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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) dunks and scores against the Murray State Racers during the second half of game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Florida State’s depth and height proved way too much for upstart Murray State and star guard Ja Morant on Saturday night, as the fourth-seeded Seminoles reached the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-62 rout in Hartford, Conn.

Senior guard Terance Mann paced Florida State’s starters (29-7) with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mfiondu Kabengele came off the bench to net 22 points, going 10 of 12 from the field, and Raiquan Gray chipped in 11 to go along with five steals.

The Seminoles, who will meet top-seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif., canned nearly 51 percent of their field-goal tries and were 11 of 27 on 3-pointers. They also dominated the much smaller Racers on the glass, earning a 45-33 advantage.

Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. But he made just 8 of 21 shots from the field after a hot start, as Florida State’s length appeared to bother him. Murray State’s season ended at 28-5.

WEST REGION

No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 9 Baylor 71

Brandon Clarke had a historic performance with a career-high 36 points and five blocked shots to lead the Bulldogs over the Bears in the second round in Salt Lake City.

Clarke, who entered the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.693), made 15 of 18 shots, including five dunks. The 6-foot-8 senior also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for Gonzaga (32-3). Baylor’s season ended at 20-14.

Clarke broke the school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game (Adam Morrison, 35) and became the third player in NCAA history with at least 35 points and five blocks, joining Navy’s David Robinson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal. The NCAA started tracking blocked shots as an official stat in the 1985-86 season.

No. 2 Michigan 64, No. 10 Florida 49

Jordan Poole scored a game-high 19 points and the Wolverines pulled away with an 11-0 run to start the second half as they bagged a win over the Gators in the second round in Des Moines, Iowa.

Isaiah Livers came off the bench to add 10 for Michigan (30-6), which will face No. 3 Texas Tech or No. 6 Buffalo in the West Region semifinals on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Michigan, which owned the boards 42-29, overcame 42.1 percent shooting from the field.

Jalen Hudson was the only double-figure scorer for the Gators (20-16) with 11 points, but he made just 4 of 15 shots from the floor and was 3 of 10 from the 3-point line. Florida fired away to no avail, hitting only 19 of 55 field-goal tries (34.5 percent) and 9 of 26 from 3-point range.

EAST REGION

No. 2 Michigan State 70, No. 10 Minnesota 50

After failing to get out of the first weekend in each of the previous three seasons, the Spartans started quickly, then followed star guard Cassius Winston to a victory over the Golden Gophers in Des Moines, Iowa.

Michigan State (30-6) advances to the regional semifinals for the 14th time under coach Tom Izzo and for the first time since 2015, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. Winston finished with 13 points and nine assists.

Minnesota, which was without senior Jordan Murphy for all but four minutes due to a bad back, ended its season at 22-14.

No. 3 LSU 69, No. 6 Maryland 67

Tremont Waters made a tie-breaking layup with two seconds left as the Tigers held off the Terrapins in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.

Waters’ basket created the final separation in a tight game in which the score was tied six times in the last 6 1/2 minutes. Defense dominated the game as both teams shot below 40 percent from the floor.

The Tigers (28-6), who edged 14th-seeded Yale 79-74 on Thursday, will face No. 2 seed Michigan State in a regional semifinal next weekend in Washington, D.C. Skylar Mays added 16 points for LSU. Maryland’s season ended at 23-11.

SOUTH REGION

No. 3 Purdue 87, No. 6 Villanova 61

Carsen Edwards recorded career highs with nine 3-pointers and 42 points as the Boilermakers eliminated the defending champion Wildcats with a victory in a second-round game in Hartford, Conn.

Matt Haarms collected 18 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Cline added 12 points for Purdue (25-9), which went 16-for-30 from 3-point range to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Purdue will face the winner of Sunday’s contest between second-seeded Tennessee and No. 10 Iowa.

Eric Paschall scored 19 points and Phil Booth added 15 on 5-of-13 shooting from the field for the sixth-seeded Wildcats (26-10), who were denied in their bid for a third NCAA title in four years.

MIDWEST REGION

No. 2 Kentucky 62, No. 7 Wofford 56

Reid Travis scored 14 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, as the Wildcats fended off the Terriers in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.,

Kentucky (29-6) goes to the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo., to face either third-seeded Houston or No. 11 Ohio State. The Cougars and Buckeyes play Sunday.

Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, the NCAA’s leader in career 3-point baskets, was 0-for-12 from beyond the arc, including eight misses in the second half. The Southern Conference Player of the Year finished with eight points for the Terriers (30-5), whose school-record 21-game win streak ended.

No. 5 Auburn 89, No. 4 Kansas 75

Senior guard Bryce Brown made his first six shots, five from 3-point range, to ignite a first-half tear as the Tigers crushed the Jayhawks in the second round at Salt Lake City.

The win was the 10th straight for Auburn (28-9), which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. The Tigers will head to Kansas City to face the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 9 Washington.

Auburn surged to a commanding 51-25 halftime bulge, the worst deficit Kansas has ever faced at the break in 155 NCAA Tournament games. The Jayhawks (26-10) reached double-digit losses for only the second time in 16 seasons under coach Bill Self.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Auburn vs Kansas
Mar 23, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Bryce Brown (2) goes up for a shot as Kansas Jayhawks forward David McCormack (33) defends during the first half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Senior guard Bryce Brown made his first six shots, five from 3-point range, to ignite a first-half tear that enabled No. 5 Auburn to crush No. 4 Kansas 89-75 Saturday in the second round of the Midwest Region at Salt Lake City.

The win was the 10th straight for the Tigers (28-9), who advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. They’ll head to Kansas City to face the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 9 Washington.

Auburn surged to a commanding 51-25 halftime bulge, the worst deficit Kansas has ever faced at the break in 155 NCAA Tournament games.

Brown, who came in averaging a team-high 15.7 points, scored 17 in the first half and finished with 25 on 9-of-13 shooting, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Junior point guard Jared Harper chipped in 18 points, including 14 in the first half.

Sophomore forward Chuma Okeke added 12 points, while junior forward Anfernee McLemore added 11 for the deep Tigers.

Auburn wasted no time establishing control. It used runs 7-0 and then 8-0 to go up 15-5 before the first media timeout. Brown and Harper combined for three 3-pointers during that stretch, and the Tigers finished with nine first-half treys.

Kansas coach Bill Self had no answers for the early Auburn onslaught, using his third timeout with 8:57 still remaining in the first half. The Jayhawks (26-10) made their first seven attempts in the second half, but the Tigers countered by making their first five.

Auburn shot 52.5 percent and made 13 3-pointers, the seventh straight game the Tigers made at least 12 shots from behind the arc. They lead the nation in 3-point makes.

Kansas standout Dedric Lawson missed his first five attempts and did not connect from the field until the 2:26 mark of the first half. The slow start contributed to the Jayhawks’ first-half struggles, though the junior forward finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, his 22nd double-double.

The finish marks the second time in 16 seasons that Kansas coach Self suffered 10 defeats. The last time the Jayhawks did not advance from the opening weekend was in 2015.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Television cameras stand in front of the Department of Justice the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in Washington
Television cameras stand in front of the Department of Justice the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 24, 2019

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers waited on Sunday for details of a confidential report into a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that has cast a pall over President Donald Trump’s time in office and raised questions about possible collusion between the Republican’s campaign and Moscow.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to give Congress and the public a summary of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has conducted a 22-month-long Russia investigation.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, spent nine hours on Saturday studying the report. He had said he hoped to hand over a summary of its “principal conclusions” by the end of the weekend.

There appeared to be initial good news for Trump and his inner circle, as Mueller did not bring any further indictments when handing over the report to Barr on Friday.

That signals there might be no more criminal charges against Trump associates on the issue of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to help ensure the Republican businessman’s surprise election win against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It was not immediately known what Mueller’s report says about another strand of inquiry: whether Trump committed obstruction of justice to hinder the Russia investigation by acts such as firing then FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

Mueller brought charges against 34 people and three companies during his investigation, with prison sentences for some of Trump’s ex-aides such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

None of those charges, however, directly related to the question of collusion between the campaign and Moscow. Mueller, a former FBI director, did not interview Trump in person for his probe. Instead, Trump sent written answers to some questions about contacts with Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded shortly before Trump took office in January 2017 that Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Clinton and helping Trump.

TRUMP GOES QUIET

Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, resort for the weekend, remained uncharacteristically silent about the completion of the investigation.

He has frequently derided Mueller’s work as a “witch hunt” and denies collaborating with Moscow or obstructing justice. Russia says it did not interfere in the election.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters that the White House still has not received or been briefed on Mueller’s report.

The president took part in no public events on Saturday and played golf with musician Kid Rock.

House Democrats have asked for the release of the full Mueller report, as well as other documents backing up its conclusions, and have threatened to issue subpoenas if necessary.

Trump and his core team still face legal risks even if the report does not find that they committed crimes, and congressional Democrats on Saturday vowed to keep looking into his activities.

Trump’s business, his charity and presidential transition operation remain under investigation, said Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other prosecutors have picked up strands of the Mueller probe, most notably the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York which is looking into Trump’s business practices and financial dealings.

Under Department of Justice regulations, Barr is empowered to decide how much to disclose of the Mueller report publicly. He is a Trump appointee who only took office in February after the president fired his predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Barr, who first served as attorney general in the early 1990s under President George H.W. Bush, told lawmakers on Friday that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in West Palm Beach, Florida; David Morgan, Makini Brice, Karen Freifeld, Susan Cornwell and Pete Schroeder in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan State vs Minnesota
Mar 23, 2019; Des Moines, IA, United States; Michigan State Spartans forward Xavier Tillman (23) dunks the ball againstMinnesota Golden Gophers center Daniel Oturu (25) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Michigan State is back in the Sweet 16.

After failing to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in each of the previous three seasons, No. 2 Michigan State started quickly, then followed star guard Cassius Winston to a 70-50 victory over No. 10 Minnesota in the East Region at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Michigan State (30-6) advances to the regional semifinals for the 14th time under coach Tom Izzo and for the first time since 2015, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. The Spartans will take on No. 3 LSU on Friday in Washington at Capital One Arena.

Winston finished with 13 points and nine assists, but his seven straight points in the second half — after Minnesota had cut Michigan State’s lead down to single digits — allowed the Spartans to pull away.

His seven points started a 9-0 run that became a 12-2 surge as Michigan State went up, 52-33, with 10:53 to play on a 3-pointer from Aaron Henry.

Xavier Tillman led the Spartans with 14 points, while Henry had nine points and nine rebounds.

Amir Coffey did his best to keep Minnesota (22-14) in the game, scoring 27 as the already short-handed Golden Gophers were without Jordan Murphy, who played only four minutes because of a bad back. Isaiah Washington scored 11.

Michigan State could do no wrong early in the game, making nine of its first 10 shots and going 13-for-16 to open a 20-point lead after Nick Ward scored on a layup to give the Spartans a 31-11 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

But the Spartans’ 11 turnovers in the first half led to 12 points for the Gophers. Michigan State’s only points over the final six minutes of the half came when Henry scored after a Ward miss as Minnesota took advantage, pulling to within 33-19 by halftime.

Almost four minutes into the second half, Minnesota started to chip away at the lead and got the pro-Gophers crowd to come to their feet.

An 8-0 run that included six points from Coffey got Minnesota to within 40-31, but Winston then hit two mid-range jumpers, then a 3-pointer in transition to turn back the Minnesota comeback.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Jessica Chastain’s birthday is March 24. To celebrate her birthday we put together a slideshow of all her greatest looks.

Jessica Chastain is an American actress born in Sacramento, California. She has won a Golden Globe award and two Academy Award nominations during her time as an actress. Chastain attended Juilliard after being encouraged to apply. (RELATED: Jessica Chastain Might Be Making An Appearance In ‘It: Part Two’)

She began her career in TV with roles in “ER” and “Veronica Mars.” Chastain’s first film role was in “Jolene.” Her career in film took off in 2011 when she was cast in a supporting role in “The Help.”

She won her Gold Globe award for her performance in “Zero Dark Thirty.” She also has starred in “Interstellar,” “A Most Violent Year,” and “Crimson Peak.”

Time named Chastain as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves
FILE PHOTO: Mar 9, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose (25) looks on during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Saturday that guard Derrick Rose has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow and will be out indefinitely.

Minnesota had announced two days earlier that Rose wouldn’t play in the final 11 games of the season as the club was well out of the last playoff spot.

Rose had missed the four games prior to that because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists in 51 games (13 starts).

Rose, 30, will be a free agent after this season.

–The Chicago Bulls are shutting down injured rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison for the rest of the season, the team announced. The move to shelve both players was posted on Twitter by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson.

Carter, a 6-foot-10 center and first-round pick (seventh overall) out of Duke, hasn’t played since Jan. 15 because of a left thumb injury. He underwent surgery on Jan. 21 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament.

Hutchison, a forward who has an injury to his right toe, was the 22nd overall pick of the 2018 draft by the Bulls out of Boise State.

–Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he no longer is working with a family friend after $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business bank accounts apparently remains missing.

The second-year player told ESPN that the man, Alan Foster, “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”

Foster owns 16.3 percent of the family’s Big Baller Brand and also has managed the family companies. He met the Balls about a decade ago through his son, who became friends with Lonzo Ball in seventh grade. Family patriarch LaVar Ball has said it was Foster’s idea to launch the Big Baller.

–Veteran forward Donatas Motiejunas may be back in Texas with the NBA soon, this time with the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 28-year-old Lithuanian native last played in the NBA in 2017 for the New Orleans Pelicans and was a member of the Houston Rockets from 2012-16. He was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded his draft rights to the Houston the following day.

In 248 career NBA games, Motiejunas averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists and shot 46.9 percent from the field.

–The Boston Celtics are bringing back a familiar face, signing center Greg Monroe to a 10-day deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Monroe, 28, averaged just 11.1 minutes in 38 games (two starts) for the Toronto Raptors this season, tallying 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest, but was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February in exchange for cash considerations. The Nets then waived the ninth-year veteran.

A lottery pick (seventh overall) by Detroit in 2010, Monroe played with the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics before signing a one-year, $2.2 million deal with Toronto as a free agent in August 2018.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

After news broke Friday that the Mueller report was finished and no more indictments were forthcoming, the walls “closed in” around an ominous phrase that many political and media figures used frequently over the past two years.

Presumably hoping that his two-year inquiry would lead to the president’s impeachment and removal from office, many verified Twitter accounts had described special counsel Robert Mueller as “closing in” around President Donald Trump at various times throughout the investigation, according to a popular meme circulating online and confirmed by The Daily Caller.

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

One of the earliest uses of the phrase seems to be from a tweet by Foreign Policy magazine that touted a column by Max Boot, a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations. “Trump should be scared,” the tweet warned. “Robert Mueller is closing in on him.”

Written June 2017, a month after the special counsel’s appointment, Boot’s piece claimed that Trump was terrified in light of Mueller’s character—”universally respected for his integrity and doggedness”—and the tenacious competence of his “hunter-killer team of crack investigators and lawyers.” He asserted that “what worries Trump is not that Mueller may be a Democratic partisan […] but that the Marine combat veteran cannot be bought off or intimidated.”

Boot teamed up later that year with Max Bergman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, to write a December 2017 column for The Guardian about how much further Mueller had “closed in.” “Mueller is coming,” they predicted in the wake of the indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn. (RELATED: Michael Flynn Charged With Making False Statement To The FBI)

Claiming that Mueller’s indictments were moving closer and closer into the president’s inner circle, Bergman and Boot argued that an indictment of Trump was inevitable, for which reason Congress was duty-bound to pass legislation preventing the investigation from being shut down.

Over the years, the “closing in” analogy seemingly became a mantra among those who anxiously awaited Mueller to issue the death knell of the Trump presidency.

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen departs after he testified behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen departs after he testified behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Former Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown went after Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 7, 2018, after the Department of Justice sued the state of California for failing to enforce federal immigration law. Brown dismissed the lawsuit as a “political stunt” enacted by an attorney general who could not be normal because Mueller was “closing in” and about to issue more indictments. (RELATED: California Gov. Channels Trump In Response To DOJ Lawsuit)

Outspoken liberal Hollywood director Rob Reiner, who became famous in the 1970s playing progressive layabout Michael “Meathead” Stivic on “All in the Family,” claimed on May 10, 2018, that Vice President Mike Pence’s call for an end to the Mueller investigation was an indication that “the special counsel is closing in on guilt” and that Trump “doesn’t know whether to shit or wind his watch.”

Former CIA Director John O. Brennan said Dec. 7, 2018, on “Morning Joe” that “Mr. Trump is seeing more and more of the walls closing in on him, which is why he’s becoming increasingly desperate.” (FLASHBACK: John Brennan Predicted Additional Mueller Indictments Just Two Weeks Ago)

Politico quoted multimedia journalist Chris Whipple in December 2018 as saying, “This White House is headed into a world of trouble — a Democratic Congress, Mueller closing in, and anybody who comes into this White House has to be thinking about lawyering up.”

The Democratic Party’s National Lawyers Council chair Andrew Weinstein scolded Trump for the impending government shutdown on Dec. 20, tweeting, “The economy is slowing, the Dow is tanking, Mueller is closing in, North Korea still has nukes, Putin is getting his way in Syria, and yet Republicans in Congress are willing to shutdown the government over Trump’s stupid wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for. What a disgrace.”

On the same day, executive producer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Andy Lassner, tweeted, “Trump knows Mueller is closing in fast. So now, he’s gonna bring down the whole fucking thing with him. Brace yourselves.”

When BuzzFeed reported on Jan. 17, 2019 that Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen told investigators that the president had instructed him to lie to Congress, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather tweeted that the bombshell, if true, was “a political earthquake” and concluded that “the walls do appear to be closing in” around Trump. Mueller’s office personally denied BuzzFeed’s story the next day, in a rare public statement. (RELATED: Mueller’s Office Disputes BuzzFeed’s Report)

Since Mueller delivered his report to Attorney General William Barr with no further indictments, many pundits have been comparatively muted as the walls have seemingly stopped closing in for now. As Reuters tweeted Friday, “Robert Mueller is closing up shop …”

Max Boot reminded his Twitter followers Saturday that “Trump is doing great damage even when he is not violating the law.”

“I figured I would go on Twitter to suggest we all give social media a break until we actually have something to read and talk about,” Dan Rather reflected Saturday afternoon. “Maybe take a walk? Call an old friend? Read a book? Check out college basketball…”

Source: The Daily Caller

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha prepares to vote in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (L) prepares to vote in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

March 24, 2019

By Kay Johnson

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai voters went to the polls on Sunday in a long-delayed election following a 2014 coup, in a race that pits a military junta chief seeking to retain power against a “democratic front” led by the populist party he ousted.

Turnout was expected to be high among the 51.4 million Thais eligible to vote for the 500-seat House of Representatives, which will choose the next government along with a Senate that is appointed entirely by the ruling junta.

Thailand has been under direct military rule since then-army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha overthrew an elected government linked to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was thrown out by the army in 2006.

Critics have said a new, junta-written electoral system gives a built-in advantage to pro-military parties and appears designed to prevent the main Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai party from returning to power.

Pro-Thaksin parties have won every election since 2001, but the past 15 years have seen crippling street protests that destabilized the government and hamstrung business.

Junta chief Prayuth, whose party has campaigned on maintaining order and upholding traditional Thai values of loyalty and devotion to the country’s monarch, appealed on his ability to keep peace as he made his final campaign appeal.

“Before, we always had crises. We must not let those crises happen again – understand?” he told a closing campaign rally.

The anti-Thaksin Yellow Shirts, mostly middle class and urban royalists who accuse his parties of corruption, have repeatedly taken to the streets, prompting the military to launch two coups in a decade.

Supporters of Thaksin, known as the Red Shirts, also occupied much of Bangkok’s main business and shopping districts for months in 2010 after a court dissolved a pro-Thaksin government, again paralyzing commerce until a crackdown that left at least 90 people dead and saw landmark buildings burned.

While the election results are due to be announced within a few hours of polls closing at 5 p.m. (1000 GMT), the make-up of the next government may not be clear for weeks afterwards, since no one party is likely to have enough seats for an outright win.

“I think it’s going to take a long time,” said Paul Chambers, lecturer in political science at Naresuan University in northern Thailand.

(Editing by John Chalmers and Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mar 14, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (3) catches a fly ball during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Second baseman Scooter Gennett will miss eight to 12 weeks because of the right groin strain he sustained during a spring training game, the Cincinnati Reds announced Saturday.

Gennett walked gingerly as he was helped off the field on Friday, and he was later taken from the dugout on a golf cart. He was hurt while fielding a routine grounder on the outfield grass after he aligned deep as part of a shift in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic said Saturday that with Gennett’s injury, Jose Iglesias will play shortstop and Jose Peraza will man second base. Kyle Farmer is expected to earn a roster spot.

Gennett, who turns 29 on May 1, earned his first All-Star appearance last season, batting .310 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs, a year after totaling 27 homers and 97 RBIs. He played in a career-high 154 games in 2018.

–The St. Louis Cardinals announced a five-year extension for recently acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Financial terms were not revealed, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that it will pay him “around $130 million.” The deal will keep Goldschmidt, 31, in St. Louis through the 2024 season.

Arizona traded Goldschmidt, a six-time All-Star, to St. Louis in December in exchange for right-hander Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and the Cardinals’ Compensation B selection in the 2019 draft.

–The Houston Astros are closing in on a two-year extension worth $66 million for ace pitcher Justin Verlander, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Verlander, 36, went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an American League-leading 290 strikeouts in 34 starts last season, his first full season in Houston since coming over from Detroit in a trade in 2017.

Last season, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner finished second for the third time in voting for that award and was part of the top five for the seventh time. The right-hander also was the AL Most Valuable Player in 2011.

–The Pittsburgh Pirates will add veterans Melky Cabrera and Francisco Liriano to their Opening Day roster, the team announced.

Both players had been with the Pirates on minor-league deals during spring training. Pittsburgh is expected to clear at least one spot on its 40-man roster by placing right-hander Edgar Santana on the 60-day injured list.

Cabrera, 34, provides Pittsburgh with a switch-hitting option off the bench and an occasional starter at the corner outfield spots. He is a .286 lifetime hitter with 137 home runs and 807 RBIs in 1,754 career games with seven big-league teams.

–Texas Rangers pitcher Jason Hammel has announced his retirement after 13 big-league seasons.

Hammel, 36, decided to walk away despite learning one day earlier that he had made the Rangers’ 25-man roster. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will replace him on the active roster, according to The Athletic.

Hammel posted a 96-114 record with a 4.62 ERA in 377 games (298 starts). He played for a half-dozen teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals — before signing with the Rangers on a minor-league deal this spring.

–Detroit Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones is expected to open the season on the injured list after suffering a sprained left shoulder in Saturday’s exhibition game, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters.

Jones was injured while diving for a ball against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gardenhire said the 26-year-old was undergoing an MRI exam.

Mikie Mahtook and Niko Goodrum will likely share center field until Jones returns.

–The San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder Michael Reed from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder John Andreoli and cash. Andreoli will report to Triple-A Rochester, the team added in the announcement.

Reed, who was claimed off waivers by the Twins in October, appeared in eight games this spring, hitting .278 (5-for-18) with one home run and four RBI.

In his major league career, the 26-year-old Reed has batted .229 in 22 games, including with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015-16 and the Atlanta Braves last year.

–Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Matt Duffy will open the season on the injured list due to a hamstring injury, manager Kevin Cash told reporters.

Duffy was slated to play Saturday against the Detroit Tigers but was scratched from the lineup. He was slated to undergo further testing. Duffy, 28, has only played in two spring training games due to the injury.

Yandy Diaz, Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle are the candidates to play third base during Duffy’s absence.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
FILE PHOTO: Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — With surgical efficiency, Joey Logano continued his domination of knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.

Saving his car and his tires for the final round of Saturday’s time trials at the .526-mile short track, Logano won the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with a lap at 97.830 mph (19.356 seconds).

Driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, Logano edged Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver Aric Almirola (97.643 mph) for the top starting spot by .037 seconds. Brad Keselowski (97.458 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (97.382 mph), as Ford drivers captured the top four positions on the grid.

The Busch Pole Award was Logano’s first of the season, his fifth at Martinsville and the 21st of his career. Logano ran only three laps total in the first two rounds, allowing him to save his tires for a four-lap run in the final round. His last lap was his fastest.

“It’s awesome to get another pole and hopefully we can top it off with another win,” said Logano, who used a victory in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville as a springboard to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. “This is a fun race. I always look forward to coming up here.”

Logano has earned his five of the last seven contested poles at Martinsville over a nine-race span, with two of the qualifying sessions canceled because of adverse weather.

All told, Fords claimed six of the top 12 starting positions, including Team Penske drivers Logano and Keselowski and all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers — Almirola, Harvick, Daniel Suarez (10th) and Clint Bowyer (11th). In contrast to Logano’s economical runs, Bowyer had 16 laps on his tires at the end of the final round.

Five-time Martinsville winner Denny Hamlin paced the first two rounds but had to settle for fifth when the starting order for the top 12 drivers was decided. Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) were the only Toyota drivers to make the final round.

William Byron was sixth fastest in the money round to lead four Chevrolets in the final 12. He was joined by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson (seventh) and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott (eighth) and Jimmie Johnson (12th), who leads active drivers with nine victories at the paper-clip-shaped track.

Trying for his third straight Cup win on Sunday — not to mention a weekend sweep of the Martinsville races — Saturday’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victor Kyle Busch will start 14th in the STP 500.

“Too loose. Just didn’t have it with track conditions today,” said Busch, who opted not to make a mock qualifying run during practice.

For Byron, the sixth-place run was a welcome end to a frustrating day. Early in Saturday’s opening practice, his No. 24 Chevrolet bounced off the outside wall. His crew spent the rest of the session — and then some — repairing the car.

“I’m kind of optimistic, but we’ve had a rough day,” Byron said after qualifying. “These two-day shows are tough, and we started out with a flat right front (tire) and hit the wall. Then in second practice, we were way behind because we didn’t have enough practice time.

“The guys made a lot of great changes to get it right going into qualifying. We were really struggling over the bumps over both ends, really, and getting on the concrete (in the corners). We’ll see what happens — should be fun.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying — 70th Annual STP 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

1. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 97.830 mph.

2. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 97.643 mph.

3. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 97.458 mph.

4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 97.382 mph.

5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 97.362 mph.

6. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 97.202 mph.

7. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 97.098 mph.

8. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 97.053 mph.

9. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 97.018 mph.

10. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 96.830 mph.

11. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 96.706 mph.

12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 96.573 mph.

13. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 96.755 mph.

14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 96.716 mph.

15. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 96.696 mph.

16. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 96.671 mph.

17. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 96.647 mph.

18. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 96.602 mph.

19. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 96.602 mph.

20. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 96.499 mph.

21. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 96.484 mph.

22. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 96.465 mph.

23. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 96.357 mph.

24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 96.146 mph.

25. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 96.298 mph.

26. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 96.107 mph.

27. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 95.917 mph.

28. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 95.709 mph.

29. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 95.603 mph.

30. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 95.569 mph.

31. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 95.415 mph.

32. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 95.415 mph.

33. (52) Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, 94.689 mph.

34. (77) DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 94.618 mph.

35. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 0.000 mph.

36. (51) Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.

–Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Special to Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Daytona 500
FILE PHOTO: Feb 17, 2019; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — A week after locking up his 200th NASCAR national series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch took the first step toward the next century mark.

Holding off challenges from Ross Chastain and runner-up Ben Rhodes, Busch survived a late restart in winning Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The race ended under a last-lap caution, after Reid Wilson’s No. 44 Chevrolet spun in Turn 4 and nosed toward the inside wall. Rhodes was running second when the yellow flag waved, with reigning series champion Brett Moffitt third and Chastain fourth.

The victory was Busch’s second at the .526-mile short track in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch has won each of his three starts this season and now has 54 victories in Trucks, extending his series record.

“These guys worked really, really hard this weekend,” Busch said of crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 team. “We unloaded, and I didn’t like where we were at. We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra and make it faster…

“All these guys kept trying to make it turn the center (of the corner) better. At Martinsville, you have to turn the center without getting too loose in or too loose off. … And we had enough tire at the end to hold them all off.”

Busch led 174 of the 250 laps, including the final 66. He passed Chastain for the top spot on Lap 185 and held it the rest of the way through four subsequent cautions before the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Today we just kind of let the race play out and come to us,” Busch said.

Rhodes had a second-place car but not a race winner — and he knew it.

“It was a good day at Martinsville,” Rhodes conceded. “It was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised — qualifying 16th. We had a fast Ford F150, but we just needed a little more. We got beat by the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing here.

“It was fun following him and seeing how he was pacing himself. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past… Anytime you restart next to that guy, I try to log it in my memory banks so I can just try and get him next time.”

Pole winner Stewart Friesen finished fifth after leading 19 laps, third most behind Busch and Chastain (53). Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10.

French Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 14th in his first start in the Truck Series.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race — 21st Annual TruNorth Global 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

1. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 250.

2. (16) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 250.

3. (5) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 250.

4. (10) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 250.

5. (1) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 250.

6. (15) Myatt Snider, Ford, 250.

7. (19) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 250.

8. (6) Matt Crafton, Ford, 250.

9. (8) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 250.

10. (13) Bubba Wallace(i), Chevrolet, 250.

11. (18) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 250.

12. (21) David Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

13. (12) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 250.

14. (7) Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 250.

15. (3) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

16. (9) Austin Hill, Toyota, 250.

17. (4) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 250.

18. (11) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 250.

19. (14) Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 250.

20. (24) Spencer Davis, Ford, 249.

21. (23) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 249.

22. (26) Austin Theriault, Ford, 248.

23. (20) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 248.

24. (27) Reid Wilson, Chevrolet, 247.

25. (30) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 246.

26. (29) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 246.

27. (25) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 244.

28. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 240.

29. (28) Brennan Poole, Toyota, 239.

30. (31) Daniel Sasnett, Chevrolet, 238.

31. (22) Cory Roper, Ford, Rear End, 225.

32. (17) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 61.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 70.175 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hours, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags: 7 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: S. Friesen 1-8;K. Busch(i) 9-74;A. Hill 75-79;K. Busch(i) 80-120;S. Friesen 121-130;R. Chastain(i) 131-180;K. Busch(i) 181;R. Chastain(i) 182-184;K. Busch(i) 185-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 174 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 2 times for 53 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 18 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51, 52, 13, 4, 45, 88, 24, 16, 8, 46

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45, 99, 51, 52, 24, 18, 13, 16, 27, 4

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

Druze people take part in a rally over U.S. President Donald Trump's support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights
Druze people take part in a rally over U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights March 23, 2019 REUTERS/Ammar Awad

March 23, 2019

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (Reuters) – Dozens of Druze Arabs, some carrying Syrian flags and pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, gathered on the Golan Heights on Saturday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

The mountainous plateau was part of Syria until Israel captured it in the 1967 Middle East war, annexing it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel regards the Golan as a strategic asset because its peaks overlook northern Israeli towns and southwest Syria, where battles from an eight-year civil war have raged in view.

Some 22,000 Druze, an Arab minority who practice an offshoot of Islam, live in the Israeli-occupied Golan, and many still have relatives on the Syrian side of the fortified boundary.

“This land has sovereignty and its sovereignty is the Syrian Arab Republic,” said local resident Rafiq Ibrahim, dressed in traditional Druze black garb, in the town of Majdal Shams.

Trump on Thursday said it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, marking a major shift in U.S. policy. Syria pledged to take back the territory and there was widespread international criticism of the U.S. move.

(Reporting by Avi Ohayon; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN

Guns and Gear | Contributor

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

Yes, you need to be practicing one-handed shooting. Start reading into police shootings or watch some bodycam footage, look into some civilian-involved defensive shootings and you’ll find that assuming the perfect modified Isosceles, Weaver or Chapman stance doesn’t happen nearly as often as you’d think.

There’s something to be said for training how you’ll shoot and you’ll shoot how you train of course.

Watch enough videos, read enough reports, and what becomes clear is that you may or may not have the opportunity to assume a two-handed shooting stance. Often enough, people are fending an attacker off with one hand. Additionally, it may happen so fast that you may only have enough time to get the gun out with one hand. This is also why it’s good to practice drawing from concealment with only one hand; you may not have a hand free to clear a cover garment.

If anyone wants to get into the caliber war and the “this is why 9mm is better than .45” in the comments, I suppose this is a good time to do it.

With that said, how to get started?

Well, start small and move up, like with anything else.

First, you need the highest, tightest grip possible. A firm grip on the gun leads to good shooting, one-handed and otherwise; grip it as tight as you can. You can grip too hard, though; what you do is take your carry gun and start to squeeze. Pay attention to the sights.

When the sights start to move or shake, that’s too hard. Let off a little until the gun isn’t moving anymore. If you need to, try to strengthen your hands. Use a hand exerciser and/or do more compound lifts. Barbell rows and deadlifts build grip strength (legs and back too!) and are just good for you anyway.

There are a few different techniques for shooting one-handed. Most common is to just straight-arm it. Extend the shooting hand until your elbow is locking out. Align sights, fire and get back on target.

Some people modify it by canting the gun inward. Doing so ostensibly directs the recoil force more into the trunk of the body rather than torquing the wrist, though some find it makes no difference. Just make sure that you can still get a good sight picture.

Another technique is to essentially use half of a Weaver or Chapman stance, just without the support hand. You want your shooting hand to extend as far and straight out as possible while keeping the elbow tucked into the body. You may have to lean into the gun until you find a good sight picture. Again, the theory is to direct recoil into the body as much as possible, combating muzzle rise and so on.

Massad Ayoob has been teaching a one-handed technique for years that he refers to as the
“Shotokan Punch,” similar to the punching technique taught in Shotokan karate. The gun hand goes straight out, fully extended with the elbow locked. You put your strong side foot out, slightly ahead of your weak-side foot, like stepping into the punch. While getting into this stance, tuck your support hand up into your sternum, like you’re cradling a football.

Come to think of it, he should have called it the Heisman because it’s basically like an RB giving a stiff-arm, but one digresses.

This gets you leaning into the gun and presents a bit of counter-balance, which can help mitigate recoil as well.

If you haven’t worked on shooting one-handed before, start slow. Starting out with controlled pairs is a good idea, as you want to build accuracy and recoil control before you start in with the 5 by 5 or the Bill drill. Do some work with the weak hand too, as it also gets neglected.

Click here to get your 1911 Pistol Shopping Guide.

Click here to get The Complete Concealed Carry Training Guide

Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.

Source: The Daily Caller

Madison Gesiotto | Contributor

When the news dropped that Robert Mueller had submitted his report to Attorney General Bill Barr without any further indictments, liberal pundits had to process their dismay on live television, and the result was a combination of hysteria, disbelief, and denial.

Chris Matthews, for instance, famously felt a thrill go up his leg over Barack Obama in 2009, but he seemed to feel a chill going down his spine as he reported that Mueller would not be making any further indictments.

The MSNBC host was in rare form Friday night, angrily biting off each word as he demanded to know, “Why. Was there never. An interrogation. Of this president.”

Matthews refused to believe that the “experts” who have been assuring him and his liberal audience for nearly two years that Mueller’s investigation would result in criminal charges against President Trump could have been wrong the whole time.

Matthews long ago determined in his own mind that the president is guilty of obstruction of justice and collusion, and the “experts” he hosts on his show have reinforced that conclusion so firmly that Matthews seemed genuinely unable to understand why Mueller did not file any charges against Donald Trump, asking, “How can they let Trump off the hook?”

The host was particularly incensed that President Trump never had to “sit down with the Special Counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions,” wondering, “How can that happen?!”

Matthews was obviously experiencing the second stage of grief, which is anger. His MSNBC colleague, Rachel Maddow, on the other hand, expressed her anguish somewhat differently. Apparently, she was still stuck in the first stage, which is denial.

“Our job tonight as a country sort of — or at least what everybody in the country is going to be doing tonight, is trying to figure out what it means that the report of special counsel Robert Mueller has finally been submitted,” Maddow said near the beginning of her show, in between pained facial expressions.

“In terms of what that means and what Mueller found, we know only the smallest little bits,” she added. “This is the start of something, apparently, not the end of something.”

That assessment is a comical mix of wishful thinking and delusion. The fact that Mueller submitted his report means only one thing: that he’s finished with his investigation. Maddow is probably correct that “this is the start of something,” since Democrats in Congress have made it clear that they plan to subject President Trump to endless investigations in the hopes of uncovering something that Mueller couldn’t, but the Mueller probe is over, no matter how cartoonishly Maddow grimaces.

In between the Matthews and Maddow meltdowns, a stone-faced Jim Acosta went on CNN to discuss the “glee” that the President’s supporters are feeling now that Mueller has submitted his report and will not pursue any additional indictments.

Acosta very evidently didn’t share in that glee, sounding as though he was on the verge of gagging when he quoted a Trump campaign advisor as saying that “this is a great day for America.”

To wash the taste of MAGA out of his mouth, Acosta immediately pivoted to speculating that Mueller’s report might still contain damaging information about President Trump. Realizing that such a long-shot hypothetical circumstance probably offered cold comfort to CNN viewers, Acosta also interjected that “we still don’t know the conclusion of what’s happening in the Southern District of New York,” then reminded his audience that Democrats in Congress will accuse the administration of a cover-up if so much as a single word is redacted from the Mueller report when it is released to the public.

This is despite the fact that Acosta and congressional leaders are well aware that information derived from grand jury testimony and a host of other sources cannot be disclosed by the attorney general.

The mixture of sputtering outrage, wishful thinking, and excuse-making that pervaded the cable news networks Friday night reveals that even the most liberal partisans know that Mueller’s report will be the death knell of the Russia collusion hoax they’ve been perpetuating since before Mueller was even appointed.

They’ll sort through their grief eventually through the next stages, but that won’t end their public displays of humiliation, evidently.

Madison Gesiotto (@MadisonGesiotto) is an attorney and serves on the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was a 2016 inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio.


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

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked the GOP Saturday — for calling a vote on the Green New Deal that she proposed.

Calling it a “bluff-vote” designed to help Republicans campaign, the freshman Democrat tweeted, “The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record’, for leg they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace.”

Many were quick to respond, however, that it seemed odd for someone to propose legislation at all if she didn’t actually want people to vote on it.

And then a few noted that it was doubly odd that Ocasio-Cortez wouldn’t want the specific legislation voted on — especially since she has referred to the climate fight as her generation’s “World War II” and has claimed that there’s 12 years left to live. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Sells Green New Deal To Democrats As WWII Scale Effort)

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

MLB: Spring Training-Texas Rangers at San Francisco Giants
Mar 10, 2019; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jason Hammel (white shirt) walks to the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

Texas Rangers pitcher Jason Hammel has announced his retirement after 13 big-league seasons.

Hammel, 36, decided to walk away despite learning one day earlier that he had made the Rangers’ 25-man roster. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will replace him on the active roster, according to The Athletic.

“He just felt like spending time with his family was more important,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in comments published by the Dallas Morning News. “There are no hard feelings.”

Hammel posted a 96-114 record with a 4.62 ERA in 377 games (298 starts). He played for a half-dozen teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals — before signing with the Rangers on a minor-league deal this spring.

In 2016, Hammel won a career-high 15 games for the Cubs, who went on to win the World Series.

The 31-year-old Gomez provides the Rangers with additional help out of the bullpen. He has gone 27-30 with a 4.40 ERA in 299 games (46 starts) over nine seasons. He has 40 career saves, 37 of which he recorded in 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Joey Logano offers understanding, but no apologies.

After he applied the bumper to Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota in the final corner of last year’s fall race at Martinsville Speedway, Logano edged past Truex for the race victory and a guaranteed berth in the Championship 4 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In that season finale, Logano went on to win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

Logano understood why Truex was upset at being denied his first short-track win on the final lap. But Logano wasn’t sorry.

Given that the series is returning to Martinsville this weekend for the first time since last November’s memorable race, it was inevitable that the subject of the bump-and-run would come up.

“I mean, it’s in the past at this point,” Logano said. “But I think at that point Martin texted me and, like I told you guys, he was pretty clear that he was frustrated with the move. I understood, and I think he understood why I had to do it, and it kind of played out and worked out, but my move to him was that I didn’t wreck you. I gave the old bump-and-run.

“That happened 15 times a race here at Martinsville, and that one was just a little more popular. I think there’s a fine line. You don’t want to straight out bump somebody on purpose, but you also, when it comes down to the end of the race like that and there’s that much on the line, … that was our shot to win a championship.

“So I think every driver has a line that they are OK with and that you can go to sleep at the end of the night and say, ‘I did what I had to do and I’m all right with it,’ and if it happened to me, you have to be OK with that as well. I think that was the situation for me that I was trying to explain to him.”

COREY LAJOIE SUFFERS BRAKE FAILURE, HARD CRASH IN PRACTICE

Perhaps the most uncomfortable feeling at any race track comes from stabbing the brakes and feeling the pedal sink to the floorboard.

That’s what happened to Corey LaJoie, whose No. 32 GoFas Racing Ford crashed hard into the Turn 1 wall after his brakes failed in Saturday’s opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Martinsville Speedway.

The car suffered extensive front-end damage, leaving the right front tire barely rolling at a cockeyed angle as LaJoie nursed the car back to pit road.

“I’ll tell you, there is no coffee strong enough that will wake you up like losing brakes into Turn 1 at Martinsville,” LaJoie said after the crash. “It’s not a good feeling losing brakes. It had like a half-pedal, and then it felt like it blew through the seal or something.

“It’s unfortunate, because small teams like ours, we don’t really bring a backup (car) that’s fully ready to go, so my guys have a lot of work ahead of them. I’ll probably pitch in and help a little bit, but, obviously, our backup is not going to be as good as the car that we choose and bring as our primary.”

MARTINSVILLE CUP PRACTICES PRODUCE MIXED BAG OF LEADERS

With teams toggling back and forth between race trim and qualifying trim, Saturday’s two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway produced radically different groups of cars at the top of the leaderboard.

Clint Bowyer, defending race winner in Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paced the opening session with a lap at 97.674 mph. Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola, Bowyer’s teammates at Stewart-Haas racing, were second and third fastest, respectively.

Happy Hour was a completely different story. With Chase Elliott leading the way at 97.542 mph, Hendrick Motorsports drivers claimed the top three spots on the leaderboard. Alex Bowman was second fastest, followed by nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson, who is looking for a turnaround after four straight finishes of 12th or worse at the .526-mile short track.

Martin Truex Jr., the victim of a last-lap bump-and-run in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville, figures to be a contender again Sunday, after leading consecutive-lap averages over runs of five, 10 and 20 laps.

Near the end of final practice, Cody Ware wheel-hopped into the outside wall. His No. 51 Chevrolet sustained heavy damage in the accident.

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR wire service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

A ton of people tuned in on CBS to see Duke beat North Dakota State 85-62 Friday night.

According to TVByTheNumbers, 6.2 million people watched Zion Williamson and company stomp all over the Bison in the first round of the NCAA tournament. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

That number led the TV ratings for Friday night by a massive margin and was more than two million more followers than the same time slot Thursday.

This is great news for America. I was a little worried when the ratings took a dive on CBS Thursday. That wasn’t a good sign at all, but it looks like it was a one off event. (RELATED: March Madness TV Ratings On CBS Plummet 26 Percent)

Of course, the Duke Blue Devils are the biggest draw in the sport right now. Even with Kentucky playing Thursday on CBS, I’m not the least bit surprised that Coach K’s squad garnered higher ratings.

Zion Williamson generates massive amounts of attention. It’s just that simple.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Duke Men’s Basketball (@dukembb) on

I guess that we can all breathe a little easier knowing that America still loves college basketball.

My friends, that’s great news. Now, let’s grab a beer and get back to the games on this beautiful Saturday.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight/File Photo

March 23, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were heading to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, even as Southwest Airlines Co began parking its 34 MAXs near the California desert.

The factory visits indicate Boeing may be nearing completion of a planned software patch for its newest 737 following a fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October, but the timing for a resumption of passenger flights on the jets remains uncertain.

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which must approve the software fix and new training, are under U.S. and global scrutiny since the MAX suffered a second deadly crash involving Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on March 10, which led to a worldwide grounding of the fleet.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, said it has been in talks with Boeing, the FAA and airlines to get the airplanes flying again as soon as possible, albeit with an acceptable level of safety.

“Right now we’re in wait and see mode to see what Boeing comes up with,” Captain Jason Goldberg, a spokesman for APA, said on Saturday. “We’re hopeful, but at the same time the process can’t be rushed.”

APA is among a delegation of airline safety experts and pilots set to test Boeing’s software upgrade, meant to change how much authority is given to a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX, in Renton.

The system, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is suspected of playing a role in both disasters, which together killed 346 people.

Both crashes are still under investigation.

Southwest, the largest operator of the MAX in the world, and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates on Saturday. United has 14 MAXs while American has 24.

Meanwhile, Southwest said it was starting to move on Saturday its entire MAX fleet to a facility in Victorville, California, at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, while the global grounding remains in effect.

“The planes being in one place will be more efficient for performing the repetitive maintenance necessary for stationary aircraft, as well as any future software enhancements that need to take place,” spokeswoman Brandy King said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Cincinnati
Mar 17, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FC Cincinnati forward Darren Mattocks (11), midfielder Leonardo Bertone (6), defender Mathieu Deplagne (17), and forward Roland Lamah (7) celebrate after a goal against the Portland Timbers in the second half at Nippert Stadium in the inaugural home match for FCC. FCC defefated the Timbers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

FC Cincinnati will look to keep its early-season roll going in its inaugural MLS campaign on Sunday when it hits the road again, traveling to New England take on the Revolution.

Game time is 4 p.m. EDT at Gillette Stadium.

For expansion Cincinnati, the early results have been solid. The club opened with a loss at Seattle, before rallying with a tie at defending champion Atlanta, then beating Portland 3-0 in its home opener in Week 3.

“It’s great to play at home and great to see what our fan base can do already for us as a group,” Cincinnati coach Alan Koch told reporters earlier this week. “But our jobs are between the white lines no matter where we play. We shouldn’t change the way we go about our work. We lose we shouldn’t change, we win, we shouldn’t change. Our preparation for every game is consistent.”

Defender Nick Hagglund feels that the quality of play Cincinnati has turned in early in the season has sent a message to the rest of the league.

“We are here,” Hagglund said. “We’re not just an expansion team that people are expecting to roll over. We are a team that’s ready to go. We’re hungry.”

New England, winless and holding just one point through three games, is coming off a 3-2 loss at Toronto. But the Revolution are confident as they return home.

“We know what we can do at home,” New England midfielder Diego Fagundez said. “We know what style of play we have and with the team we have, we can definitely win this game. We’re at home and we can definitely show them who’s going to be the boss here.”

Both sides will be missing some key pieces because of national team call-ups this weekend. New England will be without rookie forward Justin Rennicks, while Cincinnati will be missing Kendall Waston, Allan Cruz, Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at New York Mets
Mar 2, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the New York Mets at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

The Houston Astros are closing in on a two-year extension worth $66 million for ace pitcher Justin Verlander, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Verlander, 36, went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an American League-leading 290 strikeout in 34 starts last season, his first full season in Houston since coming over from Detroit in a trade in 2017.

Last season, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner finished second for the third time in voting for that award and was part of the top five for the seventh time. He also was the league Most Valuable Player in 2011.

Overall, Verlander is 21-9 in 39 starts with the Astros, posting a 2.32 ERA and striking out 333 batters in 248 innings. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 following the trade for Verlander.

The Astros already reached extensions with All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman (six years, $100 million) and righty reliever Ryan Pressly (two years, $17.5 million) in the past few days.

Bregman, who turns 25 on March 30, finished fifth in the American League MVP voting last season after batting .286 with a league-high 51 doubles, 31 homers, 103 RBIs and 105 runs scored.

Pressley, 30, is under contract for $2.9 million in 2019 and would have been eligible for free agency after this season. The deal covers the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

It’s time for the Wisconsin Badgers to take a hard look in the mirror, and I’m not sure we’re going to like whatever it is that we end up seeing.

Following our embarrassing loss to Oregon late Friday afternoon in the NCAA tournament, I got out some quick reactions and thoughts. It wasn’t pretty and we shouldn’t be happy. Fans should be disappointed. We should be upset. Anybody who swallowed that loss and is fine isn’t paying attention. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

This is the University of Wisconsin we’re talking about. It’s the crown jewel of the Midwest over the past 25 years. Not a single school in America has more tournament appearances and bowl games appearances than us in the past quarter century.

Yet, we fail to capitalize when it counts.

I’ve taken some time to think about what has happened, so now I’m attacking this with a rational angle and it’s clear to me something has to change.

I’m not saying we have to fire Greg Gard. I don’t think that’s a smart idea at all. What I do think is dangerous and completely unacceptable is the idea that fans should be content with just making the tournament or winning nine football games a season. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

Neither is okay, and neither will ever be tolerated as long as I have a say in what’s going on. We expect to contend yearly for conference champions and national titles in both sports. This past season wasn’t where we need to be in both sports.

Yes, I’m aware that we still had a better basketball season than about 90 percent of the country. We won 23 games this season, but it’s just not good enough. I know most teams would trade places with us in a heartbeat. That’s not the point.

We should be better than 95 percent of the country in our default setting. We’re a top one percent program in both sports when we show up and show out.

My Badgers have to get back to where we were under Bo Ryan when it comes to basketball, and we absolutely have to get back to double digit wins in football. Looking in the mirror and acknowledging failure isn’t ever easy. It’s just not, but it’s necessary.

Major shoutout to Ethan Happ for the past few years. He won’t ever be forgotten. As for the rest of us, there needs to be some serious inward looking to find out where it’s gone wrong and how to stop it from happening ever again.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

China Development Forum in Beijing
People attend the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – China will reduce the time needed for patent review by at least 15 percent in 2019, the Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

The review time for trademarks will also be reduced to within 5 months, Xinhua reported without giving further details on the trademark or patent review timeframes. It was citing remarks made by the deputy head of National Intellectual Property Administration, Gan Shaoning, at the 20th China Development Forum.

The administration will further strengthen protection of intellectual property by optimizing the mechanisms governing intellectual property, raising the costs for IP infringements, and treating all market entities as equals in terms of IP protection, Xinhua reported citing Gan.

(Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Logan Thomas is the latest free agency signing for the Detroit Lions.

The former Virginia Tech star quarterback agreed to a deal with the Lions, according MLive.com. Thomas has switched positions since entering the league, and now plays tight end. He joins Jesse James as another new TE on the squad. Financial details of the deal aren’t known at this time. (RELATED: Tight End Jesse James Signs With The Detroit Lions For $25 Million)

First, I’m a little surprised Thomas didn’t work out in the NFL as a quarterback. He is absolutely massive and dominated the ACC during his days with the Hokies.

Given how the quarterback play in the league has changed, you’d think he’d be perfectly suited to be spinning the rock. I thought he was going to be just fine in the league coming out of VT. Clearly, I was wrong.

Secondly, I’m all for getting Matthew Stafford all the help we can. If Thomas can excel in the blocking game and provide an option in the passing game, then I’m all for it.

Last season was a disaster, and we can’t let that happen again. Beefing up the offense and the protections around Stafford is a major key to not repeating the same mistakes as last season.

Welcome to the squad, Thomas. Happy to have you here.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

The UNC basketball team gave Scott Van Pelt a bit of a prank Friday night.

The ESPN host was interviewing Tar Heels star Luke Maye when several players from the team showed up.

Van Pelt seemed to be a good sport as he fed questions through Maye’s earpiece for the whole team to answer. It was a lighthearted moment that reminded us just how fun March Madness can be. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

UNC was clearly very loose after beating Iona. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. After all, they should be having fun in the tournament.

However, Washington isn’t going to be nearly as easy to conquer. I’m not sure they’re going to be messing around on ESPN broadcasts when the Huskies show up. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

Will the Tar Heels win? Almost certainly, but the time for jokes might be over.

That was a fun moment, but I know all the UNC diehards out there want their guys to now be laser focused. Enough with the ESPN antics.

There’s a fight with Washington on the horizon, and that’s a team with an actual pulse. It should be a fun one Sunday afternoon on CBS.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan predicted just two short weeks ago that President Trump’s family members or associates would be indicted in the special counsel’s probe.

During an appearance on MSNBC on March 5, Brennan predicted that Mueller would issue indictments related to a “criminal conspiracy” involving Trump or his associates’ activities during the 2016 election. The forecast proved far off the mark on Friday after Robert Mueller ended his investigation without issuing new indictments.

“If anybody from the Trump family … is going to be indicted, it would be in the final act of Mueller’s investigation because Bob Mueller and I think his team knows that if he were to do something, indicting a Trump family member, or if he were to go forward with an indictment on a criminal conspiracy involving U.S. persons that would basically be the death knell of the special counsel’s office,” Brennan told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell. (RELATED: Ex-CIA Director John Brennan Accuses Trump Of Treason Following Putin Summit)

“I don’t believe that Donald Trump would allow Bob Mueller to continue in the aftermath of those actions,” he added.

WATCH: John Brennan predicts more indictments from Mueller

Brennan’s pipe dream was all but obliterated on Friday when Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department. Officials at the agency said that no more indictments will be submitted in the 22-month old investigation. There are also no indictments that have been issued under seal. The last indictment in the investigation was handed down on Jan. 24 against Trump confidant Roger Stone.

Of the three dozen indictments or guilty pleas obtained in the investigation, none have involved charges of conspiracy between Trump associates and Russian government officials.

It does remain unclear whether Mueller recommended Trump for impeachment proceedings, or whether he found non-criminal evidence of links between Trumpworld and the Kremlin. Attorney General William Barr said in a letter Friday afternoon that he will likely provide a summary of the investigation to the Houe and Senate Judiciary Committees as soon as this weekend.

Brennan, an outspoken critic of Trump, has stoked much of the speculation about the Trump investigation, which has centered on possible collusion between the campaign and Russia.

Brennan said that he believed at the time he was in CIA that “there was going to be individuals that were going to have issues with the Department of Justice.”

Follow Chuck 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

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan predicted just two short weeks ago that President Trump’s family members or associates would be indicted in the special counsel’s probe.

During an appearance on MSNBC on March 5, Brennan predicted that Mueller would issue indictments related to a “criminal conspiracy” involving Trump or his associates’ activities during the 2016 election. The forecast proved far off the mark on Friday after Robert Mueller ended his investigation without issuing new indictments.

“If anybody from the Trump family … is going to be indicted, it would be in the final act of Mueller’s investigation because Bob Mueller and I think his team knows that if he were to do something, indicting a Trump family member, or if he were to go forward with an indictment on a criminal conspiracy involving U.S. persons that would basically be the death knell of the special counsel’s office,” Brennan told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell. (RELATED: Ex-CIA Director John Brennan Accuses Trump Of Treason Following Putin Summit)

“I don’t believe that Donald Trump would allow Bob Mueller to continue in the aftermath of those actions,” he added.

WATCH: John Brennan predicts more indictments from Mueller

Brennan’s pipe dream was all but obliterated on Friday when Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department. Officials at the agency said that no more indictments will be submitted in the 22-month old investigation. There are also no indictments that have been issued under seal. The last indictment in the investigation was handed down on Jan. 24 against Trump confidant Roger Stone.

Of the three dozen indictments or guilty pleas obtained in the investigation, none have involved charges of conspiracy between Trump associates and Russian government officials.

It does remain unclear whether Mueller recommended Trump for impeachment proceedings, or whether he found non-criminal evidence of links between Trumpworld and the Kremlin. Attorney General William Barr said in a letter Friday afternoon that he will likely provide a summary of the investigation to the Houe and Senate Judiciary Committees as soon as this weekend.

Brennan, an outspoken critic of Trump, has stoked much of the speculation about the Trump investigation, which has centered on possible collusion between the campaign and Russia.

Brennan said that he believed at the time he was in CIA that “there was going to be individuals that were going to have issues with the Department of Justice.”

Follow Chuck 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

The Akorda, official residence of the Kazakhstan president, is seen amidst the city skyline in Astana
The Akorda (C), official residence of the Kazakhstan president, is seen amidst the city skyline in Astana September 8, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

March 23, 2019

ALMATY (Reuters) – Kazakhstan renamed its capital Astana as Nur-Sultan on Saturday in honor of veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who unexpectedly resigned this week after almost 30 years in power.

It is the fourth time the city’s name has been changed within six decades, and some residents and opposition figures have protested against the latest renaming, which was made official on Saturday in a decree signed by interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

The windswept city of one million people, where temperatures range from -40 degrees Celsius in winter to more than 40C during the summer, was previously called Akmolinsk, Tselinograd and Akmola before becoming Astana, meaning “capital”, after Nazarbayev moved the nation’s capital there from Almaty in 1997.

Authorities have said the many public buildings, events and companies with Astana in their titles will retain their names.

Saying a new generation of leaders was needed, Nazarbayev stepped down abruptly on Tuesday in what appeared to be the first step in a choreographed political transition that will see him retain considerable sway.

The 78-year-old former steel worker and Communist party apparatchik appeared alongside Tokayev at several events this week and the two spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone together.

Nazarbayev, who had ruled the vast oil and gas-rich Central Asian nation since 1989, when it was still part of the Soviet Union, remains the head of the security council and the ruling Nur Otan party.

Nazarbayev’s foe, fugitive banker and opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov, has accused him of planning a dynastic succession that would see his daughter succeed him.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A map illustrating China's silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road, or the so-called
FILE PHOTO: A map illustrating China’s silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road, or the so-called “One Belt, One Road” megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

March 23, 2019

ROME (Reuters) – Italy on Saturday became the first member of the Group of Seven industrialized powers to endorse China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure project, with Rome brushing off the worries of Western allies as it looks to revive its flagging economy.

The signing ceremony was the highlight of a three-day trip to Italy by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was designed to boost ties between the two nations at a time when the United States is locked in a trade war with China.

Chinese and Italian firms additionally signed some 10 deals, including in the energy, steel and gas pipeline sectors.

Full details of the contracts was not immediately revealed, but a government source said they could potentially be worth up to 20 billion euros ($22.62 billion). Italian media put the value at around 5 billion euros.

(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

Source: OANN

Bangkok district officers prepare ballot boxes and other documents ahead of the general election at a local district office in Bangkok
Bangkok district officers prepare ballot boxes and other documents ahead of the general election at a local district office in Bangkok, Thailand, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

March 23, 2019

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – An international observer group said it would face limitations in judging to what extent Thailand’s general election on Sunday is free and fair, partly because it was granted accreditation too late to get more than 35 monitors into the country.

Voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first election since a 2014 military coup in a race broadly cast as between the current junta leader, who is seeking to stay on through the ballot, and anti-junta parties led by loyalists to exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Bangkok-based Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), which sought accreditation in November, had hoped to deploy 80 observers for an electorate of 51.4 million people.

But permission to monitor the poll was only granted on March 14 and so less than half that number will be on the ground for an election critics say has been stacked in favor of the military by the country’s junta.

“Unfortunately … we were not able to bring all the observers we had planned to because of visa issues,” ANFREL Secretary-General Rohana Nishanta Hettiarachchie, and head of the Thai vote mission, told Reuters.

Asked to respond, a government spokesman and a spokeswoman at the foreign ministry referred Reuters to the election commission, which was not available for comment.

Thailand’s vote comes after nearly five years of direct military rule and is viewed as a contest between junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha – who wants to stay on as elected leader – and a “democratic front” of parties led by the ousted pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai.

A third faction, led the anti-Thaksin establishment Democrat Party, argues it can form a government that is neutral.

A parliamentary system created by a new military-backed constitution, however, gives pro-junta parties a huge advantage over their rivals, including Pheu Thai, which is expected to win the most votes.

Rights groups had called on the military government to allow foreign observers to monitor the election, but only ANFREL was given permission last week.

“As international observers, we have our own limitations. We can’t challenge the law of the country,” said Hettiarachchie, a Sri Lankan national. “The legal framework itself is not supporting the free and fair elections.”

The European Union said in a statement on Friday that it had not received an invitation to observe the election in time and would deploy staff members on a “diplomatic watch” for internal reporting only.

The United States, which downgraded ties with Thailand following the 2014 coup, said it was “very keen” to see Thailand return to an elected government.

“We hope … Thailand sees a government that reflects the will of the people,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, W. Patrick Murphy, said on a conference call with reporters in the region on Friday.

‘DICTATORSHIP’ VS ‘CORRUPTION’

Major parties held their largest rallies yet on Friday evening, ahead of the campaign cut-off time at 6:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) on Saturday. More than 93,200 polling stations in 77 provinces will open at 8:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Sunday.

Junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha crooned a ballad at a Friday rally of the military proxy Palang Pracharat Party’s in Bangkok to make his final pitch for staying on as prime minister.

Almost simultaneously, Thaksin, whose affiliated parties have won every election since 2001, said at his daughter’s wedding reception in Hong Kong: “We will win for sure.”

Seated beside the former telecommunications tycoon was the elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, who shocked the country last month by accepting a Thaksin-linked party’s nomination for prime minister.

She was quickly disqualified by the election commission and the party was later banned from the race for breaking a taboo of involving the monarchy in politics.

The new constitution written by junta supporters allows parliament’s upper house, the 250-seat Senate, to vote with the 500-seat lower house to choose the prime minister – and the Senate is entirely appointed by the junta.

Under those rules, pro-military parties would probably need only 126 seats in the lower House of Representatives to win a majority in a combined vote, while opposition parties would need 376 seats.

Pheu Thai’s long-time rival, the Democrat Party, told voters at its Friday rally that they did not have to choose between “dictatorship” and “corruption”, respectively referring to Prayuth and Thaksin, who fled the country to avoid corruption charges in 2008.

“Time’s up for dictatorship. Time’s up for corruption,” said its leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who could hold the key to power after what is expected to be an inconclusive poll that triggers intense horse-trading among parties to form a government.

“It’s time for ‘democracy with integrity.’ Vote Democrat.”

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Additional reporting by Gayatri Suroyo in JAKARTA; Editing by John Chalmers and Tom Hogue)

Source: OANN

Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad
Women from armed forces march in the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

March 23, 2019

By Saad Sayeed

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan wants peace with India and they should focus on health and education, the Pakistani president said on Saturday during a parade to show off its military might following a tense standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

Conflict between the rivals erupted last month following a suicide bomb attack claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group in the Indian party of the disputed and divided Kashmir region that killed 40 paramilitary police.

“We do not believe in war and want to solve problems through dialogue,” President Arif Alvi said in his Pakistani Republic Day speech.

“Instead of war we should focus on education and health.”

Pakistani warplanes engaged in a dogfight with Indian aircraft over Kashmir on Feb. 27, a day after a raid by Indian jets on what it said was a militant camp in Pakistan.

In their first such clash since their last war, in 1971, Pakistan downed an Indian plane and captured its pilot after he ejected over Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The pilot was later released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.

The president, who largely holds ceremonial duties, said India had blamed Pakistan for the suicide-bomb attack without evidence, which he said was irresponsible.

Saturday’s military parade included an air show featuring the Pakistani-built JF-17 fighter jet. One of the aircraft shot down the Indian plane last month.

“Today’s parade is sending the message that we are a peaceful people but we will never be oblivious of our defense,” Alvi said.

The parade was attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was invited to attend as the chief guest, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Khan said on Twitter earlier that he had received a message from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his best wishes for Republic Day and calling for peace and regional cooperation.

“I welcome PM Modi’s message to our people,” Khan said.

“I believe it’s time to begin a comprehensive dialogue with India to address and resolve all issues.The dispute over the former princely state of Kashmir sparked the first two of three wars between India and Pakistan after independence in 1947. They fought the second in 1965, and a third, largely over what become Bangladesh, in 1971.

(Reporting by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
Mar 22, 2019; Houston, TX, USA;Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) shoots against San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) and guard Derrick White (4) in the second half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

James Harden matched his career high with 61 points, delivering early and late to bail out the host Houston Rockets in their 111-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

Harden, who also scored 61 points on Jan. 23 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, finished 19 of 34 from the floor while drilling 9 of 13 from 3-point range.

After the Rockets coughed up a 19-point, third-quarter lead and fell into a 100-94 hole late in the fourth, Harden responded with three successive 3-pointers and a pair of drives to the basket to secure the victory, the Rockets’ third consecutive win over the Spurs.

Bryn Forbes led five Spurs in double figures with 20 points while Derrick White added 18 with eight rebounds. DeMar DeRozan posted 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while LaMarcus Aldridge paired 10 points with five blocks for San Antonio, which captured its first lead at 85-84 on a Patty Mills reverse layup with 10:48 to play.

Nets 111, Lakers 106

Joe Harris scored 26 points, and visiting Brooklyn made enough plays down the stretch to earn the victory and eliminate Los Angeles from postseason contention.

The Nets followed up their historic comeback win in Sacramento and improved to 2-3 on a season-high, seven-game road trip that continues Monday in Portland. D’Angelo Russell had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Brooklyn. JaVale McGee led Los Angeles with career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds.

The Lakers lost their fifth straight, dropped to 2-12 in their last 14 games and will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season. The loss officially ensured that LeBron James will miss the postseason for the first time since his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2004-05. James had 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

Thunder 116, Raptors 109

Russell Westbrook had his 28th triple-double of the season as he scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added 13 assists, and visiting Oklahoma City came back to defeat Toronto and end a four-game losing streak.

Paul George added 28 points, and Dennis Schroder had 26 points for the Thunder, who lost to the Raptors in overtime on Wednesday and overcame a 13-point deficit on Friday.

Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points for Toronto. Pascal Siakam added 25 points while Danny Green had 19 points.

Nuggets 111, Knicks 93

Nikola Jokic scored 21 points and pulled down 17 rebounds night for surging Denver, which moved back into a tie for the top seed in the Western Conference by cruising past host New York.

With their sixth straight win, the Nuggets (49-22) tied the idle Golden State Warriors for the best record in the West. Denver has never earned the top seed in the West and has yet to make an appearance in the NBA Finals.

Jamal Murray scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who also received 14 points from Gary Harris.

Bucks 116, Heat 87

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead host Milwaukee over Miami. The Bucks’ Khris Middleton contributed 18 points, a game-high 10 assists and eight rebounds.

The Heat, who were led by Hassan Whiteside’s 14 points, nine rebounds and a game-high three blocks, had closed their deficit to 63-58 early in the third quarter before falling apart. Their three-game winning streak ended.

The Bucks have the best record in the NBA at 54-19. Their 29-6 home record is the best in the Eastern Conference.

Clippers 110, Cavaliers 108

Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points, and Los Angeles hung on to beat host Cleveland. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points, adding five assists and two steals as the Clippers earned their ninth win in 10 games.

Lou Williams scored 15 and had six assists off the bench for Los Angeles. Montrezl Harrell scored 14 and had a crucial offensive board late in the game to stave off the Cavaliers.

Kevin Love led Cleveland with 22 points and had eight rebounds. The Cavaliers had their four-game home winning streak snapped.

Magic 123, Grizzlies 119 (OT)

Evan Fournier gave Orlando its first lead of the game with 4:05 to go in overtime, then gave the Magic the upper hand for good with another hoop with 1:14 remaining, giving the Eastern Conference postseason hopefuls a much needed victory over visiting Memphis.

The come-from-behind win allowed the Magic to stay within arm’s length of the seventh and eighth playoff positions in the East, spots currently held by Brooklyn and Miami.

Fournier finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists while teammate Terrence Ross led all scorers with 31 points. Memphis lost despite a 23-point, 24-rebound performance by Jonas Valanciunas.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Viacom office is seen in Hollywood, Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: The Viacom office is seen in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and other Viacom Inc channels were still available on AT&T Inc’s DirecTV satellite TV service on early Saturday morning as the companies continued to hash out a new carriage contract.

It was not immediately clear if a deal could be reached, sources briefed on the matter said. AT&T and Viacom declined to comment.

The previous contract, in which AT&T paid Viacom about $1 billion in fees annually, expired at midnight Friday. Failing to reach a deal means Viacom channels would not be available to AT&T’s 24.5 million customers.

These types of conflicts have become increasingly common amid waves of media consolidation and the migration of viewers from traditional pay television services to streaming TV services such as Netflix and Amazon.

The current discussions have weighed on any potential tie-up of CBS Corp and Viacom, both of which are controlled by the Redstone family’s National Amusements Inc.

Viacom had begun warning AT&T subscribers on Tuesday that its channels could stop being shown on the DirecTV service if it failed to reach a new contract by midnight on March 22.

Viacom, owner of MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and Comedy Central, accused AT&T of abusing its powers after buying Time Warner Inc, which owns the Warner Bros Hollywood studios and HBO premium cable network.

AT&T has said Viacom channels are no longer as popular as they once were and accused them of being a “serial bad actor” in contract renewal negotiations.

(Reporting by Kenneth Li; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Source: OANN

A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata
A woman walks past a wall painted with the election symbol of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an alley at a residential area in Kolkata, India, March 22, 2019. Picture taken March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

March 23, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – For over a decade Arvind Singh has worked as a watchman in New Delhi, doing the rounds of the streets with a whistle and a wooden stick to keep vigil at night.

Watchmen like him are so ubiquitous in India, guarding everything from offices to homes and stores to factories, that their presence goes almost unnoticed. But over the past week, the watchman has dominated India’s headlines.

That’s because the latest campaign to be launched this week by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before a general election beginning on April 11 is the “Main bhi chowkidar” or “I am also a watchman” campaign.

He tied an appeal to tens of millions of often poorly paid watchmen to the priorities of his own job, following a suicide bomb attack that killed 40 paramilitary policemen in the northern region of Kashmir last month.

“We both work day and night. You guard homes and I guard the nation,” Modi said in an audio speech addressed to watchmen on Wednesday.

“The watchman has become a symbol of the country’s nationalism,” he said, equating everyone from teachers and doctors to watchmen guarding the country in their own way.

The campaign came in response to the opposition Congress party’s slogan “chowkidar chor hai”, or the nation’s “watchman is a thief”, which it began using late last year to refer to Modi in connection with allegations of irregularities in the awarding of a defense contract. Modi has denied any wrongdoing.

In recent days, leaders and supporters of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have launched a coordinated effort to popularize his watchman campaign, with many changing their social media names to add the prefix ‘chowkidar’.

But for many watchmen, who are among the millions in India’s vast informal economy where workers are often poorly paid and barely protected by labor laws, Modi’s campaign is a political gimmick that is unlikely to improve their lives.

“I don’t know why they started it,” said Rakesh Yadav, a 37-year-old watchman from India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

“In the last four years they have done nothing for us,” he said, looking up from a newspaper while on duty outside a residential complex in New Delhi.

“If PM was a chowkidar, would Nirav Modi run away?” said another watchman, Mohammed Nayyar, referring to a billionaire jeweler who fled to Britain last year before an alleged $2 billion loan fraud he is accused of being involved in came to light. The jeweler is not related to the prime minister.

The cash-based economy suffered a serious hit from the Modi government’s shock move to ban high-value currency notes in 2016.

‘DONE A LOT’

Singh remembers being unable to feed his children for some days and standing in long queues at the banks to exchange the voided currency for new notes.

“What has changed in our lives? We are doing the same duty we were doing some years ago,” he said, adding that his salary had not increased from about $130 a month in three years.

The chowkidar campaign is a distinct reminder of Modi’s 2014 “chaiwallah” campaign in which he flaunted his past working for his father as a chaiwallah, or tea vendor.

It may be a gimmick, but such things have worked for Modi in the past, said Priyavadan Patel, a veteran political scientist from Modi’s home state of Gujarat and scholar at the Lokniti research program of Delhi’s Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

“The chaiwalla campaign worked in a big way,” Patel said.

Such connections with the common man helped the BJP to gain a big parliamentary majority, the likes of which had not been seen in three decades in India, in 2014.

But that’s unlikely to be repeated this time.

Polls predict Modi might win a second term but with a much smaller majority, amid concerns about a lack of jobs growth and millions of farmers dissatisfied over depressed crop prices.

Some of the most challenging battleground states for Modi’s party are those that depend on the farm economy. “The chowkidar campaign may not work in such areas,” Patel said.

One of those states is Bihar, where the watchman Singh migrated from 12 years ago. He said he wouldn’t go back because working on the farm back home was not profitable.

Yet, he said he believes in Modi, and praised him for air strikes on neighboring Pakistan in response to last month’s bomb attack.

“I feel like Modi ji has done a lot,” he said, using a suffix that denotes respect. “And I think he will do a lot more in the coming years.”

(Edited by Martin Howell, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Scott Morefield | Reporter

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow kept it together on Friday night, but just barely.

Returning unexpectedly from a fishing trip in Tennessee to broadcast in the wake of news that the newly-released Mueller report will not include an indictment of President Donald Trump, Maddow spent the better part of her Friday night opening segment seemingly on the verge of tears.

Here are the first few minutes of Maddow’s opening segment:

Calling the reason for her unexpected appearance “Mueller time,” Maddow said:

Our job tonight—as a country sort of or at least—what everybody in the country is going to be doing tonight is trying to figure out what it means that the report of special counsel Robert Mueller has finally been submitted. We’ve heard it said so many times that it was imminent, that it was done and maybe done and we didn’t know about it. Finally, it’s happened. In terms of what that means and what Mueller found, we know only the smallest little bits. This is the start of something apparently, not the end of something.

Later in the segment, the MSNBC host seemed to struggle even more to hold her composure, but she pressed through:

Maddow’s MSNBC show has long used the Russian collusion narrative to be be critical of the Trump administration. Last July, the MSNBC host accused Trump of serving the “interests of another country” following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (RELATED: Fake News: Rachel Maddow Falsely Claims White House Edited Putin Tape)

“For everything that we’ve been through as a country,” she said, “For every kind of trial and challenge and intrigue and embarrassment and scandal that we have been through as a nation, we haven’t ever had to reckon with the possibility that somebody has ascended to the presidency of the United States to serve the interests of another country rather than our own.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Scott Morefield | Reporter

MSNBC foreign correspondent Matt Bradley clearly wasn’t aware that the cameras were running when he spit into his hand and rubbed it into his hair during a Friday afternoon broadcast from Syria.

Ali Velshi was about to bring Bradley on to discuss the status of ISIS in the war-torn country when the camera showed the reporter just a few seconds too early.

WATCH:

“Matt Bradley is in eastern Syria in an area where the last remnants of the Islamic State and so-called caliphate were. What’s the situation for you?” Ali asked, seemingly unaware that the camera was showing Bradley styling his hair with spit.

After a pause and some background noise, Velshi cut to another segment, returning to the network’s foreign correspondent when he presumably had time to style his hair. (RELATED: Sarah Sanders Trolls CNN’s Jim Acosta For Criticizing Daily Caller Reporter)

“We do not have Matt. We will come back to him …” Velshi said before switching to the next segment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael W. Bostic speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael W. Bostic speaks at a European Financial Forum event in Dublin, Ireland February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyn/File Photo

March 23, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s patient approach to monetary policy does not mean the U.S. central bank will not increase interest rates, or cut them, should the need arise, the president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, Raphael Bostic, said on Friday.

“We may move up; we may move down,” Bostic said in remarks prepared for delivery to a monetary policy conference at the San Francisco Fed.

The comments were Bostic’s first since the Fed made an unexpectedly dovish shift on Wednesday. Eleven of its 17 policymakers forecast no rate hikes this year, and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cited low inflation, a slowing global economy and risks like U.S. trade tensions with China for the need to remain patient “for some time.”

After the Wednesday announcement, financial markets, which had already priced out any chance of a rate hike this year, began pricing in the likelihood of a rate cut next year.

But to see the Fed’s recent pronouncements as a “definitive signal” that the central bank will hold rates steady for the balance of the year is not accurate, Bostic said on Friday, adding that patience does not constrain the Fed’s options.

“I am open to all possibilities as we aim to support sustained economic expansion, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective,” Bostic said, referring to the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee. “Markets should understand that, so I hope I have made my position clear.”

In February, Bostic said he expected the Fed would need to raise interest rates once this year, after raising rates four times in 2018. He did not say how many rate hikes he now thinks are appropriate.

The Fed has become increasingly worried about meeting its 2 percent inflation target and skeptical that the Trump administration’s tax cuts and deregulation will unleash faster economic growth.

So have financial markets.

Data published earlier on Friday showed U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly cooled in March, a troubling sign for the U.S. economic outlook that helped push long-term borrowing costs below short-term ones, an indication of near-term risk and seen by many as a potential harbinger of recession.

The spread between yields on three-month Treasury bills <US3MT=RR> and 10-year notes <US10YT=RR> fell below zero for the first time since 2007 after U.S. manufacturing data missed estimates.

Earlier on Friday, data out of Germany showed the factory sector there was continuing to contract, another worrying sign for the global economy.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir;Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

It’s Kyra Santoro’s birthday on Saturday.

In honor of the 26-year-old model’s day, we searched the internet to find some of her most jaw-dropping looks on the red carpet and stage to date. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

Born in Los Angeles, California, the super model turned actress got her first big break in the entertainment business when she got became one of the beauty’s selected in the 2016 Sports Illustrated Casting Call. (RELATED: Celebrate Kate Upton’s Birthday With These Unforgettable Shots [SLIDESHOW])

Soon she would appear in the likes of such outlets as Maxim magazine and Men’s Health, just to name a few. (RELATED: Take A Look Back At Our Favorite Celebs’ Hottest Looks Of 2018)

Since that time, she’s gotten a few roles on the big screen as well in such things as  “The Orville” in 2017 and “Organics” in 2018. (RELATED: Check Out The Hottest Looks From The 60th Grammy Awards [SLIDESHOW])

And did we mention that her social media account is pure fire with some incredible photos she’s shared from her past fashion photo shoots to her swimsuit-clad trips all over the world. (RELATED: Take A Look Back At Adriana Lima’s Career With Victoria’s Secret)

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out our list of her hottest looks and let us know if you agree. Clearly, her modeling and acting career is just getting started and we can hardly wait to see what the future holds for her. (RELATED: Celebrate Anna Kendrick’s Birthday With Her Hottest Looks [SLIDESHOW])

Here’s to hoping this year is her greatest one yet. Happy Birthday, Kyra! (RELATED: Celebrate Samantha Hoopes’ Birthday With Her Hottest Looks)

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed his report off to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, just over four months after President Donald Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Sessions was fired, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to claim that the president’s underlying motive was to get to Mueller — possibly even to prematurely terminate the investigation.

And Pelosi was far from alone in her claim. (RELATED: Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez Join Forces To Threaten Dems Who Dare To Vote With GOP)

Some also argued that it was an intentional move to appoint Barr, who they also feared would put a stop to the investigation.

After all that, it appears that despite the warnings that came raining down, Mueller was allowed to complete his investigation on his own terms and in his own time.

Barr has suggested that preliminary conclusions could be announced publicly as early as the weekend.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed his report off to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, just over four months after President Donald Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Sessions was fired, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to claim that the president’s underlying motive was to get to Mueller — possibly even to prematurely terminate the investigation.

And Pelosi was far from alone in her claim. (RELATED: Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez Join Forces To Threaten Dems Who Dare To Vote With GOP)

Some also argued that it was an intentional move to appoint Barr, who they also feared would put a stop to the investigation.

After all that, it appears that despite the warnings that came raining down, Mueller was allowed to complete his investigation on his own terms and in his own time.

Barr has suggested that preliminary conclusions could be announced publicly as early as the weekend.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed his report off to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, just over four months after President Donald Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

When Sessions was fired, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to claim that the president’s underlying motive was to get to Mueller — possibly even to prematurely terminate the investigation.

And Pelosi was far from alone in her claim. (RELATED: Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez Join Forces To Threaten Dems Who Dare To Vote With GOP)

Some also argued that it was an intentional move to appoint Barr, who they also feared would put a stop to the investigation.

After all that, it appears that despite the warnings that came raining down, Mueller was allowed to complete his investigation on his own terms and in his own time.

Barr has suggested that preliminary conclusions could be announced publicly as early as the weekend.

Follow Virginia on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Duke vs North Dakota State
Mar 22, 2019; Columbia, SC, USA; The Duke Blue Devils bench reacts during the second half against the North Dakota State Bison in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

RJ Barrett pumped in 26 points and Zion Williamson scored 25 points in their first NCAA Tournament game, and top-seeded Duke relied on a huge second half to dispatch No. 16 seed North Dakota State 85-62 on Friday night at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.

Classmate Cam Reddish added 12 points as Duke won the East Region first-round game.

Williamson, competing in a college game in his home state for the first time, didn’t play in the final nine minutes after making 12 of 16 shots from the field. Barrett collected 14 rebounds.

Duke (30-5), which is in the tournament for the 24th consecutive year, meets the winner of Friday’s late game between Virginia Commonwealth and Central Florida in Sunday’s second round.

Vinnie Shahid scored 20 and reserve Jordan Horn added 11 for North Dakota State (19-16), which had never previously faced Duke. The Blue Devils improved to 14-0 against No. 16 seeds.

Williamson scored six points in Duke’s 9-0 spurt to begin the second half. That turned into a 19-5 stretch, draining much of the drama that might have still circulated.

Williamson had 13 points in the opening six minutes of the second half. Soon after, he was hopping for joy on Barrett’s reverse dunk in transition.

Duke led 31-27 at halftime despite Shahid’s15 points.

North Dakota State led 12-5. Williamson tallied 10 of Duke’s first 20 points, though the score was 20-16 through 15 minutes.

The Bison went up 25-24 before Duke posted the next seven points.

Duke center Marques Bolden was back in action after missing the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with a knee injury. Wearing a brace on his left knee, he came off the bench and was the first substitute used by the Blue Devils.

Duke forward Jack White, a reserve forward and team captain, wasn’t in uniform because of a hamstring ailment.

North Dakota State was coming off Wednesday night’s 78-74 First Four victory against North Carolina Central in Dayton, Ohio. That gave the Bison a second NCAA Tournament victory all-time and prevented an all-Durham, N.C., matchup between NC Central and Duke.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Duke vs North Dakota State
Mar 22, 2019; Columbia, SC, USA; The Duke Blue Devils bench reacts during the second half against the North Dakota State Bison in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

RJ Barrett pumped in 26 points and Zion Williamson scored 25 points in their first NCAA Tournament game, and top-seeded Duke relied on a huge second half to dispatch No. 16 seed North Dakota State 85-62 on Friday night at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C.

Classmate Cam Reddish added 12 points as Duke won the East Region first-round game.

Williamson, competing in a college game in his home state for the first time, didn’t play in the final nine minutes after making 12 of 16 shots from the field. Barrett collected 14 rebounds.

Duke (30-5), which is in the tournament for the 24th consecutive year, meets the winner of Friday’s late game between Virginia Commonwealth and Central Florida in Sunday’s second round.

Vinnie Shahid scored 20 and reserve Jordan Horn added 11 for North Dakota State (19-16), which had never previously faced Duke. The Blue Devils improved to 14-0 against No. 16 seeds.

Williamson scored six points in Duke’s 9-0 spurt to begin the second half. That turned into a 19-5 stretch, draining much of the drama that might have still circulated.

Williamson had 13 points in the opening six minutes of the second half. Soon after, he was hopping for joy on Barrett’s reverse dunk in transition.

Duke led 31-27 at halftime despite Shahid’s15 points.

North Dakota State led 12-5. Williamson tallied 10 of Duke’s first 20 points, though the score was 20-16 through 15 minutes.

The Bison went up 25-24 before Duke posted the next seven points.

Duke center Marques Bolden was back in action after missing the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with a knee injury. Wearing a brace on his left knee, he came off the bench and was the first substitute used by the Blue Devils.

Duke forward Jack White, a reserve forward and team captain, wasn’t in uniform because of a hamstring ailment.

North Dakota State was coming off Wednesday night’s 78-74 First Four victory against North Carolina Central in Dayton, Ohio. That gave the Bison a second NCAA Tournament victory all-time and prevented an all-Durham, N.C., matchup between NC Central and Duke.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr. speaks during campaign event for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at the Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire dept. in Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. speaks during a campaign event for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone at the Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire dept. in Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania, U.S. March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday appeared to end his probe without bringing criminal charges against several individuals he had investigated, including advisers and family members of President Donald Trump accused by Democratic lawmakers of not fully disclosing contacts with Russians.

Mueller handed in a confidential report on his investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who will decide how much of it to make public.

Mueller’s two-year investigation led to criminal charges against 34 individuals in total, including six of Trump’s associates and several Russian nationals. He did not recommend any further indictments, a senior Justice Department official said.

Trump has repeatedly called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and denies any collusion with Russia. Russia denies interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Following are some individuals who came under scrutiny during the investigation but appear to have avoided criminal charges.

DONALD TRUMP JR.

Trump’s eldest son met in June 2016 at Trump Tower in New York with a Russian lawyer to hear what he hoped was damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “If it’s what you say I love it,” he wrote to Rob Goldstone, a British publicist who arranged the meeting.

U.S. prosecutors said the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was an agent for the Kremlin.

When the meeting became public in June 2017, Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was about U.S. sanctions on Russia, not the presidential election.

Trump Jr. also communicated during the campaign with WikiLeaks, the website that released stolen emails from the Clinton campaign. 

JARED KUSHNER

President Trump’s son-in-law played a central role in the 2016 election and now serves as a senior White House adviser.

Kushner also attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting. He said he arrived late and tried to leave early after concluding the meeting was a “waste of time.”

In December 2016, after Trump won the election, Kushner asked Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to set up a secure communications channel at the Russian embassy. He also met that month with Sergei Gorkov, a Russian espionage officer who heads Vneshconombank, a Russian state-owned bank that is under U.S. sanctions. Kushner said no specific policies were discussed, nor was there any discussion about U.S. sanctions on Russia.

JEFF SESSIONS

Trump’s first attorney general told Congress he was unaware of any communications between the campaign and Russia, before admitting that he met with Kislyak at least twice during the campaign. That led Sessions, a former Republican senator, to recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation, drawing the ire of Trump.

Sessions also told Congress that during the campaign he resisted a proposal by then-foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulous to meet with Russian officials. But three people who were in the room for the discussion told Reuters that Sessions expressed no objections to the idea. All three have given their version of events to FBI agents or congressional investigators.

OLEG DERIPASKA

Mueller was investigating Deripaska, a Russian metals magnate, because of his close ties to the Kremlin and his relationship with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison for witness tampering, tax and bank fraud, and other crimes.

Manafort offered to share information about the campaign with Deripaska, a major lobbying client, but there was no evidence Deripaska ever accepted the offer.

The U.S. Treasury Department hit Deripaska’s businesses with economic sanctions in April 2018, alleging he was profiting from his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and from the country’s “malign activity” around the world.

Deripaska sued the U.S. government earlier this month, alleging it unfairly accused him of involvement in Russian government activities.

JEROME CORSI

Corsi, a right-wing political commentator and conspiracy theorist, came under scrutiny because longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone sought to use him as an intermediary to communicate with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the election.

Corsi said in November that he had received an offer from Mueller’s office to plead guilty to one felony count of providing false information to them in return for a lighter sentence.

He said he rejected the deal because he never intentionally lied during his 40 hours of interviews with Mueller’s team.

CARTER PAGE

A foreign-policy adviser during the campaign, Page drew scrutiny from the FBI, which said in legal filings in 2016 that it believed he had been “collaborating and conspiring” with the Kremlin. Page met with several Russian government officials during a trip to Moscow in July 2016 and said he kept campaign officials up to date about his activities there.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Andy Sullivan;Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

  • Jess Ravich, a senior employee at major investment firm TCW Group, resigned from his position on TCW’s board after his “unprofessional communications” with a subordinate were uncovered. 
  • Ravich has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee. 
  • Democrats who received money from Ravich did not respond when asked if they would consider returning the money or donating it to women’s groups. 

Democrats declined to say Thursday if they would return contributions from a wealthy donor who recently resigned from the board of an asset management firm amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Jess Ravich, a former board member of Los Angeles-based TCW Group, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns and committees over the years.

A January 2018 lawsuit against Ravich and TCW alleges that Ravich repeatedly coerced his employee, Sara Tirschwell, into sex in exchange for support of her investment fund. Tirschwell says that when she complained about the behavior, TCW fired her in retaliation.

“[Ravich] repeatedly coerced [Tirschwell] into sex, implicitly threatening that if she rejected his advances, TCW would deprive her of resources and investor access that were essential to her successfully building out the Distressed Fund,” the suit claims.

Ravich resigned from his position on TCW’s board in October 2018 after the company learned of “unprofessional communications” he had with Tirschwell, but he remains a senior-level employee.

Since 1998, Ravich has contributed to the following Democratic campaigns and committees:

  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): $6300 (1998-2015)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA): $1000 (2012)
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: $10,000 (2008)
  • Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE): $2000 (2006)
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: $25,000 (2000)
  • Democratic National Committee: $50,000 (2000)

The Daily Caller reached out to the offices for Sens. Wyden, Casey, and Carper, as well as the DSCC, DCCC, and DNC to inquire if they would return the donations from Ravich. None of them responded.

In October 2018, around the same time Ravich stepped down from the TCW board, Sen. Wyden spoke of the “enormous pain” inflicted on sexual assault and harassment survivors by the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“I believe Dr. Ford when she says she was assaulted in that room in 1982,” Wyden said of the uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. “I believe Dr. Ford when she says her attackers locked the door, a hand was pressed over her mouth, and she feared she might die. I believe her when she says she remembers them laughing.” (RELATED: Senate Judiciary Finds ‘No Evidence’ To Support Blasey Ford Allegation)

Sen. Casey similarly said, “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”

Democrats slammed Republicans in the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, citing Ford’s allegation of sexual assault.

The DCCC bragged about the money they were able to raise off of the accusations against Kavanaugh, but members of the party have refused to answer questions about the money they’ve received from Ravich — even as TCW admits Ravich had “unprofessional communications” with his accuser and removed him from its board.

Ravich has also thrown a significant amount of cash to the Clinton Foundation; he is listed on the organization’s website as a donor in the $50,001 to $100,000 contribution range. Last March, the Clinton Foundation told the Caller that they would not return the donations and refused to say if the nonprofit condemned Ravich’s alleged misconduct. (EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Foundation Won’t Return Donations From Accused Sexual Harasser)

“Donations, these included, have been spent helping people by fighting childhood obesity and HIV/AIDS, combating climate change and empowering girls and women,” the Clinton Foundation said at the time.

 Follow Amber on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

  • Jess Ravich, a senior employee at major investment firm TCW Group, resigned from his position on TCW’s board after his “unprofessional communications” with a subordinate were uncovered. 
  • Ravich has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including $10,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee. 
  • Democrats who received money from Ravich did not respond when asked if they would consider returning the money or donating it to women’s groups. 

Democrats declined to say Thursday if they would return contributions from a wealthy donor who recently resigned from the board of an asset management firm amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Jess Ravich, a former board member of Los Angeles-based TCW Group, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns and committees over the years.

A January 2018 lawsuit against Ravich and TCW alleges that Ravich repeatedly coerced his employee, Sara Tirschwell, into sex in exchange for support of her investment fund. Tirschwell says that when she complained about the behavior, TCW fired her in retaliation.

“[Ravich] repeatedly coerced [Tirschwell] into sex, implicitly threatening that if she rejected his advances, TCW would deprive her of resources and investor access that were essential to her successfully building out the Distressed Fund,” the suit claims.

Ravich resigned from his position on TCW’s board in October 2018 after the company learned of “unprofessional communications” he had with Tirschwell, but he remains a senior-level employee.

Since 1998, Ravich has contributed to the following Democratic campaigns and committees:

  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): $6300 (1998-2015)
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA): $1000 (2012)
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: $10,000 (2008)
  • Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE): $2000 (2006)
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: $25,000 (2000)
  • Democratic National Committee: $50,000 (2000)

The Daily Caller reached out to the offices for Sens. Wyden, Casey, and Carper, as well as the DSCC, DCCC, and DNC to inquire if they would return the donations from Ravich. None of them responded.

In October 2018, around the same time Ravich stepped down from the TCW board, Sen. Wyden spoke of the “enormous pain” inflicted on sexual assault and harassment survivors by the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“I believe Dr. Ford when she says she was assaulted in that room in 1982,” Wyden said of the uncorroborated allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh. “I believe Dr. Ford when she says her attackers locked the door, a hand was pressed over her mouth, and she feared she might die. I believe her when she says she remembers them laughing.” (RELATED: Senate Judiciary Finds ‘No Evidence’ To Support Blasey Ford Allegation)

Sen. Casey similarly said, “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”

Democrats slammed Republicans in the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, citing Ford’s allegation of sexual assault.

The DCCC bragged about the money they were able to raise off of the accusations against Kavanaugh, but members of the party have refused to answer questions about the money they’ve received from Ravich — even as TCW admits Ravich had “unprofessional communications” with his accuser and removed him from its board.

Ravich has also thrown a significant amount of cash to the Clinton Foundation; he is listed on the organization’s website as a donor in the $50,001 to $100,000 contribution range. Last March, the Clinton Foundation told the Caller that they would not return the donations and refused to say if the nonprofit condemned Ravich’s alleged misconduct. (EXCLUSIVE: Clinton Foundation Won’t Return Donations From Accused Sexual Harasser)

“Donations, these included, have been spent helping people by fighting childhood obesity and HIV/AIDS, combating climate change and empowering girls and women,” the Clinton Foundation said at the time.

 Follow Amber on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Connecticut appears to treat gun owners differently than anti-gun activists.

Last week, an anti-gun activist was caught allegedly threatening a Connecticut politician.

“If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA,” a photo of a text message she was in the midst of creating revealed.

The sender of the text was escorted out but faced no further punishment.

“We investigated it and we didn’t feel there was a threat,” Lt. Glen Richards of the Connecticut Capitol Police stated.

When a Connecticut gun owner made similar private threats, however, the full force of the law was employed against him.

On Aug. 29, 2014, Edward “Ted” Taupier, of Cromwell, Connecticut, was part of an email discussion when he said this about his divorced judge, Elizabeth Bozzuto: “Bozzuto lives in Watertown with her boys and Na! … There [are] 245 [yards] between her master bedroom and a cemetery that provides cover and concealment. They could try and put me in jail but that would start the ringing of a bell that can be undone.”

At the time he wrote the email, Bozzuto had ordered no contact between Taupier and his two children for more than three months, he told The Daily Caller.

Bozzuto was not one of the recipients of the email; instead, it was a discussion between other court litigants and activists.

One of the recipients, Jennifer Verraneault, days later shared the email with an individual at the Greater Hartford Legal Aid Society, a state legislator and others. A copy made its way to the Connecticut Judicial Marshals before Bozzuto received a screenshot, Taupier said.

Verraneault and Bozzuto did not return emails for comment.

This triggered an investigation and on Aug. 29, 2014, the Connecticut State Police filed a risk warrant against Taupier.

That risk warrant cited Taupier’s gun collection: “That an inquiry through the State of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Special Licensing and Firearm Unit database revealed Edward Taupier has a valid Connecticut pistol permit and twelve firearms.”

“If a referral was made to the Connecticut State Police it would have to be investigated fully,” a representative of the Connecticut State Police told the Caller, noting further that a risk warrant was determined to be appropriate.

Risk warrants are the result of so-called red flag laws and Connecticut was the first to pass such a law in 1999.

They allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from individuals deemed dangerous without that individual being charged with a crime as long as a judge signs a warrant.

The risk warrant against Taupier was as a result of Connecticut’s “red flag law.” Taupier said the Connecticut State Police used overwhelming force to execute the warrant.

“It took 15 members of SEAL Team Six to kill Bin Laden, but 75 to 100 SWAT members to arrest me,” Taupier said.

Though not charged with a crime, Taupier’s guns were confiscated, he was taken into custody and Taupier said his bond was in excess of $1 million. He was also placed on two ankle monitors with a GPS device monitoring.

Connecticut Judge David Gold, who ordered the restrictions, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ironically, Judge Bozzuto recused herself from Taupier’s divorce and the judge who replaced her ordered visitation for Taupier starting in December 2014.

Even though the risk warrant was later dismissed, Taupier was kept on ankle monitors and his guns stayed confiscated until he was formally charged on Nov. 14, 2014. Taupier opted for a bench trial, but before a decision could be made, the U.S. Supreme Court made a pertinent decision.

In Elonis vs. United States, the court heard another case involving a threat made in a divorce. In the case, Anthony Elonis said on Facebook, referring to his ex-wife, “Took all the strength I had not to turn the bitch ghost. Pull my knife, flick my wrist, and slit her throat.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, reversed a lower court and said those words did not constitute a “true threat.” Chief Justice John Roberts authored the majority opinion and argued that because Elonis did not have mens rea, a guilty mind, it was not enough to convict.

Roberts stated:

In light of the foregoing, Elonis’s conviction cannot stand. The jury was instructed that the government need prove only that a reasonable person would regard Elonis’s communications as threats, and that was an error. Federal criminal liability generally does not turn solely on the results of an act without considering the defendant’s mental state. That understanding ‘took deep and early root in American soil’ and Congress left it in here: Under Section 875, “wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal.”

Judge Gold was not convinced: “The objective test described in Krijger as the means of determining what constitutes a true threat continues to be good law in Connecticut even after Elonis.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. waits for the arrival of Former president George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters

Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Jr. waits for the arrival of Former president George H.W. Bush to lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dec. 03, 2018 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/Pool via Reuters

State v. Krijger, the case cited by Judge Gold, also appears to be a poor precedent because the threat was made directly to the person.

“The defendant was alleged to have made threatening statements to a town attorney immediately after the conclusion of a court hearing at which the town attorney advised the court of the town’s intention to seek to impose fines against the defendant for his continued zoning violations.” Judge Gold stated in his decision.

Even though the Krijger threat was made directly to the person, unlike in Taupier’s case, was still found guilty.

Judge Gold ruled that Taupier’s private email did constitute a “true threat” the legal standard he used to convict:

Using rhetorical embellishments to drive home the point, the defendant’s language was the rough equivalent of “I am going to shoot Judge Bozzuto and there is nothing she can do to stop me” — thereby reasonably suggesting that the defendant had become desperate enough not only to make the threat but also to carry it out.

Judge Gold even noted law enforcement tested Taupier’s guns: “Trooper Matthew Eagleston, of the Connecticut State Police, a firearms expert, inspected and test fired those four weapons (from those taken from Taupier) and concluded that each was fully operable and capable of accurately firing a projectile 245 yards.”

Sunny Kelley was one of the recipients of the email and she disagrees.

“Ted was convicted for his private thoughts,” she told the Caller. Kelley was one several parents featured in a 2018 story from the Caller. She has been barred from seeing her son since 2012.

Taupier was ordered to serve 18 months in prison but allowed on bail while his case was appealed.

In 2017, he made what law enforcement determined was another threat when he wrote on Facebook, “KILL COURT EMPLOYEES AND SAVE THE COUNTRY.”

He was taken into custody but eventually struck a deal, which did not add any prison time. He was released from prison on Dec. 24, 2018. While in prison, his parental rights were terminated.

“I was brought into court handcuffed and shackled,” Taupier said.

“Until further order of the court, the defendant shall have no in-person access with either of the children, and he shall not communicate or attempt to communicate with them in any manner, including by telephone, email, text message, video or internet call, social media, or by any other written or electronic means,” the order stated.

The court justified its order by concluding that “the contact between the children and their father since the date of judgment has been harmful to them. The father argues that he was only trying to teach the children to question authority. In reality, he was abusing his own parental authority to enlist them as foot soldiers in his war against the family court system.”

His case also nearly sparked a new law. In 2017, then Connecticut Democratic Rep. William Tong introduced a law that would increase the penalties for threats to a judge.

Connecticut State House in Hartford, CT (Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Connecticut State House in Hartford, CT (Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

“In one especially chilling case, a top judge in the family court system has been subjected to repeated threats sent by email and recorded on YouTube from a man who said he was going to train his children to kill judges,” The Hartford Courant said in covering debate on the law, presumably referring to Taupier.

Taupier said he did make YouTube videos but never said he was going to train his children to kill judges.

Daniela Altimari, who wrote the story, did not return an email.

Tong is now the Connecticut attorney general, and his director of communications, Elizabeth Benton, confirmed Taupier’s case inspired the proposed law, which ultimately did not pass.

While Taupier has been released, he continues to be on an ankle monitor and has never received his guns back.

Taupier said he feels the real crime has not been prosecuted: “[Connecticut] spent millions prosecuting me while they ignored a real crime.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

A free market energy group is criticizing Energy Secretary Rick Perry after he announced nearly $4 billion in loan guarantees for a beleaguered nuclear construction project.

“We oppose federal loan guarantees for any energy source, period,” said Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance (AEA), in a Friday statement. “Nuclear power is an important part of our nation’s energy mix, but the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of providing loans for any energy source. Instead, it should stay out of energy markets and work to remove government subsidies and mandates to allow all energy sources to compete on a level playing field.”

The AEA’s statement comes after Perry visited Waynesboro, Georgia, on Friday and announced $3.7 billion in additional federal loans for the primary owners of a nuclear power project that has been beset with delays and cost overruns.

The Department of Energy is guaranteeing up to $1.67 billion in loans for Georgia Power, up to $1.6 billion for Oglethorpe Power, and up to $414.7 million for the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). The three utilities are co-owners of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant.

The loans are to help Vogtle’s construction of its two latest nuclear reactors: Units 3 and 4. The two units, which are the only nuclear reactors under construction in the entire country, were originally planned to be completed by 2017, but have been plagued with construction delays and ballooning costs. Unit 3 will not be ready to be loaded with fuel until 2020, and Unit 4 won’t go online until 2021.

Construction of the two units are expected to cost a total of $27 billion, and the announcement by Perry on Friday marks a total of $12 billion in federal loan guarantees to help keep the project afloat.

Vogtle’s struggles have been emblematic of the country’s nuclear industry.

The U.S. nuclear fleet is suffering under an unfriendly market. Competing against cheap natural gas and subsidy-backed renewables, numerous nuclear plants have been rendered unprofitable. Six nuclear plants closed in just the past six years. The horizon does not look much better for nuclear proponents, with nine other plants expected to shut down by 2025.

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, is seen near Waynesboro

The Vogtle Unit 3, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, a business unit of Toshiba, near Waynesboro, Georgia, U.S. is seen in an aerial photo taken March 2017. Georgia Power/Handout via REUTERS

However, the Trump administration, along with a growing number of climate activists, is raising concerns over the plight of the nuclear industry, realizing that the closure of these plants means the end of a major source of zero-carbon energy. Unlike solar or wind, nuclear can generate large amounts of electricity — and unlike fossil fuels, it can do so while releasing no carbon emissions. (RELATED: Why Are Record Amounts Of Cash Being Dumped Into Georgia’s Utility Commissioner Race?)

“The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” Perry said Friday, calling the two reactors the “real” Green New Deal. “A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security.”

However, free market and consumer groups have continued to criticize the federal government’s assistance of Vogtle, with the AEA calling for the Trump administration to stay out of energy markets entirely.

The Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication of this article.

Follow Jason 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

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

A free market energy group is criticizing Energy Secretary Rick Perry after he announced nearly $4 billion in loan guarantees for a beleaguered nuclear construction project.

“We oppose federal loan guarantees for any energy source, period,” said Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance (AEA), in a Friday statement. “Nuclear power is an important part of our nation’s energy mix, but the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of providing loans for any energy source. Instead, it should stay out of energy markets and work to remove government subsidies and mandates to allow all energy sources to compete on a level playing field.”

The AEA’s statement comes after Perry visited Waynesboro, Georgia, on Friday and announced $3.7 billion in additional federal loans for the primary owners of a nuclear power project that has been beset with delays and cost overruns.

The Department of Energy is guaranteeing up to $1.67 billion in loans for Georgia Power, up to $1.6 billion for Oglethorpe Power, and up to $414.7 million for the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). The three utilities are co-owners of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant.

The loans are to help Vogtle’s construction of its two latest nuclear reactors: Units 3 and 4. The two units, which are the only nuclear reactors under construction in the entire country, were originally planned to be completed by 2017, but have been plagued with construction delays and ballooning costs. Unit 3 will not be ready to be loaded with fuel until 2020, and Unit 4 won’t go online until 2021.

Construction of the two units are expected to cost a total of $27 billion, and the announcement by Perry on Friday marks a total of $12 billion in federal loan guarantees to help keep the project afloat.

Vogtle’s struggles have been emblematic of the country’s nuclear industry.

The U.S. nuclear fleet is suffering under an unfriendly market. Competing against cheap natural gas and subsidy-backed renewables, numerous nuclear plants have been rendered unprofitable. Six nuclear plants closed in just the past six years. The horizon does not look much better for nuclear proponents, with nine other plants expected to shut down by 2025.

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, is seen near Waynesboro

The Vogtle Unit 3, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, a business unit of Toshiba, near Waynesboro, Georgia, U.S. is seen in an aerial photo taken March 2017. Georgia Power/Handout via REUTERS

However, the Trump administration, along with a growing number of climate activists, is raising concerns over the plight of the nuclear industry, realizing that the closure of these plants means the end of a major source of zero-carbon energy. Unlike solar or wind, nuclear can generate large amounts of electricity — and unlike fossil fuels, it can do so while releasing no carbon emissions. (RELATED: Why Are Record Amounts Of Cash Being Dumped Into Georgia’s Utility Commissioner Race?)

“The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” Perry said Friday, calling the two reactors the “real” Green New Deal. “A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security.”

However, free market and consumer groups have continued to criticize the federal government’s assistance of Vogtle, with the AEA calling for the Trump administration to stay out of energy markets entirely.

The Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication of this article.

Follow Jason 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

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

A free market energy group is criticizing Energy Secretary Rick Perry after he announced nearly $4 billion in loan guarantees for a beleaguered nuclear construction project.

“We oppose federal loan guarantees for any energy source, period,” said Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance (AEA), in a Friday statement. “Nuclear power is an important part of our nation’s energy mix, but the federal government shouldn’t be in the business of providing loans for any energy source. Instead, it should stay out of energy markets and work to remove government subsidies and mandates to allow all energy sources to compete on a level playing field.”

The AEA’s statement comes after Perry visited Waynesboro, Georgia, on Friday and announced $3.7 billion in additional federal loans for the primary owners of a nuclear power project that has been beset with delays and cost overruns.

The Department of Energy is guaranteeing up to $1.67 billion in loans for Georgia Power, up to $1.6 billion for Oglethorpe Power, and up to $414.7 million for the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power). The three utilities are co-owners of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant.

The loans are to help Vogtle’s construction of its two latest nuclear reactors: Units 3 and 4. The two units, which are the only nuclear reactors under construction in the entire country, were originally planned to be completed by 2017, but have been plagued with construction delays and ballooning costs. Unit 3 will not be ready to be loaded with fuel until 2020, and Unit 4 won’t go online until 2021.

Construction of the two units are expected to cost a total of $27 billion, and the announcement by Perry on Friday marks a total of $12 billion in federal loan guarantees to help keep the project afloat.

Vogtle’s struggles have been emblematic of the country’s nuclear industry.

The U.S. nuclear fleet is suffering under an unfriendly market. Competing against cheap natural gas and subsidy-backed renewables, numerous nuclear plants have been rendered unprofitable. Six nuclear plants closed in just the past six years. The horizon does not look much better for nuclear proponents, with nine other plants expected to shut down by 2025.

The Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, is seen near Waynesboro

The Vogtle Unit 3, being constructed by primary contactor Westinghouse, a business unit of Toshiba, near Waynesboro, Georgia, U.S. is seen in an aerial photo taken March 2017. Georgia Power/Handout via REUTERS

However, the Trump administration, along with a growing number of climate activists, is raising concerns over the plight of the nuclear industry, realizing that the closure of these plants means the end of a major source of zero-carbon energy. Unlike solar or wind, nuclear can generate large amounts of electricity — and unlike fossil fuels, it can do so while releasing no carbon emissions. (RELATED: Why Are Record Amounts Of Cash Being Dumped Into Georgia’s Utility Commissioner Race?)

“The Vogtle project is critically important to supporting the Administration’s direction to revitalize and expand the U.S. nuclear industry,” Perry said Friday, calling the two reactors the “real” Green New Deal. “A strong nuclear industry supports a reliable and resilient grid, and strengthens our energy and national security.”

However, free market and consumer groups have continued to criticize the federal government’s assistance of Vogtle, with the AEA calling for the Trump administration to stay out of energy markets entirely.

The Department of Energy did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation in time for publication of this article.

Follow Jason 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


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