Race

Indonesian President Joko Widodo leaves after visiting former first lady Ani Yudhoyono at a hospital in Singapore
Indonesian President Joko Widodo leaves after visiting former first lady Ani Yudhoyono at a hospital in Singapore February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A coalition of political parties backing Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on course to win more than half of the votes in next month’s elections, giving them control of parliament, according to a new survey released on Thursday.

Indonesia is holding simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on April 17.

Ten political parties backing Widodo are expected to get 52.3 percent of votes, while the coalition backing his challenger, retired general Prabowo Subianto, trail with 29.5 percent, according to a survey by pollster Litbang Kompas.

Nearly 20 percent of voters remain undecided, said the pollster, which is part of Indonesia’s biggest newspaper Kompas.

The survey was conducted between the end of February and early March.

Widodo formed a minority government when elected in 2014, but Golkar, the country’s second-biggest political party, jumped ship in early 2016 to support the president.

The president has since held a majority in the house of representatives, making it easier for him to pass legislation.

The survey showed that the two leading parties were benefiting from their association with the president and his opponent.

The Democratic Party of Struggle, of which Widodo is a member, is likely to remain by far the largest party, but Prabowo’s Greater Indonesia Movement is on course to grab second position from Golkar, the Kompas survey results showed.

In the presidential race, Widodo’s big lead over Prabowo has been cut to below 12 percentage points from around 20, according to another Kompas survey published this week.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

Indonesian President Joko Widodo leaves after visiting former first lady Ani Yudhoyono at a hospital in Singapore
Indonesian President Joko Widodo leaves after visiting former first lady Ani Yudhoyono at a hospital in Singapore February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A coalition of political parties backing Indonesian President Joko Widodo is on course to win more than half of the votes in next month’s elections, giving them control of parliament, according to a new survey released on Thursday.

Indonesia is holding simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on April 17.

Ten political parties backing Widodo are expected to get 52.3 percent of votes, while the coalition backing his challenger, retired general Prabowo Subianto, trail with 29.5 percent, according to a survey by pollster Litbang Kompas.

Nearly 20 percent of voters remain undecided, said the pollster, which is part of Indonesia’s biggest newspaper Kompas.

The survey was conducted between the end of February and early March.

Widodo formed a minority government when elected in 2014, but Golkar, the country’s second-biggest political party, jumped ship in early 2016 to support the president.

The president has since held a majority in the house of representatives, making it easier for him to pass legislation.

The survey showed that the two leading parties were benefiting from their association with the president and his opponent.

The Democratic Party of Struggle, of which Widodo is a member, is likely to remain by far the largest party, but Prabowo’s Greater Indonesia Movement is on course to grab second position from Golkar, the Kompas survey results showed.

In the presidential race, Widodo’s big lead over Prabowo has been cut to below 12 percentage points from around 20, according to another Kompas survey published this week.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

Beto O’Rourke “enjoys a set of privileges in his decision making that” others don’t, former Tallahassee mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said Wednesday in an interview with The New York Times.

“Can you imagine it for any of the women that are in the race for president or considering a run?” Gillum said during a wide-ranging interview where he said he wasn’t running for president and outlined his plans to help Democrats win the presidency in 2020.

“They probably could not muse out loud, or in the recesses of their mind have these sorts of conversations and then say them out loud, and think it would be taken seriously or they would be taken seriously.”

“I recognize that, but, as I understand it, the congressman also recognizes that there is privilege that accompanies him here,” he added. “That doesn’t make him less deserving of consideration, it’s just something that has to be acknowledged.”

O’Rourke, the former representative who lost a close race for senator to Ted Cruz last November in deep-red Texas, announced his candidacy last week.

The Times’ asked whether O’Rourke’s entrance into the presidential race was a “sign of privilege, as some have suggested.”

O’Rourke has described himself as a white man who has had privileges, and last week said he would be more thoughtful in “the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege.”

Source: NewsMax

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

March 20, 2019

By Ritsuko Ando

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SATURATION AND INNOVATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 hopeful, said social security and a pathway to citizenship should be rights for immigrants “in the country now” Tuesday at a campaign event in Iowa.

“I have a lot of ideas,” Gillibrand said. “First, we need comprehensive immigration reform. If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into social security, to pay your taxes, to pay into the local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship.”

Gillibrand has been vocal in her thoughts on immigration.

“Immigration is not a security issue. It is an economic and a humanitarian and a family issue,” she said during a town hall with MSNBC on Monday.

She also added there is “no such thing as an illegal human.”

WATCH:

Gillibrand’s words come after she announced her entrance in the 2020 race Sunday. (RELATED: Gillibrand Makes Her First Political Flip Flop Since Announcing Presidential Run)

She also recently said illegal immigrants should be allowed to receive driver’s licenses — though she was formerly against this.

She said in 2007 she did not support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. She changed her mind in January, saying, “I think we have to make it possible for people to provide for their families.”

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter.

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Source: The Daily Caller

A growing number of Americans say immigration levels should remain the same or increase, according to a major U.S. survey, a shift that comes as the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement.

At the same time, the latest data from the General Social Survey — a widely respected poll that has measured trends on American attitudes since the 1970s — shows a growing partisan divide on the topic over the past decade.

The 2018 survey was released this week and shows 34 percent of Americans want immigration levels to be reduced, down from 41 percent in 2016, according to an analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff.

That's compared with 23 percent of Americans who want more immigration, up from 17 percent in 2016. Forty-one percent say they want immigration levels to stay the same.

It's the first time since the survey question was first asked in 2004 that more Americans want immigration to remain the same than to be reduced.

The survey is conducted every two years, and the question was last asked before President Donald Trump took office and made it harder for people to immigrate to the United States.

Trump — who made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his election campaign — has repeatedly called for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and his push for wall funding last year drove the federal government to a monthlong shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government workers.

The administration enacted a travel ban for citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran and Yemen, that has torn many families apart. And officials last year separated immigrant parents from their children to prosecute illegal border crossers, a move that sparked an international outcry.

"People are more tolerant of immigration than the president and the far right would have us believe," said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

According to the survey, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans want more immigrants allowed into the country, while Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor less immigration.

But fewer Republicans want a reduction in immigration than did in 2016. In 2018, 52 percent of Republicans said they wanted less immigration, down from 62 percent two years earlier.

Forty-four percent of Democrats say they want immigration levels to remain the same, while 34 percent want an increase in immigration.

The survey — which does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration — also looked at Americans' views on the issue by race. About 41 percent of whites want a decrease in immigration, while only 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics say the same.

Trump has made immigration an intensely political issue, and also an issue of race, said Manuel Pastor, director of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

"Trump is trying to create a Republican Party that's much more based in an older, white electorate in nonmetropolitan areas of the country," Pastor said. "The Democrats are trying to put together political coalitions that have a deep base in metropolitan areas, and that includes many more people of color."

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year's survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through November 10, 2018 and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults. MARGIN OF ERROR?

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

A growing number of Americans say immigration levels should remain the same or increase, according to a major U.S. survey, a shift that comes as the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement.

At the same time, the latest data from the General Social Survey — a widely respected poll that has measured trends on American attitudes since the 1970s — shows a growing partisan divide on the topic over the past decade.

The 2018 survey was released this week and shows 34 percent of Americans want immigration levels to be reduced, down from 41 percent in 2016, according to an analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff.

That's compared with 23 percent of Americans who want more immigration, up from 17 percent in 2016. Forty-one percent say they want immigration levels to stay the same.

It's the first time since the survey question was first asked in 2004 that more Americans want immigration to remain the same than to be reduced.

The survey is conducted every two years, and the question was last asked before President Donald Trump took office and made it harder for people to immigrate to the United States.

Trump — who made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his election campaign — has repeatedly called for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and his push for wall funding last year drove the federal government to a monthlong shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government workers.

The administration enacted a travel ban for citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran and Yemen, that has torn many families apart. And officials last year separated immigrant parents from their children to prosecute illegal border crossers, a move that sparked an international outcry.

"People are more tolerant of immigration than the president and the far right would have us believe," said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

According to the survey, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans want more immigrants allowed into the country, while Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor less immigration.

But fewer Republicans want a reduction in immigration than did in 2016. In 2018, 52 percent of Republicans said they wanted less immigration, down from 62 percent two years earlier.

Forty-four percent of Democrats say they want immigration levels to remain the same, while 34 percent want an increase in immigration.

The survey — which does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration — also looked at Americans' views on the issue by race. About 41 percent of whites want a decrease in immigration, while only 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics say the same.

Trump has made immigration an intensely political issue, and also an issue of race, said Manuel Pastor, director of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

"Trump is trying to create a Republican Party that's much more based in an older, white electorate in nonmetropolitan areas of the country," Pastor said. "The Democrats are trying to put together political coalitions that have a deep base in metropolitan areas, and that includes many more people of color."

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year's survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through November 10, 2018 and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults. MARGIN OF ERROR?

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

  • Curtis Flowers, a death row inmate, has been tried six times in connection with a brutal quadruple homicide in Mississippi. 
  • Each trial has ended in either a hung jury or a conviction reversed on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.
  • The Supreme Court will decide what evidence Flowers can use to argue the prosecution skewed a jury along racial lines to help secure his latest conviction. 

The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to side with a black death row inmate who believes the prosecution rigged the jury for his murder trial on the basis of race.

The question before the justices asks whether a judge can consider past practices or misconduct when deciding if a prosecutor is removing prospective jurors on the basis of race.

Novelist Harper Lee may as well have written the story of Curtis Flowers, the defendant in Wednesday’s case. Flowers is a black man who has been tried six times in a Mississippi court in connection with a quadruple homicide by the same white prosecutor, Doug Evans. Two of those cases resulted in a mistrial due to deadlocked juries. Flowers was found guilty in the other three, but appeals courts lifted those convictions because of misconduct on Evans’s part.

The sixth and most recent trial, which ended with a conviction, is the matter currently before the high court.

When seating a jury for trials, both the prosecution and the defense can use so-called peremptory strikes to exclude a prospective juror for almost any reason at all. The Supreme Court said peremptory strikes could not be used on account of race in a 1986 decision called Batson v. Kentucky. The decision followed the long, unfortunate history of prosecutors seating all-white juries in cases with black defendants.

It is often difficult to prove a Batson violation, however — though lawyers can bring a “Batson challenge” if they believe the other side is striking jurors for racial reasons, the other side will prevail if they can give a valid, race-neutral reason for excluding the jurors at issue.

In Flowers’s sixth trial, Evans used his strikes to boot five of the six potential black jurors. One of the six was seated, and Evans cited legitimate reasons for excluding the other five.

Yet Flowers argues there is still racial chicanery afoot. Among other things, Flowers points out that Evans used strikes to dismiss 41 of the 42 black people eligible for jury service over the course of the trials. Flowers says that history is highly salient to showing racial bias in his most recent trial.

The Supreme Court seemed largely united in its sympathy for Flowers and in the feeling that Evans’s prior conduct was relevant.

“We can’t take the history out of the case,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh elsewhere said that Batson meant to bolster confidence in the integrity of juries and suggested the community’s trust was broken by the Flowers saga.

“Can you say, as you sit here today, you have confidence in how this all transpired in this case?” he asked a lawyer for the state of Mississippi. (RELATED: Supreme Court Deals Trump An Immigration Victory)

Prosecutors sometimes conduct brief investigations of potential jurors to discover possible conflicts of interest or other facts relevant to a person’s ability to serve on the panel. Justice Elena Kagan noted that Evans pursued three such investigations in the Flowers case. All three subjects were black.

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Other justices asked at length about the particulars of specific jurors, aiming to show that Evans repeatedly seated white jurors with conflicts of interest much like those for which black people were excluded.

Yet several of the justices wondered how much judges should rely on past wrongdoing should bear in a Batson challenge.

“If the prosecutor had one Batson violation in his 30-year career, 20 years ago, is that something that should be pertinent in the assessment of current Batson challenges?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Sheri Lynn Johnson, who represented Flowers at the high court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wondered if Evans’s history alone could establish a Batson violation in Flowers’s case, absent other factors.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone black person, stunned observers with a question late in the proceedings. Thomas has asked questions during oral arguments just twice in the last decade, given his belief that the court should ask fewer questions of the advocates.

Thomas wondered if the defense had exercised any peremptory strikes of its own. Johnson conceded they had.

“And what was the race of the jurors struck there?” Thomas asked.

“She only exercised peremptories against white jurors,” Johnson replied. “But I would add that her motivation is not the question here. The question is the motivation of Doug Evans.”

A decision in the case, Flowers v. Mississippi, is expected by June.

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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

Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has fascinated the public with his love of standing on restaurant counters, but little attention has been paid to the unsung heroes of O’Rourke’s campaign — the baristas and bartenders forced to wipe down the counters after the former congressman’s departure.

O’Rourke, who has kicked off his campaign by visiting various small businesses in Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan, has generated jokes and memes about his constant need to address crowds from atop an elevated surface. Politicos and verified Twitter users have opined on the cleanliness — or lack thereof — of O’Rourke’s dirty shoes trampling the same surface used to serve customers. (RELATED: On The Road Again — Beto Takes Road Trip To Meet America)

“People from cultures where shoes are considered very dirty and not worthy of being in the house get grossed out when politicians walk all over counters,” journalist Yashar Ali tweeted.

Dan O’Sullivan, who has written for Vice and Rolling Stone, expressed sympathy for the employees who have to “disinfect the counter after Beto hops his stupid horse body up on top of it.”

Employees at the coffee shops and bars visited by O’Rourke on the campaign trail did have to wipe down the counters after the candidate’s countertop speeches, according to four people who spoke to The Daily Caller.

Suann Wells, the owner of Beancounter Coffeehouse & Drinkery in Burlington, Iowa, somewhat proudly told the Caller that “he started that here,” referencing O’Rourke’s infamous counter-hopping.

Suann asserted that “of course” an employee cleaned the counter, adding that “in [O’Rourke’s] defense, it was very crowded.”

An unnamed employee who answered the phone at Central Park Coffee in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, similarly said “of course” when asked if the counters were cleaned off after O’Rourke’s visit on Friday but declined to comment further about the politician’s visit.

MOUNT PLEASANT, IOWA - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke stands on a counter top as he talks with voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at Central Park Coffee Company March 15, 2019 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. After losing a long-shot race for U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz (R-TX), the 46-year-old O'Rourke is making his first campaign swing through Iowa after jumping into a crowded Democratic field this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

MOUNT PLEASANT, IOWA – MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke stands on a counter top as he talks with voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at Central Park Coffee Company March 15, 2019 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

O’Rourke made another stop in Iowa to the Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill, where he ditched the coffee counter for a spot next to the register by the bar. Annette from Sing-A-Long told the Caller that they offered O’Rourke a step stool to ease his climb to the counter, which an employee later cleaned with sanitizer.

“We brought out a step stool to make sure he was safe,” she explained.

MOUNT VERNON, IOWA - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke answers questions from voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at The Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill March 15, 2019 in Mount Vernon, Iowa. After losing a long-shot race for U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz (R-TX), the 46-year-old O'Rourke is making his first campaign swing through Iowa after jumping into a crowded Democratic field this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

MOUNT VERNON, IOWA – MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke answers questions from voters during his second day of campaigning for the 2020 nomination at The Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill March 15, 2019 in Mount Vernon, Iowa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

An unnamed employee at Cargo Coffee in Madison, Wisconsin, explained that normally employees at the shop would use “a sanitizer that is still safe for humans to ingest” on dirty countertops, but they took extra steps to ensure cleanliness after O’Rourke’s Sunday visit.

Photos only show O’Rourke standing on a chair at Cargo Coffee, but the employee said O’Rourke stood on the counter as well.

“Yes, we made sure the counter was clean,” she told the Caller. “This time, we used bleach because his feet were on it.”

Interviews with Suann and Annette revealed that O’Rourke does have at least one healthy habit: asking for permission.

“The crowd was so deep that no one could see him,” Suann said. “His staffer asked if he could [get up on the counter].”

Annette said, “He definitely asked for permission.”

Baristas from other establishments told The Daily Beast that they would prefer O’Rourke stay off their counters if he happens to visit, noting the potential sanitary and safety issues.

“I would understand standing on the counter because the crowd was so big, although organizing it would be better. But he’s kneeled down. It seems like a photo op that wasn’t necessary. His feet are right by the cups,” Josh Wilson, owner of Cohesive Coffee in Greenville, South Carolina, said.

Connor Finnegan, who manages a coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York, said he would not allow O’Rourke to stand on his counter.

“He can be heard and seen perfectly well standing on the ground,” Finnegan said.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Actor Bill Murray recites his words during a performance with cellist Jan Vogler from their new album New Worlds, at the Southbank Centre in London
FILE PHOTO: Actor Bill Murray recites his words during a performance with cellist Jan Vogler from their new album New Worlds, at the Southbank Centre in London, Britain June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

March 20, 2019

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. horse racing announcer Dave Johnson, who called Triple Crown races for ABC television for two decades, on Wednesday sued the makers of Bill Murray’s 2014 film “St. Vincent” for using his signature phrase “and down the stretch they come” without permission.

Johnson, 77, a Manhattan resident, accused the film’s distributor Weinstein Co, the producers Chernin Entertainment and Crescendo Productions and other defendants of infringing his 2012 trademark in the phrase, one of the most recognizable in American sports.

The lawsuit does not name Murray as a defendant.

Murray’s character Vincent MacKenna, a grumpy retiree who drank and gambled, used the phrase “in the context of a race and in a clear attempt to imitate” Johnson, the complaint said.

Johnson said this would likely confuse the public, tarnishing his rights to a phrase “inextricably linked” with his celebrity persona, likeness and identity.

The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages. “St. Vincent” grossed $54.8 million worldwide, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

A lawyer for the defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“‘And down the stretch they come’ embodies all that is good about thoroughbred racing,” Johnson’s lawyer Andrew Mollica said in a phone interview. “Mr. Johnson owns that mark. If the defendants are going to put it in a major motion picture that earned $54 million, they had a duty to seek his permission.”

Johnson’s use of the phrase involves emphasizing the word “down” as horses turn into the homestretch of a race.

In 2015, Johnson told The New York Times he began using the phrase in the 1960s, and gave it more verve when calling races at Santa Anita Park in California to combat an ancient sound system.

The lawsuit references other trademarked signature sports phrases, including late baseball broadcaster Harry Caray’s “Holy Cow!”, basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale’s “awesome baby” and boxing and wrestling announcer Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

Johnson stopped calling the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes for ABC Television when the races moved to NBC in 2001.

Asked why Johnson did not sue over “St. Vincent” sooner, Mollica said: “Mr. Johnson did not see the movie, and I’m afraid I did not either.”

“When we knew, we moved,” he added.

The case is Johnson et al v Chernin Group LLC et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02485.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Nick Carey)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Joe Biden speaks to fire fighters in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden poses for a selfie after addressing the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Ginger Gibson and James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Vice President Joe Biden has begun building a presidential campaign ahead of an expected announcement next month that he will vie for the Democratic nomination in 2020, sources familiar with his plans said on Wednesday.

Biden has told supporters and former staff that he will run, according to one source who has knowledge of discussions. Biden and his aides also have reached out to donors and potential bundlers – people who volunteer to raise money on behalf of the candidate – to assess support, according to another source.

A third source with direct knowledge of Biden’s plans offered a caveat, saying the former vice president was very close to running, but “it’s not 100 percent.”

“We’re leaning into that moment” when Biden gives the green light, the source said. Biden, the source said, feels “a very strong sense of responsibility to make sure Donald Trump is not president for a second term.”

The sources asked to remain anonymous because of the confidential nature of the ongoing discussions.

Biden all but gave away his plans last weekend when he spoke at a fundraiser in his home state of Delaware. After referring to himself as part of the field of presidential hopefuls, he corrected himself, saying instead that he could run.

An official bid by Biden could profoundly shake up the sprawling Democratic field, with more than a dozen candidates already seeking to challenge President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee.

After 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president under former President Barack Obama, Biden will position himself as the Democratic standard bearer for a party that has moved more to the left than the last time his name appeared alone on a ballot.

Public opinion polls have him as an early favorite, with nearly every measure of early support showing him leading.

But he also will enter the race as Democrats debate the future of the party, with some calling for a fresh-faced liberal to move the party forward and others hoping for a centrist who can heal national divisions. At 76, Biden will be the second oldest candidate in the Democratic primary, after Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden made two unsuccessful bids for the Democratic presidential nomination, in 1988 and 2008.

Waiting until after March 31 to announce his bid will allow Biden to avoid an April 15 deadline for candidates to submit fundraising disclosures about how much money they have raised so far.

If Biden does jump into the race in the final days of March, he would be behind those who have already posted large fundraising totals, like Sanders and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, who each raised about $6 million their first day in the contest.

The delay in launching also could be to allow Biden time to secure staff.

Mark Putnam, a Democratic advertising and video maker who worked for Obama and several of last year’s successful congressional candidates, was seen last weekend surveying scenes outside Biden’s childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the political news website Politico. He would be a top-tier hire for Biden.

Putnam crafted an ad for the unsuccessful “Draft Biden” movement that tried to convince Biden to run in 2016. His office did not respond to a request for comment about whether he is working for Biden now.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson and James Oliphant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke announced Wednesday that his record-smashing $6.1 million first-day haul came from just 128,000 unique contributors, giving an average of $47 each, and it looks like fellow contender Bernie Sanders’s prediction was right.

O’Rourke, who announced his bid for president March 14, revealed the numbers in remarks to reporters after a campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to Politico. They are significant when compared to the Sanders campaign, which wasn’t far behind at $5.9 million raised in the first 24 hours, but needed 225,000 contributors to get there due to the lower average donation of $27.

DUBUQUE, IOWA - MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a packed St. Patrick's Day party at the home of County Recorder John Murphy March 16, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. After losing a long-shot race for U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz (R-TX), the 46-year-old O'Rourke is making his first campaign swing through Iowa after jumping into a crowded Democratic field this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DUBUQUE, IOWA – MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a packed St. Patrick’s Day party at the home of County Recorder John Murphy March 16, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The different in total number of contributors came as no surprise to Sanders, who predicted the scenario before the contribution details were made public, explaining to supporters in an email sent out Monday and obtained by The New York Times:

“Here is the truth: this morning, Beto O’Rourke announced that he raised more money than us on the first day of his presidential campaign. The good news is, we more than likely had a lot more individual donations than he did. But what that means is if we are going to avoid getting outspent, it’s going to take lots and lots of people making individual donations to catch up.”

The Sanders campaign asked supporters to keep donating, and acknowledged the importance of early fundraising.

“This first FEC report is going to send a message about who is the best candidate to beat Trump.”

Sanders announced his presidential bid Feb. 19. (RELATED: Poll: Bernie Sanders Leading Democrats In New Hampshire)

The 2020 Democratic presidential field is one of the largest ever, and small donor contributions are important to campaigns not only for their actual value, but for the information collected about a candidate’s base and the opportunity to further engage supporters.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke announced Wednesday that his record-smashing $6.1 million first-day haul came from just 128,000 unique contributors, giving an average of $47 each, and it looks like fellow contender Bernie Sanders’s prediction was right.

O’Rourke, who announced his bid for president March 14, revealed the numbers in remarks to reporters after a campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to Politico. They are significant when compared to the Sanders campaign, which wasn’t far behind at $5.9 million raised in the first 24 hours, but needed 225,000 contributors to get there due to the lower average donation of $27.

DUBUQUE, IOWA - MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a packed St. Patrick's Day party at the home of County Recorder John Murphy March 16, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. After losing a long-shot race for U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz (R-TX), the 46-year-old O'Rourke is making his first campaign swing through Iowa after jumping into a crowded Democratic field this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DUBUQUE, IOWA – MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke shakes hands as he arrives at a packed St. Patrick’s Day party at the home of County Recorder John Murphy March 16, 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The different in total number of contributors came as no surprise to Sanders, who predicted the scenario before the contribution details were made public, explaining to supporters in an email sent out Monday and obtained by The New York Times:

“Here is the truth: this morning, Beto O’Rourke announced that he raised more money than us on the first day of his presidential campaign. The good news is, we more than likely had a lot more individual donations than he did. But what that means is if we are going to avoid getting outspent, it’s going to take lots and lots of people making individual donations to catch up.”

The Sanders campaign asked supporters to keep donating, and acknowledged the importance of early fundraising.

“This first FEC report is going to send a message about who is the best candidate to beat Trump.”

Sanders announced his presidential bid Feb. 19. (RELATED: Poll: Bernie Sanders Leading Democrats In New Hampshire)

The 2020 Democratic presidential field is one of the largest ever, and small donor contributions are important to campaigns not only for their actual value, but for the information collected about a candidate’s base and the opportunity to further engage supporters.

Follow Whitney on Twitter

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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Lewis Hamilton in action during practice for the Australian Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia – March 15, 2019 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

March 20, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Five times world champion Lewis Hamilton did a fantastic job in getting his damaged car to the finish of Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Mercedes’ chief strategist James Vowles said on Wednesday.

The five times world champion started on pole position but finished second in Melbourne last Sunday after Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas seized the lead off the line and went on to win by 20 seconds.

Mercedes said after the race that part of the floor on Hamilton’s car was missing, with Vowles providing more detail on the team website.

“On inspection of Lewis’s car after the race, we noticed some damage over what we call the tyre seal area,” he said.

“That area is quite sensitive aerodynamically; it’s both for downforce and also for balance of the car. And we believe we sustained it during the course of the race while riding over some of the kerbs.”

Vowles said Hamilton’s progress during the race was also hindered by having to manage the tyres significantly after an early pitstop to cover the threat posed by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

“That floor damage wouldn’t have helped,” he said. “It would have caused the rear to be more unstable than it normally would be, and he did a fantastic job bringing that car to the end of the race.”

Vowles praised Bottas for being “on it all weekend”, with a perfect start and then leaving enough tyre performance to set the fastest lap.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver joint statements during their meeting in Jerusalem
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands as they deliver joint statements during their meeting in Jerusalem March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/Pool

March 20, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showcased his close relationship with the Trump administration on Wednesday, hosting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo three weeks before an Israeli election.

Washington’s announcement that President Donald Trump, a popular figure among Israelis, had invited Netanyahu to the White House for talks and a dinner two weeks ahead of the April 9 vote was also widely seen in Israel as a boost for the right-wing Likud party chief.

Following a visit to Kuwait, Pompeo met Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where both men hailed U.S.-Israeli ties under Trump, a popular figure among Israelis and a leader whom the prime minister has featured on election billboards.

“We also know that our alliance in recent years has never been stronger,” Netanyahu said in comments to reporters, with Pompeo at his side.

Netanyahu is battling for his political survival against both a strong challenger in centrist candidate Benny Gantz and against plans by Israel’s attorney-general to indict the prime minister, now in his fourth term, in three corruption cases.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing and portrayed himself in the election race as a leader with a wealth of international diplomatic experience that Gantz, a former armed forces chief and novice politician, cannot match.

“I look forward to my visit next week to Washington, where I will meet with President Trump, and I believe we can carry this relationship even stronger,” Netanyahu said. “It’s getting stronger and stronger and stronger.”

Angering Palestinians and drawing international concern, Trump broke with decades of U.S. Middle East policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moving the American Embassy, which Pompeo will visit on Thursday, to the city last May.

Pompeo, in his remarks, said the Israeli people should have confidence that Trump – who is due to present a peace plan after the Israeli ballot – will maintain a “close bond” with Israel.

“I know that you and the president have an outstanding working relationship,” Pompeo said, addressing Netanyahu. “He sent me here to build upon that and to represent him here.”

Netanyahu said he and Pompeo, at the start of their discussions, examined how to “roll back Iranian aggression” in the region.

Pressure on Iran, Netanyahu said, must be intensified now that the United States has reimposed sanctions on Tehran following Washington’s withdrawal from a 2015 deal with world powers to limit the Iranian nuclear program.

Pompeo and Netanyahu later attended a meeting in Jerusalem with leaders from Cyprus and Greece on the construction of a 2,000 km (1,243 mile) gas pipeline linking vast eastern Mediterranean gas resources to Europe through those countries and Italy at a cost of $7 billion.

Lebanon – Pompeo’s next stop – has warned its Mediterranean neighbors that the planned EastMed pipeline must not be allowed to violate its maritime borders.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Professional race car driver Danica Patrick poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in New York City
FILE PHOTO: Professional race car driver Danica Patrick poses for a photograph during an interview with Reuters in New York City, New York, U.S., April 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

March 20, 2019

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – Danica Patrick will return to the racing world at this year’s Indianapolis 500 as a TV analyst, rather than racing around the storied oval at blazing speeds.

Patrick, who wound up her racing career after last year’s Indianapolis 500, was announced on Wednesday as part of the broadcast team for NBC Sports’ inaugural coverage of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on May 26.

“The Indianapolis 500 holds a very special place in my heart,” Patrick said in a statement.

“The moment I drive into the facility, I’m flooded with positive emotions. I have no doubt it’ll be the same this year when I come back as an analyst.”

Patrick finished third at the Indianapolis 500 in 2009, the best result ever at the Brickyard by a woman driver.

She said her decision to join the NBC Sports team, where she will also contribute to pre-race and post-race coverage, is not a sign that she misses the thrill of racing.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward,” Patrick told a conference call on Wednesday. “So I feel like this is part of looking forward, this is something totally new and different for me.

“Now, it’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history but this hasn’t been my job which is why I am going to work really hard to make sure that I am ready like anything else I do that is different.”

Patrick is no stranger to the role of race analyst. While still an active driver in NASCAR, she served as a guest analyst for Fox Sports’ coverage of NASCAR Xfinity races in Michigan, Pocono and Talladega.

Patrick, the only woman to win an IndyCar race and to start from pole at the Daytona 500, was perhaps the most outspoken driver during her racing career and said that will not change when she serves as a studio analyst.

“Oh yes. Can’t change my stripes,” said Patrick. “I won’t be afraid to give my opinion.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

Former Democratic Texas Rep. and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke touched on the Israel-Palestine dispute Wednesday as he continues to unveil his policy platform.

O’Rourke called Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “ineffectual” but reserved much harsher criticism for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (RELATED: Linda Sarsour Defends Rep. Omar’s Israel Comments)

“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side,” O’Rourke said. “We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists, who — in the previous election — warned that the Arabs were coming to the polls.”

It is not clear who O’Rourke is referring to when he says “racists,” but Netanyahu has received criticism for his warm relationship with right-wing European leaders such as Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

“And on the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader,” O’Rourke continued. “Mahmoud Abbas, who has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table either.”

O’Rourke’s comments come as the Democratic Party shifts left and puts what has historically been bipartisan support for Israel in doubt. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Slams The UN For Defending Hamas Over Israel: It’s ‘Absurd And Dishonest’)

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has come under fire in recent weeks for repeatedly using anti-Semitic tropes to slam Israel. Both Omar and Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib support the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel, but have denied accusations of Anti-Semitism.

The conservative Netanyahu is facing a tough re-election race on April 9., after having been indicted on charges of bribery and fraud. Netanyahu has denied all allegations.

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Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

Former Democratic Texas Rep. and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke touched on the Israel-Palestine dispute Wednesday as he continues to unveil his policy platform.

O’Rourke called Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “ineffectual” but reserved much harsher criticism for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (RELATED: Linda Sarsour Defends Rep. Omar’s Israel Comments)

“Right now we don’t have the best negotiating partners on either side,” O’Rourke said. “We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists, who — in the previous election — warned that the Arabs were coming to the polls.”

It is not clear who O’Rourke is referring to when he says “racists,” but Netanyahu has received criticism for his warm relationship with right-wing European leaders such as Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

“And on the Palestinian side, we have an ineffectual leader,” O’Rourke continued. “Mahmoud Abbas, who has not been very effective in bringing his side to the table either.”

O’Rourke’s comments come as the Democratic Party shifts left and puts what has historically been bipartisan support for Israel in doubt. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Slams The UN For Defending Hamas Over Israel: It’s ‘Absurd And Dishonest’)

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar has come under fire in recent weeks for repeatedly using anti-Semitic tropes to slam Israel. Both Omar and Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib support the movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel, but have denied accusations of Anti-Semitism.

The conservative Netanyahu is facing a tough re-election race on April 9., after having been indicted on charges of bribery and fraud. Netanyahu has denied all allegations.

Follow William Davis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

David Sirota — who joined the presidential campaign of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this week as a top communications aide and speechwriter — once wrote an opinion piece that was headlined “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a white American.”

Sirota wrote the article for the liberal outlet Salon in April 2013 in the wake of a terrorist attack at the annual Boston marathon race, and flatly stated that “white male privilege” was a heavy factor in whomever got blamed for the killing.

A jury sentenced Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death in May 2015. Three people died in the attack and hundreds more were injured. Tsarnaev, a Muslim, said the attack was politically motivated.

Sirota’s desire for it to be otherwise is just the latest skeleton to emerge from the writer’s literary closet this week, as he joins Sanders’ in “properly explaining” Democratic Socialism to Americans. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ New Speechwriter Lauded The ‘Economic Miracle’ Of Venezuelan Socialism)

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the "Medicare for All Act of 2017" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., Sept. 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

The author and speechwriter contended:

The dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks … This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

Sirota quickly transitioned from an abstract conception of “white privilege” to the “undeniable and pervasive double standards” in American society that “will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks.” (RELATED: Mark Steyn: Beto O’Rourke ‘A Parody Of Rich White Privilege)

Christopher Nzenwa wipes his eyes after praying over a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Christopher Nzenwa wipes his eyes after praying over a memorial to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. (Photo by REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

His ultimate point is that America is supposedly so white and so racist that “if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident.”

But if the bomber was not white, Sirota predicted a significant backlash.

“It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker opened up about his newly confirmed relationship with actress and singer Rosario Dawson during his Wednesday appearance on “The Ellen Show.”

Dawson got “TMZ-ed,” as Booker put it, last week and confirmed to the entertainment website that she is, in fact, in a relationship with the New Jersey senator. (RELATED: Rosairo Dawson Confirms She’s Dating Cory Booker)

Booker had equally great things to say about Dawson, who gushed about Booker’s kind personality to TMZ. “[Her confirmation] was wonderful. She’s just an incredible human being,” Booker told Ellen DeGeneres.

Booker announced he would be running in the 2020 presidential race on Feb. 1, two months after the pair reportedly began dating, according to Page Six.

The announcement has reportedly caused an increase in the scrutiny Booker and Dawson have been dealing with lately.

“As our relationship grows, it’s difficult, but she’s just a deeply soulful person and has taught me a lot of lessons about love already. And sometimes you show the greatest strength when you make yourself vulnerable,” Booker told DeGeneres.

He continued, “She really has this nurturing spirit that’s made me more courageous not just in the love I project and want to see in our country but even in our personal relationships to love more fearlessly, so I’m very blessed to be with someone who makes me a better person.”

Source: The Daily Caller

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

March 20, 2019

By Tarek Amara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian comic actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, takes part in a production process of Servant of the People series in Kiev
FILE PHOTO: Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian comic actor and candidate in the upcoming presidential election, takes part in a production process of Servant of the People series in Kiev, Ukraine March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

March 20, 2019

KIEV (Reuters) – Comic actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy has kept his lead in Ukraine’s presidential election race, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday.

But support for the 41-year-old, a political novice, remains far below the level need to secure outright victory in the March 31 ballot, and most voters still do not expect him to become president, the SOCIS survey showed.

The poll by the Kiev-based research body showed Zelenskiy on 20.46 percent of votes, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko second on 13.25 percent and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko third on 9.50 percent.

A total of 39 candidates have registered for the election. If no candidate wins 50 percent, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 21.

SOCIS said it interviewed 2,000 voters in all regions, except in annexed Crimea, from March 9 to March 14.

SOCIS said 25.5 percent of those it questioned expected Poroshenko to be re-elected, while 25.1 percent favored Zelenskiy to win, and 12.45 percent Tymoshenko.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Source: OANN

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Presidential hopeful and former Democratic Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke stated Tuesday he is confident he can win the state of Texas in the general election.

“Yes, I think we can win Texas,” O’Rourke told reporters during a campaign event in New Hampshire. “I think we’ve proven we know how to campaign.”

O’Rourke, who continuously trailed Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz throughout the duration of their campaigns, failed to obtain the seat as junior U.S. senator to the state of Texas in November. However, as the race tightened to a margin of single digits in the consistently red state, speculation of O’Rourke entering the national political arena began to percolate. The speculation was heightened after he began to advocate for policies not popular in Texas such as gun ownership and border security.

WATCH:

“We’ve been to each one of those 254 counties,” O’Rourke continued. “We’ve listened to the stories our fellow Texans have told us. We’ve incorporated it in the way in which we campaign.” (RELATED: Beto O’Rourke Out-Raises All Other 2020 Candidates On First Day)

O’Rourke has a proven capacity to generate enormous campaign donations, particularly with small dollars, which was highlighted during his run for Senate against Cruz. He amassed a war chest of cash after donations from around the country began rolling in. Accordingly, he received more campaign contributions in one quarter than any Senate candidate in American history.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

However, a significant amount of the contributions O’Rourke received were from out-of-state donors. Between January 2017 and mid-October 2018, he raised just over $61 million in individual campaign donations, according to the Federal Election Commission. In that period, more than $45 million were fundraised through the left-wing fundraising website ActBlue and nearly 50 percent of which came from states other than Texas.

Winning Texas’s 38 electoral college votes has long been a pipe dream for Democrats. The party has not won the Lone Star state in a presidential race since former President Jimmy Carter ran in 1976.

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Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill Tuesday banning abortions on the basis of race, sex or disability despite a pending lawsuit from a legal advocacy group.

Bevin signed House Bill 5 “prohibit[ing] an abortion if the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion, in whole or in part, because of an unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, or disability, except in the case of a medical emergency,” according to the legislation.

The bill was signed under an “emergency” clause and took immediate effect, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. The bill bans “eugenics-based abortions,” according to Bevin’s general counsel, M. Stephen Pitt, the Courier reported.

The ACLU, a nonprofit legal and advocacy organization, sued the state after the Senate passed the bill by a 32-4 vote on March 13.

“The passage of House Bill 5 represents a thinly veiled effort of the Kentucky General Assembly to advance their anti-abortion agenda under the guise of an anti-discrimination bill. This law will do nothing to improve the lives of Kentuckians with disabilities,” staff attorney at Kentucky’s ACLU, Heather Gatnarek, said in a statement about the bill, according to Cincinnati Public Radio.

“Kentucky politicians are relentless in their attempts to eliminate abortion access. We represent the last remaining abortion clinic in the state and this will be our fourth lawsuit in 3 years to ensure the people can get the care they need,” ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri also tweeted(RELATED: Mother Of Down Syndrome Child Calls Ban On Down Syndrome Abortions ‘Almost Criminal’)

Despite the ACLU’s challenge, Bevin vowed to sign the bill and made good on that promise Tuesday.

The law remains in effect until the court weighs in on the legal challenge presented by the ACLU.

“Consistent protection of the lives of unborn children is an interest of the highest magnitude of the commonwealth,” according to general counsel Pitt, the Courier reported.

Anti-abortion activists (L) rally next to supporters of Planned Parenthood outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. February 11, 2017. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Counseling, parental consent, and a 24-hour waiting period are mandatory before a woman can have an abortion under state law, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Kentucky has only one abortion clinic.

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A logo is pictured on the indoor track at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Federation headquarters in Aigle
FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on the indoor track at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Federation headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

March 20, 2019

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – After becoming the first sport to ban Tramadol, cycling is looking to use the same “health reasons” justification to prohibit the use of corticosteroids by 2020, International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient told Reuters.

The UCI banned Tramadol, an opiate painkiller, at the beginning of this month, conducting 43 tests on the Paris-Nice stage race that ended last Sunday.

In 2017, 68 percent of urine samples across 35 Olympic sports containing Tramadol were from cyclists.

While being monitored by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Tramadol is not on the list of banned substances and having it outlawed could have raised legal challenges.

However, Lappartient insisted that the exclusion was to protect riders’ health and safety rather than any performance enhancing benefits.

“So we banned it on health grounds,” said Lappartient, adding that the Paris-Nice test results were not known yet.

“If you need Tramadol, OK, but when you take this medicine you cannot drive so you do not race your bike.”

The UCI now wishes to take the same approach on corticosteroids, a drug used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including asthma.

Some, like nasal sprays, are allowed in competition while others – pills, intra-muscular injections — are banned in competition and require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

“We are working on this. We named a group of experts to show it is dangerous for your health,” said Lappartient.

“We are hopeful to be ready to ban it for the beginning of 2020. The idea is to not have corticosteroids in our sport in 2020.

“It is not easy though, because with Tramadol, a test is either positive or negative. With corticosteroids, there are thresholds. We are also calling for WADA to ban it.”

Several cycling teams, gathered in the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (Movement for credible cycling, MPCC), follow stricter anti-doping rules.

Under those rules, a rider is imposed an eight-day rest after taking corticosteroids.

“Intra-articular corticosteroid injections have to be validated by the team doctor, who will prescribe eight days off-race,” the rules say.

Seven of the 18 World Tour (elite) teams have adhered to the MPCC.

Cycling, a sport long rocked by doping scandals, is again under the microscope after Austrian cyclist Georg Preidler admitted to cheating amid an investigation into blood doping that brought down five skiers at the Nordic skiing world championships.

“He has been provisionally banned,” said Lappartient.

“We are in contact with the national Anti-Doping Agencies and the public authorities, who have not said anything yet.”

Asked if the biological passport, a record of a riders’ doping test results, could be bypassed by cheats as several former professionals implied, Lappartient said: “I don’t know, I don’t have all the elements on this investigation.”

SPONSORS FAITHFUL

Sponsors, however, remain faithful to the sport, with chemical giant Ineos taking over from Team Sky in May and oil and gas company Total rumored to take over French outfit Direct Energie next season.

“I am pleased that Ineos is taking over the team because it is important that teams find investors. It is healthy that the best team in the world finds a buyer,” said Lappartient.

The Frenchman was wary though of one outfit having too much advantage as Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe is expected to increase the team’s budget.

“I understand there can be concerns that the team with the biggest budget can have all the best riders and it affects the uncertainty of sport,” he explained.

“The more uncertainty we have in our sport, the better for the interest of cycling. It boosts its attractiveness.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: OANN

Polls are showing that Sen. Bernie Sanders' popularity is dropping among all voters over the past few months, even after he was able to hold onto most of the popularity he enjoyed during his 2016 presidential race through the end of last year.

According to a new CNN poll, Sanders' favorable rating is at 46 percent among registered voters, compared to an unfavorable rating of 45 percent, reports CNN

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll from late in December gave the Vermont Independent senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate a net favorability rating of plus two points, and an average of recent polls puts his net favorability at minus one point.

When Sanders' presidential bid ended in 2016, he had a 59 percent favorable rating, compared to a 36 percent unfavorable rating among voters in a CNN poll in June 2016.

Even in December 2018, a CNN poll gave the senator a plus 13 net favorability rating, and a Gallup poll in September put him at plus 15.

Sanders' net favorability, though, is at about the same place as the numerous others who have declared their candidacy for the 2020 nomination, even though he does enjoy more name recognition than many of the other contenders.

He also may need to show that he is electable against President Donald Trump. According to the newest CNN poll, 30 percent of Democratic voters think their party has a better chance of winning with him as the nominee, but 59 percent think a different candidate would be more likely to win.

Source: NewsMax

Supporters of Pheu Thai Party attend an election campaign in Ubon Ratchathani Province
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Pheu Thai Party attend an election campaign in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand, Februray 18, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

March 20, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Nearly five years after Thailand’s 2014 military coup, the populist movement that the army has overthrown twice in a decade is contesting an election on Sunday that its leaders say is rigged against it.

Yet, the Pheu Thai party linked to ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, is hoping it can beat the system, just as the former telecommunication tycoon’s loyalists have won every general election since 2001.

This time, Pheu Thai has shifted strategy by dividing its forces to capture new votes and to seek a “democratic front” with other parties to overcome junta-written electoral rules that give a huge advantage to the party seeking to retain junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha as prime minister.

Sunday’s election has 81 parties competing, but the race has shaped up as one between Pheu Thai and “democracy front” allies versus the pro-army Palang Pracharat party that nominated Prayuth as prime minister.

Polls indicate that Pheu Thai will again be the top vote-winner, and it hopes with its allies to make up the largest bloc in the 500-seat House of Representatives.

But that may not matter, because the new constitution written by the junta allows parliament’s upper house, the 250-seat Senate, to vote with the lower house to choose the prime minister – and the Senate is entirely appointment by the junta.

That means pro-junta parties need to win only 126 lower house seats on Sunday to choose the next government, while Pheu Thai and allies, who can’t count on any support in the Senate, need 376 – three-quarters of the total up for grabs.

Despite the disadvantages, Sudarat Keyuraphan, Pheu Thai’s main prime ministerial candidate, said a democratic front could keep the military from controlling the next government.

“I still believe in the heart of the people and we have seen election upsets in many places around the world,” Sudarat told Reuters in an interview.

“Now, they have created a new structure that enables them to hold on to power in a semi-democratic structure,” she said of the military. “So we have to tell people about this and to put an end to this once and for all.”

‘GET RID OF THAKSIN’

However, the complex rules governing the election make it all but impossible for pro-Thaksin parties to form a government on their own as they have in previous elections.

Since he burst onto the political scene in 2001, Thaksin has dominated Thai politics, inspiring devotion among his mostly rural supporters for his pro-poor policies and revulsion from mostly middle-class and establishment opponents who decry him as a corrupt demagogue.

The rivalry has brought intermittent violent protests over almost 15 years. Twice, the military has stepped in, the first time in 2006 to oust Thaksin after he won a second term and again in 2014 to topple a government that had been led by his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thaksin now lives in self-imposed exile to escape a 2008 corruption sentence. He is officially banned from politics but has been hosting a weekly podcast since January discussing global affairs and politics.

His son, Panthongtae Shinawatra, 38, has made cameo appearances at Pheu Thai rallies, bringing loud cheers in party strongholds in the north and northeast.

Worry that a pro-Thaksin party might yet again win the election was one reason why the post-coup constitution made changes giving the junta a strong say in who will be prime minister, said Titipol Phakdeewanich, dean of the faculty of political science at Ubon Ratchathani University.

“The establishment have had a strong determination to get rid of Thaksin once and for all,” Titipol told Reuters.

PRO-DEMOCRACY FRONT

While the rewritten electoral rules give junta leader Prayuth’s party an advantage in choosing the next government, they are by no means a guarantee.

In recent weeks, talk of a “democracy front” has gained ground, with speculation different parties in the House of Representatives might muster the 376 votes needed to choose the prime minister.

That strategy took a hit when Thai Raksa Chart, a key pro-Thaksin ally of Pheu Thai, was disqualified from the election this month.

The constitutional court ruled that the party had broken the electoral law by nominating the sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, as its prime ministerial candidate, crossing the traditional boundary between monarchy and politics.

Still, Pheu Thai has other allies – including Pheu Chart party and Pheu Tham – while politicians from the dissolved Thai Raksa Chart campaign for the democratic front.

Other parties like the youth-oriented Future Forward Party, while not seen as “pro-Thaksin”, could join forces to keep the military out of politics.

The leader of another main party, the Democrats, has also said he won’t support keeping junta leader Prayuth as prime minister, though it is unclear if the staunchly anti-Thaksin Democrats would join any front with Thaksin loyalists.

Even if they unite, it’s unclear whether anti-junta parties can muster enough votes, but Pheu Thai’s Sudarat said Prayuth’s declaration as a prime ministerial candidate has had a galvanizing effect.

“For 10 years the military has been acting as a referee,” she said.

“But now they have reveal themselves and have become a player so this could lead to a new end game … now it is up to the people.”

(Editing by Kay Johnson, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

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

March 20, 2019

By Ginger Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOTERS FOCUSED ON ELECTABILITY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

NHL: Washington Capitals at New Jersey Devils
Mar 19, 2019; Newark, NJ, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Brett Connolly (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New Jersey Devils during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

March 20, 2019

Brett Connolly had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Tuesday night in Newark, N.J., to move into sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division.

Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson also scored for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom collected his 50th assist of the season, and Pheonix Copley made 20 saves.

Kenny Agostino scored, and Mackenzie Blackwood made 18 saves for the Devils, who have lost two straight.

Blues 7, Oilers 2

Jaden Schwartz capped his hat trick with a power-play goal at 18:48 of the third period as St. Louis defeated visiting Edmonton.

David Perron added two goals and an assist, and Alex Pietrangelo and Pat Maroon also scored for the Blues. Jordan Binnington made 15 saves to improve to 14-3-0 in his past 17 starts.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian scored for the Oilers. Mikko Koskinen stopped 17 of 20 shots before being pulled 5:42 into the second period after the Blues took a three-goal lead. Connor McDavid failed to tally a point, ending his 12-game scoring streak.

Flames 4, Blue Jackets 2

Michael Frolik scored the winning goal in a two-point night, and David Rittich was sensational while making 31 saves as host Calgary defeated Columbus. The Flames moved three points ahead of the San Jose Sharks for top spot in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.

While Rittich had incredible fortune on his side with the Blue Jackets ringing four pucks off iron, he was outstanding all game, including a one-sided third period in which he stopped 11 shots.

Andrew Mangiapane, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk added goals for Calgary, which has won four of its past five games. Zach Werenski and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for the Blue Jackets.

Stars 4, Panthers 2

Alexander Radulov scored two goals, including the winner with 9:28 to play in the third period, and Tyler Seguin had four assists to lift host Dallas to a victory over Florida.

Dallas is now four points ahead of idle Arizona for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Florida lost its second straight and is now 4-2-0 in its past six games.

Jamie Benn and John Klingberg collected the Stars’ other goals. Aleksander Barkov tallied twice for the Panthers.

Avalanche 3, Wild 1

Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves, Tyson Barrie, Tyson Jost and Ian Cole scored, and Colorado won at Saint Paul, Minn.

The Avalanche won their second in a row to tighten the Western Conference wild-card race. Colorado moved within a point of the Wild and within two points of Arizona. The Coyotes currently hold the second wild-card spot.

Zach Parise had a goal, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots for Minnesota. The Wild have lost two in a row, and they fell to 2-7-3 in their past 12 home games.

Predators 3, Maple Leafs 0

Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds and Filip Forsberg scored goals, Pekka Rinne stopped 22 shots, and Nashville defeated visiting Toronto.

Rinne has four shutouts this season, and the past two have been against the Maple Leafs. He has 55 career shutouts.

Ryan Johansen had two assists for the Predators, who managed only 20 shots on goal but won their third in a row. Frederik Andersen finished with 17 saves for the Maple Leafs.

Bruins 5, Islanders 0

Sean Kuraly scored two goals in a regular-season game for the first time in his career, and Tuukka Rask stopped all 13 shots he faced as Boston cruised to a win at Uniondale, N.Y.

The Bruins have won two straight following a three-game losing streak. Boston allowed 15 goals in the skid but has given up just one goal in its last two games. Jake DeBrusk, Patrice Bergeron and Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins.

The Islanders lost for the second time in three games (1-2-0). New York goalie Robin Lehner, who played for the first time since sustaining what was believed to be a concussion on March 5, made 34 saves.

Hurricanes 3, Penguins 2 (SO)

Dougie Hamilton scored on the first attempt of a shootout, and that was enough for Carolina in a victory against Pittsburgh at Raleigh, N.C.

The Hurricanes made it past regulation when Justin Williams scored the tying goal with 1:56 left in the third period after the Hurricanes opted to go with an extra skater.

Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang scored with 4:37 remaining, but the Penguins couldn’t hold on.

Red Wings 3, Rangers 2

Jimmy Howard made 41 saves, and Andreas Athanasiou scored twice as Detroit opened a five-game road trip by holding on for a victory over New York.

Howard helped the Red Wings sweep the three-game season series with the Rangers by making at least 40 saves for the fifth time this season and 21st time in his career.

Detroit’s Frans Nielsen scored in the first period, and Athanasiou tallied in the second before adding an empty-net goal in the final minute. Ryan Strome and Brendan Smith were the Rangers’ goal-scorers.

Canadiens 3, Flyers 1

Goals from Brendan Gallagher, Shea Weber and Max Domi carried Montreal to a win at Philadelphia.

Andrew Shaw tallied two assists and Carey Price stopped 32 shots for the Canadiens.

Sean Couturier scored and Carter Hart made 33 saves for the Flyers, who took a second straight home loss for the first time since early January.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Indonesia's presidential candidate Joko Widodo speaks during a debate with his opponent Prabowo Subianto in Jakarta
Indonesia’s presidential candidate Joko Widodo speaks during a debate with his opponent Prabowo Subianto (not pictured) in Jakarta, Indonesia, February 17, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

March 20, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A new Indonesian election survey shows President Joko Widodo’s big lead over his challenger, retired general Prabowo Subianto, is narrowing, just weeks ahead of next month’s vote in the world’s third-largest democracy.

The April 17 election will be a rerun of the 2014 race, in which Widodo beat out Prabowo by almost six percentage points.

A survey by pollster Litbang Kompas, which is part of Indonesia’s biggest newspaper Kompas, shows Widodo likely to win 49.2 percent of the vote, surpassing 37.4 percent for Prabowo.

Although still a double-digit lead, the electability gap in the survey between February 22 and March 5 was narrower than the Kompas survey in October that gave Widodo a 19.9-percentage point lead over his rival.

Opinion polls in January by other pollsters, including Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting and Australian-based Roy Morgan, put Widodo at an advantage of about 20 percentage points over Prabowo.

The president’s campaign team is confident he will still win by a big margin, spokeswoman Meutya Hafid said in a statement.

“There’s a number of indications why votes for Jokowi will be higher than in 2014,” she said, referring to the president by a popular nickname.

“Jokowi will be able to grab votes from places that are normally the stronghold of candidate number two (Prabowo), such as West Java,” Hafid said, referring to Indonesia’s most populous province.

The latest Kompas survey showed Widodo’s support may be shrinking among mature millennials aged between 31 and 40, as well as baby boomers.

After a slow beginning, the six-month campaign has picked up pace, with televised debates between the candidates and rallies held across the archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.

Some analysts say the debates were a missed opportunity for Prabowo, who has struggled to land any big blows against Widodo, while the president has appeared workman-like in projecting his achievements in areas such as infrastructure while in office.

But the challenger’s running mate, private equity tycoon Sandiaga Uno, has appeared to generate a buzz on the campaign trail while proving popular online, especially with women and young voters.

Uno attacked Widodo’s track record on education and healthcare last weekend, saying his government would be able to solve Indonesia’s problems in education and large deficits in health insurance.

Last week, the anti-graft agency named a prominent politician backing Widodo’s re-election campaign a suspect in a bribery case, which could further dent his campaign.

(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Ed Davies and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Caitlin McFall | Contributor

Reparations are entering the 2020 presidential race, as several Democratic hopefuls have come out in support of them, the most recent being Bernie Sanders in an interview with NPR yesterday.

However, he has not come out in support for reparations as ardently as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who said, “I believe it’s time to start the national, full-blown conversation about reparations.”

What exactly is entailed in their push for reparations remains fairly unclear, but only Sanders has said the he doesn’t think that “cutting a check” is the right way to go about it. (RELATED: The Key To Winning In 2020 Will Be Properly Explaining Socialism, Says Bernie Sanders)

While Sanders hopes to use reparations to bridge the gap of opportunity in impoverished communities, Warren is supporting the bill that was originally put forward in 1989 by former Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers, which was reintroduced in January by Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas.

This bill, known as HR-40, would establish “The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans to examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.”

Other 2020 candidates are approaching this topic cautiously, like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke from Texas, who have said they support taking big steps to further eliminate systematic racism, but have not openly endorsed reparations.

Tune in to see what these reparations are all about.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the
FILE PHOTO: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2017” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By James Oliphant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday said he is hiring a well-known liberal journalist with a history of sharply criticizing other Democratic presidential candidates, including Beto O’Rourke.

Sanders’ campaign said it is bringing in David Sirota, whose work has appeared in The Guardian and Newsweek, among other outlets, as a senior adviser and speechwriter.

The move could stoke tensions within the Democratic field since Sirota has previously targeted O’Rourke, a former U.S. congressman from Texas who entered the presidential race last week, and other rivals.

Sirota on Twitter and in published articles has accused O’Rourke of siding with President Donald Trump and Republicans while a member of the House of Representatives, as well as being overly friendly with the oil and gas industry.

Sirota’s criticism of O’Rourke in December drew a warning from Neera Tanden, a top ally of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and president of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank.

“A supporter of Bernie Sanders attacking a Democrat,” Tanden tweeted. “This is seriously dangerous. We know Trump is in the White House and attacking Dems is doing Trump’s bidding.”

The conflict was a reminder of the bad blood between the Clinton and Sanders camps when they battled for the Democratic nomination ahead of the 2016 presidential race and the mistrust between the party’s moderate and progressive wings.

Sirota also has slammed presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, as well as former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, for being overly cozy with corporate interests.

Sanders’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Sirota’s hiring.

Sirota worked for Sanders as a press secretary when Sanders was a member of the House of Representatives in the early 2000s.

An article Sirota wrote in 2013 for the liberal news website Salon praising the economic record of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s late socialist president, also attracted criticism on social media from Sanders’ Democratic Party critics and conservatives alike.

Sanders recently refused to label Venezuela’s current president, Nicolas Maduro, a dictator or recognize the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the country’s rightful leader – the current U.S. position.

Guaido invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency in January, saying Maduro’s re-election was not legitimate.

O’Rourke said while campaigning in Iowa last week that he supported Guaido’s claim on Venezuela’s presidency.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; editing by Colleen Jenkins and G Crosse)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 19, 2019

(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Tuesday as part of a settlement with Facebook Inc the social network will make changes to its paid advertising platform to prevent discrimination in employment, housing and credit ads.

Facebook will also take proactive steps to prevent advertisers from discriminating users based on race, sex and age, ACLU said in a statement.

Since late 2016, Facebook has faced legal pressure related to its ad targeting practices from the ACLU, Outten & Golden LLP, the Communications Workers of America, job seekers and consumers, and fair housing and civil rights organizations.

Facebook in the past had reached a similar agreement with the Washington state to end discriminatory ad targeting, and had said it removed thousands of categories related to potentially sensitive personal attributes from its exclusion ad targeting tools.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Source: OANN

A new Rasmussen poll released Tuesday shows only 17 percent of likely U.S. voters support lowering the federal voting age from 18 to 16, with an overwhelming 74 percent rejecting the idea.

The poll comes just days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she personally supported the idea of 16-year-olds voting in federal elections. (RELATED: Pelosi Says She Personally Supports Lowering The Voting Age To 16)

According to Rasmussen, the poll shows that only 25 percent of Democrats support lowering the voting age and nine percent of Republicans support this view. Broken down between race, only 32 percent of blacks support lowering the voting age and 16 percent of whites favor that stance.

Both male and female voters are relatively on the same page with this issue, according to Rasmussen. Seventy-seven percent of males surveyed oppose lowering the voting age and 71 percent of females oppose it as well.

Voters line up to vote in the U.S. midterm congressional and gubernatorial elections in Deerfield Beach, Florida, U.S. November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

The poll also shows 65 percent of 18- to 39-year-olds oppose lowering the voting age, 77 percent of those aged 40 to 64 do not want to see the voting age lowered, and 84 percent of those 65 or older say the voting age should not be lowered either.

The Rasmussen poll was a survey of 1,000 likely voters and was conducted between March 17-18. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

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

Reducing the voting age to 16 was debated on the House floor two weeks ago when it came up as an amendment on the “For The People Act,” a House Democratic passed bill (H.R. 1) that would revamp U.S. election and campaign finance laws.

Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley proposed the amendment, but it was defeated 126-305, with just one Republican, Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, supporting the measure. (RELATED: 125 Democrats And 1 Republican Vote To Lower Voting Age To 16)

The House Speaker joined Democratic Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay Monday in his home state in Ferguson to discuss H.R.1 and the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (H.R.4).

She further explained, “Many years ago, when I was in school, civics was a requirement. Then — remember that? Well, you don’t remember that, but you read about it.”

She added in part, “But then, it became an elective, and I don’t know. There were other things kids took instead. So, the point is that when they are in high school, we see such a heightened interest in history and civics and climate and gun safety and you name it. And that would be a time for them to be registered to vote.”

Minnesota Primary Voters Head To The Polls

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 14: Voters fill out ballots for the 2018 Minnesota primary election at the Weisman Art Museum polling place on August 14, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Two Democratic presidential candidates, Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris appeared interested in listening to those who support lowering the voting age. (RELATED: 2020 Dems Open To Lowering Voting Age To 16)

Republicans panned the idea, arguing that Democrats are supportive of the measure simply because younger voters tend to support Democrats more often than Republicans.

“I’m of the opinion that we shouldn’t arbitrarily lower the voting age just because, right now, I believe Democrats think they’ll gain more votes,” said Republican Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said during debate on the floor of Pressley’s amendment.  “I believe it will institutionalize a Democrat majority here in this House of Representatives.”

Since 2013, 13 states have proposed bills to lower the voting age, ranging from school board elections to state elections.

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Kerry Picket is a host on SiriusXM Patriot 125

Source: The Daily Caller

The Citigroup Inc logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto
FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said on Tuesday it has fined Citigroup $25 million for violating the Fair Housing Act after it denied some borrowers preferential rates on the basis of their race, color or other factors.

The OCC found that the bank’s program to provide eligible mortgage loan customers either reduced closing costs or an interest rate reduction had control weakness. As a result of these problems, some bank borrowers did not receive the benefit for which they were eligible, the OCC said.

(Reporting by Michelle Price)

Source: OANN

Phillip Stucky | Contributor

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is essentially asking supporters to build his policy platform with him, according to a Monday report from The Washington Post.

WaPo reporter Jenna Johnson wrote that O’Rourke would constantly ask supporters for their ideas and suggestions on questions they asked him about specific policy proposals. But when supporters didn’t offer their own ideas on what they would like to see, O’Rourke would then call for a “national conversation” on the issue to decide what stance he would take on the matter.

The Democrat reportedly asked multiple voters to “shape him” into the candidate they wanted him to be. O’Rourke has no campaign manager, and only a small staff as he drives from event to event campaigning across the country. (RELATED: Beto Supporter Tried To Dodge Identity Politics Moments After Attacking GOP For ‘Old White Guys’)

Although he’s light on policy in his campaign events, his openness is reassuring to some voters.

“He’s just so positive — that’s what I like,” Olga Sanchez told The Washington Post.

Another supporter gushed, “He’s not saying ‘straight Democrat,’ he’s not saying ‘independent,’ he’s not saying ‘just progressive,’ and he’s not saying no to ‘Republican’ — that’s just it, he includes everyone … I’m all for inclusivity.”

Others take the lack of policy focus as a sign that O’Rourke is somehow unprepared for the race. He recently stunned both sides of the gun control debate by appearing to take both sides in a single sentence. O’Rourke offered that he wanted to take weapons of war off the streets, but then also said he would support those who already own AR-15’s and other such weapons in their effort to keep them.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was very critical of O’Rourke during his Monday show of “Morning Joe.” The Republican took umbrage with the fact that he doesn’t have a stated policy agenda or a push towards a single policy that is close to him.

“The thing is, he doesn’t have a message right now. It’s all goop,” Scarborough said.

Fellow co-host Mika Brezenski then started to roll up her sleeves and responded, “I got his message. It’s look, you wanna see it? I’ll roll up my sleeves and the camera zooms in, and I look really busy.”

O’Rourke recently hit the campaign trail across Michigan and Iowa, but the seemingly constant campaigning only resulted in a 1 percent bump in his polling against fellow Democrats, according to a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday.

Source: The Daily Caller

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Julia Roberts took a firm stance against the actions of those involved in the college admissions scandal.

The “Pretty Woman” actress weighed in on the scandal while promoting her new drama “Ben Is Back” in the U.K.

“That to me is so sad, because I feel, [as] an outsider, that it says a little bit ‘I don’t have enough faith in you,” Roberts told ITV in a report published Monday by Entertainment Tonight.

Roberts and her husband have three kids together, 14-year old twins and an 11-year old son. They try to keep the experience relatively normal for their kids, Roberts said.

“My husband and I are very aligned on that front, I think that we live a very normal experience with our children. Obviously we have advantages that we didn’t have as children,” Roberts told ITV. “But I think that’s the unique part of it, coming from the childhood I have. You do need to know how to make your bed and do your laundry and make one meal. These are important life skills.”

“They have to run their own race,” she continued. “They have to have their own experience.” (RELATED: Lori Loughlin’s Daughter Loses Sephora Collaboration Amid College Admissions Scandal)

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were both charged in the massive admissions scandal for allegedly paying for their children to gain admission to certain colleges. Loughlin allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes so her daughters could secure admissions to the University of Southern California. Huffman reportedly paid $15,000 to have someone take the SAT test for her daughter.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Iranian Material Display at a Military Base in Washington
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Department of Defense exhibit shows a “Qiam” ballistic missile manufactured in Iran, at a military base in Washington, U.S., November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

March 19, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. arms control official said on Tuesday that Iran’s missile program is detribalizing the Middle East and raising the risk of a “regional arms race” through the provision of such weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen.

U.S. President Donald Trump said when he quit a landmark 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that it failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

The United States has accused Iran of defying a U.N. Security Council resolution by carrying out a ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December.

“Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region, increasing the risk of a regional arms race,” Yleem Poblete, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said in a speech to the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.

“Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” she said, denouncing Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

She said Iran had provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis that were fired into Saudi Arabia and unmanned aerial systems to Houthi groups that enable strikes against land-based targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are committed to aggressively countering Iran’s regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers,” she added.

Poblete urged “all responsible countries” to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions restricting the transfer of missile-related technologies to Iran.

She further accused Iran of “pursuing pharmaceutical-based agents for offensive purposes”, but did not elaborate.

An Iranian diplomat took the floor to reject her remarks as “cheap, unprofessional, false, irrelevant and pathetic” and accused the United States of “sabotaging” the Geneva forum.

“We should all be truly worried about the U.S. representative’s misbehavior as we all warn that they may turn violent since they lack any human logic to talk and listen in a normal manner as we are used to,” he said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Tom Miles; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

Phillip Stucky | Contributor

Former Vice President Joe Biden experienced a four-point bump over his previous standing with potential Democratic challengers should he join the 2020 presidential race, in a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday.

Biden leads with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who garnered 27 percent of the vote. Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke were tied for third place with 8 percent. (RELATED: Biden Claims He Was A Desegregationist Despite Sordid History On Race)

US Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders in Conway NH on August 24th 2015 by Michael VadonUS Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders in Conway NH on August 24th 2015 by Michael Vadon

US Senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders in Conway NH on August 24th 2015 by Michael Vadon

The Morning Consult poll is released each week, and Biden increased his standing by four percentage points. Despite a wide-reaching media and ground campaign, O’Rourke only experienced a 1 percent increase in support in the poll. Harris lost two points in the poll this week.

Biden is not officially in the race, but he appeared to indicate his interest Saturday during a Democratic Party event in Dover, Delaware.

“I have the most progressive record of anyone running,” Biden said to raucous applause before correcting himself. “Anybody who would run — I didn’t mean it. Anybody who would run.”

Morning Consult polled 13,551 registered Democrats who self-reported they may vote in a Democratic primary or caucus in their state. The poll ran from March 11 through March 17 and had a margin of error of 1 percentage point in either direction.

Source: The Daily Caller

Derek Hunter | Contributor

On the show today we get into the latest left-wing attempt to grab guns under the guise of what happened in New Zealand and Sen. Elizabeth Warren is desperately pandering on reparations for slavery, only she’s unwilling to say what she’s willing to do about it.

Listen to the show:

Liberals never let a good tragedy go to waste. If someone is harmed, and there is a way to advance one of their agenda items because of it, liberals will be there to exploit it. The opposite holds too, just look at the murder of Americans by illegal aliens. Those deaths might as well not exist, they aren’t going to care enough to do anything to secure the border because they don’t want it secured. But a mass shooting on the other side of the planet with dozens murdered, that’s fertile ground to push again for gun control in the United States.

Emotions run high after tragedies, and, as previously mentioned, liberals are right there to exploit them to their advantage. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is leading the way in exploiting the Christchurch terror attack, trying to bolster her presidential bid on the concept of gun control. At a campaign stop Monday, she went on a tirade against the Second Amendment and got nearly everything she said exactly wrong. It’s like she doesn’t understand the laws that already exist, and we have the audio.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, who is supposed to be a straight journalist, gave a moral sermon on her show Monday on the importance of passing gun control legislation in the country. Her colleague Erin Burnett, another alleged straight journalist, allowed a CNN analyst to blame President Donald Trump for the attack a half a world away and call him ‘Hitler,’ using Nazi tactics. We have all the audio insanity.

Elizabeth Warren, on a CNN town hall, reiterated her support of reparations for slavery, but refused to say what that means. Pandering on race, Warren avoided offering any specifics, even when given multiple opportunities to do so. There’s a reason for that, and we get into it.

Cory Booker, another 2020 Democratic hopeful, is getting on board with the latest liberal power grab — changing the Supreme Court to institute the liberal and protect the liberal agenda. The party famous for its members chanting “this is what democracy looks like” are advocating things that look decidedly undemocratic.

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

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

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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, leaves following the AGM in London, Britain, June 13, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, leaves following the AGM in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By Kate Holton and Pamela Barbaglia

LONDON (Reuters) – A series of buyout funds including U.S. firms Advent and Blackstone are in talks with advertising group WPP to explore bids for a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sale, led by Goldman Sachs, may value Kantar at up to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.7 billion), but some private equity investors are fretting over the decline in profits and revenues that the business has suffered in recent years.

Hellman & Friedman and CVC Capital Partners are also working on the deal, the sources said, while industry players have so far shied away from the process.

Bain Capital has also expressed interest in making a bid for Kantar, another source said, adding Bain might later decide to team up with one of the other buyout funds in the race.

WPP sent out confidential information packs this week, with non-binding offers expected in April, one of the sources said.

WPP, Blackstone, Advent and CVC declined to comment, while representatives at Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman were not immediately available.

WPP, the owner of agencies including JWT, Finsbury and Ogilvy, is in the middle of an overhaul launched by its new boss Mark Read following several profit warnings in 2017 and 2018.

The London-based group wants to sell a majority stake in Kantar to reduce debt as it braces for a tough year with revenue expected to drop by between 1.5 and 2 percent in 2019.

Kantar, a leading player in market research, provides brand and marketing communications research for some of the world’s largest advertisers.

Yet it has suffered a decline in revenue in recent years, with underlying sales down 2 percent last year to 2.6 billion pounds and operating profit down 14 percent to 301 million.

“The deal poses some challenges for private equity funds as it’s been on a downward trajectory for a while,” one source said.

Private equity investors are examining the turnaround potential of a possible deal, the sources said, and would value the business at up to 10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), hoping to reignite growth within the first three years of their investment.

Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said in February that Kantar could fetch more than 3 billion pounds, with WPP raising close to 2.1-2.2 billion pounds from a 60 percent stake sale.

WPP boss Read aims to complete the sale by the end of the summer as he needs cash to steer the world’s biggest advertising group back to growth.

Read took the helm of WPP last year, pledging to spend 300 million pounds to restructure the group and bring it back in line with peers by the end of 2021.

Founder Martin Sorrell, 74, remains a major WPP shareholder but is now running a new company which last year beat WPP in the race to buy Dutch digital agency MediaMonks.

(Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks about her policy ideas with Anand Giridharadas at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festivals in Austin, Texas
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks about her policy ideas with Anand Giridharadas at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festivals in Austin, Texas, U.S., March 9, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Flores

March 19, 2019

By Amanda Becker

CLEVELAND, Miss. (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was walking down a street in the town of Cleveland in the rural Mississippi Delta on Monday when she stopped to examine a small home’s sagging roof.

“You can be sure there’s a lot of love in these homes. They just can’t afford (to fix) it,” state Senator Willie Simmons told Warren during the Democratic presidential candidate’s three-day campaign swing through Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Affordable housing is a chief concern for the senator from Massachusetts, who recently reintroduced a $500 billion housing plan she says will create millions of housing units and reduce rental costs by 10 percent.

But the trip to the deep South, the first extended tour of the region by any of the more than dozen Democrats vying for the party’s 2020 White House nomination, also gave Warren an opportunity to try to set herself apart from the crowded and diverse field.

During meetings with housing advocates in Memphis, Tennessee, and walking tours of small Mississippi towns, Warren, who is white, tested and tailored her central message of combating income inequality to black voters, a critical Democratic voting bloc.

The trip outside the mostly white early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire that are drawing much of the early 2020 campaign focus signaled that Warren, 69, intends to make a play for support in other states that also could prove important to securing the nomination.

“I’m running to be president of all the people, and it’s important to go around the country and have a chance to talk with people face to face,” Warren told reporters after a town hall that drew about 500 people to a high school in Memphis.

Democrats will have to look beyond the traditional early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina for opportunities to pick up voters next year if an obvious front-runner does not immediately emerge.

Alabama and Tennessee are among the states holding their 2020 nominating primaries on the March 3 “Super Tuesday” following South Carolina’s contest. Mississippi is set to host its primary in mid-March. All three states have sizeable black populations.

Being first to those states will not guarantee votes. But it could win local endorsements and help recruit volunteers for Warren, who lags in national 2020 Democratic presidential opinion polls behind Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

“Warren’s biggest advantage in making this trip is that she will likely have the attention of a critical mass of African-American Democratic primary voters in a cycle where the black vote will drive the nomination process,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who managed African-American advertising for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

‘VISITING HELPS’

Clinton beat Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential nominating race in large part because his insurgent campaign failed to gain traction with black voters and flamed out when the contest moved to the South from the early voting states.

In the general election, Clinton’s loss to Republican Donald Trump was partly due to the fact that the black turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

African-American turnout in 2016 dropped 7 points from four years earlier, when Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, was re-elected.

During her trip, Warren touted how her housing plan was aimed at closing the wealth and housing gap between white and black Americans. Her proposal would give first-time homebuyers who live in low-income, formerly segregated areas grants to use for down payments.

It is specifically tailored to benefit black families whose relatives faced discriminatory housing policies in the years leading up to the U.S. civil rights era.

Many residents said they appreciated Warren taking the time to come and focus on their issues. On Tuesday, she planned to tour historic sites in Selma, Alabama, where the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march marked a turning point in the civil rights movement.

“Visiting helps. It lets the people down here know that somebody in Washington does care about them,” said the Rev. Alice Crenshaw, 75, whose church marked the start of Warren’s walking tour in Cleveland.

The tour of Cleveland on Monday ended at Senator’s Place, the restaurant owned by Simmons, the Mississippi Democratic state senator. Simmons has not endorsed Warren, but like others she spent time with during the campaign swing, he seemed warm to her candidacy.

Sandra Miller-Foster, 68, arrived at Senator’s Place knowing there would be a special visitor but not who. She liked what she heard from Warren.

Asked to assess the Democratic field, which includes two black U.S. senators vying for the nomination, she said policy, not race, would earn her support.

“All people want is a decent job, to own their own home and be able to send their kids to school. We’ve got to know what you’ll do for Mississippi,” Miller-Foster said.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Hyundai logo is seen during the first press day of the Paris auto show
FILE PHOTO: The Hyundai logo is seen during the first press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, Oct. 2, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

March 19, 2019

(Reuters) – South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp will together invest $300 million in Indian ride-hailing platform Ola, playing catch-up in the global race to invest in mobility firms.

The move follows the $275 million that the pair invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab last year.

Hyundai, Kia and Ola will collaborate to develop fleet and mobility solutions, electric vehicles and infrastructure specific to the Indian market, they said in a joint statement.

The deal, Hyundai and Kia’s biggest combined investment, marks Hyundai’s foray into fleet vehicles.

Hyundai is one of the biggest automakers operating in India, where affiliate Kia plans to start production this year at its first factory in the country.

Ola’s other investors include SoftBank Group Corp and Tencent Holdings Ltd.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in BENGALURU and Hyunjoo Jin in SEOUL; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Tuesday’s special election for Iowa’s Senate District 30 has become a proving ground for Democratic 2020 Oval Office hopefuls.

Nine Democratic presidential candidates have appeared locally or publicly endorsed the campaign of Democratic candidate Eric Giddens, a Cedar Falls School Board member, in his race against former Republican state Rep. Walt Rogers.

“The whole thing is bizarre,” Giddens said in an interview with the Des Moines Register, referring to the attention generated by the special election.

The district turned out 33,322 votes in 2016 and includes the towns of Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Hudson, according to Ballotpedia.

WATERLOO, IOWA - MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke helps Iowa senate candidate Eric Giddens climb up into a pickup truck during a canvassing kickoff event March 16, 2019 in Waterloo, Iowa. After losing a long-shot race for U.S. Senate to Ted Cruz (R-TX), the 46-year-old O'Rourke is making his first campaign swing through Iowa after jumping into a crowded Democratic field this week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WATERLOO, IOWA – MARCH 16: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke helps Iowa senate candidate Eric Giddens climb up into a pickup truck during a canvassing kickoff event March 16, 2019 in Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Presidential contenders campaigning for Giddens include Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who has not announced his candidacy. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent her staff to Iowa to help get out the vote, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a get-out-the-vote email, according to Politico.

National press made the trip as well, with The Wall Street Journal, NBC’s “Meet the Press” and National Public Radio filing special reports. (RELATED: Beto O’Rourke Out-Raises All Candidates On First Day)

“Only in Iowa would a state Senate race attract all these national candidates,” Al Hays, a retired political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa, told the Register.

The seat was vacated by the abrupt resignation in February of Democrat Jeff Danielson, a four-term incumbent, and 20-year veteran of the Cedar Falls Fire Department, amid his objections to a city policy that replaced select firefighters with cross-trained police officers. He subsequently accepted a position with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) as a lobbyist, the Register reported.

Giddens’s opponent Rogers formerly represented the state’s 60th District. The past two elections have shown the district to be competitive. Danielson beat his opponent by 17 points in 2016, but the race in 2012 had only a 2-point margin.

Follow Whitney on Twitter

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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Intel's logo is pictured during preparations at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover
FILE PHOTO: Intel’s logo is pictured during preparations at the CeBit computer fair, which will open its doors to the public on March 20, at the fairground in Hanover, Germany, March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

March 18, 2019

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – A U.S. government-led group is working with chipmaker Intel Corp and Cray Inc to develop and build the nation’s fastest computer by 2021 for conducting nuclear weapons and other research, officials said on Monday.

The Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago said they are working on a supercomputer dubbed Aurora with Intel, the world’s biggest supplier of data center chips, and Cray, which specializes in the ultra-fast machines.

The $500 million contract for the project calls on the companies to deliver a computer with so-called exaflop performance – that is, being able to perform 1 quintillion – or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 – calculations per second.

If the project succeeds, Aurora would represent nearly an order of magnitude leap over existing machines that feature so-called petaflop performance, capable of doing 1 quadrillion, or 1,000,000,000,000,000 – calculations a second.

It also heightens the stakes in a race in which the United States, China, the European Union, and Japan have all announced plans to build exaflop-capable supercomputers.

One of Aurora’s primary functions would be simulating nuclear blasts, a pillar of weapons development since the ban of live detonation testings.

Aurora will be built with artificial intelligence capabilities for projects such as developing better battery materials and helping the Veterans Administration prevent suicides, Rick Stevens, an associate lab director with Argonne overseeing the exascale computing project, said during a news briefing.

The project is a win for Intel, which will supply its Xeon CPU chips and Optane memory chips for Aurora.

Intel has been fending off rival U.S. chipmaker Nvidia Corp’s rise in the chip content of supercomputers as the machines take on more artificial intelligence work. Nvidia’s chips are found in five of the world’s current top-10 supercomputers, though the Nvidia chips are found alongside chips from its rivals, according to TOP500, which ranks the machines.

The world’s current most powerful machine, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, contains chips from International Business Machines Corp and Nvidia.

The source of chips for supercomputers has become a factor in trade tensions between the United States and China. The world’s third-fastest supercomputer – the Sunway TaihuLight in China – has chips developed domestically in China.

Chirag Dekate, an analyst with Gartner who studies the supercomputing market, said that despite the small contract size relative to Intel’s overall revenue, the work done on Aurora will eventually filter down to the company’s commercial customers.

“It’s not just a jingoistic race between the U.S. and China,” Dekate said. “The innovations that Intel is developing here will percolate down to other parts of its business.”

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court stands before decisions are released for the term in Washington
FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 18, 2019

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday wrestled for the second time over whether Republican legislators in Virginia drew electoral districts in the state in a way that unlawfully diluted the clout of black voters.

The high court heard arguments in an appeal by the Republican-led state House of Delegates in defense of 11 state House districts that a lower court ruled last year violated the rights of black voters to equal protection under the law under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

The case involves gerrymandering, a practice involving the manipulation of electoral district boundaries to marginalize a certain set of voters and increase the influence of others.

While the Supreme Court for decades has invalidated electoral maps due to racial gerrymandering, the justices have not yet made a definitive ruling on whether drawing legislative districts for purely partisan advantage violates the Constitution. The court will hear two major cases on that issue next week, one from North Carolina and the other from Maryland.

One way the court could resolve the Virginia racial gerrymandering dispute is to say that the House of Delegates, which sought to appeal the ruling, did not have legal standing to do so. The state’s Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, has argued that the House cannot pursue the case independently and that only he could decide whether or not there would be an appeal.

Some of the nine justices appeared sympathetic to Herring’s argument, although it is unclear if there is a majority in favor of that outcome. Conservative Justice Samuel Alito suggested that the court could send the case to the Virginia Supreme Court to decide who can represent the state.

“I would be very uncomfortable trying to decide whether, as a matter of Virginia law, anybody other than the attorney general can ever represent the Commonwealth,” Alito said, referring to Virginia.

Morgan Ratner, a lawyer for President Donald Trump’s administration, argued that the House of Delegates does not have standing to appeal. But Ratner said that the House of Delegates is correct that the lower court used the wrong standard to assess the districts.

Democrats have accused Republicans in Virginia and other states of crafting such legislative maps in a way that crams black and other minority voters, who tend to favor Democratic candidates, into certain districts in order to reduce their overall sway in the state.

The voters who brought the lawsuit accused Republicans of packing black voters into certain districts to diminish their voting power and make surrounding districts more white and more likely to support Republicans.

Conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh expressed sympathy for the Republicans who drew the maps, noting that if they assigned fewer black voters to each district “they would get hammered from the other side, saying you are discriminating against African American voters because you’re not giving the voters a sufficient opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.”

When the litigation first reached the high court, the justices in 2017 threw out an earlier lower court ruling that had found the 11 districts, as well as one other district, to be lawful. The justices said the lower court had not sufficiently analyzed the consideration of race by the Republican legislators in the process of drawing Virginia’s electoral map.

At issue was the state legislative map drawn by Republicans after the 2010 national census. Since then, Democrats have made gains in Virginia in both state and federal elections. The current governor and attorney general are both Democrats.

Race can be considered in redrawing boundaries of voting districts only in certain instances, such as when states are seeking to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. That law protects minority voters and was enacted to address a history of racial discrimination in voting, especially in southern states.

A ruling is due by the end of June.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand has garnered one endorsement from a sitting member of Congress since the New York lawmaker announced her 2020 run Sunday.

Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney is the only sitting member of Congress who had endorsed Gillibrand as of Sunday, reported The Hill.

“I am proud to endorse my friend Sen. Gillibrand to be our next President and the nation’s first woman President,” Maloney wrote on Twitter Sunday. “I saw her tenacity when we fought together to pass the 9/11 Health bill and know she has what it takes to defeat [President Donald] Trump.” (RELATED: Gillibrand’s Office Hit With Sexual Allegations, Aide Resigns In Protest)

Maloney’s endorsement comes as Gillibrand struggles to win over members of the congressional delegation in her home state, according to a Politico report in early March. Democratic New York Reps. Sean Maloney and Kathleen Rice opted to endorse Gillibrand’s rival, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, instead. O’Rourke announced his 2020 bid on March 14.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (4th L) speaks as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (3rd L) and former "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart (2nd L) listen during a news conference February 25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (4th L) speaks as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (3rd L) and former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart (2nd L) listen during a news conference on Feb. 25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris, a fellow Democratic 2020 contender, has secured endorsements from at least five House members from her home state of California, according to Politico.

Gillibrand has been trying to lock down New York support with lunches, drinks and phone calls, reported Politico. She will have to act fast in case Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio jumps into the 2020 race.

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declined to endorse Gillibrand so far, calling himself “a fan” of Gillbrand after seeming to favor potential 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Gillibrand made her 2020 bid official with a video Sunday and is planning to deliver a speech in front of the Trump International Hotel in New York City on March 24, reported Politico.

Gillibrand’s office came under fire in mid-March after new information emerged about a female staffer who resigned citing mishandling of her sexual harassment allegations against a male staffer, who was a favorite of Gillibrand.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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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

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Vice President Joe Biden dominate the Democratic 2020 presidential field in either fundraising or polling in the early days of the contest.

The dominance of the white, male trio has caused consternation among the Democratic faithful, who were initially emboldened by the diverse nature of the field including persons of color, women and LGBTQIA+ representation.

New York Times reporter Astead Herndon noted the trend on Twitter Monday, saying:

Herndon’s observation was quickly picked up by progressives. Rebecca Traister, NYMag writer and author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power Of Women’s Anger,” noted on Twitter that “being a white man” is “an extremely powerful polling [and] fundraising boon, as it has always, always been.

Prominent media critic Jeff Jarvis declared Sunday that “we have an amazing field of women, people of color, and LGBTQ candidates. Speaking as an old white man, we don’t need more white men.”

O’Rourke, Biden and Sanders’ dominance has even spawned accusations of media bias with Democratic political consultant Anne Marsh, who told Politico, “I feel like the media is always captivated by the person they seem to think is a phenom: Bernie. Trump. Beto. But they always seem to be white men who are phenoms. In a year where we have more choices than ever, more women and more persons of color than ever, none of them seem to be deemed a phenom.”

O’Rourke announced Monday morning that his campaign brought in a record $6.1 million in online fundraising dollars within the first 24 hours of launching last week, more than any other announced Democrat. Sanders was the only candidate to come close to matching O’Rourke’s support, with $5.925 million raised within the first 24 hours after his announcement. (RELATED: Joe Biden Calls Mike Pence ‘A Decent Guy’ Then Backtracks)

O’Rourke and Sander’s initial 24-hour fundraising combined put them above the entirety of the rest of the Democratic field, including leaders like Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The trio of Sanders, O’Rourke and Biden have either topped or dominated several Democratic national polls despite the wide field of candidates. Morning Consult’s latest analysis shows overwhelming support for Biden and Sanders amongst national Democrats with 58 percent of Democratic primary voters supporting them. Harris and O’Rourke trailed the pair with 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Biden also leads the entirety of the announced Democratic field in the most recent Des Moine Register poll in Iowa, with 27 percent support from likely caucus-goers, the site of the first presidential contest. Biden was trailed by only 2 percent of the vote by Sanders. The two Democrats held the plurality of support amongst likely caucus-goers with Warren, Harris, O’Rourke and others trailing behind.

Source: The Daily Caller

A German soldier holds NATO flag during a ceremony to welcome the German battalion being deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO deterrence measures against Russia in Rukla
FILE PHOTO – A German soldier holds NATO flag during a ceremony to welcome the German battalion being deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO deterrence measures against Russia in Rukla, Lithuania February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

March 18, 2019

By Andrea Shalal

BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO is to receive the first of five Northrop Grumman high-altitude drones in the third quarter after years of delays, giving the alliance its own spy drones for the first time, the German government told lawmakers.

Thomas Silberhorn, state secretary in the German Defence Ministry, said the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) drone would be delivered to an air base in Sigonella, Italy, followed by four additional systems, including drones and ground stations built by Airbus, later in the year.

NATO plans to use the aircraft, a derivative of Northrop’s Global Hawk drone, to carry out missions ranging from protection of ground troops to border control and counter-terrorism. The drones will be able to fly for up to 30 hours at a time in all weather, providing near real-time surveillance data.

Northrop first won the contract for the AGS system from NATO in May, 2012, with delivery of the first aircraft slated for 52 months later. However, technical issues and flight test delays have delayed the program, Silberhorn said.

Andrej Hunko, a member of the radical Left opposition party, called for Germany to scrap its participation in the program, warning of spiraling costs and the risk that it could escalate the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“The drones are closely linked to a new form of warfare,” he said. “They stand for an arms race that will see existing surveillance and spy systems replaced with new platforms.”

Silberhorn, in a previously unreported response to a parliamentary query from Hunko, said NATO had capped the cost of the program at 1.3 billion euros ($1.47 billion) in 2007.

Germany, which is funding about a third of system, scrapped plans to buy its own Global Hawk drones amid spiraling costs and certification problems, and is now negotiating with Northrop to buy several of its newer model Triton surveillance drones.

Fifteen NATO countries, led by the United States, will pay for the AGS system, but all 29 alliance nations are due to participate in its long-term support.

Germany has sent 76 soldiers to Sigonella to operate the surveillance system and analyze its findings, Silberhorn said. He said a total of 132 German soldiers would eventually be assigned to AGS, of whom 122 would be stationed in Sigonella.

NATO officials had no immediate comment on the program status or whether Northrop faced penalties for the delayed delivery.

No comment was available from Northrop.

(1 euro = $1.1336)

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Racing pigeons are displayed for sale at the Pigeon Olympiad 2017 in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Racing pigeons are displayed for sale at the Pigeon Olympiad 2017 in Brussels, Belgium January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

March 18, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian racing pigeon called Armando has sold at auction for nearly $1.5 million, more than three times the world record, the online saleroom said on Monday after a bidding war between two Chinese fanciers.

“Nobody expected this. No one,” Jorge Ferrari from the Pigeon Paradise auction site told Reuters.

Chinese enthusiasm for the long-distance racing of homing pigeons has driven prices up sharply, with birds from the traditional heartland of the sport in Belgium being particularly prized. (https://reut.rs/2Ji22LF)

However, until the furious bidding that lasted throughout Sunday evening, the record price stood at 376,000 euros ($426,422). Armando, a record-breaking long-distance racing champion owned by Joel Verschoot, was eventually sold to an anonymous buyer in China for 1,252,000 euros ($1.42 million).

In an indication of how the buyer may hope to recoup the investment, not only can race prize money in China reach seven figures but seven of Armando’s offspring were also auctioned for an average price of 21,500 euros each; the five-year-old Flemish flier may have highly profitable breeding years ahead of him.

(Reporting by Clare Roth; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN


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