sunday

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Caribbean tour
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, attend a reception at the Prime Minister’s official residence, in Kingstown, St Vincent and Grenadines, March 20, 2019. Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

By Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) – Prince Charles and his wife Camilla arrive in Cuba on Sunday as part of a Caribbean tour, the first British royals to visit the Communist-run nation even as ally the United States seeks to isolate the country.

The royal couple were asked by the UK government to add Cuba to their tour of former and current British territories in hopes of boosting commercial relations and political influence.

The plans were made before the Trump administration intensified efforts this year to end what it views as Latin America’s “troika of tyranny”: the socialist governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. It has warned foreign companies away from doing business with Cuba, continuing its reversal of Trump predecessor Barack Obama’s detente with the island.

“The visit shows a fresh willingness by the UK to engage with Cuba in the Diaz-Canel era,” said Paul Hare, a former British ambassador to Cuba who lectures at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies.

“The UK has long seen the U.S. trade embargo as the wrong way to produce greater openness and tolerance of new ideas in Cuba,” he said.

The visit will be welcomed on the island, which has seen a decline in high-profile visits since the likes of Pope Francis, then-U.S. President Obama and the Rolling Stones graced its shores just a few years ago.

“This visit means a lot because it shows the world that Cuba is a safe country and at the same time, in spite of economic and political adversities, it continues as a country of social interest,” culture ministry employee Mariela Gonzalez, 42, said on the streets of Havana.

The royal couple will dine with Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who succeeded Raul Castro a year ago. They first met last November on Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, when the Cuban president was visiting London.

There are no plans for Charles to meet Raul Castro, who remains head of the Communist Party, though that could change, according to Britain’s embassy.

The royals’ schedule through Wednesday, when they depart for the Cayman Islands, includes a tour of Havana’s restored colonial district, visits to community and green energy projects, a meeting with young entrepreneurs, reviewing a parade of antique British cars, and various cultural activities.

Former Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta, who returned to his native land in 2015 to start a dance company, termed the visit “great” and said he hoped it would strengthen relations.

“I was formed here and for many years I was in the UK and built my career, so these two nations are very important to me,” said the world-renowned Acosta, who will take over direction of England’s Birmingham Royal Ballet next year.

BREXIT AND TRUMP

Britain has worked through its embassies worldwide to strengthen bilateral commercial relations since a referendum three years ago to exit the European Union. 

Plans for high-level officials to accompany the Prince of Wales were scuttled by the political drama playing out in London over how best to leave the EU before a March 29 deadline.

British trade with Cuba was less than $100 million last year. However, some 200,000 British tourists vacation there annually.

Insurer Lloyds of London and British-based accounting firm Ernst and Young do a brisk business on the island, as do lubricants manufacturer Castrol and Aberdeen Standard Investments, which manages Cuba-focused real estate firm CEIBA Investments Ltd

A handful of well-known British corporations have investments in Cuba through subsidiaries, for example Imperial Brands Plc, British-American Tobacco Plc and Unilever.

These and other British companies may eventually become targets of lawsuits by Cuban-Americans if Washington presses ahead with a tougher stance on foreign investment.

The Trump administration has threatened to activate a dormant law as soon as next month that allows American citizens to go to court against foreign companies “trafficking” in their nationalized and confiscated properties taken at the time of Cuba’s 1959 Revolution.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

John Lott | President, Crime Prevention Research Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Johnny Manziel won’t start for the Memphis Express this Sunday against the Birmingham Iron, but it does sound like he is ready to play.

Express coach Mike Singletary told Jason Munz Wendesday that Manziel wouldn’t get the starting nod in his first AAF game, but that the Texas A&M Heisman winner is “absolutely” ready to play. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

Well, there we have it. Johnny Football will sit behind Brandon Silvers in his first AAF game, but it does sound like he might take some snaps.

As I’ve said before, this isn’t too shocking. It’s hard to learn a whole offense in a couple days. I speculated they might not throw him in immediately, but could have some packages ready for him. It looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Shows Off Arm Strength)

Having said that, the AAF didn’t bring Johnny in so that he could sit on the bench. They brought him in so that he could play and generate massive television ratings.

He might not start this week, but I can promise you that he’ll be in sooner than later.

The saga of Johnny Football continues and you can tune in Sunday night on the NFL Network to see how many snaps he takes. Right now, I’d say he takes under 15. Can’t wait to find out!

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Johnny Manziel won’t start for the Memphis Express this Sunday against the Birmingham Iron, but it does sound like he is ready to play.

Express coach Mike Singletary told Jason Munz Wendesday that Manziel wouldn’t get the starting nod in his first AAF game, but that the Texas A&M Heisman winner is “absolutely” ready to play. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

Well, there we have it. Johnny Football will sit behind Brandon Silvers in his first AAF game, but it does sound like he might take some snaps.

As I’ve said before, this isn’t too shocking. It’s hard to learn a whole offense in a couple days. I speculated they might not throw him in immediately, but could have some packages ready for him. It looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Shows Off Arm Strength)

Having said that, the AAF didn’t bring Johnny in so that he could sit on the bench. They brought him in so that he could play and generate massive television ratings.

He might not start this week, but I can promise you that he’ll be in sooner than later.

The saga of Johnny Football continues and you can tune in Sunday night on the NFL Network to see how many snaps he takes. Right now, I’d say he takes under 15. Can’t wait to find out!

Source: The Daily Caller

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks with a man as he visits Lumphini Park ahead of the general election, in Bangkok
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks with a man as he visits Lumphini Park ahead of the general election, in Bangkok, Thailand, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

March 21, 2019

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand goes to the polls on Sunday under a new system that critics say the military government has devised to prevent the most popular political party, which has won every election since 2001, from returning to power.

The military government says the new rules will usher in stability after more than a decade of fractious, at times violent, politics.

After a government loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a 2014 coup, the military for years banned political activity, suppressed debate, restricted the media and detained dissidents.

Sunday’s general election will officially restore civilian rule but the military will retain a decisive role in politics under a new constitution, and the former army chief who led the 2014 coup, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, is hoping to stay on as head of an elected government.

Following are some details about the new system that supporters of the self-exiled Thaksin say is aimed at blocking them from winning.

THE SENATE

The 250-seat upper house Senate is entirely appointed by the ruling junta. Under the previous constitution, the Senate was only partially appointed.

The Senate will for the first time since 1978 vote along with the lower house, the 500-seat House of Representatives, to choose the new prime minister and government.

Previously, only members of the lower house voted for prime minister.

The magic number of seats parties or alliances need to secure to form a government is 376 – 50 percent plus one of the total number in the two houses of parliament.

With the military choosing all Senate members, including seats reserved for six heads of different armed forces branches, pro-military parties would likely need to win only 126 seats in the House of Representatives to win a majority in a combined vote.

Anti-junta parties, on the other hand, which can’t count on any Senate votes, would need to win 376 seats lower house seats to gain a majority.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The makeup of the 500-seat House of Representatives is what will be decided on Sunday, but not all seats are directly elected.

Under the new constitution, the House of Representatives has 350 “constituency seats”, to which voters on Sunday will directly elect a candidate and, by default, their preferred party.

It also has 150 “party seats”, up from 125 previously.

THE FORMULA FOR PARTY SEATS

Party seats are allocated under a complicated system that big parties, like Pheu Thai, the main pro-Thaksin party, say is disadvantageous for them.

Party seats are distributed by a system that “caps” the total number of seats any one party can gain, based on their percentage of total votes cast nationwide.

The “value” one seat in the House of Representatives is assigned is based on a formula that takes the total number of votes cast and divides it by the 500 seats. So, if 40 million people were to vote on Sunday, the value of one House seat would be 80,000 votes.

A party cannot win more seats than it has “earned” in total votes nationwide. And if a party has already reached or is close to its cap in constituency seats, then it cannot get any more party seats than that cap allows.

If a party wins more constituency seats than its cap, then it keeps those seats but cannot be awarded any party seats even if it was the top vote getter.

The system leaves a bigger pie of party seats for smaller parties to divide up. This will likely result in numerous smaller parties that normally would not have won any seats, awarded one or more party seats.

To illustrate the impact of the new rules, Pheu Thai won the last election, in 2011, with 204 constituency seats and then 61 party seats – awarded under a directly proportional system – as it won 48 percent of the total vote. That gave it a majority of 265 seats in the House of Representatives.

If it were to win the same number of votes this time, the new rules would mean it would end up with 42 fewer seats, which would leave it short of a majority.

CHOOSING PRIME MINISTER

A party must have at least 25 seats in the House of Representatives to nominate a candidate for prime minister.

After that, it will take the support of 376 out of 750 members of the combined houses to become prime minister.

Because the junta will have already chosen all 250 seats of the Senate, the main Palang Pracharat party allied to the military needs to gain only 126 more votes in the lower house.

That’s a huge advantage, though not a guarantee.

If no coalition can agree on prime minister, the new constitution also allows for an “outside” prime minister who is not a member of parliament.

(Writing by Chayut Setboonsarg and Kay Johnson; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Prime Minister Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, March 20, 2019. AAP Image/Andrew Taylor/via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has described social media users who posted abusive comments beneath a photograph of Australian Rules player Tayla Harris as “cowardly grubs”.

Harris, who plays for Carlton in the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, was pictured with her leg fully extended as she kicked a goal in a photograph posted online by a broadcaster on Tuesday.

The post was pulled after a rash of comments that Harris described as “repulsive” and “sexual abuse” appeared underneath it, although the broadcaster later put it up again with an apology.

The Prime Minister waded in on Thursday, saying that while social media attacks were nothing new, they did appear to be disproportionately aimed at women.

Leaning heavily on the Australian vernacular, Morrison utilized the local word for a person indulging in disgusting behavior to describe the online abusers.

“I think they’re grubs,” he told reporters in Melbourne. “I think they’re cowardly grubs, who need to wake up to themselves.

“They’re acting out some kind of hatred in a way that lessens them as people. We should give them no quarter and we should treat them as the grubs they are.”

Harris, who also boxes professionally, described the online abusers as “animals” and received backing from around the world on social media.

The 21-year-old Queenslander said on Wednesday she would not be issuing a complaint to police but hoped the widespread coverage of the incident would make abusers think twice.

“I’m fine with people commenting on and critiquing my football … but it’s the comments that are severely inappropriate, comments that my family will read,” she said.

“The support that has come from this has been phenomenal. I think that has shut down anyone who would have made a comment … I hope they’d be thinking ‘I’ve mucked up here’ and hopefully they won’t do it again.”

Harris, listed as an All-Australian in AFLW’s inaugural season in 2017, has helped Carlton to the last four of this year’s edition. They play Fremantle Dockers in Melbourne on Sunday for a place in the final.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Ian Ransom)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Linwood Mosque holds hands with Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Dunedin Coptic Church, as they walk at the site of Friday's shooting outside the Mosque in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Linwood Mosque holds hands with Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Dunedin Coptic Church, as they walk at the site of Friday’s shooting outside the Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tom Lasseter

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Ibrahim Abdelhalim was at his mosque last week in the Linwood neighborhood of Christchurch, New Zealand, delivering a prayer as he usually does on Friday afternoons. The 67-year-old grandfather had already spoken about “tasting the sweetness of faith” as a Muslim obedient to God and willing to serve humanity.

He heard a pop-pop-pop in the distance.

The sounds got louder. Abdelhalim realized they were gunshots, but he continued. Abruptly ending the holy words mid-sentence would show a lack of respect in the face of God, he thought.

Abdelhalim immigrated from Egypt to Christchurch in 1995. The small city in a far-away island nation, some 16,000 kilometers from the poverty and corruption of Cairo, gave his family a better life. It sits in a tableau of pristine mountains and rolling fields, a place where he often forgot to lock his front door at night. Whatever was happening outside would probably be okay. Still, there were more than 80 people in the room in front of him and so, he said, “I tried to finish the prayer quickly.”

Then the bullets came crashing through the window of the mosque. They sprayed into bodies. People screamed, diving atop each other in jumbled piles. Abdelhalim saw his son but could not make it to where he lay. Further back, at the partition for women, Abdelhalim’s wife was also pinned down by gunfire, shot in the arm. Bullets thudded into a friend next to her, killing the woman. In the land that had become his sanctuary, Abdelhalim suddenly feared he was about to watch his family be slaughtered.

Police later named Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, as the alleged shooter in the massacre last Friday, which claimed 50 lives and left as many wounded.

Tarrant posted online a screed espousing white supremacist ideology and hatred of immigrants, authorities say. So far charged with one murder, Tarrant was remanded to custody without a plea Saturday, and is due back in court next month, when police say he is likely to face more charges.

The country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, described a very different New Zealand in an address after the carnage. “We represent diversity, kindness, compassion,” she said, her voice at times cracking with emotion. “A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.”

Many victims in Christchurch had sought just that – leaving Somalia, Pakistan, Syria or Afghanistan for a better life, often with little in their pockets. Abdelhalim spoke of the city as a dream made real.

In Cairo, Abdelhalim said, he’d worked as a judge specializing in inheritance and tenancy cases. He lived in a well-heeled suburb, his parents a teacher and a government employee, his brother an officer in the Egyptian military. But he did not see the future he wanted for his three children in Egypt. Cairo had witnessed a president being assassinated by Islamic militants in 1981, and a string of bombs exploding in and around the city in 1993.

So the family moved to Christchurch, and Abdelhalim took the only job he could find, as a clerk at Work and Income, the government agency for employment services and financial assistance. “I tried to study law, but found it was very hard to begin again,” he said.

Nevertheless, his children were going to good schools and his family moved into a small brick home, where he still lives, with roses in the well-trimmed yard. A neighbor invited him over for tea, he said, “nearly every day.” The family got to know the woman at the post office, a local shopkeeper and just about everyone else.

Far from the chaos of Cairo, Christchurch is a place where men in straw hats and vests take tourists down the placid waters of the Avon River. It is a city of parks with birds chirping and a streetcar clanking past Cathedral Square.

Abdelhalim’s life grew along with the city. He opened a restaurant, named for his old home, Cairo. He became active in the Muslim community, working as the imam at a mosque called Al Noor.

When terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York in September 2001, Abdelhalim was the head of a local Islamic association. At the time, he said, there was a flare up of young people yelling at Muslims and trying to grab women’s headscarves. Abdelhalim responded by organizing community events at the mosque. In 2017, he took part in opening a multi-faith prayer space at the airport. “My only weapon,” he said, “is my tongue.”

He also helped start and agreed to be the imam, the religious leader, of the Linwood mosque as its doors opened early last year, though it was across the city from his house. The building, a former community center, sits amid signs for the Salvation Army, a pawnshop, the Super Liquor and the Value Mart. Its presence was a marker of growth in the city’s still-small Muslim community.

It was at another mosque, Al Noor, that the gunman first began shooting. He shot at men, women and children as he emptied one clip of ammunition and then the next, circling back to shoot once more just to be sure he’d killed as many Muslims as possible. He took more than 40 lives there. The gunman then got into his car and drove to Linwood, where Abdelhalim, a man with a carefully cut white beard, was beginning to pray.

In the back of the mosque, a 27-year-old man from Afghanistan named Ahmed Khan peeked out a window. The plump-faced Khan and his family had arrived in Christchurch 12 years earlier, leaving behind a nation torn by war.

“Someone called ‘help!’ and when I looked out the window, somebody was laying down, bleeding,” he said. Khan’s eyes flitted across the driveway and spotted a strange figure – a man wearing a helmet, standing in broad daylight with a rifle in his hands.

The man squeezed the trigger, Khan said, and a bullet flew through the window. Khan recalls calling out, “There’s someone with a gun!”

In the prayer area, where Abdelhalim had stood reciting holy words just moments before, people flung themselves on the ground in panic. Khan recalls cradling a man in his arms one moment and then, the next, the gunman “shot him when I was holding him, in the head. And he was dead.”

There was another Afghan in the room who rushed toward the door. In the gunfire that followed, seven people were killed. Khan said the toll almost certainly would have been higher if this second Afghan – Abdul Aziz, a short, muscular man who runs a furniture shop – hadn’t confronted the shooter.

Aziz grabbed a credit card machine and hurled it at the gunman, dodging bullets. He later chased the gunman with an unloaded shotgun that the shooter dropped as he went back for another weapon, then hurled it like a spear through his car window. With four of his children in the mosque, Aziz later said, he acted to protect his own piece of adopted homeland. “I didn’t know where my own kids were – if they are alive, if they are dead,” he said.

They’d survived, with one of his sons laid over a younger brother, protecting the smaller boy’s body with his own. Abdelhalim’s wife and son also made it out alive.

Now, in the aftermath of 50 dead in his city, Abdelhalim is trying to keep his family and his people together. They are left to navigate an issue that has confronted communities around the world after mass shootings: How, in the midst of suffering and rage, does normalcy and the peace they once knew return, if at all?

On Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours after the massacre, Abdelhalim walked out of a crisis response center in Christchurch. On the wall, there was a Wi-Fi login and password written on a piece of white paper: youarewelcome. A group of motorcycle club members had parked their bikes on the grass in a show of support. Burly men in black leather jackets milled about. A young man with the club’s name tattooed across the side of his face – “Tribesmen” – chatted with reporters. Police stood by with assault rifles.

Abdelhalim made his way carefully through the crowd in a dark suit with light pinstripes. Everyone was asking, he said, “can the peace of Christchurch come back?”

The gunman’s manifesto, released shortly before the attacks, said he was motivated to fight back against the “invasion” of immigration by non-whites. The actual number of Muslims in New Zealand is small – about one percent of the populace. At the 2013 census, the most recent figures available, the government reported a 28 percent rise in Muslims since 2006, along with jumps in Hindu and Sikh numbers.

On Sunday morning, Abdelhalim opened his front door at 9, wearing board shorts, flipflops and a worn collared shirt, instead of the suits he favors in public. He was exhausted. City authorities released a list of the dead past midnight at the Christchurch Hospital. Abdelhalim was there to speak with the bereaved. He’d gotten home from the hospital at some time after 2 a.m. and had barely slept.

The next day, standing on the other side of police tape from the mosque in Linwood, Abdelhalim was asked by a reporter for details of the shooting. Abdelhalim said he’d rather not say.

“I don’t need to repeat the story of what happened,” he said. “Because it breaks my heart.”

(Reporting by Tom Lasseter; Editing by Philip McClellan and Peter Hirschberg)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Linwood Mosque holds hands with Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Dunedin Coptic Church, as they walk at the site of Friday's shooting outside the Mosque in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim of the Linwood Mosque holds hands with Father Felimoun El-Baramoussy from the Dunedin Coptic Church, as they walk at the site of Friday’s shooting outside the Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tom Lasseter

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Ibrahim Abdelhalim was at his mosque last week in the Linwood neighborhood of Christchurch, New Zealand, delivering a prayer as he usually does on Friday afternoons. The 67-year-old grandfather had already spoken about “tasting the sweetness of faith” as a Muslim obedient to God and willing to serve humanity.

He heard a pop-pop-pop in the distance.

The sounds got louder. Abdelhalim realized they were gunshots, but he continued. Abruptly ending the holy words mid-sentence would show a lack of respect in the face of God, he thought.

Abdelhalim immigrated from Egypt to Christchurch in 1995. The small city in a far-away island nation, some 16,000 kilometers from the poverty and corruption of Cairo, gave his family a better life. It sits in a tableau of pristine mountains and rolling fields, a place where he often forgot to lock his front door at night. Whatever was happening outside would probably be okay. Still, there were more than 80 people in the room in front of him and so, he said, “I tried to finish the prayer quickly.”

Then the bullets came crashing through the window of the mosque. They sprayed into bodies. People screamed, diving atop each other in jumbled piles. Abdelhalim saw his son but could not make it to where he lay. Further back, at the partition for women, Abdelhalim’s wife was also pinned down by gunfire, shot in the arm. Bullets thudded into a friend next to her, killing the woman. In the land that had become his sanctuary, Abdelhalim suddenly feared he was about to watch his family be slaughtered.

Police later named Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian, as the alleged shooter in the massacre last Friday, which claimed 50 lives and left as many wounded.

Tarrant posted online a screed espousing white supremacist ideology and hatred of immigrants, authorities say. So far charged with one murder, Tarrant was remanded to custody without a plea Saturday, and is due back in court next month, when police say he is likely to face more charges.

The country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, described a very different New Zealand in an address after the carnage. “We represent diversity, kindness, compassion,” she said, her voice at times cracking with emotion. “A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.”

Many victims in Christchurch had sought just that – leaving Somalia, Pakistan, Syria or Afghanistan for a better life, often with little in their pockets. Abdelhalim spoke of the city as a dream made real.

In Cairo, Abdelhalim said, he’d worked as a judge specializing in inheritance and tenancy cases. He lived in a well-heeled suburb, his parents a teacher and a government employee, his brother an officer in the Egyptian military. But he did not see the future he wanted for his three children in Egypt. Cairo had witnessed a president being assassinated by Islamic militants in 1981, and a string of bombs exploding in and around the city in 1993.

So the family moved to Christchurch, and Abdelhalim took the only job he could find, as a clerk at Work and Income, the government agency for employment services and financial assistance. “I tried to study law, but found it was very hard to begin again,” he said.

Nevertheless, his children were going to good schools and his family moved into a small brick home, where he still lives, with roses in the well-trimmed yard. A neighbor invited him over for tea, he said, “nearly every day.” The family got to know the woman at the post office, a local shopkeeper and just about everyone else.

Far from the chaos of Cairo, Christchurch is a place where men in straw hats and vests take tourists down the placid waters of the Avon River. It is a city of parks with birds chirping and a streetcar clanking past Cathedral Square.

Abdelhalim’s life grew along with the city. He opened a restaurant, named for his old home, Cairo. He became active in the Muslim community, working as the imam at a mosque called Al Noor.

When terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York in September 2001, Abdelhalim was the head of a local Islamic association. At the time, he said, there was a flare up of young people yelling at Muslims and trying to grab women’s headscarves. Abdelhalim responded by organizing community events at the mosque. In 2017, he took part in opening a multi-faith prayer space at the airport. “My only weapon,” he said, “is my tongue.”

He also helped start and agreed to be the imam, the religious leader, of the Linwood mosque as its doors opened early last year, though it was across the city from his house. The building, a former community center, sits amid signs for the Salvation Army, a pawnshop, the Super Liquor and the Value Mart. Its presence was a marker of growth in the city’s still-small Muslim community.

It was at another mosque, Al Noor, that the gunman first began shooting. He shot at men, women and children as he emptied one clip of ammunition and then the next, circling back to shoot once more just to be sure he’d killed as many Muslims as possible. He took more than 40 lives there. The gunman then got into his car and drove to Linwood, where Abdelhalim, a man with a carefully cut white beard, was beginning to pray.

In the back of the mosque, a 27-year-old man from Afghanistan named Ahmed Khan peeked out a window. The plump-faced Khan and his family had arrived in Christchurch 12 years earlier, leaving behind a nation torn by war.

“Someone called ‘help!’ and when I looked out the window, somebody was laying down, bleeding,” he said. Khan’s eyes flitted across the driveway and spotted a strange figure – a man wearing a helmet, standing in broad daylight with a rifle in his hands.

The man squeezed the trigger, Khan said, and a bullet flew through the window. Khan recalls calling out, “There’s someone with a gun!”

In the prayer area, where Abdelhalim had stood reciting holy words just moments before, people flung themselves on the ground in panic. Khan recalls cradling a man in his arms one moment and then, the next, the gunman “shot him when I was holding him, in the head. And he was dead.”

There was another Afghan in the room who rushed toward the door. In the gunfire that followed, seven people were killed. Khan said the toll almost certainly would have been higher if this second Afghan – Abdul Aziz, a short, muscular man who runs a furniture shop – hadn’t confronted the shooter.

Aziz grabbed a credit card machine and hurled it at the gunman, dodging bullets. He later chased the gunman with an unloaded shotgun that the shooter dropped as he went back for another weapon, then hurled it like a spear through his car window. With four of his children in the mosque, Aziz later said, he acted to protect his own piece of adopted homeland. “I didn’t know where my own kids were – if they are alive, if they are dead,” he said.

They’d survived, with one of his sons laid over a younger brother, protecting the smaller boy’s body with his own. Abdelhalim’s wife and son also made it out alive.

Now, in the aftermath of 50 dead in his city, Abdelhalim is trying to keep his family and his people together. They are left to navigate an issue that has confronted communities around the world after mass shootings: How, in the midst of suffering and rage, does normalcy and the peace they once knew return, if at all?

On Saturday afternoon, about 24 hours after the massacre, Abdelhalim walked out of a crisis response center in Christchurch. On the wall, there was a Wi-Fi login and password written on a piece of white paper: youarewelcome. A group of motorcycle club members had parked their bikes on the grass in a show of support. Burly men in black leather jackets milled about. A young man with the club’s name tattooed across the side of his face – “Tribesmen” – chatted with reporters. Police stood by with assault rifles.

Abdelhalim made his way carefully through the crowd in a dark suit with light pinstripes. Everyone was asking, he said, “can the peace of Christchurch come back?”

The gunman’s manifesto, released shortly before the attacks, said he was motivated to fight back against the “invasion” of immigration by non-whites. The actual number of Muslims in New Zealand is small – about one percent of the populace. At the 2013 census, the most recent figures available, the government reported a 28 percent rise in Muslims since 2006, along with jumps in Hindu and Sikh numbers.

On Sunday morning, Abdelhalim opened his front door at 9, wearing board shorts, flipflops and a worn collared shirt, instead of the suits he favors in public. He was exhausted. City authorities released a list of the dead past midnight at the Christchurch Hospital. Abdelhalim was there to speak with the bereaved. He’d gotten home from the hospital at some time after 2 a.m. and had barely slept.

The next day, standing on the other side of police tape from the mosque in Linwood, Abdelhalim was asked by a reporter for details of the shooting. Abdelhalim said he’d rather not say.

“I don’t need to repeat the story of what happened,” he said. “Because it breaks my heart.”

(Reporting by Tom Lasseter; Editing by Philip McClellan and Peter Hirschberg)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 19, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Fans walk outside stadium court at Hard Rock Stadium during a rain delay in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rain again spoiled the Miami Open party wiping out the evening session on Wednesday and adding to what has been a soggy and dejecting kickoff to a tournament looking for a new start.

A move from the cramped Crandon Park on picturesque Key Biscayne to the wide open spaces at Hard Rock Stadium was hoped to provide the Miami Open with a bright future.

But so far dark storm clouds have cast a wet shadow over proceedings.

Prior to the start of the tournament, officials had boasted a 25 percent jump in ticket sales but the stands have been mostly empty through two days with only one of four sessions completed.

Organisers have now been left with a backlog of matches to schedule and sending out refunds.

Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu, who claimed a stunning victory at Indian Wells on Sunday, was to be the headliner on the opening day but never made it onto the 13,800-seat stadium court to face Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting earlier in the day under sunny skies involving Serena Williams, Roger Federer and world number ones Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, action got underway with three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka defeating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 3-6 6-4 to christen the venue.

All of the 29-year-old Belarusian’s titles were celebrated at Crandon Park but the move to Miami suburbs did not have any affect on Azarenka as the twice Australian Open champion pounded 41 winners past her Slovak opponent.

“I think the stadium is beautiful. I think the logistics here work out pretty well,” said Azarenka, a former world number one. “I feel the expansion of the tournament was, first of all, really necessary.

“There is a lot more room. There is a lot better facilities. So I’m pretty happy.”

Before the rain began 17-year-old American hope Amanda Anisimova gave the small crowd something to cheer about as she romped into the second round with 6-4 6-3 decision over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Before Andreescu grabbed the spotlight Anisimova had appeared to be the teenager to watch after she started 2019 with a run to the quarter-finals in Auckland and a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 19, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Fans walk outside stadium court at Hard Rock Stadium during a rain delay in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rain again spoiled the Miami Open party wiping out the evening session on Wednesday and adding to what has been a soggy and dejecting kickoff to a tournament looking for a new start.

A move from the cramped Crandon Park on picturesque Key Biscayne to the wide open spaces at Hard Rock Stadium was hoped to provide the Miami Open with a bright future.

But so far dark storm clouds have cast a wet shadow over proceedings.

Prior to the start of the tournament, officials had boasted a 25 percent jump in ticket sales but the stands have been mostly empty through two days with only one of four sessions completed.

Organisers have now been left with a backlog of matches to schedule and sending out refunds.

Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu, who claimed a stunning victory at Indian Wells on Sunday, was to be the headliner on the opening day but never made it onto the 13,800-seat stadium court to face Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting earlier in the day under sunny skies involving Serena Williams, Roger Federer and world number ones Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, action got underway with three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka defeating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 3-6 6-4 to christen the venue.

All of the 29-year-old Belarusian’s titles were celebrated at Crandon Park but the move to Miami suburbs did not have any affect on Azarenka as the twice Australian Open champion pounded 41 winners past her Slovak opponent.

“I think the stadium is beautiful. I think the logistics here work out pretty well,” said Azarenka, a former world number one. “I feel the expansion of the tournament was, first of all, really necessary.

“There is a lot more room. There is a lot better facilities. So I’m pretty happy.”

Before the rain began 17-year-old American hope Amanda Anisimova gave the small crowd something to cheer about as she romped into the second round with 6-4 6-3 decision over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Before Andreescu grabbed the spotlight Anisimova had appeared to be the teenager to watch after she started 2019 with a run to the quarter-finals in Auckland and a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 19, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Fans walk outside stadium court at Hard Rock Stadium during a rain delay in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rain again spoiled the Miami Open party wiping out the evening session on Wednesday and adding to what has been a soggy and dejecting kickoff to a tournament looking for a new start.

A move from the cramped Crandon Park on picturesque Key Biscayne to the wide open spaces at Hard Rock Stadium was hoped to provide the Miami Open with a bright future.

But so far dark storm clouds have cast a wet shadow over proceedings.

Prior to the start of the tournament, officials had boasted a 25 percent jump in ticket sales but the stands have been mostly empty through two days with only one of four sessions completed.

Organisers have now been left with a backlog of matches to schedule and sending out refunds.

Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu, who claimed a stunning victory at Indian Wells on Sunday, was to be the headliner on the opening day but never made it onto the 13,800-seat stadium court to face Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting earlier in the day under sunny skies involving Serena Williams, Roger Federer and world number ones Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, action got underway with three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka defeating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 3-6 6-4 to christen the venue.

All of the 29-year-old Belarusian’s titles were celebrated at Crandon Park but the move to Miami suburbs did not have any affect on Azarenka as the twice Australian Open champion pounded 41 winners past her Slovak opponent.

“I think the stadium is beautiful. I think the logistics here work out pretty well,” said Azarenka, a former world number one. “I feel the expansion of the tournament was, first of all, really necessary.

“There is a lot more room. There is a lot better facilities. So I’m pretty happy.”

Before the rain began 17-year-old American hope Amanda Anisimova gave the small crowd something to cheer about as she romped into the second round with 6-4 6-3 decision over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Before Andreescu grabbed the spotlight Anisimova had appeared to be the teenager to watch after she started 2019 with a run to the quarter-finals in Auckland and a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

Fox News’ Dana Perino criticized the Democratic presidential candidates who have come out in favor of dismantling the Electoral College, during her Wednesday appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke have all stated their belief that the country should do away with the Electoral College and elect presidents via the popular vote.

WATCH:

“It’s a litmus test, right? Is there a Democratic candidate who is saying no? Cory Booker kind of tapped the breaks on it, whoa, whoa, whoa, I don’t know. But he will get there. This is happening,” Perino stated. “Remember, it’s Eric Holder also, I think, who during the Obama administration suggested this. But the Democrats didn’t need to talk about this when President Obama was president because he won the Electoral College. Okay?” (RELATED: Democratic Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Amendment To Abolish The Electoral College)

“The institutions have held up but the Democrats are now talking about actually dismantling those institutions. And what is interesting to me is that the reason that the country is set up this way with different states is because we are republic. You have a representative government,” she continued.

“If you do away with that and you just elect the president by whoever lives in New York and California, then, and you just erase all of those boundaries, then you truly are for open borders,” Perino concluded. “Then you are no longer of the United States of America. You are like united people of America where perhaps, not so united, right, just the people of America.”

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio rebuked the Democrats’ plan to get rid of the Electoral College on twitter Tuesday morning.

US senator Marco Rubio, addresses the press on the humanitarian aid shipments sent by the US government for Venezuela that are stockpiled at a collection center in the Colombian border, at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, border with San Antonio de Tachira, Venezuela on February 17, 2019. - Thousands of volunteers in Venezuela will begin mobilizing on Sunday to bring American aid into their crisis-hit country despite a blockade by President Nicolas Maduro who claims the assistance could be cover for a US invasion. US aid that has been piling up in the Colombian border town of Cucuta has become the frontline of the confrontation between Guaido and Maduro. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

US senator Marco Rubio, addresses the press on the humanitarian aid shipments sent by the US government for Venezuela that are stockpiled at a collection center in the Colombian border, at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, border with San Antonio de Tachira, Venezuela on February 17, 2019. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Democrat plan to get rid of the Electoral College has nothing to do with making sure every vote counts,” Rubio stated. “It’s about diminishing the electoral power of what liberals arrogantly call the ‘flyover states’ & of Americans they habitually disrespect as uneducated & backwards.” (RELATED: Marco Rubio Rebukes Democrats’ Attempt To Get Rid Of The Electoral College)

President Donald Trump also supported the Electoral College on Twitter, saying, “Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon. The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win.”

Twelve states have passed laws mandating that their Electoral College votes go to the winner of the national popular vote, but none of the laws will go into effect unless the combined number of Electoral College votes reach 270 — the number of votes needed for a presidential candidate to win.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

March 21, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian medics said, and the military announced on Thursday that a soldier had discharged his weapon and it was reviewing the incident.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet wounds at an Israeli military roadblock near the city of Bethlehem on Wednesday and that Israeli forces had shot him.

It gave no details about the circumstances of the night-time shooting. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as a 26-year-old from Bethlehem and said another Palestinian had also been shot and critically wounded.

Hours later, the Israeli military issued a statement saying that a soldier stationed at a post near Bethlehem had “identified rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles (and) in response, he fired his weapon”.

The statement did not identify the soldier’s intended target and some Israeli media reports said warning shots were fired in the air, suggesting the two Palestinians may have been hit unintentionally.

“A report was received regarding injured Palestinians,” the military said. “Details regarding the incident are being reviewed and the incident will be examined.”

Tensions have been high in the West Bank since a Palestinian killed an Israeli soldier and a rabbi in a stabbing and shooting attack in the territory on Sunday.

Israeli forces on Tuesday killed the alleged assailant near the West Bank city of Ramallah after he opened fire at troops who had come to arrest him, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, two other Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

Late senator John McCain is honored during the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit in New York
Late senator John McCain is honored during the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 22, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

March 20, 2019

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The widow and daughter of John McCain on Wednesday criticized President Donald Trump and his online supporters for repeated attacks on the former U.S. senator, Republican presidential nominee and Vietnam War hero who was tortured during five and a half years spent as a prisoner of war.

Speaking on Wednesday to an employee at an Ohio factory that makes military tanks, Trump again hammered McCain.

“So I have to be honest, I’ve never liked him much,” Trump said. “I really probably never will. But there are certain reasons for it.”

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator, spent the last few days defending her father and politely criticizing Trump. On Wednesday she said the president had reached “a new, bizarre low – attacking someone who is not here is a new low.”

She also said, “If I had told my dad … he would think it is so hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death.”

Barely six months after McCain’s death, Trump started the latest exchange between himself and the McCain clan on Sunday in a blast of Tweets, including one that attacked “‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain.”

A spokeswoman for Meghan McCain said she was not immediately available for further comment.

Cindy McCain, the senator’s widow, sarcastically urged her Twitter followers to “see how kind and loving a stranger can be” and shared with them an online message from someone who described John McCain as a “traitorous piece of warmongering shit and I’m glad he’s dead.”

On Tuesday, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office while sitting next the president of Brazil, Trump added: “I never was a fan of John McCain, and I never will be.”

The tweets and soundbites triggered a swirl of anti-McCain attacks and pro-McCain appeals on social media, like the one Cindy McCain shared, and cable TV discussion.

Without rebuking Trump, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Tweet: “Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain. It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate.”

Republican Senator Johnny Isakson was more critical. In an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting on Wednesday, he called Trump’s remarks about McCain “deplorable.”

The White House had no comment on Trump’s latest attacks.

Trump on Wednesday expressed concern about McCain’s role in the handling of a “dossier,” compiled before the 2016 U.S. presidential election by a former British spy and paid for by lawyers for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The dossier alleged Russian financial dealings with Trump and included salacious personal details that remain unconfirmed. After the election, a copy of the dossier was given to McCain, who gave it to the FBI, according to court documents that were made public last week.

Trump and his supporters have aggressively attacked the document ever since its contents became public.

“John McCain received a fake and phony dossier … He got it, and what did he do? He didn’t call me,” Trump said during his visit to the Ohio factory. “He turned it over to the FBI hoping to put me in jeopardy and that’s not the nicest thing to do.”

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Dan Grebler and Nick Carey)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Dustin Johnson of the U.S. stands on the putting green before withdrawing from the 2017 Masters in Augusta
FILE PHOTO: Dustin Johnson of the U.S. and his caddie Austin Johnson stand on the putting green shortly before Dustin Johnson withdrew from play due to injury during the first round of the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

March 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Nearly two years after Dustin Johnson was knocked out of the Masters when he injured his back slipping on stairs on the tournament’s eve, his caddie and brother Austin has broken a bone in his hand in a similar mishap.

Austin suffered the injury while packing up on Sunday night at the rental house where the brothers were staying at the Players Championship in Florida, world number one Dustin told reporters.

“He had a bit of a run-in with a pair of stairs, kind of like I did,” Dustin said on Wednesday on the eve of the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Those stairs, man, they’ll get you.”

Austin is not letting the injury prevent him from his professional duties.

He caddied in the pro-am at Innisbrook on Wednesday with his left arm in a sling and a cast on his wrist.

Dustin was the hot favorite at the 2017 Masters, as world number one and coming off the back off three straight victories.

The back injury, which he described as severe bruising, kept him out of action for a month.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Israeli forces fire tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
Israeli forces fire tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

March 20, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday by what a Palestinian ambulance service said was Israeli army gunfire.

The Israeli military said it was checking the report.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet wounds at an Israeli military roadblock near the city of Bethlehem and that Israeli forces had shot him. It gave no details about the circumstances of the night-time shooting.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as a 26-year-old from Bethlehem and said another Palestinian had also been shot and critically wounded.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank since a Palestinian killed an Israeli soldier and a rabbi in a stabbing and shooting attack in the territory on Sunday.

Israeli forces on Tuesday killed the alleged assailant near the West Bank city of Ramallah after he opened fire at troops who had come to arrest him, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, two other Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

Israeli forces fire tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
Israeli forces fire tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

March 20, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian was shot and killed in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday by what a Palestinian ambulance service said was Israeli army gunfire.

The Israeli military said it was checking the report.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said one of its crews treated a man with two bullet wounds at an Israeli military roadblock near the city of Bethlehem and that Israeli forces had shot him. It gave no details about the circumstances of the night-time shooting.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the man as a 26-year-old from Bethlehem and said another Palestinian had also been shot and critically wounded.

Tensions have been high in the West Bank since a Palestinian killed an Israeli soldier and a rabbi in a stabbing and shooting attack in the territory on Sunday.

Israeli forces on Tuesday killed the alleged assailant near the West Bank city of Ramallah after he opened fire at troops who had come to arrest him, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, two other Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during clashes near the West Bank city of Nablus.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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.

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

Late senator John McCain is honored during the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit in New York
Late senator John McCain is honored during the 2018 Iran Uprising Summit in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 22, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

March 20, 2019

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The widow and daughter of John McCain – former U.S. senator, Republican presidential nominee and Vietnam War hero – on Wednesday criticized President Donald Trump and his online supporters for attacking McCain and his family.

Speaking on Wednesday to an employee at an Ohio factory that makes military tanks, Trump again hammered McCain. “So I have to be honest, I’ve never liked him much,” Trump said. “I really probably never will. But there are certain reasons for it.”

Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator, spent the last few days defending her father and politely criticizing Trump. On Wednesday she said the president had reached “a new, bizarre low – attacking someone who is not here is a new low.”

She also said, “If I had told my dad… he would think it is so hilarious that our president was so jealous of him that he was dominating the news cycle in death.”

Barely six months after McCain’s death, Trump started the latest exchange between himself and the McCain clan on Sunday in a blast of Tweets, including one that attacked “‘last in his class’ (Annapolis) John McCain.”

A spokeswoman for Meghan McCain said she was not immediately available for further comment.

Cindy McCain, the senator’s widow, sarcastically urged her Twitter followers to “see how kind and loving a stranger can be” and shared with them an online message from someone who described John McCain as a “traitorous piece of warmongering shit and I’m glad he’s dead.”

On Tuesday, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office while sitting next the president of Brazil, Trump added: “I never was a fan of John McCain, and I never will be.”

The tweets and soundbites triggered a swirl of anti-McCain attacks and pro-McCain appeals on social media, like the one Cindy McCain shared, and cable TV discussion.

Without rebuking Trump, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a Tweet: “Today and every day I miss my good friend John McCain. It was a blessing to serve alongside a rare patriot and genuine American hero in the Senate.”

The White House had no comment on Trump’s latest attacks.

(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A New Jersey school district apologized Tuesday after one of its employees told high school student athletes that Adolf Hitler was a “good leader” at a Saturday presentation.

Nutley High School athletics director Joe Piro made the remarks while showing Hitler’s picture next to civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s photo to Madison High School student athletes, the New York Post reported Wednesday. Piro added that Hitler did not have good moral intentions.

“While the District was unaware of our Athletic Director’s participation in this leadership conference at Madison High School, we share his regret to mention Adolf Hitler alongside examples of positive leadership and over the inclusion of this insensitive reference,” Nutley Public Schools superintendent Julie Glazer said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We sincerely apologize to the high school audience and the Madison community.”

“My intentions during the presentation were to make a point that a leader could have strong leadership skills and influence people in a negative way,” Piro said, the North Jersey Record reported. (RELATED: New Jersey University Dean Resigns Over Chick-Fil-A Ban)

Nutley Public Schools spokesperson Karen Greco told TheDCNF over email that the district cannot “comment on personnel” when asked if Piro was facing any disciplinary action.

Madison School District superintendent Mark Schwarz said in a letter to parents Sunday that there was no reason to include Hitler at “an assembly intended to promote unity and character,” according to the North Jersey Record.

Pictured is the concept of leadership. SHUTTERSTOCK/ sdecoret

Pictured is the concept of leadership. SHUTTERSTOCK/ sdecoret

“If the speaker intended to highlight an example of an effective leader with misguided intentions, a less emotionally-charged example would have been more effective and appropriate,” Schwarz said in the letter, NJ.com reported.

Madison school officials had not vetted Piro’s presentation. Piro, who says he has been an educator for 20 years, will remove the Hitler example for future presentations.

Madison School District did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

Follow Neetu on Twitter

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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.

Follow Amber on Twitter

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

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

NBC host Chuck Todd received a Walter Cronkite Award for political journalism for an hour-long feature on climate change that excluded “climate deniers.”

The Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication gave the award to Todd and his Sunday show “Meet The Press.” The hour-long special, titled “Climate Crisis,” featured experts and politicians who agree that human activity is driving the earth’s climate toward catastrophe. (RELATED: MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Kept ‘Climate Deniers’ Off His Hour-Long Global Warming Special)

“In an extraordinary move for a Sunday show, NBC’s Meet the Press moderated by Chuck Todd devoted an entire hour to the reality of climate change, rather than giving airtime to a fake equivalence between science and science deniers,” the Norman Lear Center said in a statement.

The featured guests discussed and debated actions and government policies that could curb man’s influence on climate. The special notably excluded any scientists or politicians who questioned the significance of humanity’s influence on the climate.

Judges for the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism called the program “urgent and unprecedented” and a “breakthrough in issue coverage,” according to the Norman Lear Center.

WATCH:

Todd’s program aired Dec. 30, 2018.

“We’re going to take an in-depth look … at a literally Earth-changing subject that doesn’t get talked about this thoroughly — on television news, at least — climate change,” Todd said at the special’s open.

Todd continued:

“But just as important as what we are going to do this hour is what we’re not going to do. We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The earth is getting hotter. And human activity is a major cause, period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not. And we’re not going to confuse weather with climate. A heat wave is no more evidence that climate change exists than a blizzard means that it doesn’t, unless the blizzard hits Miami.”

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

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Source: The Daily Caller

A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany’s Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

March 20, 2019

By Matt Scuffham

(Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG’s merger talks with Commerzbank AG has put its 10,000 U.S. workers on edge, three employees told Reuters, with some concerned a deal could pressure Deutsche to further shrink or even dispose of its U.S. businesses.

The future of the bank’s U.S. trading and investment banking presence had already been in question, with some shareholders calling for further cuts on top of ones announced last year, and speculation has intensified following confirmation of the merger talks on Sunday.

The German government, which has a 15 percent stake in Commerzbank, is expected to retain a stake in the combined business if a deal materializes. Some employees fear that could pressure the bank to focus on its home market.

Both banks have cautioned that the outcome of the talks remains uncertain, and the process could drag on for months. In the meantime key employees could decamp to rival Wall Street banks and hedge funds, further weakening a business that has underperformed for years. Several executives have left the bank’s U.S. operations in recent months.

“We don’t know what’s going on. Everything is up in the air,” said one senior employee within the bank’s U.S. equity sales business, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Chief Executive Christian Sewing reiterated in a memo to staff on Sunday that Deutsche aimed to remain a “global bank with a strong capital markets business,” and a source familiar with the matter said the merger would not change the bank’s commitment to a strong U.S. presence.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Wednesday.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz, reportedly a proponent of the merger, has previously stressed the need for Germany’s banking sector to support German companies who want to go abroad to export.

After the 2007-2009 financial crisis, Deutsche maintained a large presence on Wall Street, even as European rivals like Credit Suisse Group AG made big cuts to U.S. investment banking operations.

Deutsche Bank’s U.S. business has brought in around half of revenue for its overall investment banking unit, which includes corporate and investment banking as well as trading, even though it came with a relatively high cost of capital.

However, encumbered by litigation and regulatory investigations into past misconduct, the business has struggled to compete with Wall Street rivals.

Deutsche had said last May that it would reduce its global headcount to well below 90,000 from 97,000. That included a 25 percent cut in equities sales and trading jobs, a significant number of which were in New York, where it has lagged rivals.

Cutting more jobs in the United States would not provoke the same political pushback that the two banks would face if they axe jobs in Germany, banking analysts say.

PAY CONCERNS

Even if Deutsche Bank keeps its U.S. operations largely intact following a Commerzbank deal, some staff fear pay and bonuses would decline because the combined entity would face a backlash from German taxpayers if its remuneration was seen as excessive.

Commerzbank, which is focused on personal and commercial lending, typically pays its staff less than Deutsche Bank. If the German government were to retain a stake in a combined entity, lawmakers would likely argue that it should keep a tight rein on pay.

Traders at Deutsche Bank’s U.S. equities business have already felt a squeeze, with some receiving substantially smaller bonuses for 2018, the sources said.

That has contributed to a decline in morale, which has been exacerbated by the departure of senior staff including Brad Kurtzman, co-head of equities trading in the Americas, who is leaving at the end of this month, the sources said.

A recent focus on recruiting college graduates, held up by senior management as an affirmation of the bank’s long-term commitment to the trading division, has done little to quell concern, they added.

One employee, who asked not to be named, said further defections are considered likely as staff look to pre-empt further cuts should the Commerzbank deal go through.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany’s Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

March 20, 2019

By Matt Scuffham

(Reuters) – Deutsche Bank AG’s merger talks with Commerzbank AG has put its 10,000 U.S. workers on edge, three employees told Reuters, with some concerned a deal could pressure Deutsche to further shrink or even dispose of its U.S. businesses.

The future of the bank’s U.S. trading and investment banking presence had already been in question, with some shareholders calling for further cuts on top of ones announced last year, and speculation has intensified following confirmation of the merger talks on Sunday.

The German government, which has a 15 percent stake in Commerzbank, is expected to retain a stake in the combined business if a deal materializes. Some employees fear that could pressure the bank to focus on its home market.

Both banks have cautioned that the outcome of the talks remains uncertain, and the process could drag on for months. In the meantime key employees could decamp to rival Wall Street banks and hedge funds, further weakening a business that has underperformed for years. Several executives have left the bank’s U.S. operations in recent months.

“We don’t know what’s going on. Everything is up in the air,” said one senior employee within the bank’s U.S. equity sales business, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Chief Executive Christian Sewing reiterated in a memo to staff on Sunday that Deutsche aimed to remain a “global bank with a strong capital markets business,” and a source familiar with the matter said the merger would not change the bank’s commitment to a strong U.S. presence.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on Wednesday.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz, reportedly a proponent of the merger, has previously stressed the need for Germany’s banking sector to support German companies who want to go abroad to export.

After the 2007-2009 financial crisis, Deutsche maintained a large presence on Wall Street, even as European rivals like Credit Suisse Group AG made big cuts to U.S. investment banking operations.

Deutsche Bank’s U.S. business has brought in around half of revenue for its overall investment banking unit, which includes corporate and investment banking as well as trading, even though it came with a relatively high cost of capital.

However, encumbered by litigation and regulatory investigations into past misconduct, the business has struggled to compete with Wall Street rivals.

Deutsche had said last May that it would reduce its global headcount to well below 90,000 from 97,000. That included a 25 percent cut in equities sales and trading jobs, a significant number of which were in New York, where it has lagged rivals.

Cutting more jobs in the United States would not provoke the same political pushback that the two banks would face if they axe jobs in Germany, banking analysts say.

PAY CONCERNS

Even if Deutsche Bank keeps its U.S. operations largely intact following a Commerzbank deal, some staff fear pay and bonuses would decline because the combined entity would face a backlash from German taxpayers if its remuneration was seen as excessive.

Commerzbank, which is focused on personal and commercial lending, typically pays its staff less than Deutsche Bank. If the German government were to retain a stake in a combined entity, lawmakers would likely argue that it should keep a tight rein on pay.

Traders at Deutsche Bank’s U.S. equities business have already felt a squeeze, with some receiving substantially smaller bonuses for 2018, the sources said.

That has contributed to a decline in morale, which has been exacerbated by the departure of senior staff including Brad Kurtzman, co-head of equities trading in the Americas, who is leaving at the end of this month, the sources said.

A recent focus on recruiting college graduates, held up by senior management as an affirmation of the bank’s long-term commitment to the trading division, has done little to quell concern, they added.

One employee, who asked not to be named, said further defections are considered likely as staff look to pre-empt further cuts should the Commerzbank deal go through.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

There’s no guarantee Johnny Manziel will take a single snap in his first game for the Memphis Express.

According to Memphis News reporter Jason Munz, head coach Mike Singletary is “not sure if Manziel will play this weekend” when the Express go up against Birmingham on the NFL Network Sunday night. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

I can’t blame Singletary for not wanting to rush Manziel into the starting lineup. This is professional football we’re talking about.

Getting some reps after a week of practice is one hell of a tall order for any quarterback, especially one who has to learn a new offense. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Shows Off Arm Strength)

So, I wouldn’t be too surprised at all if the Texas A&M Heisman winner doesn’t get off the bench in his first game in a new league. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Yet, I’m sure the guys running the AAF want him on the field as quickly as possible.

If he sits this week, which would be understandable, he’ll still get on the field sooner than later. The AAF didn’t bring him in so that he could sit on the bench.

Manziel was brought in to generate some serious hype. That only happens if he’s on the field. You’ve got to let Johnny be Johnny!

Either way, I’ll probably still tune in Sunday night just in case he does get a package or two. It should be a lot of fun to see if he can tear up the Alliance.

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

There’s no guarantee Johnny Manziel will take a single snap in his first game for the Memphis Express.

According to Memphis News reporter Jason Munz, head coach Mike Singletary is “not sure if Manziel will play this weekend” when the Express go up against Birmingham on the NFL Network Sunday night. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

I can’t blame Singletary for not wanting to rush Manziel into the starting lineup. This is professional football we’re talking about.

Getting some reps after a week of practice is one hell of a tall order for any quarterback, especially one who has to learn a new offense. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Shows Off Arm Strength)

So, I wouldn’t be too surprised at all if the Texas A&M Heisman winner doesn’t get off the bench in his first game in a new league. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Yet, I’m sure the guys running the AAF want him on the field as quickly as possible.

If he sits this week, which would be understandable, he’ll still get on the field sooner than later. The AAF didn’t bring him in so that he could sit on the bench.

Manziel was brought in to generate some serious hype. That only happens if he’s on the field. You’ve got to let Johnny be Johnny!

Either way, I’ll probably still tune in Sunday night just in case he does get a package or two. It should be a lot of fun to see if he can tear up the Alliance.

Source: The Daily Caller

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Lori Loughlin’s drama “When Calls The Heart” will not be canceled, but Loughlin has lost her role as executive producer and lead in the series.

Hallmark cut ties with Loughlin on March 14 over her alleged involvement in the now-infamous college admissions scandal. Fans of Loughlin’s show “When Calls The Heart” freaked out over it being potentially cancelled, according to a report published Wednesday by Entertainment Tonight. (RELATED: Hallmark Announces Decision To Drop Lori Loughlin From Network)

Hallmark and Loughlin’s co-stars took to social media to reassure fans that the show isn’t over yet. Producer Brian Bird posted a statement Sunday to Instagram.

He wrote, “As for the show itself, we know millions of fans are on pins and needles wondering what will happen now. Let us reassure you, When Calls The Heart has always been bigger than the sum of its parts, and it HAS NOT BEEN CANCELED.”

Paul Greene and Andrea Brooks shared that they were thankful for the support from fans on their respective social media accounts as well.

Greene wrote, “Love you all thanks for the amazing love and support through this tough spot.”

While Brooks shared, “I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love and support over the past week.” She continued, “Your kindness and dedication does not go unnoticed.”

The “When Calls The Heart” team has gone on a “creative hiatus” to rewrite the remaining six episodes of the current season, according to Bird.

Source: The Daily Caller

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

David Hookstead | Reporter

Memphis Express quarterback Johnny Manziel seems like he’s done a lot of reflection over the past few years.

The Texas A&M Heisman winner held his first press conference since joining the AAF, and seemed very aware of the importance of football in his life.

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching and a lot of looking at myself in the mirror and coming to the realization that when I’m on a football field and on a team, my life is substantially better,” Manziel told the media Monday afternoon. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

He also added that “life isn’t all about football.” You can watch his comments below.

It’s wild how much it seems like Manziel has grown and matured over the past couple years. There was one point where it looked like he was on a path with a tragic end.

Now, he seems to have grown up, learned the mistakes of his past and is ready to get to work in the AAF(RELATED: Johnny Manziel Shows Off Arm Strength)

The addition of the college football legend really is a great sign for the Alliance of American Football. He adds instant name credibility, and will draw plenty of eyeballs for games on TV.

Manziel and the Express play Sunday night against the Birmingham Iron on the NFL Network. I have a feeling that plenty of people will be watching.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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

Students use their mobile phones during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers
Students use their mobile phones during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

March 20, 2019

By Lamine Chikhi and Hamid Ould Ahmed

ALGIERS (Reuters) – An influential Algerian party that was a long-time supporter of Abdelaziz Bouteflika has criticized the ailing president for seeking to stay in power, another setback for the ruling elite in the face of mass demonstrations.

The National Rally for Democracy (RND), a member of the ruling coalition, has joined ruling party officials, unions and business tycoons who have abandoned Bouteflika in recent days, after nearly a month of street demonstrations protests.

“The candidacy of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a new term was a big mistake,” RND spokesman Seddik Chihab told El Bilad TV.

“Extra constitutional forces have seized power in the past few years and ruled state affairs outside a legal framework.”

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

His moves have done nothing to halt demonstrations, which peaked on Friday with hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of Algiers and have continued into this week.

RND leader Ahmed Ouyahia, a former prime minister who had close ties to intelligence agencies, has also switched sides. “The people’s demands should be met as soon as possible,” he told followers in a letter on Sunday.

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

The military, which wields enormous power from behind the scenes, has remained on the sidelines.

Another powerful figure, Bouteflika’s younger brother Said, has kept a low profile. The president has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke five years ago, and the protesters say a shadowy circle of aides, including Said, have been ruling the country in his name.

The protests continued on Tuesday, with students, university professors and health workers rallying in Algiers calling for Bouteflika to quit.

A new group headed by activists and opposition figures told the army not to interfere.

In the first direct public message to the generals from leaders emerging from the protests, the National Coordination for Change said the military should “play its constitutional role without interfering in the people’s choice”.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wave during a car parade in Pyongyang
FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wave during a car parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 18, 2018. Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – The breakdown at last month’s U.S.-North Korea summit has left South Korean President Moon Jae-in with little room to maneuver and exacerbated divisions within his government over how to break the impasse, three sources familiar with the issue said.

The weeks since the Hanoi summit have revealed how difficult it may now be for Moon to play his desired role as a mediator, as Pyongyang and Washington have hardened their stances, threatening to make his focus on engagement seem implausible.

Some U.S. officials were frustrated when Moon, during a call with President Donald Trump just a week before the summit, offered to “ease the burden” by reopening inter-Korean economic projects as a concession to the North, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

At the time, negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program were “hardly making progress,” one source said.

That offer also landed with a thud among some of Moon’s own administration, who said it made him appear desperate for North Korean sanctions relief.

“You don’t want to look desperate, especially when their talks are going nowhere and time is ticking,” said the source, who like the others spoke on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

Moon is eager to restart the joint projects, key to an initiative that he sees as a boost for a moribund economy and the worst job market in a decade.

WEEKS OF CONTROVERSY

Moon’s approval ratings have fallen to their lowest levels since taking office in May 2017, pollster Realmeter said on Monday, citing recent missile activity in North Korea and the stalemate in nuclear talks.

Since the summit, work at North Korea’s Sohae rocket test facility has been detected, while a senior Pyongyang official said last week that Kim may suspend talks with the United States and rethink its freeze on weapons tests.

Senior North Korean negotiators have not showed up for weekly talks with the South at their liaison office since the summit broke down, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. But there were “no problems” communicating with the North, a ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a recent U.S. State Department human rights paper criticized Seoul for pressuring North Korean defectors not to denounce Pyongyang. A separate U.N. report noted Seoul’s failure to declare its transfer of petroleum products used in the North, and published a photo of Moon and Kim riding in an “illicitly obtained” limousine in Pyongyang.

This week, the debate over whether Moon is too committed to engagement with North Korea boiled over in a controversy about a Bloomberg news report that called him a “top spokesman” for Kim Jong Un last year.

Moon’s office faced criticism from foreign media associations after ruling party officials used the racially charged term “black-haired foreigner” to personally single out the author of the Bloomberg story – who is South Korean – for being “almost treasonous.”

After days of pressure, the party apologized on Tuesday for using “black-haired foreigner,” while Moon’s office said it would take action if the reporter were “under real threat.”

CHANGING ROLES

Moon has vowed to act as a mediator between Trump and Kim, but that plan is in doubt in the wake of the summit’s collapse.

There was criticism in Washington that Seoul might have over-sold Kim’s denuclearisation commitment and gone too far in pushing for sanctions relief, according to another source who recently met with U.S. officials and academics.

On the other side, North Korea’s vice foreign minister told a news conference in Pyongyang last week that South Korea is only “a player, not an arbiter” because it is a U.S. ally, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. officials have said no sanctions will be lifted in exchange for partial steps toward denuclearisation, rejecting the incremental approach Pyongyang has sought.

But a senior aide to Moon on Sunday called for a small, step-by-step deal as a “realistic alternative” that would at least move toward dismantling the North’s nuclear facilities in return for sanctions relief.

“We need to reconsider the all-or-nothing strategy,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

A U.S. State Department representative said that the United States remains prepared for a “constructive negotiation” but that North Korea was not yet ready.

The three sources say U.S. officials still think Moon’s administration can play a role in resuming talks the North, but they want it to focus more on pushing North Korea to denuclearise rather than advocating for sanctions relief.

“They do think South Korea could be a catalyst that helps the negotiations go in the right direction, but in a way that brings Kim’s commitments that deserve U.S. rewards,” said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Josh Smith and Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Israeli soldiers gaurd near the scene of Sunday's attack near the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
Israeli soldiers gaurd near the scene of Sunday’s attack near the Jewish settlement of Ariel, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

March 19, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli forces on Tuesday killed a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a deadly stabbing and shooting attack in the occupied West Bank two days earlier, the Israeli Shin Bet security service said.

The assailant was killed after he opened fire at Israeli forces who had come to arrest him, the Shin Bet said. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed a person had been killed in the clash, but provided no further details.

On Sunday, a suspected Palestinian assailant fatally stabbed a soldier at an intersection on a busy West Bank highway and opened fire at the scene using the conscript’s rifle, killing an Israeli rabbi and wounding a second soldier.

Palestinians, many of them individuals without links to armed groups, carried out a wave of attacks in the West Bank in late 2015 and 2016 but the frequency of such incidents has since decreased.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek to establish a state there and in the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said the Electoral College was “conceived in sin” and invented to keep black people down.

“This is all conceived in sin and perpetuating slavery on the American people and on the African-American people, directly,” Cohen said on “CNN Right Now” Tuesday.

“We need to give the people who understand from town halls, like Elizabeth Warren had in Memphis on Sunday and in Jackson, and I think today in Birmingham, the opportunity to vote. And as Sen. Warren said, this doesn’t give the people in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles the right to decide who wins. It gives everybody that’s not in one of the — the targeted states in the Electoral College the opportunity to have their vote count.”

Cohen said people in his home state of Tennessee don’t see their vote count because the majority usually votes Republican.

“The people in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Republicans and conservatives live there too and vote there as well,” he said. (RELATED: Warren Want To Get Rid Of The Electoral College)

WATCH:

” … right now people in Tennessee don’t count because we know that state’s going to go Republican. But if it’s a popular vote, people will come to Tennessee to get those votes in Memphis and other places, and it’ll be a much more Democratic system and fair, and the American people need to take control of their government that’s being lost to entities that have really eliminated the middle class.”

Despite Cohen’s argument to dissolve the Electoral College, he said the process would be difficult and expressed doubt about getting enough votes to enact lasting change.

“It certainly would be difficult … You have to amend the Constitution, and that requires getting a number of votes in Congress,” he said earlier in the interview.

“That’ll be difficult, but possible,” he said. “But it means to get three-quarters of the states, and that’ll be difficult because enough of the states get an advantage in electing the president, that they may not want to give that up and probably won’t. A way to get around it is the compromise. Colorado and a few states have tried to start a compact to say that if states with a total of 270 or more electoral votes agree, then these … states will come together and give their vote to the winner of the popular vote.”

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Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Paris Jackson reportedly is refusing to go back to rehab following her alleged attempted suicide scare over the weekend, which lead friends to “spring into action.”

Sources close to the 20-year-old model told TMZ on Tuesday, that those close to her were all prepared on Sunday to help her go and be her support. But she reportedly refused to go. (RELATED: Paris Jackson Calls Out Paparazzi Over Comparison To Her Dad: ‘Does No One Remember’ The Disguises)

Paris Jackson attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Paris Jackson attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

According to the outlet:

Those close to Paris suggested rehab after what law enforcement says was a suicide attempt over the weekend, landing her in the hospital. We’re told the attempted suicide shows some serious underlying problems … they say Paris is dealing with all sorts of emotional issues as well as substance abuse issues.

It comes following reports that Jackson had to be hospitalized early Saturday morning after she reportedly slit her wrists, per law enforcement. (RELATED: Paris Jackson Hits Back At Claims Of ‘Creepy’ Edited Photo Of Her Dad [PHOTOS])

Following the alleged attempted suicide, she was placed on a temporary 5150 hold. Sources claim she’s been not doing well ever since the documentary “Leaving Neverland” came out, which details allegations of child abuse leveled at her late father, Michael Jackson.

Shortly after reports surfaced about her alleged suicide attempt, the actress hit back once again.

“F— you you f—ing liars,” Jackson tweeted in response to the report.

Another source disputed the attempted suicide reports and shared with People magazine that, “Paris had an accident this morning that required medical treatment. She is currently resting at home and doing fine.”

Source: The Daily Caller

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attends a ceremony at the Police Prefecture in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attends a ceremony at the Police Prefecture in Paris, France, December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

March 19, 2019

By Julie Carriat

PARIS (Reuters) – Opposition leaders accused French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, an ally of President Emmanuel Macron, of incompetence after he said on Tuesday he was unaware of policing decisions made during rioting on the Champs Elysees.

After another flare-up of violence in Saturday’s yellow vest protest, which left the landmark Paris avenue looking like a battleground, calls for heads to roll have grown in France, despite its traditional tolerance for street protests. Rioters set fire to a bank and ransacked stores.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe sacked Paris police chief Michel Delpuech on Monday and two other officials, his chief of staff Pierre Gaudin and Frederic Dupuch of the local police force, a police source said on Tuesday.

But politicians piled pressure on Castaner who has been in the job for five months. He was booed in parliament on Tuesday, before an expected grilling from lawmakers.

“The Paris police chief is only a fall guy supposed to cover for Castaner’s blatant incompetence,” Jordan Bardella, far-right Marine Le Pen’s candidate for European elections said on Twitter.

Castaner faced criticism from opposition politicians after a video of him dancing in a trendy Paris nightclub on the night of the violence surfaced in French media.

Castaner told French radio a tougher police approach, decided after rioters looted shops on the Champs Elysees in early December, had not been applied on March 16 as he had ordered.

He said he was only made aware that senior police officials had instructed their teams on the ground to hold back on using flash-balls when he visited a police station near the Champs Elysees on Sunday.

France has long taken a tolerant approach to protests, farmers have poured manure in front of ministries and trade unions have held creative demonstrations.

But the violent, balaclava-clad protesters among the yellow vest demonstrators for such a sustained period has forced the government to introduce increasingly tough policing tactics.

This month, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called for an investigation into the possible excessive use of force by police during the protests, adding to criticism from the European Parliament and national human rights bodies.

This criticism had contributed to “inhibiting” police ranks, Castaner suggested.

“There was a form of inhibition. Some officials in the hierarchy, some police officers have doubts. Such doubt is not acceptable when you’re faced with ultra-violent behavior,” Castaner said.

Macron’s office and Castaner denied French media reports that the president had threatened to fire his minister.

What began as a movement against a since-scrapped fuel tax hike and the high cost of living, the yellow vest protests have become a broader movement against Macron, his reforms and elitism.

Even before Saturday’s destruction, insurance companies had registered 170 million euros of damage since the start of the yellow vest weekly marches in mid-November.

(Additionnal reporting by Sarah White, Emmanuel Jarry, Marine Pennetier and Simon Carraud, Editing by Michel Rose and Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

A second top staffer in presidential hopeful and Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Senate office reportedly was accused of sexual misconduct.

Marc Brumer, who served as Gillibrand’s communication director, was alleged to have made inappropriate comments toward a female scheduler, The Washington Examiner reported Monday. He ultimately resigned over the allegations in spring 2017.

“As I said at the time, I am sorry that words used during a heated debate offended a colleague,” Brumer said of the incident. “By then, I had already been planning my departure and preparing to seek another opportunity. I resigned and ensured a smooth transition.”

However, Gillibrand’s office continued to provide Brumer with a paycheck “for about three months” after the allegations were made, a former aide told The Examiner. During that time period, Brumer was not doing any work. (RELATED: Gillibrand Makes Her First Political Flip Flop Since Announcing Presidential Run)

The revelation comes a week after Politico published a report that another female staffer in Gillibrand’s office resigned citing mishandling of her sexual misconduct allegations against Abbas Malik, one of the New York senator’s top aides.

“I trusted and leaned on this statement that you made: ‘You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.’ Your office chose to go against your public belief that women shouldn’t accept sexual harassment in any form and portrayed my experience as a misinterpretation instead of what it actually was: harassment and ultimately, intimidation,” the female staffer wrote to Gillibrand in her resignation letter.

Malik was demoted after the allegations arose but continued working with the female staffer. He was dismissed after Politico reached out to Gillibrand’s office.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Chrome Horse Saloon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Chrome Horse Saloon in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gillibrand is a vocal advocate of women’s issues and has been an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement and Women’s March. She insisted in December that the future is “female” and “intersectional.”

Following Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s announcement, Gillibrand was the second senator, and second female senator, to declare plans to begin the legal process of running for president in 2020. (RELATED: Gillibrand Doesn’t Think Trump’s ‘Racist’ Border Policies Were Racist When She Supported Them)

Her presidential campaign has focused on intersectionality and gender politics as she tries to carve out a niche in a crowded Democratic primary field. Prior to the campaign launch Sunday, she attended a private meeting with roughly 20 feminist leaders, including feminist Gloria Steinem, asking for their assistance with her upcoming presidential run.

Gillibrand’s office did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

President Donald Trump’s 2020 election campaign manager says he knows why Kellyanne Conway’s husband continues to tweet disparaging remarks about the president’s mental health.

Brad Parscale tweeted Monday night that George Conway, whom he refers to as “Mr. Kellyanne Conway,” didn’t get a White House job that he wanted and now he’s on a Twitter vendetta against Trump.

“We all know that @realDonaldTrump turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted. He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny? Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success. POTUS doesn’t even know him!”

Brad Parscale, campaign manager for US President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign, speaks during a campaign rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, Oct. 22, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

In what may be unprecedented attacks from the spouse of a top White House employee, Conway continues to deliver social media smears against Trump, suggesting he has mental health issues. On Sunday, the lawyer tweeted, “His condition is getting worse.” (RELATED: Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Unloads On Trump)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 17: George T. Conway III, husband of White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, attends the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. The White House said 21,000 people are expected to attend the annual tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

George T. Conway III, husband of White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, attends the 139th Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House Apr. 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Conway suggested Trump doesn’t have a “rational plan or strategy” and that “the things he says and does” are “a product of his pathologies.”

He then suggested that Trump was suffering from “Anti-social Personality Disorder” or “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Kellyanne Conway, who is the White House counsel, has distanced herself from her husband’s remarks, saying she hadn’t even read them. (RELATED: Kellyanne Conway’s Husband Accuses Trump Of Witness Tampering)

“I have four kids and I was getting them out of the house this morning before I got here so I can talk to the president about substance, so I may not be up to speed on all of them,” she said Monday while talking to reporters, according to Politico.

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

March 19, 2019

By Guy Faulconbridge

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

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

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

Following are the main scenarios:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editing by Anna Willard and Giles Elgood)

Source: OANN

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to greet the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Manila
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte arrives to greet the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Colonel Jesus Villamor Air Base in Manila, Philippines, Thursday, February 28, 2019. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS

March 19, 2019

AMSTERDAM/MANILA (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said on Monday her examination into possible crimes against humanity committed in the Philippines would go on, despite its withdrawal from the court.

The Philippines’ withdrawal from the Hague court was formalized on Sunday.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the ICC continued to have jurisdiction over possible crimes committed during the period the country was a member.

Bensouda has been examining whether thousands of extrajudicial killings allegedly committed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drugs are sufficient to warrant a formal investigation.

Duterte’s spokesman said the ICC had no basis to continue its preliminary examination and the government would not cooperate with it.

“They cannot enter here if that is their purpose, to investigate. You are already intruding into our sovereignty,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a regular news conference on Tuesday.

More than 5,000 suspected drug dealers have been killed in police anti-narcotics operations since Duterte took office in June 2016.

Rights groups and critics say some of the killings were summary executions. Police deny such allegations, saying they had to use deadly force because the suspects were armed and resisted arrest.

The Philippines unilaterally withdrew from the ICC in March 2018 over what Duterte called “outrageous” attacks and violations of due process by it.

“We have already pointed out that in this country we have a judicial system that is robust and functional and very effective,” Panelo said.

The ICC procedure was “political persecution” of Duterte, he said.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam and Neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Democrat Party leader and former Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva poses with a supporter during his campaign rally in Bangkok
Democrat Party leader and former Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva poses with a supporter during his campaign rally in Bangkok, Thailand January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

March 19, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s oldest political party is heading into an election on Sunday with leader Abhisit Vejjajiva facing tough choices in the first polls since the military seized power in a 2014 coup.

Will Abhisit’s pro-business, pro-establishment Democrat Party join with a new pro-military party in a coalition after the vote, likely extending the army’s dominance of power?

Or will the Democrats band together with a “pro-democracy front” to keep the army out of government – but at the price of working with its bitter foe for 15 years: parties loyal to ousted populist prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Or is there a third option, as Abhisit argues? One scenario could return Oxford-educated Abhisit to the prime minister’s office, which he held from 2008 to 2011 after a court dissolved a pro-Thaksin government.

“We will be the alternative in leading Thailand out of the last decade of troubles,” Abhisit, 54, told Reuters in an interview.

Prominent Democrats have been at the center of Thailand’s turbulent politics since 2005, with some party members leading anti-Thaksin “Yellow Shirt” protests against corruption that led to two military coups in a decade.

Sunday’s election has been billed by the military government as returning Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to civilian, democratic rule. But critics say a new constitution, overseen by the generals, enshrines military influence over politics.

Doubts the army will truly give up power were heightened last month when a new pro-military party nominated junta chief and prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the 2014 coup, as its prime ministerial candidate.

Abhisit this month said in a campaign video he would not support Prayuth’s staying on as prime minister, which he said would “breed conflict and is against the Democrat party’s principle that the people have the power”.

At the same time, Abhisit made clear he would be loath to work with the main pro-Thaksin party, Pheu Thai. The Democrats have long decried the Thaksin movement as corrupt and a threat to independent democratic institutions.

“I don’t want dictatorship and I don’t want corrupt people,” Abhisit said. “Corrupt politicians provided the pretexts for the military to stage all the coups in the last 20 years.”

COMPROMISE PM?

Thaksin lives in self-exile to avoid a 2008 graft conviction he said was politically motivated but he retains widespread support, especially in the north and northeast.

The Democrats have traditionally drawn support from the Bangkok middle class and the south.

Abhisit’s hopes for a third way could come to nothing in an election increasingly defined by the face-off between pro-military parties, which have Prayuth as their candidate for prime minister and electoral rules that give them an advantage, and an anti-military bloc with Thaksin’s loyalists at its core.

While Abhisit has rejected Prayuth as prime minister, he has not ruled out a coalition with Palang Pracharat, the party that has nominated the junta leader.

Such a deal might see a “compromise” premier, perhaps Abhisit himself or another outside candidate.

The target for political parties is 376 seats in parliament – 50 percent plus one of the combined 250-seat upper house Senate and the 500-seat lower House of Representatives.

But with the junta appointing all 250 members of the Senate, no single party is likely to secure the 376 magic number on its own.

Given that the pro-military Palang Pracharat can count on the support of the Senate, it needs to win only 126 lower house seats to form a government.

By contrast, the parties opposed to a military role in government must win 376 seats in the lower house, three-quarters of the seats, to block the military from retaining control.

Still, most polls indicate Palang Pracharat won’t win enough seats on its own meaning it would need coalition partners, with the Democrats a likely choice.

‘NOT BLACK AND WHITE’

The Democrats have come second to pro-Thaksin parties in every election since 2001, including the last one in 2011, when they got 35 percent of the vote to Pheu Thai’s 48 percent.

Opinion polls tend to show the Democrats coming second or third. The party will be competing for the anti-Thaksin vote with other parties, including Palang Pracharat.

The Democrat Party was founded in 1947 as a conservative, royalist movement, and has portrayed itself as a champion of civilian rule in a country that has seen 13 successful coups, even if at times it worked with military governments.

In 1992, the Democrats sided with anti-army demonstrators in an uprising that led to a bloody crackdown. The party won an election later that year but it was blamed for mishandling the wrenching fall-out of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which paved the way for the rise of telecoms tycoon Thaksin.

Amid polarisation in the 2000s, the Democrats benefited from the military’s opposition to Thaksin, and at times called for military intervention to oust pro-Thaksin governments.

Abhisit has rejected efforts by Thaksin’s loyalists to portray the election as a two-way fight between democracy and military-dominated rule.

“This election is not black and white, the country has more choices,” he told Reuters.

Anti-junta parties, however, argue there is no neutrality or third way in the election.

“Abhisit says he will not join with Pheu Thai, but does that mean he will join with Palang Pracharat?” asked Sudarat Keyuraphan, Pheu Thai’s top prime ministerial candidate.

“There are only two sides,” she said. “So he must choose.”

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
FILE PHOTO: Feb 25, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on prior to facing the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

March 19, 2019

For the first time since 2010, Clayton Kershaw won’t be the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The left-hander, who has started a club-record eight straight openers, was ruled out of the March 28 start against the Arizona Diamondbacks due to the persistent shoulder inflammation he has dealt with all spring. He has yet to pitch in a spring training game.

“When he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’s going to pitch for us,” said manager Dave Roberts, adding that it was unlikely Kershaw will begin the season on the active roster.

Roberts didn’t announce an Opening Day starter on Monday, but right-hander Walker Buehler is definitely in the mix. The last Opening Day starter for the Dodgers not named Kershaw was Vicente Padilla in 2010.

–Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran is set to make his sixth consecutive Opening Day start, which would tie him with Hall of Famer Warren Spahn for the longest modern-day streak in franchise history.

Teheran’s Opening Day streak is now the longest current one in the majors after the Dodgers said that Kershaw’s streak will end at eight. Spahn opened six seasons in a row from 1957 to 1962, when the Braves were in Milwaukee.

Teheran, 28, has spent all eight of his major league seasons with the Braves, compiling a 67-62 record with a 3.64 ERA. Teheran went 9-9 last season with a 3.94 ERA, striking out 162 and walking 84 in 175 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

–A poor spring training won’t prevent Ichiro Suzuki from starting the Seattle Mariners’ opener in his native Japan.

Seattle manager Scott Servais said Ichiro will be in the starting lineup Wednesday when the Mariners face the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.

Suzuki, 45, is just 2-for-31 this spring, but Servais has no qualms about penciling his name in the lineup.

–Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yohander Mendez will miss the first half of the season because of an elbow injury, team officials announced.

The 24-year-old exited his spring training start Sunday in the third inning after losing velocity and feeling tightness in his pitching elbow. An MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of the ulnar collateral ligament. The left-hander will not need Tommy John surgery.

The plan is to give him six weeks of rest, followed by about another six weeks of a throwing program.

–Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia will not break camp with the team and instead will begin the 2019 season on the injured list.

Pedroia expects to remain in Florida and play extended spring training games to build strength in his surgically repaired left knee. Manager Alex Cora said there is no reason to fear a long-term absence from Pedroia.

Utility options Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez are likely to platoon at second base with Pedroia out of the mix.

–In the midst of the Philadelphia Phillies’ late-season collapse in 2018, Carlos Santana apparently provided the biggest hit in the team’s clubhouse.

Philadelphia posted an abysmal 8-20 record in September after having the best record in baseball in late July, and the team’s then-first baseman — now with the Cleveland Indians — reportedly took his bat to the clubhouse television upon discovering his younger teammates playing the video game Fortnite during one game against rival Atlanta.

“I see a couple players — I don’t want to say names — they play video games during the game,” the 32-year-old veteran told ESPN, relating how he slugged the TV the players were using. “We come and lose too many games, and I feel like they weren’t worried about it — weren’t respecting their teammates or coaches or the staff or the (front) office. It’s not my personality. But I’m angry because I want to make it good.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A Virginia student accused of sexual misconduct said Fairfax County Public Schools treated male students “disproportionately harsher” than female students in sexual harassment cases.

The 18-year-old male student, referred to as “John Doe” in the lawsuit, said the district violated his free speech, due process rights and did not investigate the situation properly. Doe was suspended and sent to a different school, according to the lawsuit given to The Daily Caller News Foundation by attorney Jesse Binnall.

A Robinson Secondary School female accused two male students of sexual harassment after her buttocks were allegedly slapped in December 2018. Surveillance video reportedly showed Doe did not hit the female student, according to the lawsuit.

Doe befriended the female student who was new to the school.

“Doe and Student A had classes together and would see each other at school outside of class,” the lawsuit said. “Doe flirted with Student A, which included friendly conversations, putting his arm around her and playfully poking her in class. Student A did not reject these overtures. In fact, she would often seek out Doe’s company and return his flirtations.”

The lawsuit claims the female student “colluded” with her friends to make false statements and the assistant principal was allegedly “seeking evidence that was inculpatory and ignored exculpatory evidence,” according to the lawsuit.

Binnall told TheDCNF one of the witnesses changed her story.

“If a male student and female student are both engaged in mutual sexual contact or touching on school grounds, it is common for the male student to be punished and for the female student not to be punished, based on gender,” the lawsuit said.

Pictured is a hand on a shoulder. SHUTTERSTOCK/Andrey_Popov

Pictured is a hand on a shoulder. SHUTTERSTOCK/Andrey_Popov

Doe’s punishment could affect his college wrestling scholarship and entry to a “prestigious” university unless his record gets cleaned by a judge, The Washington Post reported Sunday. A hearing is expected March 22. (RELATED: Education Department’s Budget Proposal Includes First Ever Teacher Voucher Program)

“He was never given a fair shot to make his case to prove that he was innocent in a school district that doesn’t even have a presumption of innocence,” Binnall said to TheDCNF.

John Torre, a spokesman for FCPS, would not comment on the specifics of the case to WaPo, but said the school district “thoroughly investigates all allegations of Title IX violations and takes action, where appropriate.”

Title IX does not allow sex-based discrimination to education programs receiving federal funding. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed sweeping changes to Title IX to clarify students’ rights and schools’ legal obligations in November 2018.

FCPS is dealing with two other federal lawsuits over mishandling of sexual allegation cases, according to WaPo.

The district is the 10th largest in the U.S. and serves more than 187,000 students.

Robinson Secondary principal Matt Eline could not provide comment on the case.

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

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FILE PHOTO: MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts
FILE PHOTO: Feb 15, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on during a spring training workout at the Camelback Ranch practice fields. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports – 12167057

March 18, 2019

For the first time since 2010, Clayton Kershaw won’t be the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The left-handed Kershaw was ruled out of the March 28 opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday due to the persistent shoulder inflammation he has dealt with all spring. He has yet to pitch in a spring training game.

“Talking to Clayton and, obviously, looking at the schedule, he’s not going to start Opening Day,” Roberts told reporters. “To build him up and when he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’s going to pitch for us. He’s supportive and he understands he wants to put himself in the best position to help himself and the ballclub.

“When’s he’s built up to where he feels he can help us, then it’s moot. We’re all on the same page.”

Kershaw has started a club-record eight straight openers. The last Opening Day starter for the Dodgers not named Kershaw was Vicente Padilla in 2010.

Roberts said it was unlikely Kershaw will begin the season on the active roster.

Kershaw last pitched Sunday when he threw a bullpen session. He is scheduled to throw batting practice on Wednesday.

Roberts didn’t announce an Opening Day starter on Monday, but right-hander Walker Buehler is definitely in the mix.

However, Buehler also hasn’t pitched this spring due to his own shoulder issues. He is scheduled to pitch three innings on Tuesday.

Kershaw, who turns 31 on Tuesday, has pitched nearly 2,100 innings and struck out 2,275 batters in his decorated 11-year career. He is 153-69 overall with a 2.39 ERA and has won three National League Cy Young Awards.

Kershaw was 9-5 last season with a 2.73 ERA in 26 starts but has experienced back issues in each of the past three seasons. He has guided the Dodgers to two consecutive appearances in the World Series.

Buehler, 24, went 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) last season while finishing third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting.

Veteran left-hander Rich Hill also is a candidate to start the opener. The 39-year-old Hill was 11-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 25 appearances (24 starts) last season.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

  • Jewish and Muslim Democrats in the House of Representatives gathered for a private meeting to discuss anti-Semitism and religion after Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar received backlash for repeatedly using anti-Israel tropes.
  • The anti-Trump organization Bend the Arc moderated the discussion and a representative reportedly made an anti-Semitic joke during the meeting.
  • Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes questioned why the “joke” was appropriate and criticized its use.

A member of a progressive anti-Trump organization, comprised of American Jews, used an anti-Semitic trope while meeting with Muslim and Jewish House Democrats to discuss recent allegations of anti-Semitism within the party, according to a report published Sunday.

Democratic Michigan Rep. Andy Levin invited Bend the Arc to moderate a discussion on religion and anti-Semitism between Muslim Democrats in the House and some of their Jewish Democratic colleagues, reported The Washington Post. In addition to Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, America’s first two Muslim congresswomen, other freshman progressives were also invited, such as New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has defended anti-Israel statements Omar made.

Bend the Arc is a left-wing advocacy group whose mission is “rising up in solidarity with everyone threatened by the Trump agenda to fight for the soul of our nation.” The group, whose members are progressive Jews, has been critical of Israeli policies and sympathizes with Palestine, which is reportedly why they were chosen to attend. Bend the Arc’s PAC was organized by Alexander Soros, the son of Democratic mega-donor George Soros.

The meeting was largely in response to Omar’s claim that Republican support for Israel is bought by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Her comments received swift condemnation from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership.

“It is deeply disappointing and disturbing to hear Rep. Ilhan Omar’s choice of words in her exchange with a journalist yesterday wherein she appears to traffic in old anti-semitic tropes about Jews and money,” House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement at the time. “Her words are deeply hurtful and offensive, particularly as they build on previous comments she made about Jews ‘hypnotizing’ the world in support of Israel — another old trope born of hate-filled texts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

Bend the Arc did not comment on Omar’s use of anti-Israel tropes, but issued a statement condemning President Donald Trump for calling for her resignation. The organization subsequently praised Omar for her apology. (RELATED: Minnesota Democrats Reportedly Want Ilhan Omar Out — She Blames Trump)

During the meeting, a Bend the Arc representative who was facilitating the discussion, reportedly made a joke about Jews and money in what was claimed to be an attempt to ease tensions, according to WaPo. Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes, another freshman in attendance, questioned why the joke was appropriate.

“The comment referred to in the article was an approach to use humor to call attention to an often-used Jewish stereotype. The facilitator apologized when another meeting participant expressed concern with the comment,” Ginna Green, chief strategy officer of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Like the rest of the training, this conversation was open and candid in a way that brought leaders closer to greater connection and understanding.”

“It’s not okay,” Hayes told The Washington Post when discussing the exchange. “These [sorts of jokes] are off-limits. It’s confusing for someone like me who is trying to learn.”

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

“I’m looking to try to understand everybody’s perspective,” Hayes added. “This isn’t my community.”

Both Omar and Tlaib’s time in congressional office has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Sees Herself In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Ilhan Omar)

Omar has defended her anti-Israel statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings,” and she is on record stating that Israel is not a democracy. She also gave an interview to a host that referred to Israel as the “Jewish ISIS” and mocked how Americans speak about al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.

Omar and Tlaib notably waited until after they won their congressional election to reveal their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel by economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Anti-Defamation League describes the movement as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Ratcliffe, CEO of British petrochemicals company INEOS, poses for a portrait with the Canary Wharf financial district seen behind, ahead of a news conference announcing the launch of a British America's Cup sailing team in London, Britain
FILE PHOTO: Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of British petrochemicals company INEOS, poses for a portrait with the Canary Wharf financial district seen behind, ahead of a news conference announcing the launch of a British America’s Cup sailing team in London, Britain, April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Chemicals giant Ineos, owned by Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe, is set to become the new sponsor of cycling’s Tour de France-winning Team Sky, according to media reports on Monday.

Broadcaster Sky announced last December that it would end its involvement in the British-based team and professional cycling after the 2019 season.

The hugely successful team, founded in 2010 with the ambitious goal of securing a first Tour de France victory by a British cyclist within five years, have won eight Grand Tours since 2012.

Bradley Wiggins, four times winner Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have all triumphed on the Tour de France with Sky. Froome also won the Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia.

The BBC said the team would be renamed Team Ineos.

Ratcliffe, chief executive of the country’s largest private company, topped last year’s Sunday Times rich list with a net worth of 21 billion pounds ($27.81 billion).

Wiggins said the deal, if confirmed, could be an ideal partnership and bring peace of mind to the cast of top riders.

“There are a lot of big names in that team who would potentially have had to look for new sponsors and there’s limited places now with the amount of teams that have folded,” Wiggins said on his Eurosport show.

“I’m sure if that’s true and it all comes off, it’s signed and the money’s in the bank then I think that’ll be a big weight off the like of Geraint, Froome’s shoulders before they go into the Grand Tours really.”

Wiggins said team principal Dave Brailsford would want to retain control.

“It’s an ideal situation for Dave because he can continue running out this team with all his plans and philosophies and he’s answerable, you’d imagine, to one man.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Democrats are divided on what their next legislative step is when it comes to health care after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared “health care won” in the midterms.
  • Many Democrats with more moderate bases would be in trouble should Pelosi put Medicare for all up to a vote.
  • Medicare for all hearings could begin in April.

Months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared “health care won” in the midterm elections, Democrats are divided on what their next legislative step is when it comes to health care.

Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Debbie Dingell of Michigan unveiled their Medicare for all bill on Feb. 27. It would place virtually all health care payments in the government’s hands.

But Medicare for all and its climate counterpart the Green New Deal have stalled in the House after being rolled out as “ambitious proposals,” reported The Washington Examiner Sunday. (RELATED: 10-Year Study Of More Than 650,000 People Releases Report On Measles Vaccine And Autism)

The Medicare for all bill had 106 co-sponsors when Jayapal and Dingell introduced it. Nearly three weeks later, no new Democrats had signed on, according to The Examiner.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal questions witnesses during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Pramila Jayapal questions witnesses during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Many Democrats with more moderate bases would be in trouble should Pelosi put Medicare for all up to a vote.

“Most people receive health care from their employer,” Democratic California Rep. Scott Peters said according to The New York Times. “They do not want to replace it with an untested government system.”

Pelosi herself has not expressed enthusiasm for Medicare for all. The Times reported:

Ms. Pelosi has publicly stayed out of the fight, but with hearings on Medicare for all and other proposals scheduled in the coming weeks, that stance may not be sustainable. People close to her say she has serious reservations about the single-payer bill and believes the nation can achieve the goal of universal coverage at a more manageable cost by building on the framework of the Affordable Care Act, which she worked tirelessly to secure in 2010.

Jayapal has said Medicare for all hearings could begin in April.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren (C), Democrat from Massachusetts, speaks with US Senator Bernie Sanders (2nd R), Independent from Vermont, as they discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

US Senator Elizabeth Warren (C), Democrat from Massachusetts, speaks with US Senator Bernie Sanders (2nd R), Independent from Vermont, as they discusses Medicare for All legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2017. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Many Democrats centered their platforms on ensuring protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, but the “full” House has not yet voted on any legislation on that topic, according to The Times.

Tensions between the Medicare for all faction and centrist faction is likely to continue as House Democrats try to craft their agenda-setting budget, the first of the session.

Republican lawmakers painted Medicare-for-all as a socialist nightmare after Jayapal introduced it.

“If I have a beef with the Medicare-for-all, they’re being totally dishonest with the American people,” Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy told reporters at a meeting in February. “They’re not telling people how they’re going to pay for it.”

Republican Texas Rep. Michael Burgess, who is a physician like Cassidy, described the latest Medicare for all plan as a “one-size-fits-all, Soviet-style policy.”

Like the Democratic House, the 2020 Democratic presidential field is divided on the question of Medicare for all, although many are leaning towards the concept. The House’s Medicare-for-all proposal is broader than the one Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced in 2017. Other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren support his plan.

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].

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