Journalists

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called on Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California to resign Monday after the release of Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

“When you’re talking about collusion and talking to Russia, and conspiracies and obstruction of justice for two years with no proof other than people leaking to you or you just, you just guffawing with the anchor next to you and fake lawyers on TV and the journalists who are pretending to be lawyers for that moment. You’re calling us all … You’re saying that we did not win fairly and squarely,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

“You in fact running around jutting your jaw out and saying ‘I’m worried about the effect of institutions.’ You were disparaging the institutions. You were demeaning and deriding our great democracy — The presidency of the United States. Adam Schiff should resign,” she continued. “He has no right as somebody who has been pedaling a lie day after day after day. Unchallenged. Unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said, ‘Do you have evidence? Where is it?’ Because Bob Mueller already ran the fair and the full investigation. And any partisan, politicized investigation from here on in will never have the credibility of the Mueller investigation.”

WATCH:

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the Mueller probe to Congress Sunday, and wrote that Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also said there was no evidence to suggest Trump obstructed justice.

Conway said the media has gotten away with being overly biased and has yet to pay for their mistakes with Russia and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress — No Collusion)

“There is not a single person in the media who got the 2016 elections so chronically and embarrassingly wrong [and] lost their jobs. And they probably won’t here, too. Look what they did to Brett Kavanaugh. The second most popular story in the Trump presidency was the Russian collusion fake hoax nonsense. The most covered stories I read last night in a condensed period of time was Brett Kavanaugh,” she said earlier in the interview.

“And they treated him the same way. That is a microcosmic version of what they tried to do to President Trump and his campaign and his family for the last two years. It’s a drive-by. They abandoned all standards, all personal ethics, all professional duty. Do you realize major papers in this country won Pulitzer prizes over their reporting over something that is totally fake? Over 13,000 stories combined by two major print outlets and two major cable stations not named Fox News. And as somebody who engages with those people [as] much as I can, and tries to get out there, we were basically were being told we were liars.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called on Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California to resign Monday after the release of Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

“When you’re talking about collusion and talking to Russia, and conspiracies and obstruction of justice for two years with no proof other than people leaking to you or you just, you just guffawing with the anchor next to you and fake lawyers on TV and the journalists who are pretending to be lawyers for that moment. You’re calling us all … You’re saying that we did not win fairly and squarely,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

“You in fact running around jutting your jaw out and saying ‘I’m worried about the effect of institutions.’ You were disparaging the institutions. You were demeaning and deriding our great democracy — The presidency of the United States. Adam Schiff should resign,” she continued. “He has no right as somebody who has been pedaling a lie day after day after day. Unchallenged. Unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said, ‘Do you have evidence? Where is it?’ Because Bob Mueller already ran the fair and the full investigation. And any partisan, politicized investigation from here on in will never have the credibility of the Mueller investigation.”

WATCH:

Attorney General William Barr delivered his report on the Mueller probe to Congress Sunday, and wrote that Trump and his campaign team did not collude with any Russian entities during the election. Barr also said there was no evidence to suggest Trump obstructed justice.

Conway said the media has gotten away with being overly biased and has yet to pay for their mistakes with Russia and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (RELATED: Justice Department Delivers Mueller Conclusions To Congress — No Collusion)

“There is not a single person in the media who got the 2016 elections so chronically and embarrassingly wrong [and] lost their jobs. And they probably won’t here, too. Look what they did to Brett Kavanaugh. The second most popular story in the Trump presidency was the Russian collusion fake hoax nonsense. The most covered stories I read last night in a condensed period of time was Brett Kavanaugh,” she said earlier in the interview.

“And they treated him the same way. That is a microcosmic version of what they tried to do to President Trump and his campaign and his family for the last two years. It’s a drive-by. They abandoned all standards, all personal ethics, all professional duty. Do you realize major papers in this country won Pulitzer prizes over their reporting over something that is totally fake? Over 13,000 stories combined by two major print outlets and two major cable stations not named Fox News. And as somebody who engages with those people [as] much as I can, and tries to get out there, we were basically were being told we were liars.”

You can Follow Nick on Twitter

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

Source: The Daily Caller

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter wears a mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after BJP won complete majority in Tripura Assembly elections, during a victory celebration rally in Agartala
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter wears a mask of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after BJP won complete majority in Tripura Assembly elections, during a victory celebration rally in Agartala, India March 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

March 25, 2019

By Subrat Patnaik and Munsif Vengattil

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s frenetic cities, historical monuments, tasty food, and beautiful scenery may be among the biggest attractions for foreign tourists.

But with election fever hitting India, a few of them are prepared to forgo some of that – and the elephant ride – to meet an election candidate or attend a political rally.

The world’s biggest democracy, with about 900 million voters, is set to decide in April-May whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi gets a second term following his thumping victory in 2014, and that gives the Indian tourism industry a different way to market the country.

Some Indian tour companies are courting international visitors with week-long ‘election tourism’ packages that would try to combine some traditional sightseeing with access to political campaigning.

The packages were first tested during the 2012 state elections in the Western state of Gujarat and have now mushroomed nationwide.

“The Indian election is like a festival,” founder of Election Tourism India and Chairman of Gujarat Tourism Corporation Society Manish Sharma told Reuters.

Election campaigns and rallies in India can be spectacular in terms of scale, reflecting the power of fundraising for the state and national political parties.

Events and rallies headlined by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the head of his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, and the opposition Congress party’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have generated a lot of interest, Sharma said.

The Ahmedabad-Gujarat based Election Tourism India, which works with more than 35 tour companies across India, has received nearly 3,500 bookings for election packages from outside India, he said.

The packages consist of popular tourist destinations, political rallies and interactions with election candidates and other local politicians. The length of the election – it takes more than five weeks for everyone to be able to vote – also provides tour operators with plenty of options.

The trips offered range from 5 to 8 days, and offer visits to a wide variety of places.

The packages are not expected to appeal to the average tourist but more for those who are inclined in politics, such as political students, journalists and researchers.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Editing by Martin Howell & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

“The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” — Letter to Congress from Attorney General William Barr

Now that the findings of the Department of Justice have exonerated the president, will Democrats follow their own advice, admit there was no collusion or obstruction and Move On?

The liberal activist organization of that name was founded a generation ago when Congress investigated and tried to impeach President Clinton. Congress didn’t take the advice of legal experts and constitutional scholars then, and unfortunately it looks like Democrats intend to repeat the mistake.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) says regardless of the report’s findings, he will pursue investigations even “broader” than what the special counsel has done with 2,800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, some 500 search warrants and more than $25 million over the last two years.

Democrats and the media should be trying to heal the nation not divide us. Instead, Democrats intend to spend the next two years subpoenaing and dragging every member of Trump’s administration, his family and business associates to testify before their committees.

Nadler says he’s doing it to protect “the rule of law.”

But will House Democrats really respect the institutions and traditions of American jurisprudence? If the past is prelude, the answer to that questions is, sadly, no.

Democrats did away with the presumption of innocence for Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Kavanaugh, with his family and the American people paying the price Now, Democrats are now ready to abandon other bedrock principles of American justice.

One of the most basic principles is equality before the law!

The Constitution prohibits double jeopardy. It’s a matter of basic fairness — no one should be victimized by vindictive prosecutors armed with the power of government and $25 million in financial backing of the U.S. Treasury.

Congressional Democrats’ endless investigations, leaks and political machinations violate the spirit of that constitutional prohibition. Americans understand that, no matter what the spin or who stands accused. The constitution guarantees fair and equal justice for every American regardless of who they are!

Democrats want to convict President Trump in the court of public opinion to set the stage for impeaching him. That’s what Rep. Nadler told George Stephanopoulos: “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.” Fortunately Mueller’s exoneration of President Trump will make that extremely difficult to do, despite media persecution and false news stories,

The Democrats are ready to violate another norm of legal precedent by asking Attorney General Barr and the DOJ to release every scrap of paper the special counsel gathered.

Prosecutors normally don’t release confidential material gathered during an investigation out of respect for the privacy of individuals not charged with a crime.

”The normal procedure is that unless there’s a damn good reason, you don’t release grand jury material,” Nadler said a generation ago when he opposed releasing the evidence behind the Ken Starr report.

Nadler and fellow Democrats accused the Judiciary Committee of seeking the background material to build a public case for impeaching President Clinton.

“They don’t think there is enough of a vote for impeachment yet out in the public,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the second ranking Democrat on the committee, said. “So what you have a very one-sided, partisan effort to release material, before the president gets a chance to review it or respond to it, that makes the president look bad.”

Nadler took a page from that playbook and now demands the raw material Mueller obtained to build his own case for impeaching President Trump. Furthermore, he says the White House “should not get an advance look at the report” or the evidence.

That’s quite an about face from the Jerry Nadler of 1998 who fought for Clinton to have time to look at the Starr report. “The president is asking for two days. The Republicans say no,” he said bitterly.

The DOJ does not release such information to protect the innocent. Furthermore, the Trump administration has a legal right to review the report, prepare a response, rebuke any false accusations and information covered by executive privilege. 

As for an impartial hearing, President Trump can expect no better from House Democrats than Senate Democrats gave Judge Kavanaugh.

Chairman Nadler already convicted the president of obstruction of justice before seeing the attorney general’s letter and the Mueller report.

House Democrats don’t care that the special counsel found the president did not collude with the Russians or obstruct justice. They will continue their investigations, attempts to smear the president. Like Javert obsessed with Jean Valjean, Democrats can’t help themselves.

All Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents alike, should be celebrating the fact investigators found no evidence of collusion. However, Democrats won’t take the finding of no collusion or obstruction for an answer.

That tells you they were never pursuing the truth, just a political vendetta and a different outcome for the 2016 election. Their obsession with President Trump will only further divide the nation, not help unite us.

Rep. Nadler says he wants to protect the rule of law and “the institutions we depend on for our democratic form of government.”

But Democrats are weakening those institutions by engaging in relentless political warfare. Voters elected Congress to address the very real challenges our country faces — an opioid epidemic, China’s economic aggression, the crisis on our southern border, the difficulty of raising a family, to name, just a few.

Our system is founded on belief in equal justice under the law. All will be held accountable.

We hope the politicians, intelligence officials, journalists and media executives who fed Americans unfounded speculation, conspiracy theories for the last two years that have done incalculable damage to our country and its institutions will be held accountable.

Preserve the principles of justice on which our incredible country was founded.

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


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

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: The Daily Caller

The letter from Attorney General William Barr sent to Congress "shows that the Russia collusion investigation is exactly what President Trump always said it was – a witch hunt," former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., wrote for RealClear Politics.

It will not be just a function of what is in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, but we should not be "overlooking the significance of what's not in it," according to Huckabee.

"Not one of the Democrats' high-value targets — Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or any other Trump family members — were indicted by Mueller, and the Department of Justice has already said there will be no more indictments forthcoming," Huckabee wrote.

"Of course, Mueller didn't subpoena the president, either, crushing the hopes of the mainstream media journalists and pundits who had been confidently expecting that very outcome from the start of Mueller's probe. If President Trump really was an agent of Russia, as they fervently believe he is, then surely Mueller would have taken the added step of at least interviewing him before ending the investigation.

"Among those who were indicted in the Mueller investigation, moreover, not one was charged with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election – the entire purpose of assigning a special counsel."

Huckabee also noted the fact the special counsel's investigation has concluded on its own volition, meaning "President Trump did a lousy job" of obstructing it or justice.

"Here we are, two years and $30-plus million in taxpayer funds later, and nothing to show for it, except some completely discredited media commentators and partisan members of Congress who breathlessly all but guaranteed there would be evidence of the president and members of his family and staff colluding with the Russians," Huckabee wrote. "I won't hold my breath for their admissions and apologies.

". . . With the Mueller witch hunt behind him, perhaps now the President Trump can finally focus his full attention on the job that the American people elected him to do: making America great again."

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi
FILE PHOTO: General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 3, 2019. Picture taken January 3, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Stanley Carvalho

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi will commit up to 1 billion dirhams ($272 million) to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to reduce its reliance on oil revenue.

Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.

The emirate launched a 50 billion dirham ($13.6 billion) stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic.

The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a 500 million dirham fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.

The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.

Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.

Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.

Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.

Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the 1 billion dirham commitment, Ajami said.

Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.

(Additional reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Oman's Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy talks to journalists as he leaves the OPEC headquarters in Vienna
Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhy talks to journalists as he leaves the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

March 23, 2019

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Oman’s oil minister arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday to participate in the launching of a $3.85 billion oil refinery project, government officials in Colombo said, three days after Oman said it had not yet agreed to invest in the facility.

The arrival of Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy could mean that the project – Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign direct investment deal – is back on track. However, there is no immediate sign of a formal deal involving Omani investment.

Sri Lankan officials said on Tuesday Oman’s oil ministry planned to take a 30 percent stake in the project.

A Singapore company controlled by India’s Accord Group would invest the other 70 percent. The storage tanks part of the facility would be owned fully by the Accord entity.

But on Wednesday, Oman denied knowing about its part in the plan to build the refinery on Sri Lanka’s southern coast.

“He [Oman’s oil minister] is here to take part in the ground breaking ceremony for the oil tanks of the refinery,” a senior official at Sri Lanka’s strategic development ministry told Reuters.

Officials from Oman’s oil ministry were not immediately available for comment.

The refinery is being constructed near a $1.4 billion port at Hambantota that is controlled by China Merchants Port Holdings.

India and China have been vying for political influence in Sri Lanka in recent years, with investment a key part of the battleground.

China is the biggest buyer of Omani oil, importing about 80 percent of the Middle Eastern nation’s overall crude exports in January, according to Oman government data.

Another government official confirmed the minister’s arrival and his participation at the ceremony in Hambantota on Sunday.

There are also plans in place by China Harbour Engineering Corp to build an investment zone alongside the port.

(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Martin Howell and Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

Presidential candidate for GERB party Tsacheva holds her ballot paper during a presidential election in Pleven
Presidential candidate for GERB party Tsetska Tsacheva holds her ballot paper during a presidential election in Pleven, Bulgaria, November 13, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

March 23, 2019

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgarian Justice Minister Tsetska Tsacheva resigned on Saturday following media reports that she and three other ruling center-right GERB party politicians have bought luxurious apartments at below market prices, the government’s press office said.

Tsacheva has denied any wrongdoing and asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the terms on which she had acquired a specious apartment in an upmarket Sofia neighborhood last year.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov accepted her resignation after meeting with her early on Saturday, the press office said in a statement.

“The two discussed the real estate deal linked with her name. Minister Tsacheva told the prime minister that she quit and did not want the tensions [around the deal] to affect the government’s work,” the statement said.

The Anti-Corruption Commission launched a probe on Friday into the properties purchased last year from the same developer.

One of the four politicians, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, leader of GERB’s parliamentary group, has also denied any wrongdoing. But Deputy Sports Minister Vanya Koleva resigned on Saturday over the deals.

The issue came to light earlier this week after the Bulgarian section of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the non-governmental Anti-Corruption Fund published their investigation into the property deals. Their report was picked up by other Bulgarian media outlets.

Speaking to journalists in the southern city of Stara Zagora, Tsacheva reiterated she had demanded the anti-corruption probe herself as she had no concerns about the outcome.

She rejected that she had committed an “abuse of office”, adding: “But while the probe lasts I do not want my involvement this case to weigh on the GERB party and the government.”

The reports have outraged many in the poorest European Union member state and Borissov has said that anyone who has breached the laws will have to deal with the consequences.

The news comes as political parties are preparing for EU parliament elections in May. Opinion polls show a narrow lead for GERB over opposition Socialists. The GERB-led government took office in May 2017 for a four-year term.

Despite pledges by consecutive governments to uproot widespread graft, Bulgaria ranks as the most corrupt EU member state, according to anti-corruption group Transparency International. Despite this, it has not yet sent a senior official behind bars on corruption charges.

Analysts say high-level corruption is the main obstacle to Bulgaria’s ambition to attract more foreign investment or to join the EU’s Schengen zone for free travel.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

Amber Athey and Mike Brest | Reporters

CNN pundits are admitting that Mueller’s final report vindicates President Donald Trump, undercutting the frenzied coverage the network has given the Russia investigation since its inception.

Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on Russian collusion to Attorney General Bill Barr on Friday, finally wrapping up a 22-month investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (RELATED: Mueller Submits Report To Justice Department)

While the contents of the report are not public, Mueller issued no additional indictments with the submission of his report.

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger admitted that the president is “vindicated” by the conclusion of the probe, but did so in a roundabout way, focusing on the political implications for the president’s past critiques of the Mueller team.

“So if, if as Jeffrey is saying, they get great news, the great news is, first of all, there’s no more indictments. But if suddenly the president has to say those angry Democrats who were working with Bob Mueller were actually just part of a Justice Department doing its job after he has criticized the Justice Department, then he’s now vindicated.”

WATCH:

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin agreed with Borger’s assessment that the report is good for Trump and many of his associates and family members.

“Let’s be specific. This is really good news for a lot of people around Donald Trump. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jerome Corsi, the writer who had a draft indictment presented to him by Mueller’s office and they decided not to go forward with this. Let’s be fair here. There has been a lot of suspicion around certain people. And a lot of negative things have been said and imputation of criminal activity. Mueller has said, ‘I am not proceeding.’ There is no better news to receive than you are not being indicted by the United States government.”

WATCH:

CNN justice reporter Evan Perez piled on the wave of admissions from pundits that Trump emerged from the Mueller investigation largely unscathed.

“After an investigation that has frankly clouded his administration since the beginning of his presidency. The president can begin to probably breathe a little easier that the idea that his vindication is coming. He knows that so far from the Mueller investigation, the public information that’s been released by Robert Mueller, there’s been nothing that comes close to what looks like collusion or conspiracy, which has been at the focus of this investigation, the idea that there was somebody in the president’s campaign who was colluding with the Russians.”

WATCH:

The lack of indictments related to Russian collusion is a striking blow for a news network that covered the investigation incessantly and even authored several false reports about it.

CNN reporter Maeve Reston admitted last January that Russia is “all we talk about at CNN,” and seemed surprised that average Americans were not as obsessed with the collusion narrative as journalists. In February 2018, chief international correspondent Matthew Chance went dumpster diving for collusion evidence in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The network, ever desperate to get the biggest scoop on the Russia probe, falsely claimed as far back as June 2016 that Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci was under investigation for alleged ties to Russia. In December 2017, CNN inaccurately said that Donald Trump Jr. had special access to Democratic documents stolen by WikiLeaks. (RELATED: The List Of CNN’s Bungled Reporting Is A Sight To Behold)

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulin Cruz talks with journalists outside the government center at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum days after Hurricane Maria, in San Juan
FILE PHOTO: Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulin Cruz talks with journalists outside the government center at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum days after Hurricane Maria, in San Juan, Puerto Rico Sept. 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan and a fierce adversary of President Donald Trump, said on Friday she was running for governor of the U.S. territory in 2020.

Cruz gained international attention in 2017 when she sparred with Trump over the speed and scale of the federal response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated her Caribbean island.

“The day after the hurricane, it was clear that President Trump and his Republican government were going to leave us to die,” Cruz, 56, said in her announcement speech, wearing a T-shirt reading “Without Fear.” “The governor of Puerto Rico and the resident commissioner put their political interests in front of the country’s needs and kept quiet.”

Cruz will face Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello, 40, in the 2020 November general elections. Rossello, of the New Progressive Party which backs Puerto Rico becoming a U.S. state, is seeking a second term.

Cruz is a member of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports Puerto Rico remaining a Commonwealth of the United States with self government. She is also a co-chair of Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

She is in favor of eliminating a federal financial oversight board tasked with managing the territory’s finances.

The island is navigating the largest government bankruptcy in U.S. history, with $120 billion of combined bond and pension debt when it declared bankruptcy in May 2017 after more than a decade of recession.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

Quote of the Day:

“Mr. President, seriously stop talking about Senator McCain.” 

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).

What These Daily Beast Journalists REALLY Wanted To Call Their Book 

“I want to be very clear about this: I wanted the title of my and @lachlan’s book to be ‘Another Shitstorm in Fucktown,’ but no one with any authority over that would let me.” — Asawin Suebsaeng, reporter, The Daily Beast.

According to Politico‘s Michael Calderone, Suebsaeng is teaming up with fellow reporter Lachlan Markay to write this: Sinking in the Swamp: How Trump’s Minions and Misfits Poisoned Washington. Viking has signed onto the project. Read more here.

WTF is going on with Clarence Thomas? 

“SPOTTED : Clarence Thomas leaving lunch at the Capital Grille. He was greeted by a TMZ reporter, who yelled ‘Justice! Justice! Who do you like in March Madness?’ He laughed and said, ‘I like you.’” — Politico Playbook Thursday.

Mirror sources say the journalist was male.

Rudy Guiliani misses Fox News’s Judge Jeanine Pirro 

“Jeanine is the best. We miss her honest and common sense analysis.” — Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s attorney.

Meghan McCain jokes about voting for her father in 2020

“At this point I may end up voting for the ghost of my father, who is so relevant right now.” — Meghan McCain on ABC’s “The View” Friday when discussing who she may vote for in 2020. One thing is for certain: She says she will never vote for Trump.

President Trump has been beating up on the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) all week long. (RELATED: Trump Doubles Down On His McCain Tweets) 

George Conway calls b.s. on Trump approving Sen. McCain’s funeral 

The National Cathedral has denied needing Trump’s permission to hold the service there.

“Yet another lie, apart from the disgrace of his attacks the late Sen. McCain. Again, his compulsion to lie knows no bounds. His mendacity is unprecedented for a public official. He debases his office, and all around him, especially those who shamelessly defend him.” — George Conway, husband to Trump Counselor Kellyanne Conway, on Thursday night. (RELATED: Kellyanne Conway Picks Trump Over Hubby)

Journalists who are becoming ‘Buttigeeks’

Democratic Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigeig‘s name is pronounced like this: Butta-judge. 

“I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed, or even like!, Mayor @PeteButtigieg, but after my conversation with him for the latest #Deconstructed, I was. Big time. Other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, beware!” —Mehdi Hasan, columnist, The Intercept.

“Mehdi joins the #Buttigeeks.” — Brian Beutler, editor-in-chief, Crooked Media.

“Rise of the #Buttigeeks,” Beutler tweeted on March 12.

“Making more Buttigeeks at ever stop,” Buetler tweeted on March 7.

With one more “t” Beutler could be in the ‘Butt’ family.

Journo annoyed by mispronunciation of her name 

“I SWEAR TO GOODNESS IF ONE OF YOU MOTHERF***ERS MISPRONOUNCES MY SIMPLE SICILIAN LAST NAME ONE MORE TIME” — Amanda Prestigiacomo, writer, The Daily Wire.

Gossip Roundup

Atlantic reporter opines on the Conway situation… “The Conway marriage is a perfect metaphor for the current Republican Party, split between those who see Trump as an opportunity & those who see him as a horror—and yet, somehow, they stay together.” — Molly Ball, The Atlantic.

Tucker Carlson sends Brian Stelter a dozen jelly donuts. Here.

It’s truly amazing that MSNBC’s Chris Hayes can’t speak… like a regular human: “It’s truly amazing how much programming Fox News builds off of extremely recondite Twitter disputes.” — Chris Hayes, host, MSNBC.

Commentary‘s John Podhoretz took himself off Twitter this week after he said he wanted a neutron bomb to hit J-Schools. This was in response to ex-Teen Voguer Lauren Duca teaching a summer journalism class at NYU called “The Feminist.” Twitter’s unofficial social director Yashar Ali, a writer for HuffPost and New York Mag, insists Podhoretz, a familiar face on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, will return:”John Podhoretz will be back. That I can promise you. It may take a decade, but he’ll be back. (RELATED: Lauren Duca’s NYU Syllabus Is Really Bad) 

MOO:Ellen Degeneres’s EP is on a mission against Devin Nunes

Rep. Nunes (R-Calif.) is suing Twitter for a sassy cow parody account that he says defamed him.

Source: The Daily Caller

  • In congressional testimony in 2018, former FBI general counsel James Baker said that the bureau was aware that the founder of Fusion GPS was shopping the infamous dossier around Washington, D.C., prior to the 2016 election.
  • Baker also said that his friend, the liberal reporter David Corn, was “anxious” to provide him with the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC.
  • Baker’s testimony reveals new details about the full court press to put the unverified dossier onto the FBI’s radar.

James Baker, the former general counsel for the FBI, told Congress last October that the bureau was aware that the founder of Fusion GPS was spreading the Steele dossier “to a lot of different” people in government and the media in an effort to “elevate” the document’s profile.

Baker also told lawmakers in his Oct. 3, 2018 testimony that his longtime friend, the liberal reporter David Corn, was “anxious” to provide him with the dossier.

Baker’s testimony, which was first detailed by The Wall Street Journal and has been confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation, sheds new light on what the FBI knew about efforts before the election to spread the dossier, which was written by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Republicans have criticized the FBI for failing to disclose those efforts in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who is a major target of the Steele report. Some GOP lawmakers have asserted that the FBI should have been leery of Steele and Fusion’s opposition research of Trump. (RELATED: FBI’s Former Top Lawyer Acknowledged ‘Unusual Steps’ In Early Days Of Russia Probe)

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Page has vehemently denied Steele’s allegations that he served as the Trump team’s backchannel to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign.

As has been previously reported, Simpson served as a PR man of sorts for the dossier, setting up meetings with reporters from numerous news outlets in an effort to get Steele’s reporting into the media bloodstream.

Both Steele and Simpson were also in contact with U.S. government officials, including the Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr and the State Department’s Jonathan Winer. Steele shared some of his findings with both officials, as well as his FBI handler, Michael Gaeta.

In his testimony, Baker said that the FBI was aware of Simpson’s full court press on the Steele report.

“My understanding at the time was that Simpson was going around Washington giving this out to a lot of different people and trying to elevate its profile,” said Baker.

He also said that the FBI was aware of “various copies of the dossier floating around Washington.”

Baker also addressed his interactions with Corn, the reporter at Mother Jones who published a report on Oct. 31, 2016 that quoted Steele.

“I know that David was anxious to get this into the hands of FBI. And being the person at the FBI that he knew the best, he wanted to give it to me,” Baker testified.

The FBI severed ties with Steele after Corn’s report on the grounds that the former spy improperly revealed that he was a confidential source for the bureau.

Corn’s contact with Baker has been previously reported. The journalist has said that nothing improper occurred and that he shared the dossier with Baker after the election in hopes of authenticating the document.

“I tried the FBI again after the election. On my own accord, I shared a copy of the dossier with the FBI in order to see if the bureau would authenticate the documents and now comment on them. Once again, it would not,” Corn told The Hill in July 2018.

Corn also said it was “inaccurate” to describe him as a source for the FBI.

“I was merely doing what a journalist does: trying to get more information on a story I was pursuing.”

The effort to spread the dossier far and wide appears to have picked up steam after Trump’s election win.

David Kramer, an associate of late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, said in a deposition in December 2017 that he provided the dossier to a dozen journalists, including one at BuzzFeed News, which published the report on Jan. 10, 2017. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Had Contact With A Dozen Reporters Regarding Dossier)

Steele asked him to meet with BuzzFeed reporter Ken Bensinger and CNN’s Carl Bernstein, according to Kramer.

Kramer also met with Corn in early December 2016. He said that Corn was inquiring about a meeting that McCain planned to have with then-FBI Director James Comey. Kramer said that he was unsure how Corn found out about the meeting.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers, Algeria, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

March 22, 2019

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Hundreds of Algerians took to the streets of the capital on Friday to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika quit immediately and the numbers were expected to swell after Friday noon prayers.

Protesters gathered in the city center defying rain, carrying Algerian flags and pamphlets, gathering in the same spot where a wave of demonstrations erupted a month ago.

“Rain will not stop us from continuing our pressure,” said 23-year old Ahmed Khoudja.

Bouteflika, who has ruled for 20 years, bowed to the protesters last week by reversing plans to stand for a fifth term. But he has stopped short of stepping down and said he would stay in office until a new constitution is adopted, effectively extending his present term.

His move has failed to appease Algerians, who want veterans of the 1954-62 independence war against France who dominate the establishment to quit so a new generation of leaders can take over and begin to create jobs, fight corruption and introduce greater freedoms.

Protest numbers have grown dramatically after prayers on the three previous Fridays during the series of demonstrations that kicked off on Feb 22.

“We stay here until the whole system goes,” said Mahmoud Timar, a 37-year old teacher.

Leaders have emerged from the protest movement, offering an alternative to Bouteflika’s political roadmap to what he says will be a new Algeria. But they have not yet built up enough momentum to force him to quit or make more concessions.

The military, which wields enormous power from behind the scenes, has remained on the sidelines, and is seen as unlikely to intervene as long as the protests remain peaceful.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election arrived for work each day, they placed their mobile phones in a locker outside of their office suite before entering.

Operating in secrecy in a nondescript glass-and-concrete office, the team of prosecutors and investigators since May 2017 has unearthed secrets that have led to bombshell charges against several of President Donald Trump’s aides, including his former national security adviser, campaign chairman and personal lawyer, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury.

To protect those secrets from prying ears, the whole of the office suite in southwest Washington was designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), U.S. spy speak for an area that has restrictions to ensure secret information stays secure.

One common restriction in SCIFs is to keep out smartphones and other electronic devices, which can be turned into covert listening devices or spy cameras. Visitors were also required to turn these over before entering.

The restrictions, while not surprising given the team was investigating whether a hostile foreign power tried to help Trump win the 2016 election and whether his campaign conspired in the effort, have not been previously reported.

Accounts of witnesses interviewed by the special counsel’s team, their lawyers and others familiar with the investigation reveal the lengths to which Mueller, a former FBI director, went to ensure his high-profile probe safeguarded its secrets.

In a city known for its leaks, Mueller pulled off a rare feat. He kept a tight lid on both his office and the evidence he was amassing in his highly sensitive investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency. And he did it even as Trump relentlessly criticized him, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s team “thugs.”

THE ADVISER AND THE DODGE CHARGER

When former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo agreed to an interview with Mueller in May 2018, he was told he would be picked up at the hotel where he was staying in Washington. On the lookout for a black government SUV, Caputo and his lawyer were surprised when an FBI agent drove up in his personal car, a white Dodge Charger.

    “Then he drove us 15 blocks to their location and we went in through the garage so that nobody would see,” Caputo said in an interview.

Caputo was questioned about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s aide Rick Gates and long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone. When the interview was over, Mueller’s team told him they would take him back to his hotel. Caputo said Mueller’s team was not happy with what he said next.

     “I said I’m meeting a TV crew downstairs so I won’t need a ride,” Caputo said. “They weren’t upset that I was talking to the media, they were disturbed that I was doing it in (front of) the office.”

“They were concerned … that would put their agents and attorneys at risk,” Caputo said, adding that he agreed to meet the news crew at a different location nearby.

Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg said an FBI agent picked him up at the train station to take him to the office.

“You put your phone and any electronic devices and leave them in a compartment out front,” Nunberg added. “It was a very plain office.”

Nunberg said he went into a conference room with three tables, and prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, a member of Mueller’s team, came in with three FBI agents, one female and two males.

    The office’s location was not publicly revealed but was discovered by journalists. Still, it has not been widely publicized. Mueller’s team has asked media outlets not to publish the exact location for security purposes.

“We are working in a secure location in Southwest DC,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, has said.

STAYING OUT OF THE NEWS

“In a town where everybody and their mother is trying to get on the front page, Bob Mueller was always trying to stay out of the news,” said Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman. “He wanted to be judged on actions, not press conferences.”

Corallo, who was briefly a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, was interviewed by Mueller’s team in February 2018.

Corallo and other witnesses summoned for interviews by Mueller’s team said they were picked up from their lawyers’ offices and taken to a secure parking garage in the building in southwest Washington.

The team’s office suite was anonymous with no plaque on the door to identify its occupants, said Washington lawyer A. Joseph Jay, who represented a witness he declined to identify.

More than once, Jay recalled, members of Mueller’s team expressed their commitment to confidentiality. “They made it clear on a number of occasions, ‘We don’t leak. You don’t have to worry about that with us.’”

“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,” Jay said. “They weren’t reacting to the spin. They were doing their jobs. They spoke through a number of indictments. They spoke through a number of sentencing memos.”

Mueller has remained silent throughout the investigation and his office has issued only one statement. In that statement, issued this past January, spokesman Carr labeled as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News account describing evidence collected by the special counsel that allegedly showed that Trump had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. BuzzFeed has stood by its story.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor, also remarked on Mueller staying out of sight.

“Whenever we talk to them, they say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.’ He’s like the Wizard of Oz,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani said although he was suspicious of leaks to the news media, he acknowledged he knew of none for sure from the special counsel’s team and that nothing he told Mueller’s office was leaked.

“Mueller doesn’t talk to us. I don’t know why he’d talk to the press,” the former New York mayor added.

Joseph Campbell, a former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who worked at the agency when Mueller headed it, said the special counsel knows how to handle sensitive investigations and ignores the attacks on him.

“He went through 12 years starting with 9/11 of extremely critical and sensitive investigations around the world,” said Campbell, referring to the 2001 attacks on the United States. “This is right in his wheelhouse.”

“He is not affected by external criticism or speculation,” Campbell added.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said any leaks about the investigation appeared to have come from witnesses or their lawyers.

“There’s nothing he can do about that,” Litt said, referring to Mueller.

Litt said Mueller, the 74-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer and architect of the modern FBI, probably “cares little about the public perception of him.”

“He cares,” Litt said, “about doing the job right.”

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham and Ross Colvin)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When members of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election arrived for work each day, they placed their mobile phones in a locker outside of their office suite before entering.

Operating in secrecy in a nondescript glass-and-concrete office, the team of prosecutors and investigators since May 2017 has unearthed secrets that have led to bombshell charges against several of President Donald Trump’s aides, including his former national security adviser, campaign chairman and personal lawyer, who have pleaded guilty or been convicted by a jury.

To protect those secrets from prying ears, the whole of the office suite in southwest Washington was designated a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), U.S. spy speak for an area that has restrictions to ensure secret information stays secure.

One common restriction in SCIFs is to keep out smartphones and other electronic devices, which can be turned into covert listening devices or spy cameras. Visitors were also required to turn these over before entering.

The restrictions, while not surprising given the team was investigating whether a hostile foreign power tried to help Trump win the 2016 election and whether his campaign conspired in the effort, have not been previously reported.

Accounts of witnesses interviewed by the special counsel’s team, their lawyers and others familiar with the investigation reveal the lengths to which Mueller, a former FBI director, went to ensure his high-profile probe safeguarded its secrets.

In a city known for its leaks, Mueller pulled off a rare feat. He kept a tight lid on both his office and the evidence he was amassing in his highly sensitive investigation that has cast a cloud over Trump’s presidency. And he did it even as Trump relentlessly criticized him, calling the probe a “witch hunt” and the special counsel’s team “thugs.”

THE ADVISER AND THE DODGE CHARGER

When former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo agreed to an interview with Mueller in May 2018, he was told he would be picked up at the hotel where he was staying in Washington. On the lookout for a black government SUV, Caputo and his lawyer were surprised when an FBI agent drove up in his personal car, a white Dodge Charger.

    “Then he drove us 15 blocks to their location and we went in through the garage so that nobody would see,” Caputo said in an interview.

Caputo was questioned about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Manafort’s aide Rick Gates and long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone. When the interview was over, Mueller’s team told him they would take him back to his hotel. Caputo said Mueller’s team was not happy with what he said next.

     “I said I’m meeting a TV crew downstairs so I won’t need a ride,” Caputo said. “They weren’t upset that I was talking to the media, they were disturbed that I was doing it in (front of) the office.”

“They were concerned … that would put their agents and attorneys at risk,” Caputo said, adding that he agreed to meet the news crew at a different location nearby.

Former Trump campaign advisor Sam Nunberg said an FBI agent picked him up at the train station to take him to the office.

“You put your phone and any electronic devices and leave them in a compartment out front,” Nunberg added. “It was a very plain office.”

Nunberg said he went into a conference room with three tables, and prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky, a member of Mueller’s team, came in with three FBI agents, one female and two males.

    The office’s location was not publicly revealed but was discovered by journalists. Still, it has not been widely publicized. Mueller’s team has asked media outlets not to publish the exact location for security purposes.

“We are working in a secure location in Southwest DC,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, has said.

STAYING OUT OF THE NEWS

“In a town where everybody and their mother is trying to get on the front page, Bob Mueller was always trying to stay out of the news,” said Mark Corallo, a former Justice Department spokesman. “He wanted to be judged on actions, not press conferences.”

Corallo, who was briefly a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, was interviewed by Mueller’s team in February 2018.

Corallo and other witnesses summoned for interviews by Mueller’s team said they were picked up from their lawyers’ offices and taken to a secure parking garage in the building in southwest Washington.

The team’s office suite was anonymous with no plaque on the door to identify its occupants, said Washington lawyer A. Joseph Jay, who represented a witness he declined to identify.

More than once, Jay recalled, members of Mueller’s team expressed their commitment to confidentiality. “They made it clear on a number of occasions, ‘We don’t leak. You don’t have to worry about that with us.’”

“By keeping to their code of silence, they were professionals,” Jay said. “They weren’t reacting to the spin. They were doing their jobs. They spoke through a number of indictments. They spoke through a number of sentencing memos.”

Mueller has remained silent throughout the investigation and his office has issued only one statement. In that statement, issued this past January, spokesman Carr labeled as “not accurate” a BuzzFeed News account describing evidence collected by the special counsel that allegedly showed that Trump had directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. BuzzFeed has stood by its story.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor, also remarked on Mueller staying out of sight.

“Whenever we talk to them, they say, ‘We’ll take it to Bob.’ He’s like the Wizard of Oz,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani said although he was suspicious of leaks to the news media, he acknowledged he knew of none for sure from the special counsel’s team and that nothing he told Mueller’s office was leaked.

“Mueller doesn’t talk to us. I don’t know why he’d talk to the press,” the former New York mayor added.

Joseph Campbell, a former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who worked at the agency when Mueller headed it, said the special counsel knows how to handle sensitive investigations and ignores the attacks on him.

“He went through 12 years starting with 9/11 of extremely critical and sensitive investigations around the world,” said Campbell, referring to the 2001 attacks on the United States. “This is right in his wheelhouse.”

“He is not affected by external criticism or speculation,” Campbell added.

Robert Litt, former general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said any leaks about the investigation appeared to have come from witnesses or their lawyers.

“There’s nothing he can do about that,” Litt said, referring to Mueller.

Litt said Mueller, the 74-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer and architect of the modern FBI, probably “cares little about the public perception of him.”

“He cares,” Litt said, “about doing the job right.”

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne; Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Will Dunham and Ross Colvin)

Source: OANN

Palestinian medics raise up their hands as they try to evacuate a wounded demonstrator during protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian medics raise up their hands as they try to evacuate a wounded demonstrator during protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

March 22, 2019

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza, and called for perpetrators of violations in the strip to face justice.

Protests at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip began in March last year, with Gazans demanding Israel ease a blockade of the enclave and recognize their right to return to lands their families fled or were forced from when Israel was founded in 1948.

The resolution was based on a report by a U.N. inquiry which said that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests last year.

“The targeting of civilians is a serious matter that should not be condoned,” Palestine’s ambassador Ibrahim Khraisi said, citing the report’s findings. The toll included 35 Palestinian children, two journalists, and medical workers, he noted.

Israeli ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter denounced what she called “clear evidence of political bias against Israel” in the report. She accused the panel of ignoring “the very real threat” posed to 70,000 Israeli citizens living along the border from rockets fired by Hamas militants.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Peter Graff and Jon Boyle)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle at the wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry (R) arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle at the wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – Wearing his army fatigues while on tour in Afghanistan in 2013 thousands of miles from home, Britain’s Prince Harry cut a relaxed figure as he told journalists: “I am one of the guys, I don’t get treated any differently.”

Now with the birth of his first child expected next month, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and his wife Meghan will have to decide how “normal” a life they want the future seventh-in-line to the British crown to have.

“I don’t think there’s been a member of the royal family that hasn’t said they want their children to have a normal upbringing,” Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine told Reuters.

“Even the queen said she wanted her children to have as normal an upbringing as possible. But with the media attention it’s actually not possible to have a totally normal upbringing.”

Harry is all too familiar with the attention that comes with being a British royal.

The disintegration of the marriage of his parents – heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his late first wife Diana – was played out in the public glare and his mother was killed in a Paris car crash in 1997 as the limousine carrying her and her lover Dodi al-Fayed crashed as it fled chasing paparazzi.

In the last two years, Harry has spoken openly of his mental anguish at the loss of his mother when he was just 12 and how in the years that followed he struggled with his royal status.

“I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good,” he said in a 2017 interview with Newsweek.

“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

Diana had been keen that her two sons should be brought up away from the stuffy confines of royal palaces and their traditions. She took them on trips to the cinema, to McDonald’s, and to a theme park.

“Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too,” said Harry.

But how realistic is Harry’s wish? Polls suggest he is one of the most popular British royals, vying with the 92-year-old queen and his elder brother William for top spot, and his marriage to a glamorous Hollywood actress has only increased the media and public fascination.

“I can’t see this child being raised in any other way than pretty traditionally and with a great dollop of privilege,” said Robert Jobson, author of “Prince Charles at 70: Our Future King”.

Meghan, whose rift with members of her own family has provided great fodder for tabloids, giving her a clear insight into the baggage that being a royal brings, has not made any public statement about the possible upbringing for the baby.

But, speeches made by Harry since the pregnancy was announced have hinted how they do not want their child not be valued on their royal background.

“You don’t judge someone based on how they look, where they’re from, or how they identify,” Harry told 12,000 students at London’s Wembley Arena in March.

As well as his own upbringing, Harry and Meghan can look to the experiences of other royals. William has fiercely sought to defend the privacy of his children, George, Charlotte and Louis and so far the media have generally abided by requests to leave them alone.

“In reality, they can do normal within the royal confines,” said Claudia Joseph, author of “How to Dress Like A Princess”.

“We’ve seen that William and Kate have brought up George, Charlotte and Louis out of the public eye and both William and Harry were left alone to a certain extent until they left university.”

Royal author Jobson said whatever Harry and Meghan’s aims, it will be almost impossible for their child to completely escape his or her background.

“I believe this child probably won’t have to serve as a member of the royal family but will certainly be a celebrity for a very, very long time.”

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: El Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes speaks with journalists in a hall of the presidential palace in San Salvador
FILE PHOTO: Then-El Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes speaks with journalists in a hall of the presidential palace in San Salvador January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Nelson Renteria

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – El Salvador’s Supreme Court on Thursday approved a request by the country’s attorney general that former President Mauricio Funes be extradited home from Nicaragua to face corruption charges.

Funes, who governed El Salvador from 2009 and 2014, is accused of embezzlement and money laundering involving $351 million. The court said in a statement that 15 magistrates unanimously approved the extradition request.

Funes, 59, said the extradition would violate his right to defense and that Nicaragua could choose to deny it. He has lived since 2016 in the neighboring country, where he has political asylum that would protect him from extradition.

The former journalist who governed under the banner of the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, which is an ally of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, has said he is a victim of political attacks orchestrated by business interests and conservatives.

“How can they make a decision without having the arguments and reasons for which I believe that I’m an object of persecution?” he wrote on Twitter. “The decision belongs to President Ortega and not the Salvadoran judicial authorities.”

Salvadoran prosecutors have alleged that Funes used public money to pay for credit cards, trips, home refurbishments, vehicles and hospital bills.

El Salvador has said its institutions are capable of bringing corrupt politicians to justice and that it does not need an internationally backed anti-corruption body like the International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) in Guatemala.

But President-elect Nayib Bukele, who will take office in June, has proposed creating a group similar to CICIG to help the government root out corruption.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mark Thompson, president and CEO of the New York Times Company, poses for a portrait in New York
FILE PHOTO: Mark Thompson, president and CEO of the New York Times Company, poses for a portrait in New York, November 26, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Kenneth Li and Helen Coster

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc is expected to launch an ambitious new entertainment and paid digital news service on Monday, as the iPhone maker pushes back against streaming video leader Netflix Inc. But it likely will not feature the New York Times Co.

Mark Thompson, chief executive of the biggest U.S. newspaper by subscribers, warned that relying on third-party distribution can be dangerous for publishers who risk losing control over their own product.

“We tend to be quite leery about the idea of almost habituating people to find our journalism somewhere else,” he told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. “We’re also generically worried about our journalism being scrambled in a kind of Magimix (blender) with everyone else’s journalism.”

Thompson, who took over as New York Times CEO in 2012 and has overseen a massive expansion in its online readership, warned publishers that they may suffer the same fate as television and film makers in the face of Netflix’s Hollywood insurgence.

“If I was an American broadcast network, I would have thought twice about giving all of my library to Netflix,” Thompson said in response to questions about any talks with Apple to participate in the iPhone maker’s new news service.

Thompson declined to comment on any conversations with Apple. But he used the tale of how Netflix made huge inroads into Hollywood to explain why the Times has avoided striking deals with digital platforms in which it had little control over relationships with customers or its content.

“Even if Netflix offered you quite a lot of money. … Does it really make sense to help Netflix build a gigantic base of subscribers to the point where they could actually spend $9 billion a year making their own content and will pay me less and less for my library?” he asked.

In 2007 the answer for Hollywood was yes. In exchange for billions of dollars, studios helped Netflix launch a fledgling streaming video service by licensing their libraries of shows and movies, but that decision may have sown the seeds of their own demise.

By 2016, Time Warner Inc was forced to sell itself to AT&T Inc and Rupert Murdoch sold his 21st Century Fox film and TV studios to Walt Disney Co.

Apple is the latest company to offer a direct-to-consumer streaming video, along with a news subscription service, by leveraging the power of its more than 1 billion devices.

Through its subscription news service, Apple will charge about $10 monthly for access to a variety of magazine and newspaper content, according to media reports. Apple is expected to take 50 percent of the revenue. The Wall Street Journal has agreed to join Apple’s service, according to a recent New York Times report. News Corp, owner of the Journal, was not immediately reachable for comment.

A monthly digital subscription to the New York Times costs $15, and Thompson said he has no plans to give that up to participate on other platforms such as Apple’s.

Last year, the Times generated over $700 million in digital revenue, close to the company’s target of $800 million in annual digital sales by 2020. Digital ad revenue surpassed print ad revenue for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Times has plowed investment back into its newsroom, which at 1,550 journalists is now at its largest ever.

Despite the company’s insistence on keeping readers on its own products and platforms, Thompson said it has experimented on other services, highlighting content the Times developed just for Snap Inc’s Snapchat app, which helped reach new, younger readers.

These new audiences, he said, will play a big role in helping the Times reach its new target of 10 million subscribers by 2025.

(Reporting by Kenneth Li; Editing by Bill Rigby)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers, Algeria, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

March 21, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front party (FLN) values the decisions of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Ennahar Tv cited party leader Moad Bouchareb as saying on Thursday.

The FLN also stressed the party’s moral and political commitment to Bouteflika’s decisions, Bouchareb said.

On Wednesday, FLN sided with protesters after a meeting of its top officials, state news agency APS said. It quoted Bouchareb as saying the “FLN fully supports the popular protest movement”.

(Reporting by Hesham Hajali; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Carmen Gloria Quintana, who suffered serious burn injuries in an attack in Santiago in 1986, is pictured in 2015
FILE PHOTO: Carmen Gloria Quintana, who suffered serious burn injuries in an attack in Santiago in 1986, is pictured in 2015 speaking to journalists during a visit to congress. Three retired military members were sentenced to prison on Thursday for the murder of Rodrigo Rojas and attempted murder of Quintana. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/File Photo

March 21, 2019

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A Chilean court sentenced three retired military members to 10 years in prison on Thursday for the murder of a photographer and the attempted murder of a psychologist during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

Julio Castaner, Ivan Figueroa and Nelson Medina were each sentenced for the July 1986 incident, known widely in Chile as the “Quemados” case, which translates as the “burned ones.”

Eight other former soldiers received three-year prison sentences for acting as accomplices in the attack.

Photographer Rodrigo Rojas and psychologist Carmen Gloria Quintana were sprayed with fuel and set on fire by soldiers, according to court documents. The two were wrapped in blankets and left in a vacant lot outside of Santiago. Rojas died four days later and Quintana survived with serious burns.

The attorneys for Castaner, Figueroa and Medina could not immediately be reached for comment.

During the dictatorship of Pinochet between 1973 and 1990, some 3,000 people were killed or disappeared in Chile. Another 28,000 were victims of torture, including former President Michelle Bachelet.

(Reporting by Erik Lopez; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker appears before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions related to Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Google Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker appears before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

March 21, 2019

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on whether to endorse an overhaul of the bloc’s two-decade old copyright rules as Google and internet activists stepped up their criticism of a requirement to install copyright filters.

The European Parliament’s approval is the final step in a process which the European Commission kicked off two years ago with a proposal to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and ensure publishers, broadcasters and artistes get fair compensation from big online companies.

The proposed rules would force Google and other online platforms to sign licensing deals with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work online.

A requirement for Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to catch copyright violations known as Article 13 has triggered protests, with an online petition http://www.savetheinternet.info garnering more than 5 million signatures so far.

The article could prompt online platforms to over-block content to limit legal risks, Google senior vice-president for global affairs Kent Walker wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

“Article 13 could impact a large number of platforms, big and small, many of them European. Some may not be able to bear these risks,” Walker said.

EU lawmaker Julia Reda from the Pirate Party, who has spearheaded opposition to certain elements of the reforms, urged opponents to take part in Europe-wide protests on Saturday.

Critics say filters are costly and could lead to erroneous blocking. Last month, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland refused to back the reforms.

Artists including film producers Pedro Almodovar and Michel Hazanavicius, Benny Andersson from Abba and author Ali Smith have come out in support of the overhaul.

Europe For Creators, which represents people and organizations from the creative industries, urged lawmakers to back the overhaul without any changes.

“Any amendment would mean breaking the trialogue agreement, leaving no time to reconsider a new text before the European elections, and leaving European citizens, businesses and the creative sector adrift in the Digital Single Market,” it said.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Source: OANN

Spain's Bankia logo is seen inside bank's headquarters before a news conference to present their annual results in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: Spain’s Bankia logo is seen inside bank’s headquarters before a news conference to present their annual results in Madrid, Spain, January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

March 21, 2019

VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) – The chairman of Spain’s Bankia on Thursday said the state-owned lender would meet its net profit target of 1.3 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in 2020 despite the current low interest-rate environment.

“We will stick to our net profit target and to our plan to pay back 2.5 billion euros to our shareholders,” Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri told journalists in Valencia, a day before the annual shareholder meeting.

Analysts have been questioning whether the lender would be able to meet its net profit target for 2020 after the European Central delayed any prospects of interest rates rises until 2020.

(Reporting By Jesús Aguado, editing by Axel Bugge)

Source: OANN

John Lott | President, Crime Prevention Research Center

Ever since the 2016 campaign, Democrats and the media have asserted that President Trump has failed to distance himself from white nationalists and neo-Nazis. The fact that White House staffers must answer these questions shows how far out of kilter the discussion has gone.

A Monday headline in the Washington Post read: “Trump’s top staffer doesn’t believe his boss is a white supremacist. Many Americans disagree.” Acting White House Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney left no equivocation: “The president is not a white supremacist.”

On the Sunday edition of CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) claimed that President Trump “needs to do better” at condemning white nationalism. “The leadership, the administration — when they continue to stay silent, it’s going to increase,” said Tlaib.

Host Jake Tapper agreed: “I don’t think moderate Republicans are doing enough to hold President Trump accountable for his rhetoric.”

Last August, Bloomberg ran the headline, “Trump Still Fails to Condemn Racism a Year After Charlottesville.” The article went on to claim, “He has refused to distance himself from white supremacists like Duke.”

These media depictions are so extreme that they are easily proven false. If Trump “stayed silent” and really “refused to distance himself,” there shouldn’t be any statements to the contrary. Yet, there are dozens of them.

Take this exchange with a reporter a couple of days after the Charlottesville riots in 2017.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. . . . I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.  

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?  

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. . . .

So what exactly is unclear? It’s hard to see how any rational person could think that Trump wasn’t condemning neo-Nazis. Was “very bad people” not strong enough? Should he have said, “very, very bad people”?

Or how about another Trump statement in the aftermath of the riots? “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”  

No matter how many times Trump specifically singles out white supremacists, his other blanket condemnations of bigotry convince the media that he really supports racists. This tweet from August didn’t pass the media smell test: “The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”  

How many times does Trump have to disavow David Duke and others like him before the media will concede the point?

“David Duke is a bad person, who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” in March 2016. “I disavowed him. I disavowed the KKK. Do you want me to do it again for the 12th time? I disavowed him in the past, I disavow him now.”

After the election, the New York Times asked Trump about the “alt-right.” The president-elect replied, “I condemn them. I disavow, and I condemn.”

On CBS’ 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl asked Trump about reports of his supporters using racial slurs and making personal threats against blacks, Latinos and gays. Trump replied, “I am very surprised to hear that.” When Stahl asked if he had a message for these offenders, Trump was firm: “I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.”

The media is factually wrong about Trump. At this point, there can be no doubt that journalists who claim that Trump has failed to condemn white supremacists are wildly inaccurate. If people read the full transcripts of Trump’s statements on Charlottesville or David Duke, the media will have no credibility left.

John R. Lott is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author, most recently, of “The War on Guns.”


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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks at journalists after casting his ballot during the parliamentary election in Algiers, Algeria, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Lamine Chikhi and Aidan Lewis

ALGIERS/CAIRO (Reuters) – Protests that brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets in Algeria over the past month led President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to scrap plans to run for a fifth term.

He postponed an election originally set for April and announced that experts would oversee a transition to a “new system” in coming months. Protesters say this is not enough.

WHAT CAUSED THE PROTESTS?

The immediate cause was Bouteflika’s candidacy. Calls for protests spread after it was confirmed on Feb. 10. Mass rallies began on Feb. 22, and numbers rose over the following two Fridays. After Bouteflika abandoned plans to stand but stopped short of stepping down — raising the prospect that he would stay in power for the rest of the year — the protests swelled.

More broadly, protests drew on frustration among millions of Algerians who feel politically and economically excluded, and resentment against an aging and secretive elite that has controlled Algeria since independence from France in 1962.

President since 1999, Bouteflika became a symbol of an independence generation that clung to power. He oversaw a return to stability after a civil war in the 1990s but in his second decade in power was incapacitated and mostly absent from public life, fuelling a sense of drift and decline.

Plans to diversify the economy away from oil stalled in a sclerotic system many saw as corrupt and riven with cronyism.

HOW DID BOUTEFLIKA SURVIVE SO LONG?

Major Islamist groups were discredited by the 1990s war and along with a liberal opposition were coopted or excluded when it ended. As the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) reasserted itself, political apathy set in and election turnouts dropped.

When uprisings swept the region in 2011, Algeria used a heavy security and oil money to curtail demonstrations.

There were frequent local protests, but these demanded state resources, not political change. Factional battles played out in the domestic media, relatively free by regional standards. Then, as now, neither ruling elite factions nor Bouteflika and his entourage appeared able to agree on a succession plan.

WHO HAS BEEN RUNNING THE COUNTRY?

Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, but by then he had already sidelined or outlived the generals who brought him to power. General Mohamed “Toufik” Mediene, head of military intelligence and the man widely seen to be the real center of power in Algeria, departed in 2015.

While the army remained Algeria’s most powerful institution, an informal clique around the presidency amassed more influence, including Bouteflika’s younger brother Said. An emerging business elite profiting from surging oil income also benefited.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SCENARIOS NOW?

Bouteflika announced that an “independent and inclusive” national conference would draft and new constitution and set a date for elections, and should conclude its work by the end of the year. An interim, technocratic government is being formed.

But this plan has been cast into doubt as Bouteflika’s position has weakened. Protesters want him to step down when his five-year term ends in April and say their goal is sustain pressure and prevent infiltration from “Bouteflika’s system”.

Chief of staff Gaed Salah has said the army should take responsibility for solving the crisis but so far it has been waiting in the wings. The army is more reluctant to intervene directly than in the past. Its decision to cancel parliamentary elections in 1992 that Islamists were poised to win triggered the conflict that left up to 200,000 people dead.

Islamism is in decline, and a new leader may come from the political mainstream. Ahmed Benbitour, a former prime minister, and Mustapha Bouchachi, a rights activist and lawyer, are among those emerging as protest leaders.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO PROTESTERS FACE?

Protesters are trying to remain peaceful. From the start, they have worried that factions within the security forces may provoke violence to discredit protesters, or that demonstrations could turn violent when protesters’ demands are not met.

Another challenge is to find leaders with enough experience and broad support — those who served under Bouteflika may be discredited in the eyes of protesters.

Protesters fear that factions holding power and associated patronage networks will look to survive even as they abandon Bouteflika. Most observers believe that while Bouteflika and his clique will leave power, the system around them will remain.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Algeria is Africa’s biggest country by landmass and has a population of more than 40 million. It is a major oil and gas producer and OPEC member, and a top supplier of gas to Europe.

Western states see Algeria as a counter-terrorism partner. It is a significant military player in North Africa and the Sahel, and diplomatically involved in crises in Mali and Libya.

Algeria also backs the Polisario Front independence movement in Western Sahara, in opposition to its neighbor Morocco.

(Writing by Aidan Lewis, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

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

March 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

March 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

Jon Brown | Associate Editor

The Washington Post offered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a platform to express his opinion Tuesday for the second time in less than five months, despite the unparalleled number of journalists imprisoned by his government.

Sixty-eight journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, more than any other country in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Nevertheless, in an op-ed entitled “The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth,” Erdogan used WaPo as a soapbox from which to scold Western nations for failing to adequately distinguish Islam from terrorism.

Likening the New Zealand mosque shooter to radical Islamic terrorists, Erdogan maintained that the shooter’s motives were a distortion of Christianity and admonished that the world “must establish that there is absolutely no difference between the murderer who killed innocent people in New Zealand and those who have carried out terrorist acts in Turkey, France, Indonesia and elsewhere.” (EXCLUSIVE: A Look Inside Andrew Brunson’s Harrowing Turkish Courtroom Experience)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a ceremony marking the 104th anniversary of Battle of Canakkale, also known as the Gallipoli Campaign, in Canakkale, Turkey March 18, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

“Unfortunately, Islamophobia and xenophobia, among other practices incompatible with liberal values, were met with silence in Europe and other parts of the Western world,” he continued. “We cannot afford to allow this again. If the world wants to prevent future assaults similar to the one in New Zealand, it must start by establishing that what happened was the product of a coordinated smear campaign.”

Erdogan’s op-ed was a continuation of sentiments he expressed last week at the funeral of a Turkish minister, where he condemned the entire world — and the West, especially — for rising Islamophobia and racism.

“With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing,” he said, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. (RELATED: Erdogan Uses New Zealand Mosque Shootings To Condemn World For ‘Hostility’ To Islam)

The Post, which uses the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” also published Erdogan in a Nov. 2, 2018, op-ed that condemned Saudi Arabia for the murder of journalist and WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

FILE PHOTO: Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

“Erdogan makes a solid point that all murderers or terrorists of innocent people should be treated alike and equally condemned,” said Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University who specializes in journalism ethics. “Letting Erdogan come off as all righteous, however, given his track record of curtailing free expression in his own country, is quite unnecessary.”

“It was a curious move when the Post gave Erdogan op-ed space last fall in the wake of the Khashoggi murder, but a case could be made at that time because the assassination took place in Turkey,” McCall continued. “There is no particular need now to give Erdogan a platform to broadly criticize other governments and suggesting the West is normalizing extremism.” (RELATED: Turkey’s Erdogan Wants Twitter To Silence American Critic)

“The Post, in a sense, seems to be giving Erdogan a legitimacy that is undeserved, given his own record on human rights and the many other measured voices that are available to weigh in on such a serious topic,” he added.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Executive editor at The Washington Post, Martin Baron, (L) and Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison speak onstage during "A Newspaper Editor in the Spotlight" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 19, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Executive editor at The Washington Post, Martin Baron, (L) and Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison speak onstage … (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, WaPo executive editor Martin Baron used Erdogan as an example of the possible dangers that could befall American journalists under President Donald Trump. In remarks delivered at a Manhattan dinner party upon winning an award, Baron quoted CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, saying:

This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdogan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al. … First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating—until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison — and then who knows?

“When the press is under attack, we cannot always count on our nation’s institutions to safeguard our freedoms—not even the courts,” Baron then warned, adding, “Many journalists wonder with considerable weariness what it is going to be like for us during the next four — perhaps eight — years. Will we be incessantly harassed and vilified? Will the new administration seize on opportunities to try intimidating us? Will we face obstruction at every turn? If so, what do we do?” (RELATED: Koppel: NYT And WaPo Not What They Used To Be Thanks To Trump Vendetta)

Baron went on to emphasize the importance of “holding the most powerful to account,” and that failing to do so raises the question, “If we do not do that, then what exactly is the purpose of journalism?”

WaPo did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

U.S. President Trump and Brazilian President Bolsonaro hold news conference at the White House in Washington
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during a joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 20, 2019

By Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle

WASHINGTON/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro won glowing praise and conditional promises from U.S. President Donald Trump on his visit to the White House this week, yet Brazilian negotiators came away grumbling about their hosts driving a hard bargain.

Diplomats and other officials said Brazil got few immediate concessions in return for granting a unilateral visa waiver for U.S. visitors, a tariff-free quota for wheat imports and easier access for U.S. space launches from Brazil.

Bolsonaro, an outspoken Trump admirer who seemed eager to please at their first meeting, failed to win more room for Brazil’s sugar exports or overturn a U.S. ban on fresh Brazilian beef – both major objectives of the country’s farm sector.

“If this is the way forward, we might as well stay put,” said a Brazilian official directly involved in the negotiations, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “They asked for everything, but didn’t want to cede on anything.”

Reactions among Brazilians focused largely on the symbolism of the visit, with Bolsonaro supporters calling it a vindication for the iconoclastic leader and critics cringing to see him so cozy with Trump.

Yet the frustration of the Brazilian delegation reflects the deeper difficulty of overcoming trade barriers and agribusiness competition between the two countries, even as their presidents find common ground in their brash style and conservative views.

Bolsonaro celebrated his visit as the start of a new era of U.S.-Brazil friendship, playing up his admiration of Trump and their shared disdain for political correctness and “fake news,” as they often call unfavorable press coverage.

The presidents also found common ground in condemning Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and cooperating on public security and military development. Designating Brazil a “major non-NATO ally” will ease U.S. arms sales to the Brazilian armed forces, while a new technology safeguard agreement will help U.S. companies to conduct commercial space launches in Brazil.

However, in more transactional areas such as trade, the Brazilians’ goodwill offerings, such as an annual import quota of 750,000 tonnes of tariff-free wheat, were not met in kind.

“If this reciprocity does not occur, Bolsonaro’s preference for the U.S. will look naive in the future,” said Welber Barral, a former Brazilian foreign trade secretary.

Brazil’s new openness to wheat imports will mainly benefit U.S. exporters and was a slap in the face to neighboring Argentina, another major trade partner, Barral said.

He also warned that Brazil stands to face more setbacks on trade if it gives up the benefits of “developing country” status at the World Trade Organization (WTO) — the U.S. condition for supporting Brazil’s bid to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a policy forum for wealthier nations.

That conditional endorsement — concrete WTO concessions in return for symbolic OECD membership — left Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes visibly annoyed after his meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

“That’s no exchange. He’s making that demand,” he told journalists.

Addressing an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Guedes also gave a hint of the sticking points that stood in the way of broader trade agreements.

“You want to sell pork? Okay, buy my beef. You want to sell ethanol? Buy my sugar. Beef for pork, ethanol for sugar, wheat for auto parts. They’re little things,” he said.

None of the exchanges he suggested were formalized in talks.

Guedes reminded the audience that China, Brazil’s top trading partner, would be ready to pick up the slack if the United States did not engage.

“They are moving in, trying to invest,” Guedes warned.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

President of the European Council Donald Tusk is seen at the start of EU Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels
President of the European Council Donald Tusk is seen at the start of EU Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels, Belgium March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 20, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday that granting Britain a short postponement of Brexit was possible on the condition that Britain’s House of Commons votes in favor of the stalled divorce agreement next week.

Should that happen, Tusk said no extraordinary EU leaders’ summit would be needed next week before the current Brexit date of March 29. Otherwise, he might call the 27 national leaders of EU countries staying on together after Brexit back to Brussels.

“In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days, I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk told journalists before chairing the EU leaders’ talks in Brussels this Thursday and Friday.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Gabriela Baczynska)

Source: OANN

President of the European Council Donald Tusk is seen at the start of EU Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels
President of the European Council Donald Tusk is seen at the start of EU Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels, Belgium March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 20, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday that granting Britain a short postponement of Brexit was possible on the condition that Britain’s House of Commons votes in favor of the stalled divorce agreement next week.

Should that happen, Tusk said no extraordinary EU leaders’ summit would be needed next week before the current Brexit date of March 29. Otherwise, he might call the 27 national leaders of EU countries staying on together after Brexit back to Brussels.

“In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days, I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk told journalists before chairing the EU leaders’ talks in Brussels this Thursday and Friday.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Gabriela Baczynska)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The 2016 Volvo XC90, winner of the Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show, is displayed in Detroit
FILE PHOTO: The 2016 Volvo XC90, winner of the Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show, is displayed in Detroit, Michigan, January 11. 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

March 20, 2019

By Esha Vaish

GOTHENBURG (Reuters) – Swedish automaker Volvo hopes to reinforce its reputation for safety-first driving by installing cameras and sensors in its cars from the early 2020s, monitoring drivers for signs of being drunk or distracted and intervening to prevent accidents.

The safety features, detailed at a briefing in Gothenburg on Wednesday which fleshed out plans outlined earlier this month, mark another step by Volvo toward its pledge to eliminate passenger fatalities by 2020.

Volvo, which in the 1950s was the first carmaker to introduce the three-point seatbelt, had said on March 4 it would introduce a 180 km per hour speed limit on all new vehicles.

Volvo said the cameras and sensors will be installed on all models built on its SPA2 platform for larger cars such as the XC90 SUV, on which its driverless cars will also be built, starting in the early part of the next decade.

Intervention if the driver is found to be drunk, tired or distracted by checking a mobile phone – among the biggest factors in accidents – could involve limiting the car’s speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service, or slowing down and parking the car, it said.

Development of technology that would support such maneuvers has accelerated in the past year as the industry increasingly focuses on electric and autonomous cars.

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told journalists the technology developments meant carmakers had the responsibility to take on the role of Big Brother to ensure safety on roads.

While the strategy meant Volvo, owned by China’s Geely, might lose some customers keen on high speeds, it also opened opportunities to win parents who wanted to buy the safest car to carry their children, he said.

Volvo also said it would introduce Care Key, allowing a Volvo buyer to set a speed limit for themselves or before lending the car to younger or inexperienced drivers, as standard on all its cars from 2021.

Samuelsson said Volvo was talking to insurers to offer favorable terms to what it termed as “club max 180” customers who were using the safety features.

“If we can encourage and support better behavior with technology that helps drivers to stay out of trouble, that should logically also have a positive impact on insurance premiums,” Samuelsson said.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Gothenburg; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

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

March 20, 2019

By Rajendra Jadhav and Sankalp Phartiyal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being a Modi supporter himself makes it easier.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIMITED OVERSIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

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

March 20, 2019

By Vincent Chow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

($1 = 7.8496 Hong Kong dollars)

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

Source: OANN

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duca deployed sarcasm in response to her critics.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang says the federal government will punish media companies for the spread of misinformation if he wins in 2020.

Yang’s proposal would introduce “penalties for persistent and destructive misstatements that undermine public discourse,” according to his campaign website.

“We must introduce both a means to investigate and punish those who are seeking to misinform the American public. If enough citizens complain about a particular source of information and news is demonstrably and deliberately false, there should be penalties,” Yang explains on his website.

REUTERS/Scott Morgan

U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks at Potluck Insurgency, a local democratic activist event, at the home of one of its members in Iowa City, Iowa, U.S., March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

“I will appoint a new News and Information Ombudsman with the power to fine egregious corporate offenders. One of the main purposes of the Ombudsman will be to identify sources of spurious information that are associated with foreign nationals. The Ombudsman will work with social media companies to identify fraudulent accounts and disable and punish responsible parties,” Yang wrote.

Yang says his information watchdog would be part of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). (RELATED: Yang Warns Unemployed Truckers Will Stage ‘Mass Riots’ Against Driverless Trucks)

(JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

Entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a campaign stop at the train depot on February 1, 2019 in Jefferson, Iowa. (JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

“We need a robust free press and exchange of information. But we should face the reality that fake news and misinformation spread via social media threatens to undermine our democracy and may make it impossible for citizens to make informed decisions on a shared set of facts,” he adds on his website.

“This is particularly problematic given that foreign actors, particularly Russia, intend to do us harm and capitalize on our freedom of information. We need to start monitoring and punishing bad actors to give the determined journalists a chance to do their work.”

Yang’s campaign declined to comment on whether he thinks his proposed government crackdown on misinformation is constitutional. He’s already cleared the minimum number of donors required to qualify for the first Democratic debate.

The radical proposal is one of several headline-grabbing policies in Yang’s campaign.

Yang’s federal campaign against misinformation is just one of several radical policies featured in his campaign.

Yang also wants the federal government to distribute $1,000 in cash to Americans every month, and to track Americans’ social behavior and dispense “digital social credits” for positive actions.

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

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

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

Bernie Sanders Holds Campaign Rally In Des Moines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Facebook plans to ramp up efforts to fight misinformation ahead of the European Parliament election in May and will partner with German news agency DPA to boost its fact-checking, a senior executive said on Monday.

Facebook has been under pressure around the world since the U.S. election in 2016 to stop the use of fake accounts and other types of deception to sway public opinion.

The European Union last month accused Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Twitter of falling short of their pledges to combat fake news ahead of the European election after they signed a voluntary code of conduct to stave off regulation.

On Monday, Facebook said it was setting up an operations centre that would be staffed 24 hours a day with engineers, data scientists, researchers and policy experts, and coordinate with external organisations.

“They will be proactively trying to identify emerging threats so that they can take action on them as quickly as possible,” Tessa Lyons, head of news feed integrity at Facebook, told journalists in Berlin.

Facebook also announced it is teaming up with Germany’s biggest news agency, DPA, to help it check the accuracy of posts, in addition to Correctiv, a non-profit collective of investigative journalists that has been flagging fake news to the company since January 2017.

It will also train over 100,000 students in Germany in media literacy and seek to stop paid advertising being misused for political ends.

Germany has been particularly proactive in trying to clamp down on online hate speech, implementing a law last year that forces companies to delete offensive posts or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($56.71 million).

The issue of misinformation and elections became prominent after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour, partly by using social media. Moscow denied any meddling.

Lyons said Facebook had made progress in limiting fake news in the last two years, adding that it would increase the number of people working on the issue globally to 30,000 by the end of the year from 20,000 currently.

In addition to human intervention, she said Facebook is constantly refining its machine learning tools to identify untrustworthy messages and limit their distribution.

“This is a very adversarial space, and whether the bad actors are financially or ideologically motivated, they will try to get around and adapt to the work that we are doing,” she said.

($1 = 0.8818 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • Private financiers, like hedge funds, could benefit if D.C. takes oil giant ExxonMobil to court over climate change.
  • D.C.’s solicitation for outside lawyers to investigate Exxon includes a clause would allow selling interest in court winnings to third-party investors.
  • “The contract anticipates that the attorneys will sell their interest in the law-enforcement action to third-party funders,” said one expert.

The District of Columbia’s solicitation contract for outside lawyers to investigate ExxonMobil opens the door for private financiers to profit off any litigation, according to a legal expert.

“The contract anticipates that the attorneys will sell their interest in the law-enforcement action to third-party funders, giving private investors a stake in D.C.’s law-enforcement actions against ExxonMobil,” said Andrew Grossman, an attorney with BakerHostetler and adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute.

“This allows a litigation investor or even a hedge fund to invest in law enforcement, and the investors stand to profit the more aggressively that the private attorneys wield the government’s power,” Grossman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine disclosed Friday his office was looking for outside legal counsel to investigate Exxon for allegedly misleading the public about climate change, including failing to notify drivers who filled up on Exxon gasoline that the product contributed to warming.

Racine tweeted out the solicitation Friday, which indicates that D.C. is preparing for a legal battle with Exxon. Racine is looking for two lawyers and a paralegal to handle its Exxon investigation on a five-year contract. (RELATED: DC Prepares For A Potential Climate Change Court Battle Against Exxon)

Racine and Frosh conduct a live television interview after their news conference to announce their lawsuit against Trump in Washington

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine (L) and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh conduct a live television interview after their news conference to announce their lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump on the issue of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses and Trump’s business ventures, in Washington, D.C., U.S. June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Outside counsel would work in exchange for a percentage of any winnings D.C. may get in a legal settlement or court victory. No winnings, no pay, according to the solicitation.

Grossman pointed to a clause in D.C.’s solicitation for outside help that he finds concerning. As worded, the clause would allow outside attorneys to sell interest of any legal winnings to investors:

In accordance with 27 DCMR 3250, the Contractor may assign to a bank, trust company, or other financing institution funds due or to become due as a result of the performance of this contract.

“It is unusual enough that the government is looking to hire outside attorneys to target a particular private party for law enforcement, on a contingency-fee basis,” Grossman said. “That gives a whole new meaning to ‘policing for profit.’”

D.C. is allowing any outside counsel to engage in “litigation investment.” It is a fairly recent phenomenon, gaining media attention in the last couple years as hedge funds sought to invest in high-profile class action lawsuits in exchange for a percentage of the winnings.

Since outside counsel in these types of arrangements work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they won’t be paid unless they prevail in court, they look to investors to pay for the upfront litigation costs. For some companies, it’s an extremely profitable venture.

Grossman said litigation investment is still rare and, until recently, was even blocked by most states and bar associations. Grossman added, however, that it’s “unheard-of” for financing law enforcement actions.

Darren Woods, Chairman & CEO, Exxon Mobil Corporation attends a news conference at the NYSE

Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation attends a news conference at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The D.C. Bar Association did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment as to its stance on allowing attorneys contracting with state prosecutors to sell interest in potential court winnings.

If Racine takes Exxon to court, he would join a handful of Democratic attorneys general to do so. Litigation against Exxon is based on reporting from liberal journalists that the oil giant “knew” for decades fossil fuels could warm the planet while funding groups skeptical of climate science.

Racine’s investigation focuses on the oil giant’s alleged disclosures to consumers at Washington, D.C., gas stations with the Exxon logo. However, Exxon does not own or operate any retail gas stations anymore.

Racine’s office did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is preparing for a potential lawsuit against ExxonMobil over climate change.
  • Racine’s office alleges Exxon failed to inform D.C. consumers that gasoline combustion contributed to global warming.
  • “Exxon has also engaged or funded efforts to mislead DC consumers” about global warming, Racine’s office wrote.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is preparing for potential legal battle against ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, for allegedly covering up global warming science from the public.

Exxon’s alleged wrongdoing includes failing to tell consumers of its gasoline that fossil fuels contribute to global warming, according to documents from Racine’s office.

Racine indirectly acknowledged D.C.’s planned investigation into Exxon in a tweet linking to a solicitation for outside “legal services in support of [the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia’s] investigation and potential litigation against ExxonMobil Corporation” and affiliates.

The document alleged “potential violations of the Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA) or other District laws in connection with Exxon’s statements or omissions about the effects of its fossil fuel products on climate change.”

“OAG has determined this conduct should the subject of an investigation or litigation against Exxon to secure injunctive relief stopping violations of the CPPA or other District law, as well as securing consumer restitution, penalties and the costs of any litigation,” reads the document.

Racine’s office is looking for a senior lawyer, junior lawyer and a paralegal to handle its Exxon investigation. Investigators would work on a five-year contract, with options to extend, in exchange for a percentage of any winnings D.C. may get in a legal settlement or court victory.

However, the D.C. attorney general’s office already has a full-time lawyer dedicated to climate change and environmental investigations. That employee is funded through a controversial grant program from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal foundation. (RELATED: Just 12 Years Left? Let’s Break Down The Alarmist Talking Point Fueling Kids’ Climate Change Strikes)

At least eight other Democratic attorneys general offices have or sought to hire Bloomberg-funded legal fellows. Critics have called this arrangement “law enforcement for hire,” and some offices have tried to withhold information about their Bloomberg-funded fellows.

Racine’s office would not say if the Bloomberg-funded lawyer would play a role in the investigation or potential lawsuit against Exxon.

“Thank you for your inquiry, however we will decline to comment on confidential enforcement activity,” Racine’s office said in an emailed statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Racine and Frosh hold a news conference to announce their lawsuit against Trump, in Washington

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (L) hold a news conference to announce their lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump on the issue of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clauses and Trump’s business ventures, in Washington, D.C., June 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

If Racine takes Exxon to court, he would join a handful of Democratic attorneys general to do so, including New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Democratic attorneys general began investigating Exxon’s climate change stance years ago, prodded by environmental activists and journalists who claimed the company “knew” for decades fossil fuels could warm the planet, but funded groups to challenge climate science and regulations.

Exxon has denied allegations it tried to mislead the public on climate science, and today the company supports taxing carbon dioxide emissions and funding for alternative fuels.

Racine’s investigation focuses on the oil giant’s alleged disclosures to consumers at gas stations in Washington, D.C. — though Exxon does not own or operate any retail gas stations anymore.

“Since at least the 1970s, Exxon has been aware that its fossil fuel products were significantly contributing to climate change, and that climate change would accelerate and lead to significant harms to the environment in the twenty-first century,” reads D.C.’s solicitation for attorneys.

Racine’s office continued that “in connection with selling gasoline to DC consumers and others, Exxon has failed to inform consumers about the effects of its fossil fuel products on climate change.”

“Exxon has also engaged or funded efforts to mislead DC consumers and others about the potential impacts of climate change,” reads the document. “This conduct may violate the District’s CPPA as well as other District laws.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Quote of the Day:

“The thing about arguing with @AnnCoulter is that in a small restaurant— EVERYONE HEARS IT.” 

Editor wonders if reporter has major hangover from St. Patty’s Day 

“Reporter texts me at 3:17 in the a.m. to tell me he’s been throwing up for a couple hours, but assures me it is not St. Patrick’s Day-related. Should I believe him? Oh, and did I mention today is the day we were to go over his annual performance review?” — Matt Schwartz, assistant city editor, Houston Chronicle.

Joe Biden nearly declares his run for the White House 

“‘I get criticized by the new left. I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United … anybody who would run,’ Biden said, catching himself at a Delaware Democratic Party fundraising dinner. ‘I didn’t mean …Of anybody who would run!’” — Manu Raju, CNN.

Rudy Giuliani has an ‘endearing’ name for Twitter

“In what I think is a most endearing typo, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani calls it “tweeter” in a message to @thedailybeast just now.” — Asawin Suebsaeng, reporter, The Daily Beast.

Trump ravages the late Sen. McCain in a weekend tweet 

“Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier ‘is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.’ Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel. He had far worse ‘stains’ than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!” — President Trump on Saturday afternoon.

HuffPost/New York Mag’s Yashar Ali: “My god let the poor man die. …I would really like to see @LindseyGrahamSC stand up for his dear departed friend right here on Twitter.”

Megyn Kelly, ex-FNC, NBC: “I can’t help but think that, at worst, John McCain would have been mildly amused by the Trump attacks. The guy had been thru so much, gracefully; to think he would have been irritated by someone’s self-serving jabs? I doubt it.”

ABC “The View’s” Meghan McCain: “No one will ever love you the way they loved my father…. I wish I had been given more Saturday’s with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on twitter obsessing over mine?”

Maggie Haberman, NYT: “An attack on @MeghanMcCain and a tweet completely distorting a report about @IlhanMN maybe possibly facing a primary challenge in future. POTUS’s weekend reminder that he may smash whatever remaining norms that exist/will continue in 2020 race to try to shock.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) did not reply directly to Trump. But on Sunday he tweeted this: “As to @SenJohnMcCain and his devotion to his country: He stepped forward to risk his life for his country, served honorably under difficult circumstances, and was one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body. Nothing about his service will ever be changed or diminished.”

Journo washes the gray right out of his hair

“I just dyed my hair to get rid of the gray and I successfully look like someone who has dyed their hair to look younger. Nice!!!!! …Can’t wait to wake up in the morning and find out I didn’t wash all the dye out and ruined my sheets.” — Ben Dreyfuss, editorial director, Mother Jones.

Rep. AOC turns her narcissism inward (if that’s possible) 

“The reason people know more is bc Fox News has turned into ‘AOC TMZ’ (no offense to TMZ), so awareness is growing w/ GOPers. @JaneMayerNYer has reported deeply on this propaganda machine + it will be aimed at any Dem they want. Nothing changes that. We can’t be scared by that.” — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Katie Couric really wants you to read her newsletter 

Nathan Barry asks, “Who is someone famous you follow who writes an email newsletter?”

Couric: “Me! Sign up at katiecouric.com and let me know what you think? (smiley emoji)”

BuzzFeed asks Gov. Newsom about ex-wife’s relationship with Don Jr.  

And he says absolutely NOTHING. 

I’m all for getting dirt out of someone. But BuzzFeed‘s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith is going to need a bigger shovel if he wants California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the ex-husband to Kimberly Guilfoyle, to dish about his ex-wife dating Donald Trump Jr. Newsom said he finds it “interesting.” It’s a big fat so what! When asked if his ex-wife’s relationship with Don ever came up in a conversation with President Trump, Newsom replied, “We may have had a private moment on that conversation, which in and of itself, makes life just interesting.”

No, it doesn’t. None of that is interesting.

Watch here. (RELATED: BuzzFeed Listicle — You Still Have A Job At BuzzFeed Bro?) 

Reuters reporter promised Beto he wouldn’t write about his hacking until after the Senate race 

“After more than a year of reporting, [Joseph] Menn persuaded O’Rourke to talk on the record. In an interview in late 2017, O’Rourke acknowledged that he was a member of the group, on the understanding that the information would not be made public until after his Senate race against Ted Cruz in November 2018.” — Reuters backstory of how Menn got the story of Beto’s membership in a computer hacking group called the Cult of the Dead Cow.

Beto had to ‘pedal his balls off’ when biking with his father 

“His dad once bought a tandem bicycle and entered them in races without asking him. ‘I hated it, because it involved a lot of yelling at me, like, ‘Quit leaning to the right, goddammit!” he recalls. ‘And then just harrowing, just racing through an intersection and he’s got the breaks and the steering and all I can do is just pedal my balls off and hope that we don’t die.’”

Beto O’Rourke, Democrat, presidential hopeful, Vanity Fair profile. (RELATED: Beto Financially Clobbers Competitors On First Day) 

Journo is in therapy to boost her self-esteem 

“I graduated high school with few of the real learning skills I needed because I was relatively well-behaved and had an excellent memory. Because I was an early reader, but my math skills were average for a child my age, I was constantly told, ‘You are good at words’ and ‘You are bad at numbers.’ I got the message that having to try at something meant I was bad at it. Now I’m 32 ywca old and working with my therapist to undo my belief that every hard won win is also proof that I’m not ‘good’ at anything.”

Ashley Ford, BuzzFeed News.

Mediaite reporter digs dude sneaking photos of her 

“So like. I don’t wanna be obnoxious or anything. but there’s this dude at the coffeeshop I’m in literally snapping photos of me while pretending to take a selfie lmfao. Is it crazy that I’m low-key digging the shit out of this?” — Pardes Seleh, formerly a scriptwriter at Fox News.

Yashar Ali: ‘I’m not boring’

“I’m a mess but I’m not boring and that’s much more important.” — Yashar Ali, HuffPost, New York Mag.

Bette Midler lashes out at Trump his view on planes 

“Conald Trump says planes have gotten ‘too complex’ to fly, but…really? this is a guy who struggles mightily with the umbrella and the water bottle.” —  Bette Midler, singer, actress.

Patrick Howley threatens the ‘Fox News Corporation’ with a couple exceptions 

“Big League Politics will spare Tucker and Judge Jeanine in our Investigative Series on Fox News. They don’t deserve our scorn. But the Fox News Corporation is against us, and they think they are untouchable. They are doing this to themselves.” — Patrick Howley, editor-in-chief, Big League Politics, former reporter, Daily Caller.

Rep. Crenshaw comes down hard on anyone using NZ tragedy to bash American conservatives 

“If you find yourself using the tragedy in New Zealand to take backhanded swipes at conservatives in America – many of my colleagues already have – then you really have no shame and you are part of the problem. It should be easy for us to stand united and condemn terrorism.” — Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).

Gossip Roundup 

NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engle gets a much awaited “Dada” from his son, Henry, 3, who has Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that keeps him from walking or moving independently. Here.

CNN’s Brian Stelter questions the “mental health” of Fox News. Seriously. Here.

Sec. Ben Carson lunches with My Pillow founder…“Sec. Carson’s daily schedule from 2017 shows a HUD sec. who held senior staff mtgs. once a week, lunched with the author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ and the founder of My Pillow, and left work before 2 p.m. on some Fridays to fly to his Florida mansion.” — NBC Politics. Here.

Don Jr. defends Chelsea Clinton

“It’s sickening to see people blame @ChelseaClinton for the NZ attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism. We should all be condemning anti-Semitism & all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.” — Donald Trump Jr. on Saturday morning.

Even MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough is patting Don Jr. on the back for that one

“I believe in finding common ground wherever possible. This should be common ground for us all.” — Joe Scarborough, co-host, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” (RELATED: Beto’s Message is All ‘Goop’) 

ABC’s “The Bachelor’s”… Colton and Cassie are still together…for now. Here.

Ex-Breitbarter Raheem Kassam, editor of the new Human Events, really hates it when journalists lie. Here.

Khloe Kardashian says… Tristan Thompson is a good father to daughter, True, despite reports to the contrary. Here.

Source: The Daily Caller

  • More than 15 journalists, several U.S. government officials and multiple lawmakers were shown or given the Steele dossier during the 2016 presidential campaign or shortly after.
  • Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele disseminated the dossier far and wide in an apparent attempt to insert the document’s salacious allegations into the media.
  • Newly unsealed court filings show how widespread this effort was.

Court documents released last week in a lawsuit involving the Steele dossier revealed new details about the campaign to disseminate the infamous anti-Trump report to the press and within the U.S. government.

Much was already known about Fusion GPS and dossier author Christopher Steele’s efforts to seed the dossier with reporters and government officials. Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson orchestrated several meetings between Steele and Washington, D.C.-based journalists prior to the 2016 election. It has also been widely reported that Steele and Simpson met with government officials in an attempt to ensure that Steele’s unverified findings landed on the government’s radar.

A deposition given by David Kramer, a longtime associate of former Sen. John McCain, shed light on even more contacts with reporters and government officials. Kramer’s Dec. 13, 2017 deposition was released on March 14 along with a batch of other documents from a dossier-related lawsuit against BuzzFeed News.

By giving the dossier to government officials, Fusion GPS and Steele were able to create news hooks for journalists to write stories airing the dossier’s unverified allegations.

That was the case with Yahoo! News, Mother Jones, CNN and BuzzFeed News, all of which published stories not about the underlying claims made in the dossier, but about the fact that the document was being handled by U.S. government officials.

Here are all of the contacts that Steele, Simpson and Kramer had with government officials and the press.

Fusion GPS and Steele’s contacts with US government officials

Simpson and Steele, a former MI6 officer, made contact with two separate government officials during the campaign to disseminate the dossier.

Steele met with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife, a Fusion GPS contractor named Nellie Ohr, on July 30, 2016 to provide some of the information he had gathered in his investigation.

Simpson reached out and met Bruce Ohr on Aug. 22, 2016. Bruce Ohr told Congress on Aug. 28, 2018 that Simpson told him of possible intermediaries between the Trump campaign and Kremlin. Simpson and Bruce Ohr met against on Dec. 10, 2016. During that encounter, Bruce Ohr says Simpson handed him a memory stick with what he believes was a copy of the dossier. (RELATED: Details Emerge About Trump Dossier Firm’s Media Outreach Campaign)

Steele met with Jonathan Winer, a State Department official with close ties to former Secretary of State John Kerry, during summer 2016. He told Winer about the information he had gathered, and Winer wrote a two-page summary to give to others at the State Department.

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson is pictured. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Simpson reached out to Winer between Sept. 19-22, 2016. In an email, Simpson requested an urgent phone call with Winer. It would later be reported that Winer was a source for Michael Isikoff, the Yahoo! News reporter who wrote the first article laying out the dossier’s allegations against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page.

Winer did not just receive intelligence from Steele. He also provided the retired spy with dirt gathered by two longtime Hillary Clinton allies, Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. Blumenthal gave Winer a copy of a report written by Shearer that contained allegations similar to Steele’s dossier. Winer gave that report to Steele, who passed it to the FBI.

Simpson and Steele contact reporters

Simpson contacted several top national security reporters beginning in summer 2016 to arrange meetings with Steele. He also reportedly tipped ABC News reporter Brian Ross off to a Belarus-born businessman who is believed to be a major source for the dossier.

According to the book “Russian Roulette,” Simpson told Ross about Sergei Millian, an obscure businessman who had claimed in one interview that he had links to Trumpworld. During an on-camera interview with Millian on July 29, 2016, Ross asked Millian several questions that mirror allegations made in the dossier.

Simpson also set up meetings in mid-September 2016 between Steele and several other reporters, including Yahoo’s Isikoff, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman, and Steven Lee Meyer and Eric Lichtblau at The New York Times.

Steele spoke in October 2016 with David Corn, a reporter at Mother Jones who published a dossier-based story on Oct. 31, 2016. Corn provided a copy of the dossier to James Baker, who then served as FBI’s general counsel. Corn hoped that Baker would reveal whether the FBI was investigating the dossier’s claims, but Baker told Congress he did not provide any information to the reporter.

Baker would also meet with Michael Sussmann, an attorney at Perkins Coie, the firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee. Sussmann provided Baker with information relevant to the Trump-Russia probe but not from the dossier.

He provided similar information to Slate’s Franklin Foer and reporters at The New York Times. Both outlets reported stories about possible links between the servers of the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank that is identified in the dossier. The allegation of communication between the two servers remains unverified and has been heavily disputed.

Dossier used as ‘hook’ for multiple news articles

In the case of the Isikoff piece, the news hook was that the U.S. government was looking into the allegations from the Steele dossier about Page. From there, Isikoff was able to lay out what the dossier claimed about the former Trump campaign aide, regardless of whether the allegations were true.

The FBI cited Isikoff’s article in its applications for surveillance warrants against Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who is accused in the dossier of being the Trump team’s conduit to the Kremlin.

The dossier itself was published based on a series of news hooks.

CNN reported on Jan. 10, 2017 that former President Barack Obama and then-President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed on portions of the dossier on Jan. 6, 2017. CNN reported the briefing took place, and that Trump had been told about specific allegations that Russia might use as blackmail material against him.

BuzzFeed followed up an hour later, using the CNN report as a hook to publish the dossier in full.

The FBI itself sought to capitalize on the publication of the dossier, according to text messages that have been made public.

Peter Strzok, the counterintelligence official who led the Trump-Russia probe, texted FBI lawyer Lisa Page following CNN’s report, saying: “Hey let me know when you can talk. We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people.”

Prior to that, the FBI had conducted its investigation into the Trump campaign in secret. Few if any Trump associates were interviewed prior to Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

FBI agents showed up on Jan. 27, 2017 to interview George Papadopoulos at his home in Chicago. The agents initially asked Papadopoulos about Millian, an alleged dossier source who initiated contact with Papadopoulos on July 15, 2017.

Simpson and Steele use McCain to get to Comey

Kramer first learned of the dossier on Nov. 18, 2016, at the Halifax Security Forum. Sir Andrew Wood, an informal adviser to Steele’s company, told Kramer about the document and suggested sharing it with McCain. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Had Contact With A Dozen Reporters About Dossier)

Kramer flew to London on Nov. 28, 2016 to meet with Steele. The two made arrangements there for Kramer to obtain a physical copy of the report from Simpson.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, speaks to reporters as he arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., Oct. 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

After Kramer obtained the document, he shared it with numerous journalists, some at the direction of Steele.

According to his deposition, Kramer provided a copy of the dossier or previewed it to the following reporters: Julian Borger from The Guardian; Corn from Mother Jones; Ross and Matthew Mosk from ABC News; Peter Stone from McClatchy; Fred Hiatt, Hamburger and Helderman from The Washington Post; Bob Little from NPR; Alan Cullison from The Wall Street Journal; Carl Bernstein from CNN and Ken Bensinger from BuzzFeed.

Kramer said in his deposition that Corn and Borger were looking to use McCain’s meeting with former FBI Director James Comey as a news hook to continue publishing on the Steele report. He said the two journalists had somehow learned that McCain was going to meet with Comey.

Kramer also said that Steele wanted him to meet with BuzzFeed’s Bensinger and CNN’s Bernstein. He met with Bensinger on Dec. 28, 2016, where the reporter photographed the dossier. Kramer met with Bernstein days later, on Jan. 3 or Jan. 4, 2017.

The dossier also somehow made its way to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Harry Reid is believed to have obtained some of the information in August 2016. He wrote a letter to Comey on Aug. 25, 2016 regarding information about possible ties between Trump associates and Russian operatives. Comey met one-on-one with former CIA Director John Brennan.

Kramer also provided a copy of the dossier to Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger and the chief of staff of former House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Other State Department contacts

Winer wasn’t the only State Department official who obtained Steele’s information.

Kramer said in his deposition that McCain asked him to meet with Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Kramer also met with Celeste Wallander, who served as senior director for Russia and Eurasia issues on the National Security Council.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Kramer said McCain wanted to meet with the two officials as part of “due diligence” before meeting with Comey.

Nuland had several encounters with the document and Steele beginning in July 2016. Nuland was who approved FBI agent Michael Gaeta to meet with Steele in Rome on July 5, 2016. Gaeta and Steele had worked together years earlier on an investigation into bribery in FIFA, the international soccer organization.

Nuland was also contacted by Winer regarding Steele’s information. According to both Nuland and Winer, she suggested the information be passed to the FBI. Nuland testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2018 that Steele visited the State Department in October 2016.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street ahead of a Brexit vote in London
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street ahead of a Brexit vote in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 18, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain’s government will only hold another meaningful vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday if it is certain that the divided House of Commons would back it at a third attempt, the foreign minister said.

Jeremy Hunt, in Brussels for talks with his EU peers, told journalists on Monday when asked if the vote would take place the following day: “We hope it will. “But we need to be comfortable that we’ll have the numbers.”

“The risk of no-deal, at least as far as the UK parliament is concerned, has receded somewhat but the risk of Brexit paralysis has not,” he said.

Hunt said there were “cautious signs of encouragement” that May’s deal could go through.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean National Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo take part in an armed forces full honor arrival ceremony in Washington
South Korean National Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo reviews an honor guard during an armed forces full honor arrival ceremony hosted by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis before the 50th annual ROK-U.S. Security Consultative Meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., October 31, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 18, 2019

By Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) – It is too soon to tell if recent activity at some of North Korea’s rocket facilities is preparation for a missile launch, South Korea’s defense minister told a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

Early in March, several American think-tanks and South Korean officials reported that satellite imagery showed possible preparations for a launch from the Sohae rocket launch site at Tongchang-ri, North Korea, which has been used in the past to launch satellites but not intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

“It’s hasty to call it missile-related activity,” Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo told a parliamentary defense committee.

“Tongchang-ri is a launch site but we don’t see any activity being carried out for a missile launch.”

When asked if he could confirm whether Sohae was functionally restored, Jeong said it was inappropriate for intelligence authorities to comment on every media report one way or the other.

He also said there were signs of continued nuclear activity in North Korea, without elaborating.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told a separate parliamentary panel that it was possible that the recent developments at the missile site were to bolster North Korea’s leverage in negotiations.

“But given North Korea’s continued work, thorough analysis is needed to find out its exact intentions,” Cho said.

On Friday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told foreign diplomats and journalists in Pyongyang that leader Kim Jong Un was considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a freeze on missile and nuclear tests unless the United States made concessions.

The activity at Sohae appeared to begin shortly before U.S. President Trump met Kim at a summit in Hanoi late last month.

The summit broke down over differences about U.S. demands for North Korea to denuclearize and its demand for dramatic relief from international sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests, which it pursued for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Trump said after his first summit with Kim in Singapore last June that Kim had promised to dismantle the Sohae test site, a pledge the North Korean leader reiterated and expanded on at a summit with Moon in September.

North Korea has used Sohae to launch satellites into space since 2011, and the United States says its work there has helped develop missile technology.

A satellite launch in April 2012 killed off an Obama administration deal for a freeze in North Korean nuclear and missile testing reached weeks earlier.

On Wednesday, 38 North, a group that monitors North Korea, reported that there had been no new activity at Sohae since March 8.

On Friday, the group reported that satellite imagery showed no activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor complex, or at dismantled facilities at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

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

March 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

O'Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before a march in El Paso
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

March 17, 2019

By James Oliphant

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (Reuters) – As he had done at several stops in his first campaign trip as a presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke on Friday climbed atop a counter at a local Iowa business and addressed a small but adoring crowd. People clapped and cheered. Outside, some waited in the cold, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. 

By that measure, his tour across eastern Iowa last week was largely a success. But by no means was O’Rourke considered a front-runner. And that underscored the challenge he faces as he competes for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

O’Rourke, a former three-term U.S. congressman from Texas, became a celebrity last year when his longshot bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz drew national attention and a torrent of money. But ultimately, his fame was not enough.

That loss led some critics to wonder why someone who couldn’t secure a Senate seat would then think he should run for president.

That is not his only obstacle. O’Rourke, 46, is a wealthy, white man from a conservative-leaning state who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors. Given the energy among progressives in the early stages of the race and the diversity of the Democratic field, O’Rourke would appear to be everything that many in party say they do not want.

More than a dozen Democrats have declared their candidacy to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election, including six women. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Julian Castro, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would be the first Hispanic to do so. Another contender, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is openly gay.

O’Rourke also must grapple with the enduring popularity of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive who remains a formidable adversary after battling Hillary Clinton in 2016, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a presidential bid.

Even so, none of them are on the cover of the latest issue of Vanity Fair, as O’Rourke is. His interview with the magazine sparked controversy on social media last week when he said he was “born” to run for president. Critics also found fault with his oft-repeated joke on the trail about how he “helps” raise his three children with his wife, Amy.

To his detractors, it smacked of white male privilege. O’Rourke grew up affluent, attended the Ivy League’s Columbia University, and married the daughter of a real estate baron. His estimated net personal wealth is more than $9 million.

His image in his race against Cruz, however, belied that background. He fashioned himself as the scrappy underdog, a former punk rocker who was battling the establishment, visiting every county in Texas in a Dodge minivan and holding numerous town halls where he fielded questions from the public.

It was a strategy he took to Iowa last week, going so far as to rent another Dodge minivan that he drove himself and shooting a fundraising video on Facebook of him filling its gas tank.

O’Rourke differed from many of his liberal competitors by talking frequently about how he worked with Republicans in Congress to improve care for veterans in his home town of El Paso, Texas. Asked whether he was a true “progressive,” he referenced President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.

O’Rourke maintained that his campaign would be relentlessly optimistic – and he only rarely rebuked Trump. “We will not belittle or demean or vilify other candidates,” he said in Mt. Vernon. “We will not define ourselves in contrast to others or say who we are against.”

His policy positions were largely nonspecific. He championed universal health care, immigration reform and combating climate change, but largely said any reforms would have to be pragmatic and incremental.

Occasionally, O’Rourke showed self-awareness of his status as a wealthy, white male, telling crowds that he had been given opportunities denied to minorities and describing the U.S. economic system as imperfect and racist.

He also found that despite the media attention he has received, he was not a household name in Iowa. “I didn’t even know who he was until two days ago,” said Sam Jennison, the owner of the bar in Mount Vernon where O’Rourke held his event.

But for the most part, those who attended his events spoke of him glowingly and dismissed concerns about whether he was progressive enough. “Issues are very important,” said Cathryn Layer, 65, of New London, Iowa. “Winnability is another thing.”

“We need a moderate Democrat, and we probably need a white male because that is not threatening to a lot of people,” said Holly Manon Moore, 65, of Fairfield, Iowa, who said she is undecided in the race and would want a person of color to be the vice-presidential nominee. “If we go too far left, we’re going to lose.”

At the close of his Iowa trip, it remained unclear how O’Rourke’s entrance would reshape the Democratic race. He notably declined to reveal how much money he raised in his first few days as a candidate.

But he did have an impact. At the same time O’Rourke was in eastern Iowa, so was one of his competitors, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. And while the size of the crowd that came to see her on Saturday was comparable to those at O’Rourke’s events, there were far fewer journalists present.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

Australian Senator Fraser Anning has an egg smashed on his head while talking to the media in Victoria
Australian Senator Fraser Anning has an egg smashed on his head while talking to the media in Victoria, Australia March 16, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. THE UNSHACKLED/via REUTERS

March 17, 2019

By Will Ziebell

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian police said they were investigating after a teenager smashed an egg on a controversial right-wing lawmaker who had blamed New Zealand’s mass mosque shootings on the country’s immigration program.

The footage, shared widely on social media, showed Senator Fraser Anning being approached from behind at a political event on Saturday, before having an egg cracked on the back of his head.

The footage showed Anning appearing to try to hit the person, before that person was dragged to the ground.

Victoria Police released a statement saying the incident was being investigated “in its entirety” and that it involved a 17-year-old boy.

Anning has received widespread condemnation following comments he made that saying cause of New Zealand’s worst peace time shooting was letting “Muslim fanatics” migrate to the country.

“(Anning’s) conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically, these comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia,” Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison told journalists on Saturday.

Calls to Anning’s electoral and parliamentary offices went unanswered on Sunday.

A GoFundMe campaign had raised more than A$19,000 ($13,500) for the teenager to cover the cost of legal fees and so he could “buy more eggs” by Sunday and the hashtag #EggBoy was trending on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Australia’s immigration minister announced on Saturday that controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos would not be allowed to enter Australia following Yiannopoulos describing Islam as a “barbaric” and “alien” religion.

“Mr Yiannopoulos’ comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division,” immigration minister David Coleman said in a statement.

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques.

(Reporting by Will Ziebell; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo

March 16, 2019

(Reuters) – Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Saturday frequent U.S. comments about oil prices had created market tensions, the ministry’s news website SHANA reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made the U.S. economy one of his top issues, has repeatedly tweeted about oil prices and the Organization of the Petroleum Producing Countries. He has expressed concern about higher prices, including last month and ahead of OPEC’s meeting in December.

“Americans talk a lot and I advise them to talk less. They (have) caused tensions in the oil market for over a year now and they are responsible for it, and if this trend continues, the market will be more tense,” SHANA quoted Zanganeh as saying.

U.S. crude futures briefly hit a 2019 high on Friday but later retreated along with benchmark Brent oil as worries about the global economy and robust U.S. production put a brake on prices.

OPEC and its allies including Russia, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed last year to cut production, partly in response to increased U.S. shale output.

“We do not know whether U.S. waivers would be extended or not, we will do our job but they (the U.S.) say something new every single day,” Zanganeh said.

Washington granted waivers to eight major buyers of Iranian oil after reimposing sanctions on Iran’s oil sector in November, after withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian)

Source: OANN


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