy who joins a group of renegade time-traveling dwarves, Deadline reported.

https://bit.ly/2FsYJgK

** UNTITLED “CAPTAIN MARVEL” STAR BRIE LARSON’S CIA PROJECT

The new series looks at a young woman’s journey in the CIA, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2H3ymAi

** DEFENDING JACOB – STARRING CAPTAIN AMERICA CHRIS EVANS

This limited series is based on the novel of the same name and is about an assistant district attorney, who is investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy, according to Deadline.

https://bit.ly/2U84w3u

** “FOR ALL MANKIND” – A SCI-FI SERIES

A space drama from producer Ronald Moore, according to Deadline.

https://bit.ly/2uqPWWg

** MY GLORY WAS I HAD SUCH FRIENDS

A series featuring Jennifer Garner is based on the 2017 memoir of the same name by Amy Silverstein, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2Cy7UuO

** “SEE” – A FANTASY EPIC STARRING JASON MOMOA

The show poses the question about the fate of humanity if everyone lost their sight, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2TUETns

** FOUNDATION – A SCI-FI ADAPTATION

An adaptation of the iconic novel series from famed sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, Deadline reported. The book series follows a mathematician who predicts the collapse of humanity.

http://bit.ly/2CvAMUs

** A COMEDY SHOW BY ROB MCELHENNEY AND CHARLIE DAY

The sitcom comedy based on the lives of a diverse group of people who work together in a video game development studio, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2nqzy4V

** AN UNSCRIPTED SERIES “HOME” FROM THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER MATT TYRNAUER

The series will offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes and feature interviews with people who built them, according to Variety.

https://bit.ly/2JwmyIF

** UNTITLED RICHARD GERE SERIES

Based on an Israeli series Nevelot, the show is about two elderly Vietnam vets whose lives are changed when a woman they both love is killed in a car accident, Deadline reported.

http://bit.ly/2uksSsu

** J.J. ABRAMS-PRODUCED LITTLE VOICE

Singer and actress Sara Bareilles is writing the music and could possibly star in the J.J. Abrams-produced half-hour show, which explores the journey of finding one’s authentic voice in early 20s, according to Variety.

http://bit.ly/2TPSf4y

** THE PEANUTS GANG

Apple has acquired the rights to the famous characters and the first series will be a science and math oriented short featuring Snoopy as an astronaut, according to Hollywood Reporter.

http://bit.ly/2YdMagM

** ON THE ROCKS

A feature film, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray, is about a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2Hf1Pb9

** LOSING EARTH

Apple has acquired the rights to a TV series based on Nathaniel Rich’s 70-page New York Times Magazine story “Losing Earth”, New York Times reported.

** THE ELEPHANT QUEEN

Apple has acquired the rights to Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s documentary The Elephant Queen, Deadline reported.

http://bit.ly/2HJR53k

** WOLFWALKERS

An Irish animation about a young hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to destroy a pack of evil wolves, but instead befriends a wild native girl who runs with them, first reported by Bloomberg.

https://bloom.bg/2JztBR5

** PACHINKO

Apple has secured the rights to develop Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel, about four generations of a Korean immigrant family, into a series, reported Variety.

http://bit.ly/2FtEIXJ

** CALLS

Apple has bought the rights to make an English-language version of the French original short-form series, according to Variety.

http://bit.ly/2UQCabd

** SHANTARAM

Apple has won the rights to develop the hit novel Shantaram as a drama series, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2CAuG5c

** SWAGGER, A DRAMA SERIES BASED ON KEVIN DURANT

A drama series based on the early life and career of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, according to Variety.

https://bit.ly/2RFePbl

** YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT

Apple has ordered a 10-episode, half-hour run of the comedy show, which is an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection by the same name, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2HzZt63

** WHIPLASH DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE DRAMA SERIES

According to Variety, Apple has ordered a whole season of a series without first shooting a pilot, but no other details are known about the show.

http://bit.ly/2Fkfd9Q

** Apple may offer cut-priced bundles with video offering – The Information reported http://bit.ly/2HzcSLW on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sonam Rai and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the Cabinet Office, in London
FILE PHOTO: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the Cabinet Office, in London, Britain March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

March 22, 2019

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Nothing has changed as far as the Brexit divorce deal British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to convince lawmakers to back, the deputy leader of the Northern Irish party propping up her government said on Friday.

The Democratic Unionist Party’s Nigel Dodds said in a statement May had missed an opportunity to put forward proposals to EU leaders to improve the prospects of an acceptable deal, describing it as a “disappointing and inexcusable” failure.

“Lectures by the Prime Minister putting the blame on others cannot disguise the responsibility her government bears for the current debacle and the fact that her agreement has been twice overwhelmingly rejected,” Dodds added in a statement ahead of a third vote where his party’s stance will be vital.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

European Union leaders summit in Brussels
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron speak during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 22, 2019

By Richard Lough

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – France said on Friday that Britain would crash out of the European Union on April 12 if it fails to ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement and present a new plan, putting it at odds with other member states which adopted a softer stance.

President Emmanuel Macron has been the most forthright among EU leaders in wanting to draw a line under Britain’s Brexit crisis quickly to refocus on pushing forward the bloc’s agenda. Some, including Germany, have instead stressed the need to make every effort to ensure a chaotic exit is avoided.

A day after EU leaders in Brussels handed Britain a final chance to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion, disagreement broke out over the definitive deadline.

Under Thursday’s deal, May 22 will be the departure date if the British parliament finally approves next week Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement after twice resoundingly rejecting it. If it does not, Britain must present a new plan by April 12 or leave the EU without a treaty.

An official in Macron’s office said there would be no further extensions, even to implement the exit: “No, April 12 is the leave date.” European Commission officials said that April 12 was “the new March 29th” — the previous exit date.

Others said the summit conclusions were not so clear-cut.

“If there is no indication that they are going to run European elections… there is no ability to extend further,” Irish European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said. “But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that on April 12 that is the end date.”

“It means that they have to give a timeline for what it is that they are doing or set out exactly what it is that they have planned. It takes away the possibility of a cliff-edge in 24 hours.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the legal deadline, assuming Britain does not participate in the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, was June 30 – the date the British prime minister had originally sought an extension until.

A senior EU diplomat echoed the view that there could be wriggle-room for further delays.

“My reading is rather in the direction that April 12 is the new March 29,” the diplomat said. “The door is left open for another extension.”

(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey, Richard Lough and Gabriela Baczynska; Writing by Richard Lough, editing by Thomas Escritt and Gareth Jones)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland Philip Lane speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 22, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The council of European Union leaders on Friday appointed Philip Lane, the current governor of the Irish central bank, to the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, where he is due to serve as Chief Economist, the council said in a statement.

Lane’s eight-year term begins on June 1. The announcement, which was earlier ratified by the European Parliament and the ECB itself, was widely expected.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Francesco Canepa)

Source: OANN

PM (Taoiseach) of Ireland Varadkar waits for President of European Council Tusk in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar waits to meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 22, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar issued a tongue-in-cheek reminder on Friday that European Union and non-EU countries – which neighbouring Britain is due to become – can share land borders without needing border patrol infrastructure and customs checks.

Varadkar tweeted from Brussels on the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area that he had enjoyed meeting his counterparts from EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who participate in the EU’s single market without being members.

“Good to meet up with the Norwegian, Icelandic and Liechtenstein PMs. All in the single market for 25 years but not in the EU,” he wrote.

“Sensible solutions are possible once red lines don’t restrict them,” he added, as he joined a drone-shot aerial photo of EU and EEA leaders in the European Council’s cavernous atrium.

Ireland, the only country that shares a land border with Britain, fears that allowing the return of border infrastructure between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could rekindle the violence over the province’s status that marked much of the 20th century.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May’s self-declared red line that free movement between Britain and the European Union must end has become the biggest sticking point in talks over Britain’s exit from the EU. It has led to the development of the customs union “backstop” that has triggered the ire of so many of her parliamentarians.

Asked if Britain should join the EEA, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir acknowledged this, saying: “I don’t know if our circumstances are fitting for the UK.

“We are members of the four freedoms: freedom of people, movement, services and all that, so I don’t know if that is the right solution for the UK,” she added.

Her Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg declined to discuss May’s conundrum but praised the benefits to Norway of the freedom of movement that May opposes.

“For a long time for Norway, freedom of movement was a benefit, because in a period where we had economic growth when others had a slowdown … we benefited from the influx of labour so that our economy wasn’t overheated,” she said.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

PM (Taoiseach) of Ireland Varadkar waits for President of European Council Tusk in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar waits to meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 22, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar issued a tongue-in-cheek reminder on Friday that European Union and non-EU countries – which neighbouring Britain is due to become – can share land borders without needing border patrol infrastructure and customs checks.

Varadkar tweeted from Brussels on the 25th anniversary of the European Economic Area that he had enjoyed meeting his counterparts from EEA members Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who participate in the EU’s single market without being members.

“Good to meet up with the Norwegian, Icelandic and Liechtenstein PMs. All in the single market for 25 years but not in the EU,” he wrote.

“Sensible solutions are possible once red lines don’t restrict them,” he added, as he joined a drone-shot aerial photo of EU and EEA leaders in the European Council’s cavernous atrium.

Ireland, the only country that shares a land border with Britain, fears that allowing the return of border infrastructure between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could rekindle the violence over the province’s status that marked much of the 20th century.

But British Prime Minister Theresa May’s self-declared red line that free movement between Britain and the European Union must end has become the biggest sticking point in talks over Britain’s exit from the EU. It has led to the development of the customs union “backstop” that has triggered the ire of so many of her parliamentarians.

Asked if Britain should join the EEA, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir acknowledged this, saying: “I don’t know if our circumstances are fitting for the UK.

“We are members of the four freedoms: freedom of people, movement, services and all that, so I don’t know if that is the right solution for the UK,” she added.

Her Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg declined to discuss May’s conundrum but praised the benefits to Norway of the freedom of movement that May opposes.

“For a long time for Norway, freedom of movement was a benefit, because in a period where we had economic growth when others had a slowdown … we benefited from the influx of labour so that our economy wasn’t overheated,” she said.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

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

March 21, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLACK BOXES

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

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

U.S. authorities declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIGH STAKES

Most crash investigations end up pinpointing a combination of factors.

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

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

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

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

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

CRASH SITE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels
French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Pool via Reuters

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Emmanuel Macron will host Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as the leaders of Germany and the European Union’s executive arm at a March 26 meeting to discuss multilateral relations between Europe and China, a French presidency official said.

The talks will focus on trade, climate and China-European relations, the official said. France wants a more coordinated EU approach to China, rather than member countries focusing on bilateral relations.

The meeting comes at a time when the EU is weighing a more defensive strategy on China, spurred by China’s slowness to open up its economy, Chinese takeovers in critical sectors and a feeling in European capitals that Beijing has not stood up for free trade.

“This meeting is a first step,” the Elysee official said, adding that the meeting would help lay the groundwork for concrete results at an EU-China summit on April 9.

Macron, arriving at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday, spoke of a “European awakening” that China is seeking to produce sophisticated products that will compete with those made in Europe.

“Since the beginning of my mandate I’ve been calling for a real awareness and for the defense of European sovereignty,” Macron told reporters.

(Reporting by Richard Lough; editing by John Irish)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair pilots and cabin crew stage a 24-hour strike in Germany
FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft stands on the tarmac at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport during a strike of their pilots and cabin crew in Hahn, near Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

March 21, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 MAX jet have not changed Ryanair’s plans to buy the model, an executive of the Irish airline told Reuters on Thursday.

“Nothing changes because we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation,” Chief Marketing Officer Ryanair Kenny Jacobs said.

He added that the delayed deliveries of five of the airliners to Ryanair will not have an impact on the budget carrier’s summer schedule.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Edward Taylor)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Ryanair pilots and cabin crew stage a 24-hour strike in Germany
FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair aircraft stands on the tarmac at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport during a strike of their pilots and cabin crew in Hahn, near Frankfurt, Germany, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

March 21, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Two deadly crashes involving Boeing’s 737 MAX jet have not changed Ryanair’s plans to buy the model, an executive of the Irish airline told Reuters on Thursday.

“Nothing changes because we are still awaiting the outcome of the investigation,” Chief Marketing Officer Ryanair Kenny Jacobs said.

He added that the delayed deliveries of five of the airliners to Ryanair will not have an impact on the budget carrier’s summer schedule.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Edward Taylor)

Source: OANN

PM (Taoiseach) of Ireland Varadkar waits for President of European Council Tusk in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar waits to meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must give a reason if it wants to delay its departure from the European Union, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said ahead of a summit of European leaders on Thursday, adding that Britain needed flexibility given the “chaos” in London.

Varadkar said that nobody in the EU wanted Britain to leave the European Union without a deal, and that there was openness to an extension.

“The situation in London is somewhat chaotic at the moment,” he added. “We need to cut the entire British establishment a little bit of slack on this and support their request … for a short extension. No deal will only ever be a British choice.”

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Alastair Macdonald, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

Source: OANN

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson MP speaks to media after the DUP annual party conference in Belfast
FILE PHOTO: Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson MP speaks to media after the DUP annual party conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland November 24, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 21, 2019

By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The small Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is no closer to backing her EU divorce agreement as talks between the sides continue, the party’s Brexit spokesman said on Thursday.

The Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) 10 lawmakers in London have twice opposed the agreement May struck with the European Union and their support is vital if she is to stand any chance of reversing two heavy defeats.

“No, we’re not yet. We will however continue to talk to the prime minister because we think it is our duty to try and undo some of the damage included in the Withdrawal Agreement,” the DUP’s Sammy Wilson told Irish national broadcaster RTE when asked if they were any closer to backing the deal.

“We have made it quite clear that unless there is a legal means by which Northern Ireland would not be treated differently from the United Kingdom, not just assurances or promises but acting legislation, we will not be supporting the Withdrawal Agreement.”

May made an impassioned appeal to British lawmakers to support her on Wednesday after the EU said it could only grant her request to delay Brexit for three months if parliament next week backed her plans for leaving.

Wilson described the plea, in a televised address, as an attempt by the prime minister to try to shift the blame from “her own incompetent negotiations” and said she seemed to lump all those who voted against the deal together.

In a bid to win over the DUP, May also said on Wednesday that she intended to put forward further domestic proposals to protect the internal market of the United Kingdom.

Wilson said any proposals to keep Northern Ireland aligned with the rest of the United Kingdom would also have to be acceptable to the faction of Brexit hardliners in May’s own Conservative Party who are opposed to her deal and want a clean break from the EU.

“There is no point in us agreeing to something that is not deliverable anyway, nor do we have any intention of doing so. That’s why there are a lot of gaps in the negotiations at present. We will continue to talk but time is running out,” he said.

“It seems that if the agreement ever comes back to the House of Commons next week, those matters are not going to be resolved.”

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Families and relatives of Islamic State militants are seen after they surrender themselves to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in al-Ayadiya, northwest of Tal Afar
FILE PHOTO: Families and relatives of Islamic State militants are seen after they surrender themselves to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in al-Ayadiya, northwest of Tal Afar, Iraq, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ari Jalal/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Raya Jalabi

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The hallways of the Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad teemed with anxious toddlers on the days their mothers were on trial. Then they vanished again, into the women’s prison, where they have lived for the past year and a half. They sleep on thin mattresses in crowded cells, bored, hungry and often sick. They are the foreign children of Islamic State.

Among them is Obaida, the two-year-old son of a Chechen woman, Laila Gazieva. Gazieva was detained in late 2017 while fleeing the Islamic State stronghold of Tal Afar in northern Iraq, and convicted six months later for belonging to the militant Islamist group. On the day Gazieva was sentenced to life in prison, so too were at least a dozen other young women, court records show.

Obaida remains with his mother in a Baghdad women’s jail, according to Russian government records. About 1,100 children of Islamic State are caught in the wheels of Iraqi justice, said sources with knowledge of the penitentiary system. The youngest, like Obaida, stay with their mothers in prison. At least seven of these children have died because of the poor conditions, according to detainees, embassy records reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the prison.

Several hundred older children are being prosecuted for offences ranging from illegally entering Iraq to fighting for Islamic State. Some 185 children aged nine to 18 have already been convicted and received sentences from a few months to up to 15 years in juvenile detention in Baghdad, said a spokesman for the judicial council that oversees the Rusafa Central Criminal Court, which is hearing most of the Islamic State cases involving foreigners. Seventy seven of those convicted children were girls.

The children are the forgotten victims of Islamic State: betrayed by the parents who took them to a war zone, groomed from the age of four in the militants’ poisonous ideology and, in many instances, abandoned by the countries they came from for fear they are a future threat. In some 20 interviews, diplomats, the children’s mothers and sources familiar with their cases and the penitentiary system described the youngsters’ ordeal.

Nadia Rainer Hermann, a German woman in her early twenties, serving a life sentence for belonging to Islamic State, told Reuters her two-year-old daughter spent her days on a dank mattress in a filthy and cramped cell in the women’s jail. “I’m afraid every day my daughter might get sick and die,” she said. The older children were angry and frustrated with their captivity, she said, and lashed out at the guards and one another.

Iraqi government officials declined to comment about the foreign women and children in Iraqi custody or about the jail conditions. Iraq has said previously it wants to help those who aren’t guilty of any crime to return to their home countries.

“IT WAS A GOOD LIFE”

Gazieva spoke to Reuters in September 2017 when she and her son, an infant at the time, were being held in a camp near Mosul, in northern Iraq. She hoped that she and Obaida could return to France, where she lived before traveling to Iraq. But she doesn’t hold a French passport. “I don’t want to stay in this camp, or in this country. I’m terrified of what will happen to us,” she said.

Gazieva, then aged 28, was sitting cross-legged on the floor of a large tent next to a small pile of her few remaining belongings, her hands fiddling with her French residence card. On her lap lay Obaida, his small body sweating under the Iraqi sun. He was crying and hungry; Gazieva said she wasn’t producing enough milk to feed him properly.

Dressed in the black clothing favored by followers of Islamic State, Gazieva was among 1,400 women and children packed into overflowing tents in the dusty encampment. She spoke to her son in Russian, while dozens of young mothers with infants nearby spoke in German, French and Turkish. They sat in clusters, on mounds of blankets. Armed guards walked among the older children.

The Iraqis had no idea what to do with their captives. They presented Iraq and nearly two dozen foreign governments with an unprecedented legal and diplomatic challenge. While there was nothing unusual in men going abroad to fight, this was the first time so many women and children had joined them. There is no universal law governing repatriations, said Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve, a legal charity that campaigns for human rights.

Gazieva said she had ended up in Islamic State territory unwittingly.

Aged 17, she fled separatist violence in Russia’s Chechnya region and settled in France. Then, in 2015, after divorcing her husband – a man who, in her view, was not sufficiently devout – she said she set off on a tour of Turkey with some Russian women she’d met in a chat room. She left her three children behind in France, for what she said was a short holiday.

Gazieva said the women convinced her to drive down the coast. She realized too late that they had entered Syria. She was scared at first, but then grew to like Islamic State. Within a few months she had married a Chechen Islamic State fighter, “because that’s what you did,” and moved to Iraq.

For a time, at least, life in the so-called caliphate was good, Gazieva said. Obaida was born in the general hospital of Mosul with the help of Iraqi midwives conscripted by Islamic State when the Iraqi city was still firmly in its grip. Foreign fighters and their families held elite status in the city. They were given nicer homes – confiscated from Iraqi owners – and better rations and medical care.

“Life here was like in France, except that here I was free to practice my religion in peace,” she said. “My mother didn’t understand, she said I’d changed. But I’m like before, I just wear a niqab,” she added, referring to her face covering.

A few months after Obaida was born, Iraqi and U.S. forces began a campaign to take back Mosul. By then, Gazieva was a widow and living in the northern town of Tal Afar, where she escaped the fighting. Once again, life was charmed, according to Gazieva and fighters and their families interviewed by Reuters. In Tal Afar, the women had chicken coops and friendly neighbors. “It was a good life,” she said, “except for the bombings. But when I was a child, there was a war in Chechnya, so I’m used to bombings.”

Things changed in August 2017. Iraqi forces had taken back Mosul and the fighting moved north. Women, children and the remaining Islamic State men fled from Tal Afar through Kurdish-held territory towards the Turkish border. They traveled on foot in groups of 20 or more, describing a harrowing journey which lasted days, walking on roads strewn with body parts, drones buzzing overhead. They said they had been told by diplomats and friends who’d made the trek in the weeks before that the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters would let them cross into Turkey. Instead, they were made to surrender.

After several days in Kurdish custody, Gazieva and her son were transferred with the other women and children to Iraqi federal authorities in Mosul, going from the dusty refugee camp to a detention facility where they lived in an uncovered prison yard. The captives were taken to Baghdad in late 2017, where they have remained ever since, joined by foreign women and children detained elsewhere in Iraq. In all, up to 2,000 foreign women and children are in Iraqi custody, said sources with knowledge of the penitentiary system.

ANXIOUS, IDLE AND TRAUMATIZED

Documents from the Rusafa Central Criminal Court, reviewed by Reuters, show that Gazieva was one of 494 foreign women convicted there between late 2017 and August 2018 for belonging to or aiding Islamic State. The women are citizens of more than 18 countries, mainly Turkey, Russia and countries of central Asia. Records from one of the two chambers that are hearing the cases showed that up to 20 women were sentenced to death by hanging for belonging to Islamic State or participating in its activities. So far, none of these sentences have been carried out, judicial sources said.

The women’s prison in central Baghdad was not equipped to handle the arrival of so many women and their children. The jail is overcrowded and rife with disease, said inmates, diplomats who have visited the captives and sources familiar with the prison.

Hermann, the German woman who was sentenced to life in prison in August 2018, spoke to Reuters through the bars of a courthouse holding cell, about three by 10 meters large. “We sleep 12 to a room smaller than this, not counting the children,” she said. Hermann was one of six women interviewed by Reuters.

The majority of the children are still living with their mothers in prison, anxious, idle and traumatized, said diplomats and sources close to the penitentiary system. They include toddlers, like Obaida, and children as old as 12. There is limited medical attention, and many of the foreign women and children are suffering from a scabies infestation and malnutrition, among other ailments. They didn’t have enough clothes to keep warm during the winter. Some of the women cut up the abayas, or robes, they wore on arrival, to make hats and socks for their children.

The women sleep on thin mattresses on the floor with a few blankets to share, food is served in meager portions, and the guards have on many occasions kept flickering lights on for days at a time, three women told Reuters. Aid agencies are helping the Iraqi government provide essentials for the women and children, including clothes and milk, but funds are limited and foreign governments are barely pitching in.

At least seven young children, including Russians and Azeris, have died in the jail because of the squalid conditions, according to several detainees, two prison guards, people who have visited the prisoners and embassy records reviewed by Reuters. At least three women have also died, intelligence and diplomatic sources said. Iraqi government officials declined to comment.

Confirming the identities of the women and children is hard in a maze of conflicting testimony and unreliable paperwork. There were few original documents to work with because many of the women parted with their identity cards in a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State. Family ties, nationalities and identities were mostly compiled from interviews with the detainees. In some instances, Iraqi authorities carried out DNA tests.

Some children are tethered to women who aren’t their mothers. Four women told Reuters they believed it was their duty to look after the children of dead friends or relatives. Others had taken into their care kidnapped Iraqi children, their fellow prisoners said. When questioned by authorities, the women identified these children as their own.

During the fight for Mosul, Iraqi security forces found about 90 foreign children wandering the battlefield alone or in the care of strangers. In most cases, the children were identified and many were sent home. But some were too young or too traumatized to tell aid workers who they were, and about a dozen remain, unidentified, in an orphanage in Baghdad.

“THE LONGER WE KEEP THEM, THE HARDER IT WILL BE”

In September 2017, Iraq’s prime minister at the time, Haider al-Abadi, said his government was “in full communication” with the foreign children’s home countries “to find a way to hand them over.” But by January 2018, talks had stalled, and Iraq began prosecutions, diplomats said.

Children over the age of nine are held criminally responsible under Iraqi law, compared with 11 at a federal level in the United States and 14 in Germany. The children’s cases are heard by a juvenile court, where they face three possible charges under Iraq’s counter-terrorism laws: illegally entering Iraq, which carries a maximum one year in detention; membership of Islamic State, which carries five to seven years; and assisting Islamic State in carrying out terrorist activities, which can bring up to 15 years.

Some child defendants had joined attacks on Iraqi forces, blown up checkpoints and built explosive devices, said an expert on Iraqi juvenile justice.

Judge Aqeel al-Birmani, a counter-terrorism judge who has sentenced some of the children’s parents, told Reuters: “Some of them may be young but they knew what they were doing. They were trained to lie.”

Children under 13 who haven’t committed violence generally receive sentences of three to six months for illegally entering Iraq. They are then free to return home, in theory. But in reality, many of them end up staying in Iraqi children’s homes, unwanted by their home countries. Sentences are harsher for older children. German teenager Linda Wenzel, for example, is serving six years in juvenile detention for membership of Islamic State and illegally entering Iraq. German officials declined to comment on specific cases. The Interior Ministry said it estimates up to 150 adults and children who are German nationals or may have a claim to German residency are in detention in Iraq.

Social workers worry about the long sentences, particularly for older children who will be moved into adult facilities after they turn 18. There, they fear, any efforts made to rehabilitate the detainees in juvenile facilities will be undone by exposure to violent criminals. “Children should be detained only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period necessary,” said Laila Ali, a spokesperson for Unicef Iraq. “When children are detained, specific measures adapted to their age must be taken to protect them, regardless of the reason for the deprivation of their liberty.”

Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights While Countering Terrorism, said in terms of international law, reintegration and rehabilitation “the longer we keep them there, the harder that is going to be.”

Across the border in Syria, foreign children of more than a dozen different nationalities have been lingering in camps, while European governments wrangle over their fates. France said on March 15 it had repatriated several young children from camps in northern Syria. The children were orphaned or separated from their parents.

For Gazieva, the choices over her son’s future are bleak. Since she doesn’t hold a French passport, her son has no claim to French nationality. Russia, the country Gazieva ran away from, might be her son’s only option to leave Iraq. Russia’s Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about Gazieva’s case. It said an operation to evacuate Russian children from Iraq had begun in the autumn of 2017 and Russian officials in Baghdad continued to work to bring home all Russian minors.

The fates of the children of some other nations are less clear.

Turkey accounts for the largest number of foreign children in Iraqi custody, people familiar with the penitentiary system said. Turkish diplomats are monitoring the health of these children and providing medicines, a Turkish official said. Efforts are being made to bring home Turkish citizens who are not guilty of any crime, starting with the children, the official added.

Other children are from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan with a scattered few from Jordan, Syria, France, Germany and Trinidad and Tobago.

Legal charity Reprieve is involved in the cases of foreign fighters and their families detained in Syria and to a lesser extent Iraq. Founder Stafford Smith said countries “have a legal responsibility to their citizens, particularly vulnerable ones like children who are in detention through no fault of their own.”

But some countries are dragging their feet, according to diplomats and other sources familiar with the cases. Some children born in Islamic State territory don’t have recognized birth certificates, making it difficult to prove their nationality.

Germany, Georgia and France have repatriated some children. A French official said such decisions were made case by case, taking into consideration whether the mother wanted to give up her child and whether separation was in the child’s interest.

Tajikistan has said it will take children back soon.

But some governments have little incentive to bring women and children back. There is little public sympathy for the children of militants. “It’s a sensitive issue given the public’s reaction,” said a Western diplomat in Baghdad. “We’re discussing returning the children of people responsible for blowing up their cities.”

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Alissa de Carbonnel in Brussels, Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow, John Irish in Paris, Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; editing by Janet McBride and Richard Woods)

Source: OANN

German Chancellor Merkel speaks at Bundestag ahead of EU summit on Brexit delay in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the lower house of parliament (Bundestag), ahead of a Brussels summit for Brexit delay discussions, in Berlin, Germany March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

March 21, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed readiness on Thursday to back a short extension to Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, suggesting that the June 30 date requested by Prime Minister Theresa May was problematic.

May has asked European Council President Donald Tusk to delay Brexit from March 29 until the end of June and said she was preparing for a third vote in the British parliament on the exit deal she arduously negotiated with the European Union.

Addressing the German lower house before a summit of EU leaders, Merkel appeared to share concerns by the European Commission that May’s proposed delay means Britain would still be an EU member during European Parliament elections in May.

“With regard to the date of June 30, we have to take into consideration that we have European elections in May,” Merkel said “This means the future and legality of the European election must be respected. But we can surely talk positively about a short extension.”

A European Commission document seen by Reuters said the delay should either be several weeks shorter, to avoid a clash with the EU elections, or last at least until the end of the year, which would oblige Britain to take part in the vote.

In her speech, Merkel echoed Tusk’s position that it would be possible to grant Britain a short postponement if parliament backs May’s proposed agreement next week, after voting it down twice before.

Merkel said Germany would back May’s request that EU leaders approve an agreement governing the Irish “backstop,” which she described as the most difficult aspect of Brexit.

The backstop is intended to prevent the return of a hard border between EU member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, if no trade agreement is reached that makes it unnecessary.

May secured an agreement with the EU earlier this month that provides some guarantees that the bloc cannot use the backstop to trap the United Kingdom indefinitely in its customs union.

“The second request was to delay the exit date to June 30. The leaders of the EU 27 will intensively discuss this request. In principal, we can meet this request if we have a positive vote in the British parliament next week about the exit document,” Merkel said.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Michelle Martin; editing by Janet Lawrence, Larry King)

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement about Brexit in Downing Street in London
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement about Brexit in Downing Street in London, Britain March 20, 2019. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Thursday to give Prime Minister Theresa May an offer to delay Brexit beyond March 29, on condition that she can finally win over her many opponents in parliament next week.

Nearly three years after Britons narrowly voted in a referendum to leave the EU, May has been unable to unite her divided cabinet, parliament or nation behind her exit plan.

Increasingly embattled, she asked the EU on Wednesday to postpone Brexit until June 30 to give her time to secure a deal in parliament and avoid an abrupt departure next week that could spell economic chaos.

“We could consider a short extension conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons,” summit chairman Donald Tusk said in a letter inviting all 28 EU national leaders to Brussels talks.

Any delay must be unanimously approved by all the other 27 national EU leaders, increasingly exasperated with Britain’s inability to find a way of a domestic political deadlock that is weighing heavily on the whole bloc.

Raising the stakes, France threatened to reject May’s request and the EU’s executive said Britain had to be out by May 23 to avoid having to take part in European Parliament elections.

May said in London late on Wednesday that she opposed any further postponement, telling parliament to pick between her deal, a no-deal divorce, or no Brexit.

“It is now time for MPs (lawmakers) to decide,” May said in a televised statement. “You want us to get on with it. And that is what I am determined to do.”

All 28 leaders assemble in Brussels at 1400 GMT. May will address her peers before leaving the room while they discuss the issue.

The 27 are then expected to agree what will amount to a technical extension, intended to give Britain time to pass the necessary exit legislation – if the House of Commons approves the divorce package before March 29.

EXIT DATE APPROACHING FAST

The chamber has already twice voted it down heavily, with some saying May’s deal would leave Britain too closely aligned with the EU, others arguing that it would not be close enough.

If Britain fails to ratify the deal in time, and with the legal exit date of March 29 approaching fast, Tusk could then call an emergency summit for late next week.

At stake would then be a “no-deal” Brexit or a much longer extension to give the British parliament time to find a notional consensus approach. Brexit’s backers fear that, with such a long delay, their project might never materialize.

EU supporters hope a longer delay could pave the way for a new vote in Britain or a reversal of May’s strategy to leave the EU’s single market and customs union, a policy that has exposed intractable differences over how to handle the Irish border.

But this would appear to require Britain to take part in European elections in late May that it had never expected to participate in – or present the EU with a painful constitutional conundrum.

The EU wants to avoid repeated Brexit delays or more renegotiations of the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement, put together in months of painstaking talks with London. It is designed to settle Britain’s bill with the EU, guarantee expatriates’ rights and provide a status-quo transition period after Brexit.

As Brexit is sapping EU resources, the leaders will also turn to other pressing issues on Thursday and Friday. These include the state of their economies, their ties with China, climate change and ringfencing the European elections from illegitimate interference.

Eyes will also be on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who will be meeting his EU peers a day after his Fidesz party was suspended from Europe’s main center-right alliance over a venomous campaign against EU institutions and migration policies.

(Reporting by Brussels, London and Paris bureaux; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province
FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

March 20, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – France, one of the main contributors to the fight against Islamic State in the Middle East, has received no answers to questions about U.S. calls for it and others to help secure northeastern Syria, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Florence Parly was in Washington on Monday aiming to get details from U.S. officials over an idea to set up and observe a safe zone being negotiated for northeastern Syria.

That followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in December to withdraw the bulk of his 2,000 troops in Syria after the defeat of Islamic State (IS) militants.

“Mrs Parly went to the United States to start talking to the Americans and try to get answers to various questions: If by chance the American military presence would be maintained? What would be the contours of its presence? What would be the mission? What would be the capabilities?” Le Drian said.

“We do not have these answers yet…It is on the basis of information that we don’t have yet that President (Macron) will determine the possibility of a French contribution.”

Since Trump made his announcement, advisers have convinced the U.S. president to leave about 400 U.S. troops, split between two different regions of Syria.

It wants about 200 U.S. troops to join what Washington hopes will be a total commitment of about 800 to 1,500 troops from European allies, which are to set up and observe a safe zone being negotiated for northeastern Syria.

However, the idea has met scepticism from Washington’s European allies, and foremost from France, which has 1,200 troops primarily based in providing air strikes, artillery support and training in Iraq. It also has an unspecified number of special forces in Syria.

Le Drian said Islamic State’s last Syrian pocket in Baghouz would fall imminently, but that militants were now going underground and fleeing to other countries, including Afghanistan.

“We can’t envisage abandoning those that were our best allies fighting Islamic State on the ground,” Le Drian said, referring to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

(Reporting by John Irish and Sophie Louet, Editing by William Maclean)

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Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney takes part in a General Affairs Council on Article 50, in Brussels
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney takes part in a General Affairs Council on Article 50, in Brussels, Belgium March 19, 2019 REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 19, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must present a detailed plan how to push the agreement on its withdrawal from the European Union through parliament to get the EU’s approval for an extension of the March 29th membership deadline, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of EU ministers on Brexit, Coveney said there was a lot of concern among EU countries about the uncertainty the lack of a decision from Britain has created.

Unless Britain asks for and is granted an extension of the negotiations on the terms of its exit from the bloc, it will crash out on March 29th without an agreement, which both sides expect would lead to chaos and a sever economic shock.

But Coveney said that EU leaders, who will discuss Brexit on Thursday afternoon at a summit in Brussels, would need some convincing to grant an extension of the talks that have already been going on for two years.

“Any plan will have to be very persuasive on how they (Britain) will use the time. If there is a request for an extension it will have to be accompanied by a very detailed plan on what they will do to get majority support,” he said.

“It is very clear that EU do not want to grant an extension that brings us back to same point as today in three months time,” Coveney said.

He said the EU would not re-open the already agreed withdrawal deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and subsequently rejected twice by her parliament, but that the EU was open to changes in the political declaration on future relations tht accompanies the withdrawal treaty.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt, writing by Jan Strupczewski)

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The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain
The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 19, 2019

By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – In a week when Brexit was plunged into deeper uncertainty, eurosceptics in Theresa May’s Conservative Party are eyeing their dream scenario – a new prime minister and a new deal to leave the European Union.

After parliament’s speaker made it even harder for May to get her EU divorce agreement approved by reluctant lawmakers, some pro-Brexit Conservatives have embraced the possibility of a delay, hailing it as a chance to reset talks under a new leader.

It is a risky strategy – a weakened May has been calling members of the so-called European Research Group of eurosceptic lawmakers to warn them that without her deal, they risk losing Brexit to pro-EU lawmakers in the parliament.

And by no means all eurosceptics will back their calls – others fear a long extension could risk Brexit and further destabilize a deeply divided and increasingly angry Britain, which voted 52-48 percent to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum.

But some are vocal in their desires, saying after becoming numb to the warnings, threats and promises directed by an increasingly desperate team at the prime minister’s Downing Street office, they now see only one solution – May, and her Brexit deal, must go.

“From my perspective, I would prefer a lengthy extension to a transitional arrangement because it gives us more leverage,” said a Conservative former minister and Brexit supporter.

“I think that inside the EU we could have much more heft and particularly, as is probably the case, the prime minister isn’t around too much longer and there is a successor … Under a new leader we would say: ‘well, you know that Withdrawal Agreement that we said we were happy with, well we’re not now’.”

According to Brexit supporter Andrew Bridgen, May’s parliamentary enforcers, or whips, have promised some Conservatives that the prime minister would leave office in return for their support for the deal.

But that offer is not good enough.

While his first preference is to leave with no deal on March 29 to avoid further splits in the Conservative Party, he said: “Then I prefer a long extension to a bad deal because at least we’ll be able to get out.”

“As soon as we sign that Withdrawal Agreement we can’t get out, we’re never out, because they’ve got a veto on us getting out,” Bridgen told Reuters.

DEAL, NO DEAL, NO BREXIT

May has been trying to resuscitate her Brexit deal, which sees close economic ties with the EU, after lawmakers crushed it first in January by the largest margin in modern history and then again last week by 149 votes.

Fighting against those who describe the deal – which Brexit supporters fear could trap Britain in the EU’s economic sphere indefinitely – as “dead”, May and other members of her team have been phoning and messaging to try to rally support.

Eurosceptics have been approached, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s minority government, has been locked in talks with ministers and opposition Labour lawmakers have been enticed with investment offers in an attempt to win over parliament for a third vote.

But Speaker John Bercow raised another barrier on Monday when he ruled that the government could not present the same deal again and it would have to be changed in some way.

Against some expectations, the ruling boosted many eurosceptics. While Downing Street wanted to portray it as a threat to Britain’s departure from the EU, pro-Brexit lawmakers saw it as a potential existential threat to May’s administration.

“All I know for certain are three things: May has got to go, we are going to have a new prime minister and I can’t see us getting out of this issue without a general election,” said Bridgen. “Brexit now depends on who the new prime minister is.”

May has consistently said she does not want a new election, something that can only be triggered by a successful no confidence vote against the government or the government asking for, and securing, parliament’s approval for a new poll.

For some lawmakers, particularly those who won their place in parliament with only a small majority, the prospect of an election is uncomfortable.

“I am very anxious that if we go into a long extension we might have an election, the pressure to revisit the question (of Brexit) increases, the whole thing becomes at risk, and also there’s a massive political price,” said another ex-minister.

“You’re telling 17.4 million people who voted to leave that five years later you’ll still be a member. You can understand the fury. It would do real damage to both parties but in particular the Conservatives, as the government that failed to deliver it.”

(Additional reporting by William James; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Dominique Auzias, co-founder of the Petit Fute French touristic guide book, poses during an interview with Reuters for the launching of their North Korea guide book in Paris
Dominique Auzias, co-founder of the Petit Fute French touristic guide book, poses during an interview with Reuters for the launching of their North Korea guide book in Paris, France, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

March 19, 2019

By John Irish and Noémie Olive

PARIS (Reuters) – A French publisher has produced a rare guide to North Korea, highlighting its history, cultural wealth and beautiful landscapes but advising tourists not to take the politically sensitive book with them.

Tourism is one of the few remaining reliable sources of foreign income for North Korea, after the U.N. imposed sanctions targeting 90 percent of its $3 billion annual exports including commodities, textiles and seafood.

Tensions over North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles spiked on the Korean peninsular last year and there were fears of a U.S. military response to North Korea’s threat to develop a weapon capable of hitting the United States.

“There are a lot of people that are interested in this country be it for nuclear and military reasons, but also economically so … it’s important to provide information,” said Dominique Auzias, president of the Petit Fute, which publishes some 800 guides.

“As it’s a country that’s closed and forbidden everybody dreams of going there,” he said.

Some 400 French tourists visit the country each year with trips costing about 2,000 euros ($2,267).

The reclusive communist state has no official diplomatic relations with France.

Talks in June last year between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provided a detente even if in recent weeks tensions have once again flared.

North Korean authorities would probably confiscate the printed edition given some of the material, Auzias said.

“You don’t go for adventure, but to discover,” he said.

The guide, which took three years to put together, touches little on where to stay or eat because accessing the country as a tourist can only be done through specific travel agents who determine what visitors see.

In some cases however they respond to requests and Auzias said the guide helps people decide what they would like to see.

It makes clear it is imperative to stick to the country’s strict rules or face dire consequences as American student Otto Warmbier did in 2016 when he was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor for trying to steal a propaganda poster in his hotel.

He was returned to the United States in a coma 17 months later, and died shortly after. A coroner said he died from lack of oxygen and blood to the brain.

“The first time I went 10-12 years ago I was proud because I was one of the rare French citizens to get in … but my second moment of happiness was about three weeks later when I left because it was suffocating and mind-boggling,” Auzias said.

(Reporting by John Irish and Noemeie Olive; Editing by Bate Felix and Alexandra Hudson)

Source: OANN

The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain
The British union flag and the EU flag are seen flying near the Houses of Parliament, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 19, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is uncertain nearly three years after the 2016 Brexit vote.

Most diplomats and investors think the United Kingdom faces three main options: leaving with a divorce deal, throwing the question back to the people or exiting without a deal.

Graphic on no-deal Brexit probabilities from major banks: https://tmsnrt.rs/2UIhlyz

Following are the main scenarios:

1) BREXIT WITH A DEAL – May gets her deal approved at a third attempt and the United Kingdom leaves in an orderly fashion after a modest delay.

May’s divorce treaty, the product of more than two years of negotiations with the EU, was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

She had been intending to put the deal to another vote in parliament as early as this week, but the speaker ruled on Monday that she could not do so unless the deal was re-submitted in fundamentally different form. [nL8N2153SV]

Unless May can find a way around Speaker John Bercow’s ruling – such as adding an addendum or starting a new session of parliament – she will have to ask the EU to delay Brexit to avoid a no-deal exit on March 29.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Tuesday played down the possibility of cutting the parliamentary session short in order to start a new one.

Because May must now spice any deal with additional legal and procedural innovation, Bercow’s ruling means she is likely to get just one more chance to put the deal to a vote.

She had warned lawmakers that unless they approved her divorce deal, Britain’s exit could face a long delay which many Brexiteers fear would mean Britain may never leave.

May could discuss a delay and seek to get last-minute concessions at a March 21-22 EU summit, though with such chaos in London a crunch decision on Brexit might be delayed until the following week.[nL8N2154G1]

The EU has repeatedly said the Withdrawal Agreement is the only deal on the table and May’s spokesman said Britain would not be seeking to renegotiate the most contentious part – the Irish border plan.

If May is looking for a legal fix, though, she could seek a change to the accompanying Political Declaration.

Sources in Brussels said on Monday that Britain could ask for a Brexit delay even after the summit, suggesting that the decisive moment for Brexit might still be some days ahead.

One possible way out for May would be a Brexit delay until the end of 2019, with an option to leave earlier should her deal get passed. Ultimately, May might have to offer a date for her own resignation to win enough Conservative votes for her deal.

To get her deal through parliament, May must win over at least 75 lawmakers: dozens of rebels in her own Conservative Party, some Labour lawmakers, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of eurosceptics in Britain’s House of Commons, signaled he could fall in behind the deal. [nL8N2152DJ]

Many banks and investors still say her deal could be struck and approved, and cite previous EU crises such as the Greek debt crisis, where solutions were found at the eleventh hour.

“I think MPs (lawmakers) will see sense and approve the Meaningful Vote before March 29,” said Matthew Elliott, the head of the 2016 campaign for leaving the European Union, told Reuters after Bercow’s ruling.

“The most likely outcome at this juncture is the deal going through,” Elliott said. “When it becomes apparent that the only extension on offer from the EU is long, tortuous and with lots of conditions, I suspect enough MPs will get behind the deal for it to pass.”

If May’s deal fails, or if another vote on the same deal is prevented, another option is that parliament at some point takes control of Brexit and lawmakers seek a closer relationship with the EU, staying in the EU customs union.

Lawmakers could seek indicative votes on a way forward and there might be a majority for a softer Brexit than May’s deal. To avoid that, May could call a snap election, though her party does not want one.

Another option, being pushed by some lawmakers is a referendum on May’s Brexit deal, though such a vote, were it ever called, would effectively become a referendum on EU membership.

2) BREXIT REFERENDUM – May’s deal fails and a long delay allows the campaign for another referendum to gain momentum.

It is far from clear how the United Kingdom would vote if given another chance.

An often chaotic set of votes in parliament last week has shown that none of the alternatives to May’s deal – such as leaving with no deal, a referendum or allowing parliament to decide how to leave – can muster a majority among lawmakers yet.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying.

While many surveys ahead of the vote incorrectly predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to stay in the club it joined in 1973, polls now suggest no great desire for a second referendum and indicate that many voters, fatigued by the political squabbling, would be happy to leave without a deal.

Corbyn, who voted against membership in 1975 and gave only reluctant backing to the 2016 campaign to remain in the EU, has given ambiguous backing for another referendum, saying he would push for one alongside a national election.

When asked if he would vote to remain in the EU in a possible future referendum, Corbyn said on Sunday: “It depends what the choice is in front of us.”

At the highest levels of government, there are worries that a second referendum would exacerbate the deep divisions exposed by the 2016 referendum, alienate millions of pro-Brexit voters and stoke support for the far-right.

Already, many supporters of Brexit, and even some lawmakers, say the elite has sabotaged the EU divorce and is trying to subvert the will of the people.

It is far from clear how the United Kingdom would vote and even if it did vote to remain, Brexit supporters might demand a third and decisive vote.

A new party backed by Nigel Farage, the insurgent who helped shove Britain towards the EU exit, has a message for the country’s leaders: The foundations of the political system will explode if Brexit is betrayed.

3) NO-DEAL EXIT – The chaos in London is such that parliament cannot find a way to approve May’s deal or find another divorce deal option, and after one or more delays, the EU says it will extend no longer. The United Kingdom then leaves without a deal.

Lawmakers on Wednesday voted 321 to 278 in favor of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances.

While the approved motion has no legal force and ultimately may not prevent a no-deal exit, it carries considerable political force.

Still, as the March 29 exit date is set in law, the default is to leave on that date unless May agrees a delay or parliament changes the law.

“You either have a deal, you have no deal, or you have no Brexit,” said Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay.

While an extension would avoid a no-deal exit on March 29, the potential for a no-deal Brexit would remain if the British parliament was unable to approve a deal.

And the European Union’s 27 other members must unanimously approve a delay to Brexit.

Barclay has said Britain should not be afraid of leaving without a deal if it cannot get a divorce deal approved.

No-deal means there would be no transition so the exit would be abrupt, the nightmare scenario for international businesses and the dream of hard Brexiteers who want a decisive split.

Britain is a member of the World Trade Organization so tariffs and other terms governing its trade with the EU would be set under WTO rules.

(Editing by Anna Willard and Giles Elgood)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church in Sonning
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives at church in Sonning, Britain March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 18, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – One of the most influential Brexit-backing lawmakers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s party gave the strongest hint to date on Monday that rebels might back her departure deal, saying that a bad exit accord was better than staying in the European Union.

May has warned lawmakers that unless they approve her Brexit divorce deal after two crushing defeats, Britain’s exit from the EU could face a long delay which many Brexiteers fear would mean Britain may never leave.

After two-and-a-half years of tortuous negotiations with the EU, the final outcome remains uncertain – with options including a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another EU membership referendum.

May is scrambling to rally support ahead of a summit of EU heads of government on Thursday and Friday where she has warned she will ask for a long Brexit delay unless parliament ratifies the deal she struck in November.

Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of euroskeptics in Britain’s House of Commons, said he had not yet made up his mind how to vote on May’s deal but any Brexit was better than staying in the bloc.

If Rees-Mogg did swing behind May, dozens of rebels could follow him, although it is unclear if that would be enough to save her deal.

“No deal is better than a bad deal but a bad deal is better than remaining in the European Union in the hierarchy of deals,” Rees-Mogg told LBC radio. “A two-year extension is basically remaining in the European Union.”

Rees-Mogg said his dream option would be a no-deal exit on March 29 but that he felt May – a former supporter of EU membership who won the premiership in the turmoil that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum – would seek to stop a no-deal.

“The question people like me will ultimately have to answer is: can we get to no-deal instead? If we can get to no-deal instead, that is a better option… but I am concerned the prime minister is determined to stop a no-deal.”

May’s deal, a bid to keep close trading and security ties with the EU while leaving the bloc’s formal political structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on Jan. 15, and by 149 votes on March 12.

If she could get the deal approved after the biggest parliamentary defeat for a government in modern British history, it would mark a spectacular and surprising turnaround and by far the biggest achievement of her crisis-riven tenure.

To get her deal through parliament, May must win over at least 75 lawmakers – dozens of rebels in her own Conservative Party, some Labour lawmakers, and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government.

The biggest issue is the so-called Northern Irish border backstop, an insurance policy aimed at avoiding post-Brexit controls on the United Kingdom’s border with EU-member Ireland.

Many Brexiteers and the DUP are concerned the backstop will trap the United Kingdom in the EU’s orbit indefinitely, and have sought guarantees it will not.

THIRD TIME LUCKY?

May’s finance minister, Philip Hammond, held talks with the DUP on Friday but said the government did not yet have support it needed and would only put the deal to a third vote if it felt it could win.

“There are some cautious signs of encouragement … but there is a lot more work to do,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC on Monday.

If May could swing the DUP behind her, along with several dozen more Brexit supporters in her own party, she will be getting close to the numbers she needs.

Stepping up the pressure on the prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said he could trigger another confidence vote in May’s government if she fails again to get her deal adopted by parliament.

Former British foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday it was not too late for the government to get “real change” to May’s deal and cautioned against holding another parliamentary vote on the agreement this week.

Johnson, a prominent Brexit campaigner who might influence other lawmakers on which way to vote over May’s deal, asked in his column in the Telegraph newspaper whether there was a way forward to break the impasse of Brexit in parliament.

“Perhaps,” he answered. “There is an EU summit this week. It is not too late to get real change to the backstop. It would be absurd to hold the vote before that has even been attempted.”

He also said May should outline her strategy for talks on the future relationship with the EU to “reassure … understandably doubtful MPs (members of parliament) by answering some basic questions”.

EU leaders have said repeatedly that the terms of their Withdrawal Agreement with May cannot be revisited.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood and Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

British Prime Minister Theresa May talks with Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood during a visit to a new housing development in Wokingham
British Prime Minister Theresa May talks with Conservative MP for Wokingham John Redwood during a visit to a new housing development in Wokingham, Britain, January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool

March 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A Brexit-supporting British lawmaker said a “lot of people” in parliament still remained opposed to Prime Minister Theresa May’s European Union withdrawal deal, with hostility going beyond opposition to the so-called Irish backstop.

“This is a very bad agreement,” John Redwood told BBC radio. “Quite a number share my overall concerns that we don’t need this kind of binding treaty.

“It’s a lot of people and it goes far wider than the ERG group who have been particularly keen to have the right kind of Brexit,” he added.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Kate Holton)

Source: OANN

Scott Morefield | Reporter

The official Republican Party Twitter account tweeted a “special message” from “noted Irishman Robert Francis O’Rourke” on Sunday.

“On this St. Paddy’s Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O’Rourke,” the account tweeted along with a photoshopped green hat-wearing mug shot from O’Rourke’s 1998 DUI arrest. The words “please drink responsibly” were place at the bottom of the picture where an inmate number normally would be.

O’Rourke was arrested for driving under the influence in 1998 and even tried to flee the scene before police arrived. (RELATED: Beto O’Rourke Was On ‘A Booty Call To An Ex’ When He Was Arrested For Drunk Driving In 1998)

The St. Patrick’s Day tweet was retweeted almost 9,000 times and had around 20,000 likes as of this writing, but many criticized the GOP for a low blow and even anti-Irish bigotry.

In a more serious tweet an hour later, the GOP account stuck to policy, charging O’Rourke with being a “failed Member of Congress w/ a far-left liberal record.”

Follow Scott on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Boston Bruins
Mar 16, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Irish mix martial artist Conor McGregor watches the first period of play between the Boston Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

March 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Actor Sylvester Stallone says he believes Conor McGregor is at a crossroad in his life after the MMA fighter’s latest arrest and an earlier loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“If he can’t overcome his fear and beat this man, I think it’ll plague him for the rest of his life,” Stallone, a minority owner of the UFC, told TMZ Sports.

McGregor was arrested in Miami Beach last week after a fan said the Irish mixed martial arts fighter smashed his phone and walked off with the shattered remains, according to police records.

He was booked on suspicion of robbery and criminal mischief and later released on bond.

Nurmagomedov retained his UFC lightweight title with a submission victory over McGregor in October after which a brawl broke out with members of the Russian’s support team arrested.

The 72-year-old Stallone, famous for his action roles including boxer Rocky Balboa, said McGregor should tell himself: “Okay, I’ve gone through a very rough time. I’ve been somewhat publicly humiliated. I’m at a crossroad in my life … I have to overcome an incredible opponent who seems invulnerable.”

Stallone added he would like to see a rematch between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.

“This is a crossroad in his life,” Stallone said of McGregor. “This is probably the most important one because if he doesn’t live up to his ideal … if he can’t overcome his fear and beat this man, I think it’ll plague him for the rest of his life.”

Neither McGregor or a spokesman could be reached for immediate comment.

The fighter was charged in April 2018 with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after police said he attacked a charter bus in New York carrying UFC fighters.

He later pleaded guilty to a reduced disorderly conduct charge.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Clare Lovell)

Source: OANN

Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks in Parliament in London
Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks in Parliament in London, Britain, March 12, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

March 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Former British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday it was not too late for the government to get “real change” to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal and cautioned against holding another parliamentary vote on the agreement this week.

Johnson, who was a figurehead of a campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum and might influence other lawmakers on which way to vote over May’s deal, asked in his column in the Telegraph newspaper whether there was a way forward to break the impasse of Brexit in parliament.

“Perhaps,” he answered. “There is an EU summit this week. It is not too late to get real change to the backstop. It would be absurd to hold the vote before that has even been attempted.”

He also said May should outline her strategy for talks on the future relationship with the EU to “reassure … understandably doubtful MPs (members of parliament) by answering some basic questions”.

May is expected to hold the third vote on her Brexit deal this week after suffering heavy defeats, and she is hoping to win over lawmakers, many of whom like Johnson fear the so-called Northern Irish backstop could trap Britain in the EU’s sphere.

The backstop is an insurance policy to stop any return of a border controls between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if a future trading deal fails to remove the need for them.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive at church in Sonning
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive at church in Sonning, Britain March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 17, 2019

By Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was scrambling on Sunday to get support in parliament for her Brexit deal at the third time of asking, aiming to persuade doubters with threats and promises to avoid any move to oust her.

After parliament backed a move to delay Brexit, May still has only three days to win approval for her deal to leave the European Union if she wants to go to a summit with the bloc’s leaders on Thursday with something to offer them in return for more time.

Stepping up the pressure on the prime minister, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said he could trigger another confidence vote in May’s government if she fails again to get her deal approved by parliament.

Almost three years since Britain voted to leave the EU in a referendum, the country is no clearer about how and when it will leave the bloc, with several outcomes possible, from exiting without a deal to Brexit never happening at all.

May’s warning that if parliament again votes against her deal — which has already been crushed twice by lawmakers — that Britain could face a long delay and would need to take part in European elections in May seemed to be winning some over.

But her finance minister, Philip Hammond, said she was not in the clear yet.

“What has happened … is that a significant number of colleagues … have changed their view on this and decided that the alternatives are so unpalatable to them that they on reflection think the prime minister’s deal is the best way to deliver Brexit,” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr program.

Asked if the government had enough numbers yet, he replied: “Not yet, it is a work in progress.”

Many Brexit supporters in May’s Conservative Party say the key to whether they will back her deal is the agreement of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up the prime minister’s minority government in parliament.

May needs 75 lawmakers to change their vote after it was crushed first in January by 230 lawmakers and then by 149 on March 12.

The DUP’s 10 lawmakers could sway a large segment of a pro-Brexit Conservative grouping, several lawmakers say, but even then, she would still probably also have to get some Labour lawmakers on board as well.

NO MONEY

Hammond said talks were continuing with the DUP to find ways of reassuring the party that any future border arrangements with EU member Ireland would not mean that Northern Ireland might be split away from the rest of Britain.

He denied the government would offer the DUP money to back the deal.

Until it is clear that the support is there, trade minister Liam Fox said, the government will not have the vote, which is widely expected to be held on Tuesday.

“It would be difficult to justify having a vote if we knew we were going to lose it,” Fox told Sky News.

With a threat that will no doubt focus ministers’ minds, Corbyn said he would try to force a confidence vote against the government if the prime minister failed to win approval for it and tried to further run “down the clock”.

“I think at that point a confidence motion would be appropriate. At that point we should say there has to be a general election,” he said.

There were signs that some Brexit supporters were shifting their views, fearful that if the deal failed, Brexit would never take place.

“The choice before us is this deal or no Brexit whatsoever and to not have Brexit would go against the democratic vote of the people,” said Esther McVey, a Brexit supporter who resigned from May’s government last year in protest against May’s deal.

“We’re going to have to hold our nose and vote for it.”

(Writing by Elizabeth Piper)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day meal staple in the U.S., but how did this holiday tradition begin?

Irish immigrants began eating the salty beef dish while celebrating their nationality on St. Patrick’s Day in the 1800s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Beef was a luxury their ancestors in Ireland were likely unable to afford — Irish farmers exported beef to England but ate pork, which was cheaper, in their own homes.

No, corned beef does not contain corn. The “corns” that give the dish its name are large grains of rock salt, which were used to cure the product so it would last longer. (RELATED: Here’s How America Transformed St. Patrick’s Day From A Solemn Liturgical Feast To A Day Of Beer Guzzling And Parades)

Irish immigrants made parades and meals of corned beef and cooked cabbage new traditions to celebrate their Old World roots. More than 1 million Irish immigrants arrived in the U.S. in the 19th century and settled in cities like Boston and New York City.

People participate in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade along 5th Ave. on March 17, 2018 in New York City. New York's Saint Patrick's Day parade is the largest in the world. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

People participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade along 5th Ave. on March 17, 2018 in New York City. New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is the largest in the world. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

People participate on the sidelines of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade along 5th Ave. on March 17, 2018 in New York City. New York's Saint Patrick's Day parade is the largest in the world. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

People participate on the sidelines of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade along 5th Ave. on March 17, 2018 in New York City. New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade is the largest in the world. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

More than 35 million Americans claim Irish heritage, according to Forbes. That’s nearly 12 percent of the U.S. population.

These Irish Americans were also responsible for transforming St. Patrick’s Day into the celebration of booze, leprechauns and all things green that it is in 2019. The holiday was popularized back in Ireland by a 17th-century Franciscan priest, who encouraged Irish Catholics to observe St. Patrick’s Day as a feast day. Irish Americans traded the hearty bacon they would eat on St. Patrick’s Day for beef in the New World.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: British PM May walks outside Downing Street in London
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Theresa May walks outside Downing Street, as she faces a vote on Brexit, in London, Britain March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

March 16, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s warned lawmakers that unless they approved her Brexit divorce deal after two crushing defeats, Britain’s exit from the European Union could face a long delay and could involve taking part in European parliament elections.

After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the EU, the final outcome is still uncertain with options including a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another referendum.

May has issued Brexit supporters a clear ultimatum – ratify her deal by a European Council summit March 21 or face a delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that would open up the possibility that the entire divorce could be ultimately thwarted.

The prime minister bluntly warned that Britain will be forced to take part in European parliamentary elections expected to place at the end of May if there is a longer extension to Brexit talks.

“If the proposal were to go back to square one and negotiate a new deal, that would mean a much longer extension – almost certainly requiring the United Kingdom to participate in the European Parliament elections in May,” she said in an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

“The idea of the British people going to the polls to elect MEPs three years after voting to leave the EU hardly bears thinking about. There could be no more potent symbol of parliament’s collective political failure.”

EU leaders will consider pressing Britain to delay Brexit by at least a year to find a way out of the domestic maelstrom, though there is shock and growing impatience at the political chaos in London.

Her deal, an attempt to keep close relations with the EU while leaving the bloc’s formal structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on Jan. 15 and by 149 votes on March 12.

But May continues to fight to build support for her plan, which is expected to put before lawmakers for a third time next week, possibly on Tuesday.

To get it through parliament, the prime minister must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up her minority government.

The DUP said it is continuing to hold talks with the government over the weekend but differences remained over the Irish border.

The changes would address the DUP’s concerns over the backstop – an insurance policy aimed at avoiding controls on the sensitive border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. The backstop is the most contentious part of the divorce deal the government has agreed with the EU.

(Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

March 16, 2019

By Andrew MacAskill

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of getting a Brexit divorce deal through parliament were given a boost on Saturday after a report that the Northern Irish party propping up her government might move toward backing her deal.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has 10 lawmakers in parliament, is close to changing its position for the first time after receiving a promise that the government would put into law a requirement that there be no divergence between Northern Ireland and Britain, the Spectator magazine said.

A cabinet minister involved in the talks with the DUP told the Spectator the chances of the party backing the government’s deal were around 60 percent.

After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the EU, the final outcome is still uncertain with options including a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another referendum.

To get her deal passed through parliament, May must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the DUP lawmakers. She is expected bring back the deal for a third vote after two historic defeats.

The DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the party had good talks with British ministers, including the finance minister, on Friday to see what additional assurances would be needed for them to save her deal.

But the opposition Labour Party’s finance policy chief John McDonnell said on Saturday he was concerned that Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s presence during the talks means the government might have offered the DUP money to back the deal.

“It will rightfully be seen by the British electorate as corrupt politics and will demean our political system in the eyes of the world,” McDonnell said.

As talks with the government continued, the DUP said there were still issues to addressed and denied that they were seeking money from the government.

The changes would address the DUP’s concerns over the backstop – an insurance policy aimed at avoiding controls on the sensitive border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. The backstop is the most contentious part of the divorce deal the government has agreed with the EU.

THIRD TIME LUCKY?

After three dramatic days in parliament this week, lawmakers voted on Thursday to have the government ask the EU for a delay beyond the date Britain is scheduled to leave – March 29.

May says she wants to minimize any delay in leaving the EU to just three months, but to achieve that she will need parliament to back her deal at the third time of asking early next week, possibly Tuesday.

Her deal, an attempt to keep close relations with the EU while leaving the bloc’s formal structures, was defeated by 230 votes in parliament on Jan. 15 and by 149 votes on March 12.

She needs 75 lawmakers to change their vote. If she can swing the DUP behind her, along with several dozen hardliners in her own party, she will be getting close to the numbers she needs.

Around 20 Conservatives lawmakers are unlikely ever to be satisfied but she may draw in a small number of opposition Labour lawmakers.

In another sign of how Brexit continues to reshape loyalties in Britain’s politics, a senior Conservative lawmaker quit his local party on Saturday due to disagreements over Brexit.

Nick Boles, 53, has been critical of the government’s threat to leave the EU without a deal and has faced calls from his local party to be ousted as its candidate for the next general election.

Boles said he could remain aligned with the Conservatives in parliament if it is offered “on acceptable terms.”

At the other end of the political spectrum, Nigel Farage, the politician who probably did more than anyone else to force Britain’s referendum on membership of the European Union, joined protesters at the start of a 270-mile march over what they call a betrayal of the Brexit vote.

In the pouring rain in Sunderland, northeast England, which was the first place in Britain to declare a vote to leave the EU, Farage, wearing a flat cap and carrying an umbrella, said Brexit was now in danger of being scuttled by the establishment.

“We are here in the very week when parliament is doing its utmost to betray the Brexit result,” Farage said. “It is beginning to look like it doesn’t want to leave and the message from this march is if you think you can walk all over us we will march straight back to you.”

The march, which began with about 100 people, is due to end at parliament on March 29, the day the United Kingdom was supposed to leave the EU.

(Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

March 16, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The Northern Irish party that is crucial to Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of getting her twice-defeated Brexit deal through parliament is likely to support it in a third vote next week, the Spectator magazine reported on Saturday.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has 10 lawmakers in parliament, is moving toward backing May’s European Union divorce deal for the first time after receiving a promise that the government would put into law a requirement that there be no divergence between Northern Ireland and Britain, it said.

A cabinet minister involved in the talks with the DUP told the Spectator the chances of the Northern Irish party backing the government’s deal were around 60 percent.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

Cheltenham Festival
Horse Racing – Cheltenham Festival – Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Britain – March 14, 2019 Bryony Frost celebrates with a trophy after winning the 2.50 Ryanair Chase Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

March 16, 2019

CHELTENHAM, England (Reuters) – Women jockeys impressed at this week’s Cheltenham Festival, claiming four wins including an unprecedented two in top-level Grade One races, highlighted by Bryony Frost’s breakthrough triumph on Frodon.

Frost collected the biggest cheer of the week when she became the first female jockey to win a Grade One race over jumps at The Festival on Thursday.

The 23-year-old claimed one of the hardest fought battles to win the Ryanair Chase by little more than a length over Charlie Deutsch and Aso.

“I can’t explain how much I love that horse. He is Pegasus, he has wings and he is the most incredible battler,” Frost said.

Lizzie Kelly won the Handicap Chase later on Thursday with a bold front-running performance.

Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore claimed another Grade One race victory on Gold Cup Friday, her second win of the week.

The 29-year-old is currently second in the battle to become Ireland’s Champion Jockey having claimed 84 winners on Irish turf.

(Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Wisconsin won a close one against Nebraska 66-62 Friday, and a matchup with Michigan State looms on the horizon.

Not only was today a day for college basketball, it was also a day for drinking beer in honor of our Irish friends. I showed up to the bar expecting Wisconsin to roll Nebraska as I celebrated our friends across the pond. That didn’t happen.

While the beer was flowing freely, my Badgers were struggling. It wasn’t pretty. Yet, it never is in March. We do battle on the court because at this point we’re playing for the right for 40 more minutes. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

What I saw today wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t pretty at all. Having said that, as a Wisconsin man, you learn to fight in the dirt. You learn to get into the mud. That’s all part of the process, and we clawed our way to a victory today. (RELATED: Wisconsin Blows Out Iowa 65-45, Khalil Iverson Throws Down Big Dunk)

Now, we have a fight with Michigan State Saturday 1:00 p.m. EST on CBS. My friends, it’s going to be brutal.

The Spartans think they can take this tournament with ease. They’re about to learn that they’ve got another thing coming. They want no part of what we’re bringing tomorrow. I can guarantee you of that much.

Make sure to tune in as we stomp them all over the court. It’s going to be required watching for fans of the sport.

Pray for MSU. They have no idea what is about to hit them. They’re honestly entering this game thinking they’re going to win. You almost have to field bad for them. They have so much joy and optimism. Don’t worry. We’ll snuff that out quick enough. Don’t miss it!

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Paul Carrel

BERLIN (Reuters) – Delaying Britain’s exit from the European Union could present an opportunity to rework the bloc’s approach to negotiating with London, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

A possible delay to the March 29 exit date, which British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek, will top the agenda when EU leaders meet in Brussels late next week.

While German conservatives would prefer Britain to stay in the EU or else adopt Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal, senior conservative lawmaker Detlef Seif said that failing those scenarios he would back a delay until end-2020.

In the event of a such delay, Seif told Reuters: “I am of the view that we should change the EU’s guidelines.”

After Britain voted to leave in 2016, European negotiators stuck firmly to a two-stage approach, refusing to discuss anything about future trading ties until London settled its financial obligations, agreed mutually acceptable rules for expatriate citizens, and found a way to avoid trouble on the EU’s only land border with the United Kingdom – with the British province of Northern Ireland.

However, the difficulties of negotiating the divorce deal without opening up negotiations on future trading terms have led to problems over EU insistence on a “backstop” insurance policy for the border that has caused British lawmakers to refuse to ratify the deal.

Seif said shifting beyond the two-stage approach could assuage the concerns of Brexiteer members of parliament, including the European Research Group (ERG), who fear the backstop could leave Britain trapped in the customs union forever against its will.

“Psychologically, it is important that we change this, because the European Research Group thinks this is a trick,” Seif said.

FUTURE RELATIONSHIP

In the event of a Brexit delay to end-2020, EU leaders could instruct their officials to negotiate with Britain on their future relationship: “In these 21 months to the end of 2020, we could say that we really want to negotiate straight away on the future relationship.”

The development of new technology during this period could allow for ‘light touch’ checks at the Irish border.

“Reasonable grounds for this (extension), would be to try to get these technical developments to make the backstop superfluous,” Seif added, stressing that Britain would have to say what it wanted from an extension for it to be granted.

He believed Merkel’s conservative bloc in the German lower house could back the idea: “I expect that could find a majority.”

Any suggestion from EU powerhouse Germany that Brussels should abandon its “sequencing” and switch to a form of talks more agreeable to London is likely to be seized on by May’s opponents in Britain as an indication a better deal is possible if they hold out.

However, it could also prompt other EU governments, keen to see an end to the uncertainty, to be wary of extending the Brexit deadline.

Merkel wants an orderly Brexit. The leader of her Christian Democratic Union said on Friday the EU should agree to a delay of Britain’s departure from the bloc if it would prevent a disorderly exit.

A German government spokesman said the next move on how to proceed with Brexit must come from London.

(Additional reporting by Alastair Macdonald in Brussels; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Source: OANN

British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London
FILE PHOTO: British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 15, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union is uncertain nearly three years since the 2016 Brexit vote.

Most diplomats and investors think the United Kingdom faces three main options: leaving with a divorce deal, throwing the question back to the people or crashing out without a deal.

To see a graphic of no-deal Brexit probabilities from major banks: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/GLOBAL-MARKETS/0H001PBEZ505/index.html

Following are the main scenarios:

1) BREXIT WITH A DEAL – May gets her deal approved at a third, or even fourth, attempt and the United Kingdom leaves in an orderly fashion.

May’s divorce treaty, the product of more than two years of tortuous negotiations with the EU, was defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan. 15.

She may try again next week.

She told lawmakers that unless they approved her Brexit divorce deal, Britain’s EU exit could face a much longer delay than three months.

To get it through parliament, she must win over dozens of Brexit-supporting rebels in her own Conservative Party and the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up her minority government.

The DUP said it had good talks with British ministers on Friday to see what additional assurances would be needed for them to save her deal. [nL8N2121L3]

If she fails next week, there is even talk she could come back for a fourth vote. May could seek to get last-minute concessions at a March 21-22 EU summit.

The EU has repeatedly said it is the only deal on the table and that it will not reopen it.

Many banks and investors still say a last-minute deal could be struck and approved, and cite previous EU crises such as the Greek debt crisis where solutions were found at the eleventh hour.

Goldman Sachs sees a 60 percent chance that May’s deal, or a variant of it, is eventually ratified. It sees the probability of a second referendum at 35 percent and a no-deal exit at 5 percent.

If May’s deal fails, another option is that parliament at some point takes control of Brexit and lawmakers seek a closer relationship with the EU, staying in the EU customs union.

Lawmakers could seek indicative votes on a way forward and there might be a majority for a softer Brexit than May’s deal.

2) BREXIT REFERENDUM – May’s deal fails and a long delay allows the campaign for another referendum to gain momentum.

It is far from clear how the United Kingdom would vote if given another chance.

An often chaotic set of votes in parliament this week has shown that none of the alternatives to May’s deal – such as leaving with no deal, a referendum or allowing parliament to decide how to leave – can muster a majority among lawmakers yet.

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 51.9 percent, backed leaving the EU while 16.1 million, or 48.1 percent, backed staying.

While many surveys ahead of the vote incorrectly predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to stay in the club it joined in 1973, polls now suggest no great desire for a second referendum and indicate that many voters, fatigued by the political squabbling, would be happy to leave without a deal.

Corbyn, who voted against membership in 1975 and gave only reluctant backing to the 2016 campaign to remain in the EU, has given ambiguous backing for another referendum, saying he would push for one alongside a national election.

At the highest levels of government, there are worries that a second referendum would exacerbate the deep divisions exposed by the 2016 referendum, alienate millions of pro-Brexit voters and stoke support for the far-right.

If Britons voted to remain, Brexit supporters might demand a third and decisive vote.

A new party backed by Nigel Farage, the insurgent who helped shove Britain toward the EU exit, has a message for the country’s leaders: The foundations of the political system will explode if Brexit is betrayed.

3) NO-DEAL EXIT – The chaos in London is such that it cannot find a way to approve May’s deal or find another divorce deal option and after one or more delays, the EU says it will extend no longer. The United Kingdom then leaves without a deal.

The British parliament on Wednesday voted 321 to 278 in favor of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstances.

While the approved motion has no legal force and ultimately may not prevent a no-deal exit, it carries considerable political force, especially as it passed thanks to a rebellion by members of May’s own Conservative Party and her cabinet.

Still, as the March 29 exit date is set in law, the default is to leave on that date unless May agrees a delay or parliament changes the law.

“By the end of March we have to have an alternative in place, not just a resolution of the House of Commons, a preference, but a solution in place that enables us to have an extension so there isn’t crash out on March 29,” May’s de-facto deputy David Lidington said.

While that would avoid a no-deal exit on March 29, the risk would remain a delayed exit date if the British parliament was unable to approve a deal.

And the European Union’s 27 other members must unanimously approve a delay to Brexit.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said Britain should not be afraid of leaving without a deal if it cannot get a divorce deal approved.

“If we can get the deal through as I hope we still will, we will now need a short, technical extension, but if not we shouldn’t be afraid to leave with no deal,” Barclay told the BBC.

No-deal means there would be no transition so the exit would be abrupt, the nightmare scenario for international businesses and the dream of hard Brexiteers who want a decisive split.

Britain is a member of the World Trade Organization so tariffs and other terms governing its trade with the EU would be set under WTO rules.

(Editing by Anna Willard)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A member of the Iraqi security forces passed by bridges destroyed in the war with Islamic State, in the Old City of Mosu
FILE PHOTO: A member of the Iraqi security forces passed by bridges destroyed in the war with Islamic State, in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Ahmed Rasheed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq has begun court proceedings against 14 suspected French members of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group captured by U.S.-backed forces and transferred to Iraq from Syria last month, two legal sources said.

The men appeared before an investigative judge of Baghdad’s anti-terrorism court on March 6 in a procedural step toward putting them on trial, according to a court-appointed lawyer who attended the session and a member of the judicial council.

All 14 signed confessions saying they had been in Mosul when it was under Islamic State rule from 2014 to 2017, according to the two legal sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

If they are tried in Iraq and found guilty of having committed crimes against Iraq and the Iraqi people, they could face the death penalty, said the judicial council member.

“The course of investigations and indictment are leaning towards handing them the death sentence eventually,” said the court-appointed lawyer.

Iraqi President Barham Salih said this month that convicted foreign fighters could be sentenced to death in Iraq.

Islamic State redrew the map of the Middle East in 2014 when it declared an ultra-radical Sunni Islamist “caliphate” spanning parts of Syria and Iraq and established a rule known for mass killings, sexual enslavement and punishments like crucifixion.

Security sources said the 14 stand accused by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service of carrying out “terrorist acts” in Mosul and running some of Islamic State’s financial affairs.

The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment, saying it was entirely an Iraqi legal matter.

The 14 were among 280 Iraqi and foreign detainees handed over to Iraq by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, who are now close to capturing the last small patch of IS-held territory in Baghouz near the border with Iraq. [nL8N21121F]

Iraqi officials have said they will either help repatriate non-Iraqi IS detainees to their home countries or prosecute those suspected of having committed crimes against Iraqis.

The written confession of one of the suspected militants, made available to Reuters by a lawyer, indicated he was a French national of Tunisian origin and had served as a soldier in the French army from 2000 to 2010, including a tour in Afghanistan in 2009.

He decided to join Islamist militants in Syria after watching many videos produced by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front group, according to the written confession, which added that he participated in the battle for Mosul, without elaborating.

Another confession, of a Frenchman of Algerian origin, said he left France for Turkey and then Syria in 2013 after being watching jihadist videos online, and then joined IS in Mosul.

Baghdad-based security analyst Hisham al-Hashimi, who advises the government on Islamic State, said that the 14 Frenchmen were unlikely to have held senior positions in IS.

(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Writing by John Davison; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the Cabinet Office, in London
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) deputy leader Nigel Dodds, speaks to the media outside the Cabinet Office, in London, Britain March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 15, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The deputy leader of the Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said his party wanted to agree a Brexit deal but the issue over the so-called Irish backstop remained the key problem.

Nigel Dodds said there had been good talks with senior British ministers, including finance minister Philip Hammond, and progress had been made but it was insufficient and much would depend on what guarantees the government could offer.

“We have always said that we want to get a deal. But it has to be the right deal,” Dodds, of the Democratic Unionist Party, told reporters.

He said his party had been very disappointed by the legal opinion put forward by the British Attorney General this week on the backstop.

“Now the government is very focused on ensuring that the issue of the backstop, the separation of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom, that that is addressed,” he said.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout and William James; editing by Michael Holden/Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

Former U.S. marine Paul Whelan who is being held on suspicion of spying, is escorted out of a courtroom after a ruling regarding extension of his detention, in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. marine Paul Whelan who is being held on suspicion of spying, is escorted out of a courtroom after a ruling regarding extension of his detention, in Moscow, Russia, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

March 15, 2019

By Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The United States on Friday asked why Russia had not provided any evidence to back up its accusation that Paul Whelan, a detained former U.S. marine, was a spy, a day after Whelan alleged he was being mistreated by a “kangaroo court.”

Whelan, who holds U.S., British, Canadian and Irish passports, was detained in a Moscow hotel room on Dec. 28 and accused of espionage, a charge he denies. If found guilty, he could be imprisoned for up to 20 years.

The case has further strained already poor U.S.-Russia relations as has that of another detained American, private equity chief Michael Calvey, who is being investigated on embezzlement charges.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Whelan after an acquaintance handed him a flash drive containing classified information. Whelan’s lawyer says his client thinks he was set up by the acquaintance and the FSB.

Whelan thought the flash drive contained holiday photos, the lawyer has said.

The U.S. Embassy in Russia on Friday complained about Moscow’s handling of the case.

“Shortly after U.S. citizen Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow, Russian officials said they caught him red-handed,” Andrea Kalan, an embassy spokeswoman, wrote on social media.

“It’s been more than two months now, and we haven’t seen a shred of evidence implicating Paul Whelan. Why haven’t they produced it?”

U.S. diplomats were due to visit Whelan at Moscow’s Lefortovo Prison on Friday.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the U.S. criticism.

“Two months and the embassy is already getting hysterical,” RIA news agency cited Maria Zakharova, a ministry spokeswoman, as saying.

“Law enforcement agencies are working on the case, the guy was caught red-handed, and that was announced openly. I don’t see any grounds for American diplomats to get worked up.”

In a court appearance on Thursday at which his lawyer’s request to free him from pre-trial detention on bail was refused, Whelan appeared angry and said he had been told that he was not allowed to communicate with anyone.

“Of course they are,” he said, when asked by a reporter whether Russian authorities were trying to isolate him.

Whelan at one point complained he hadn’t been provided with a translator and was therefore unable to understand what was being said in court.

“This is basically a kangaroo court,” said Whelan after learning that his latest request for bail had been rebuffed.

He is due to be kept in pre-trial detention until May 28 while investigators continue to look into his case.

(Editing by Christian Lowe)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Ministry of Finance in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Ministry of Finance in Dublin, Ireland, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

March 15, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe said on Friday that many European Union leaders want to know clearly how Britain would use any extension to the Brexit process before granting it.

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain’s exit from the EU, due on March 29, but this must be agreed by each of the bloc’s members.

“Clearly given all that we have all gone through in watching the British political system grapple with the complexity of Brexit, there are many in the European Union that would want to be very clear on how this extension period will be used,” Donohoe told an audience after a speech at Bloomberg in London.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce and Tom Wilson; editing by Michael Holden)

Source: OANN


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