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Graeme Gallagher | Contributor

Officials report that 71 people, including 12 children, drowned as a ferry capsized on the Tigris River in Northern Iraq on Thursday.

Nearly 150 people, including 80 women and children, were on board the boat that was destined for a popular tourist island in Mosul as part of the Kurdish New Year celebrations, AP News reports. The overcrowded ferry exceeded the permitted capacity by two times and most of the passengers on board could not swim, reported BBC.

People floating fast down the river and the sunken ferry can be seen in videos released on social media. (RELATED: Before And After: ISIS Literally Turned Mosul Into A Brown Smudge)

Over 50 people have been rescued so far, as ambulances and helicopters arrived to continue the search for survivors and bodies of the victims. A local information source called Mosul Eye tweeted an appeal for people to go down to the river and help with the rescue operation.

The ferry sank halfway on the trip to the island across the river because of a technical problem and high water levels, said Ninevah Mayor Abd al-Sattar Habu.

“The Department of Water Resources warned a few days ago that the level of water will rise as a result of the opening of dams,” said Habu.

The result of high water levels from the dam was reportedly warned by authorities, however, some are accusing the ferry’s operator of ignoring the warnings. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has ordered an investigation into the accident “to determine responsibilities.” (RELATED: Terrifying: This Is What It Is Like To Drown)

General view of the scene where an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul in Iraq, March, 21,2019. (REUTERS/Stringer)

General view of the scene where an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul in Iraq, March, 21,2019. (REUTERS/Stringer)

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said that the accident was a “terrible tragedy.”

“This is a terrible tragedy. We express our deep sorrow at the deaths. Our hearts go out to the families and relatives of the victims,” wrote Hennis-Plasschaert. “A thorough investigation will tell us what exactly happened and why there was this loss of life.”

The city of Mosul was captured by the Islamic State group in 2014 and became its de-facto capital. However, U.S. backed Iraqi Security Forces retook and liberated the historic city in the summer of 2017. (RELATED: ISIS Fighters Shaving Beards To Escape Mosul Undetected)

Source: The Daily Caller

Arianny Celeste brought some serious heat to Instagram Thursday.

The superstar UFC octagon girl posted a photo of herself in revealing blue lingerie, and it’s out of control. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

She captioned the insanely scandalous snap, “Dream a little bigger darling…” (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Take a look at it below, and let us know what you think. My guess is that you’re going to like it a lot. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

View this post on Instagram

Dream a little bigger darling… – @joeywrightphoto @jocelynjohnson_ @nico_warren @jamesfgoldstein

A post shared by Arianny Celeste UFC® (@ariannyceleste) on

You can always count on Celeste to provide some great content on Instagram, and to brighten up all our days with some outstanding photos. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Here are a few more times that she lit t up on the web. Enjoy! (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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A post shared by Arianny Celeste UFC® (@ariannyceleste) on

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A post shared by Arianny Celeste UFC® (@ariannyceleste) on

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A post shared by Arianny Celeste UFC® (@ariannyceleste) on

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Source: The Daily Caller

“SEAL Team” star Max Thieriot was kind enough to speak to me about the second season of the CBS hit series, and it sounds like there are some great things on the horizon.

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I have been ever since the first episode aired. That’s why I was so pumped to speak with Max, who plays Bravo Team member Clay Spenser in the series. (RELATED: ‘SEAL Team‘ Is Excellent In New Episode ‘Things Not Seen’)

Let’s dive right into what he had to say!

*Some of the questions and answers have been slightly edited for clarity and smoothness.

We’ve been off the air now for about two months (interview was conducted Wednesday before the newest episode aired). We’re coming back tonight. What’s it like to finally be back? Lot of anticipation, lot of fans that were waiting. What’s it like to know we finally got some new episodes?

Oh man, it’s a relief. … One of the hardest things … I think is keeping everybody waiting, and in a holding pattern, waiting to see new episodes because I know there are a lot of people who are itching to watch them. So, I’m excited. I think leading up to this last eight-nine episodes of the season, I can say confidently that the back half of the season is awesome. I mean, it really ramps up. There is some really really great action stuff along with a great storyline, character development stuff. We kind of dive into a lot of stuff we really haven’t really talked about before. It’s great. We got some of our best episodes ever for sure are coming up.

One of the big storylines was when Jason’s wife was killed off the show — a gut-wrenching turn of events. Was the cast pretty surprised to find out that was going to happen? Because as an audience member who watched all of it, that was like getting hit by a train.

If I’m being honest, I think yes and no. We were surprised because it’s such a big decision; it’s such a big commitment to make and such a bold card to play that early on such a great character. But at the same time, from a film and television viewer, it’s also weirdly important sometimes to do that stuff because it keeps the audience on their toes. You don’t want people to be able to think they will be able to expect everything all the time. As far as us being surprised or not, the only reason why we weren’t totally surprised is [because] Michaela’s a fantastic actor, and she had booked another television show that she was going on to do. And so, scheduling-wise, it was going to be really hard to work it out. That sort of helps in that decision-making process.

Speaking of women on the show, can we expect anything between Clay and Stella going forward, or is that pretty much over? Because it obviously didn’t end well. Clay carried a lot of that with him when he deployed right afterward. Is that storyline done or can we, as fans, hold out hope that those two might still have a future?

As far as the future, I’m not sure. But, I think, as fans, you can expect that it hasn’t been fully resolved and figured out. We’ll see some of Stella again. It’s just a matter of what way we are going to be seeing her.

We have a huge military audience, and they really like how the show shines a light on the personal aspect of the military. How important is it to you guys when you’re out there — both in the action scenes and in the personal life stuff — to really give the respect and shine a light on the people who have actually been through this? Is that always in the back of your mind, that, ‘Hey, we really got to hit home runs here because this isn’t a game. There are people who actually make these sacrifices every day.’

One-hundred percent, David. I think the thing is, to be honest, that’s the most important thing to us. Whether the technical aspect [of] the military tactics or the stuff that now goes on in this community or if it’s the personal life stories or, like you said, the sacrifices that these men and women make … to make sure we are as authentic as we can possibly be is, by far, the most important thing. And sometimes, like Adam’s death, those things aren’t necessarily what we want to see, but they’re realities. They’re realities of the job and what these people go through. And so, obviously, it’s the most important thing for us, to show it in the best possible way, but also the most real way.

Speaking of the tactics and stuff, what type of training do they run you guys through to make sure that when you are handling the weapons it looks realistic, when you’re moving, when you’re breaching doors, it all looks realistic? How much time did it take for you guys to go through before you started feeling comfortable with it?

[For] the pilot, we sort of jumped right into it. We didn’t have a whole lot of time. We had amazing technical advisors on set and we still … have a couple Delta guys, guys from various field teams, we have Marine Force Recon, we have guys from all different branches of the military that are on the show as producers, writers, actors, stuntmen, crew and, so, we have a lot of time rehearsing now. It’s repeated motion, right? It’s like riding a bike. The more and more you do it, the more comfortable you get and the more normal it looks. I’m a country boy so I came from a small town, Northern California, where everybody owned guns. We grew up, you know, hunting and fishing. It’s obviously not the same gun movement, but I spend a lot of times around guns and have been around them since I was eight or nine years old. For me, it was kind of more learning some of the technical stuff.

One of the neat things about the show, especially the Mexico storyline and the storyline about the rescuing of the ISIS bride — there really seems like there are a lot of things that are in the news that are often reflected in the show. Do the writers try to leave a lot of room so that they can try to mold things to current events? Or is it just kind of coincidence when stuff like that happens?

Both. I think the writers’ goal is to half an overlying arch that the audience can track, but also we can have these missions and things going on that are current events. We can kind of jump in and out of those while following character development and these storylines throughout the season. A lot of those current events and things going on, we try to not remake identically, but certainly, the cartel stuff and those things are all sorts of related to things that are going on.

If any of the actors on Bravo Team actually had to go through BUDS, who would be the first one to quit? Who would likely make it the farthest?

I can say confidently that I would make it the farthest. The first one to quit? I think that AJ will willingly say that he would probably be the first one to quit. He’s kind of stated that before. I think he’s like, “Dude, you’re out of your mind.”

On the show, characters are, obviously, a really tight-knit group, a lot of great comradery stuff like that. When cameras aren’t rolling, do you guys like to do anything fun? Keep loose? Pranks on set? Or anything like that to keep morale high?

Yeah, I’m the biggest prankster on set. As you can see on my Instagram, I’m pretty much always, specifically, I prank AJ more than anybody. But, it’s because he and I are just such buddies and he’s an easy target and I’m always around him. So he makes it easy and fun to pick on [him]. But, yeah, we kind of keep it as light as we possibly can in between. Clearly, there are days that are really serious and emotional and, on those days, yeah, things are a little different. But, when we’re out there running in the hills and shooting late nights and stacking up on doors to breach, we keep it as light as we possibly can and joke around.

Make sure to tune in to “SEAL Team” Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST to catch new episodes.

You know that I’ll be watching and keeping you all as updated as I can on the show!

Special thanks to Graham Gallagher for transcribing the interview.

Source: The Daily Caller

President Donald Trump said Thursday that it's time for the United States to recognize Israel's control over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a shift in U.S. policy and comes ahead of the Israeli prime minister's planned visit next week to the White House.

The administration has been considering recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled."

"After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!" Trump tweeted.

Minutes later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation. "At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!"

In addition to its policies toward the Palestinians, the U.S. has taken a hard line toward Iran, much to Netanyahu's delight.

Trump's announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Jerusalem, lauding warm ties with Israel and promising to step up pressure on Iran. Pompeo's words gave a public boost to the Israeli leader at the height of a tight re-election campaign. Netanyahu is to be in Washington for two days next week — two weeks before Israel's April 9 ballot.

Standing together in Jerusalem Thursday, neither Netanyahu nor Pompeo mentioned the heated Israeli election campaign. But Netanyahu, facing a tough challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and strong ties with Trump.

Pompeo has said his trip has nothing to do with politics.

Netanyahu thanked Pompeo for the Trump administration's strong stance against Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.

Netanyahu has accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights, using the incident to repeat his goal of international recognition for Israel's claim on the area.

"You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan," he said. "You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee."

Pompeo paid a solemn visit Thursday to Jerusalem's Western Wall along with Netanyahu in an apparent sign of support for Israel's control of the contested city.

Pompeo is the highest-ranking American official to tour the holy site with any Israeli leader. His visit was likely to further infuriate the Palestinians, who already have severed ties with the U.S. over its Jerusalem policies.

Pompeo and Netanyahu prayed at the wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, before depositing written prayers in its crevices and then touring nearby tunnels and synagogue. Neither made any public comment at the site.

The secretary said he thought it was important to visit the wall with the Israeli leader as a show of support for Israel.

"I think it's symbolic that a senior American official go there with a prime minister of Israel," he said before making the trip. "It's a place that's important to many faiths and I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be very special."

Israel captured east Jerusalem and the Old City in the 1967 Mideast war, and for decades, U.S. officials refrained from visiting the Western Wall with Israeli leaders to avoid the appearance of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the city's most sensitive holy sites. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

But the Trump administration has upended the longstanding policy, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem last year after recognizing the city as Israel's capital. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital.

Senior U.S. officials, including Trump and numerous predecessors, have visited the wall privately in the past, but never with an Israeli leader.

The Old City is home to Jerusalem's most sensitive holy sites, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where tradition says Jesus was entombed and resurrected. Pompeo, a devout Christian, also stopped at the church.

Next to the Western Wall is a hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The spot, which once housed the biblical Temples, is the holiest site in Judaism and today is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The competing claims to the site are a frequent source of tension and lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he said it did not determine the city's final borders. But the gesture was perceived as unfairly siding with Israel and prompted the Palestinians to sever ties with the U.S. The Palestinians already have rejected a planned Mideast peace initiative by the administration.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Pompeo's visit added additional obstacles to peace hopes. "While they are claiming to be trying to solve the conflict, such acts only make it more difficult to resolve," he said.

While previous secretaries of state have traditionally met with the Palestinians when visiting the region, Pompeo has no such talks planned.

"The Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side. We need to help them figure out how to do that," Pompeo said. "It's a fact, and this administration wishes well for the Palestinian people."

In addition to the Jerusalem recognition, the administration also has cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, helping fuel a financial crisis for Abbas' Palestinian Authority.

At a meeting with Pompeo, Israel's President Reuven Rivlin expressed his deep concern about the Palestinians, both in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and under the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

"If the Palestinian Authority will collapse, we will have to take care about what is going on,"

Source: NewsMax

Quote of the Day:

“And here he is demonstrating how it’s possible to be an asshole and a crybaby at the same time.”

— former Rep. Joe Walsh (R), now a radio host, on President Trump‘s latest jabs at the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Trump told a crowd at an Ohio tank factory on Wednesday that he never got “a thank you” for allowing McCain to have the funeral he wanted. McCain died from an intense form of brain cancer eight months ago. One Q: Was McCain supposed to thank him for that before or after he was six feet under?

Journo wants #MeToo movement for fake claims 

“Saw @TPAIN last night and a woman behind me shoved me 3 different times because she couldn’t see (she was maybe 5’2, it was general admission w/ no seating). When I turned around to tell her to stop, she claimed I grabbed her breast. Is there a #MeToo for fake sex claims?” — Eddie Scarry, The Washington Examiner.

The shoving continues… 

“Also, at what point is it okay to physically retaliate when you’re being very aggressively shoved? It was very literally bullying because of the power dynamic: I, male, had no power to act. She, female, knew that and kept shoving me #MeToo.”

“First incident was prior to the show starting. She asked me and friend to move apart so she could see. Obviously not, given we were there together and it was general admission. So she literally used her weight (she was… what’s the word I’m looking for… fat) to move me #MeToo.”

Other women start yelling at her 

“I told her she could stand somewhere up closer but that she couldn’t just take my spot using her weight. I s*** you not, she said to me, ‘I just did.’ Two women who saw what happened started yelling at her and told her she should have gotten here earlier #MeToo.”

“A guy, I assume her bf, eventually took hold of this tiny big girl and pulled her back. She screamed at him for an hour about not being able to see. When show started, that’s when she began, at random, shoving me forward. #MeToo.”

Uh oh…

“The first time it happened, I turned around and she pretended not to even see me. Second time, I turned around and she screams ‘STOP TOUCHING ME!’”

“And btw, this whole time, out of bitterness for being short but large, she held her hand up with her phone in it, camera on. THAT’S how she was viewing the stage and her arm was hitting my head over and over. #MeToo.”

BTW, the concert was great! 

“Each time, her bf would hold her back, as if she was a celebrity he was protecting. Felt embarrassed for him. Why not either leave your violent little gf there alone or maybe take her away? The concert otherwise was great! #MeToo.”

To Mirror readers: I can vouch for Eddie Scarry that he would never grab a woman’s breast.

Joe and Mika are gaga over Pete Buttigieg, campare him to Barack Obama 

“Mika and I have been overwhelmed by the reaction @PeteButtigieg got after being on the show. The only other time in twelve years that we heard from as many people about a guest was after @BarackObama appeared on Morning Joe.” — Joe Scarborough, co-host, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Reaction to the McCain kerfuffle: What the hell, Lindsey Graham? 

“Trump says about McCain that he gave him the kind of funeral he wanted but didn’t get thanked. This is all about the fact that Trump wasn’t invited to McCain’s funeral and that Meghan McCain was clearly talking about him in her eulogy. He’s not over it.” — Yashar Ali, HuffPost, New York Mag.

“I assume he means a thank you from the family. Trump may be a moron but he does understand that dead people can’t talk.” — Jonathan Chait, New York Mag.

“Trump has usually gotten a positive reception at his rallies when he has gone after McCain. But today, at an army tank plant in Lima where POTUS said a third of the workforce is comprised of veterans, there was a very quiet response.” — Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent, NYT.

“Whether it’s right or wrong, Trump has never paid any sort of political price for attacking John McCain, no matter how low or scurrilous the attack. I’m kind of bewildered at folks who think he will start paying one now.— Leon Wolf, managing editor, TheBlaze. (RELATED: If You’re Obsese, Sitting Next To A Journo On An Airplane May Be Unwise) 

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri): “I can’t understand how @LindseyGrahamSC can remain silent when his best friend in the world is trashed by POTUS. For gosh sakes Lindsey.” 

Meghan McCain recently pointedly explained on ABC’s “The View” that it is ex-Sen. Joe Leiberman (D-Conn.) who is her father’s real “best friend.” She shook her head adamantly no when one of the ladies suggested that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was his best friend.

McCain, the talkshow host, then urged her co-host, Joy Behar, to keep talking as she bashed Graham. Graham has tweeted tepidly kind things about Sen. McCain in recent days, but has not condemned or even named Trump when tweeting about the late senator. Trump is supporting Graham in his reelection efforts.

On Wednesday, Graham FINALLY told NBC News, “I think the president’s comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain … I don’t like it when he says things about my friend John McCain.”

As we witnessed in the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Graham is capable of far greater emotion than this. (RELATED: Sen. Graham Explodes On Senate Committee Over Kavanaugh Process) 

Journo accepts his fate amid Trump’s power  

“Trump is gonna be shit talking John McCain and the pee dossier til the day I die and there’s nothing any of us can do about it, and he will be a major force in Republican politics and a kingmaker and a conservative media star long after he’s done presidenting.” — Asawin Suebsaeng, reporter, The Daily Beast.

Journo Love

FNC’s Janice Dean: Dear @MeghanMcCain, I love you. [heart emojis]

ABC “The View” co-host Meghan McCain: Love you too. [heart emoji]

Twitter recommends that a journo follow himself 

This is deep. 

“Pretty sure Twitter just suggested I follow me. Refreshed page too quickly and now can’t get it back. It just happened again. It was suggestion me as a ‘revenant person.’” — Josh Greenman, op-ed editor, New York Daily News.

Daddy gets in NYT for cow news

12-year-old son: I got a 97 on my math test.

Me: That’s nice. Daddy’s in the New York Times for helping a cow get twitter followers.

Andy Lassner, executive producer, The Ellen Show.

Separated at Birth: Pete Buttigieg and Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens

Gossip Roundup

Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo really grilled Kellyanne Conway on Trump calling her husband a “whack job.” Here.

Jenny McCarthy recalls the “Mommy Dearest” treatment she endured while working for ABC’s “The View” under Barbara Walters. How will the current ladies react to these memories? McCarthy made the claims in Ramin Setoodeh‘s impending book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Story Inside ‘The View.’  Here. The excerpts were published in Vulture.

Journo Britni de la Cretaz writes about BDSM and finding God. Just before midnight Wednesday, she expressed her fear about publishing this. She wrote, “The most personal thing I’ve written is publishing tomorrow and I might vomit when it does.” Here.

John Hickenlooper, a former Democratic Colorado Governor and now a 2020 hopeful, once took his mom to see Deep Throat. CNN’s Dana Bash asked him about it during a CNN town hall Wednesday night. He was mortified, but answered the question. Here.

Katie Couric once went on a date with Corey Booker. She dished to Wendy Williams about it.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Lighthizer testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifies at a House Ways and Means Committee on U.S.-China trade in Washington U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 21, 2019

By Philip Blenkinsop

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s plans for trade negotiations with the United States fall far short of what is required and any idea of delaying formal talks would not work, the U.S. ambassador to the EU said on Thursday.

The European Commission, which negotiates trade deals on behalf of the 28 EU countries, has presented two negotiating mandates to governments for approval, one on reducing tariffs on industrial goods, the other on making it easier for companies to clear their products for sale on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The mandate that is being circulated falls far short of what even (Commission) President Juncker and President Trump discussed in July in Washington. The idea was to have a wide-ranging conversation about all aspects of our relationship,” Gordon Sondland told an AmCham business conference in Brussels.

The EU and the United States ended months of standoff in July when President Donald Trump agreed with Jean-Claude Juncker not to hit EU car imports with extra tariffs while the two sides worked on improving economic ties.

EU governments have failed so far to agree on launching formal trade talks, Germany pressing for a quick start, and France bidding for more time.

Stalling, said Sondland, would have consequences.

“The more the EU leadership plays the delay game the more we will have to use leverage to realign the relationship,” he said.

Some in Europe, he said, believed they could simply wait for a new U.S. president, but this tactic would not work.

“The (U.S.) Democrats disagree with President Trump on many issues…. but when it comes to fixing our trade imbalance with the EU there is no daylight between (us), none,” he said.

A key part of the July agreement was to remove import duties on “non-auto industrial goods”. The EU has said cars should be included and rejected Washington’s demand that agriculture should feature in talks too.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress last week that discussions were at a “complete stalemate”.

The EU says progress has been made – its two negotiating mandates, discussions of possible regulatory cooperation and the doubling of U.S. soybean imports into Europe since July, although mainly because they are cheaper than rival imports.

Sondland repeated the U.S. line that agriculture had to be part of trade discussions, but acknowledged that the two sides could build up deals piece by piece, as long as they did move though the issues.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke joined the chorus of Democrats and Republicans criticizing President Donald Trump for his renewed attacks on the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Trump has sharply criticized McCain in recent days for his decision to turn over the unverified Steele dossier to the FBI in 2016 — as well as his decisive vote against a bill to repeal Obamacare in 2017. Trump said of the Senate icon, “I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be.” (RELATED: Lou Dobbs Defends Trump Against GOP Critics Over McCain Comments)

O’Rourke responded on the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Thursday, praising McCain for sticking up for then-Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign after a woman made racist comments against the Democratic Nominee. (RELATED: The Media Is Lavishing Praise On McCain After His Passing, But Look At What It Had To Say When He Ran Against Obama)

“I just keep going back to Sen. McCain himself and the example that he set for all of us, running for the presidency in 2008,” O’Rourke said. “That kind of dignity and civility, and mutual respect in our politics is missing right now.”

“The bar was really set by Sen. McCain,” O’Rourke said. “He really was extraordinary in that way.”

Elected officials from both parties have taken Trump to task for his attacks on McCain, and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently announced his intentions to reintroduce a bill to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after the 6-term Arizona Senator.

Follow William Davis on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

  • FACT, an ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint with the IRS against Fair Fight Action, a nonprofit organization founded by Stacey Abrams. 
  • FACT says Fair Fight is violating its tax-exempt status by promoting Abrams’ political career instead of solely focusing on its stated goal of promoting voting rights. 
  • After losing her 2018 gubernatorial bid, Abrams openly considered a 2020 run for Senate and the White House. 

An ethics watchdog group filed a complaint with the IRS against Stacey Abrams’ nonprofit organization, Fair Fight Action, alleging it violated federal law.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) — a government watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. — is saying Fair Fight is working to promote Abrams’ political career in lieu of promoting voting rights, which, if accurate, it says would be in violation of its 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.

Originally founded in 2014 as Voter Access Institute, Abrams changed the name to Fair Fight Action in December 2018. Fair Fight’s stated goal is the promotion of voter rights, and it advocates for a number of different election reforms. However, under its 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, it cannot provide “support for an individual’s personal political activities.”

In its complaint to the IRS, FACT argues Abrams used Fair Fight to promote her own political ambitions.

The complaint says since Abrams lost her gubernatorial election, Fair Fight has helped pay for Abrams’ statewide speaking tour, Facebook ads that attacked Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and promoted herself, a Super Bowl ad, hosted watch parties for supporters to “cheer” for Abrams as she gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union, and accepted donations from a “Stacey Abrams Fundraiser.”

These activities have gone on as Abrams openly mulled a 2020 Senate candidacy and even a presidential bid. Former Vice President Joe Biden is reportedly considering Abrams as his running mate, should he run and win the Democratic presidential nomination. Any political run for office by Abrams, experts argue, would elevate concerns over Fair Fight’s activities.

“It is extremely concerning that Stacey Abrams appears to be abusing our nation’s tax laws for her personal political gain,” Kendra Arnold, the executive director of FACT, said in a statement Tuesday. “The IRS has on numerous occasions ruled against groups trying to advance personal interests, and it is imperative the IRS investigate Fair Fight Action’s conduct.”

Abrams’ team hit back against the complaint.

“We know the playbook for Trump and his allies. They’re going to do whatever it takes to undermine our movement to ensure free and fair elections. We have to fight back now,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo — Abrams’ 2018 campaign manager who runs Fair Fight — in an email to supporters.

Groh-Wargo called the complaint “baseless” and said her group was not promoting Abrams.

Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams walks on stage and waves at the audience for a campaign rally at Morehouse College with Former US President Barack Obama on Nov. 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 02: Georgia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams walks on stage and waves at the audience for a campaign rally at Morehouse College with Former US President Barack Obama on November 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Obama spoke in Atlanta to endorse Abrams and encourage Georgians to vote. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

FACT pushed back against the accusation that it is a partisan organization, pointing out that it filed similar complaints with Republicans as well.

“Whoever we identify with questionable behavior, they fail to respond to the actual legitimacy of the complaint and just try to characterize us in one way or another,” Arnold told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We have filed complaints against every type of candidate and elected official. We do not consider party affiliation.” (RELATED: House Oversight Committee Opens Investigation Into Alleged Georgia Voter Suppression)

This is not the first time a nonprofit led by Abrams received negative headlines.

Third Sector Development, a nonprofit launched by Abrams that focuses on registering black voters, has been hit with seven different tax liens over the past few years for unpaid employment contributions. Georgia state regulators filed three tax liens against the group in the past year, and the Georgia Department of Labor filed four tax liens between 2014 and 2016. Abrams blamed the issues on clerical errors.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

Actress Kate Beckinsale is taking her relationship with comedian Pete Davidson to the next level.

The newly confirmed couple was spotted Tuesday at Nobu in Malibu, California, along with Beckinsale’s mom, Judy Loe, and her step-father, Roy Battersby. The group was photographed leaving the restaurant with Davidson driving.

Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of the death of the 45-year-old actress’s father. Actor Richard Beckinsale died of a heart attack in 1979. Beckinsale was 5-years-old at the time.

The “Serendipity” actress shared a post honoring her father to Instagram as well. Beckinsale wrote, “40 years is a lot of missing. Thank you so much to everyone who has been kind. Lots of love xx.”

The pair was first spotted together at a Golden Globes party back in January. Since then, they have been out together frequently, including an outing to the Rangers vs. Capitals hockey game in early March. (RELATED: Pete Davidson Talks About The Age Gap Between Him And Kate Beckinsale)

Davidson has openly talked about his relationship with Beckinsale and their 20 year age difference on “Saturday Night Live.”

“Apparently, people have this crazy fascination with our age difference, but it doesn’t really bother us,” Davidson told his co-host on “SNL.”

I have to give major props to Davidson to securing this relationship. I honestly doubted he’d be able to make it last when they first got together. If he’s meeting the parents, I’m sure the pair will be around for a while.

Source: The Daily Caller


Cristobal brought the entire Oregon coaching staff to Tuscaloosa to attend Alabama’s practice and meet with the Crimson Tide coaching staff on Monday and then headed to Athens, Ga. to meet with Georgia’s coaching staff and attend the Bulldogs’ first spring practice, according to a source with knowledge of the staff’s trip.

Cristobal served on as offensive line coach for the Crimson Tide from 2013-16 and Oregon tight ends and special teams coach Bobby Williams also worked at Alabama from 2008-17.

What is Alabama doing here? Alabama is a national championship powerhouse of a program. Why the hell are they letting potential opponents check out their secret sauce? It makes no sense at all.

When somebody breaks into your house, do you hand them a loaded gun? No, you blast them through the dry wall with as many .223 rounds as fast as possible.

Damn, Nick Saban must be rattled after losing to Clemson. If I was a superstar coach and somebody wanted to check out my program, I’d tell them to get lost immediately. I probably would use PG-language either. (RELATED: Clemson Beats Alabama For National Title)

Yes, I understand Oregon and Alabama are in different conferences, but they could play in a bowl game. If that happens, I highly doubt the Crimson Tide and their faithful fans would want the Ducks to get an inside look at what they’re doing.

Again, this isn’t some scrub school. This is Oregon that we’re talking about here. They’ve been really good for a really long time now.

Saban must be trying to rehab his image and make people believe that he’s a nice guy. I’m not buying it. Allowing other coaches around you is insanely stupid. Why not just tweet out the whole playbook while you’re at it and save us all some time.

What a sad fall from grace for Alabama, which was once such a proud program.

P.S. Nobody cares about the Georgia visit because the Bulldogs haven’t won a title in my lifetime.

Source: The Daily Caller

Matt M. Miller | Contributor

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper questioned why female 2020 candidates weren’t being asked if they would consider male running mates.

Asked by Dana Bash if he would vow to put a woman on his presidential ticket, John Hickenlooper replied, “Of course,” and then said, “How come we’re not asking, more often, the women, ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’” #CNNTownHall pic.twitter.com/AC7hWtyZ7D

CNN’s Dana Bash asked Hickenlooper at a presidential town hall Wednesday, “Governor, some of your male competitors have vowed to put a woman on the ticket. Yes or no, would you do the same?” (RELATED: Former Colorado Governor Joins Growing List Of 2020 Dem Hopefuls)

“Of course,” Hickenlooper replied. He then proceeded to ask Bash a question of his own: “How come we’re not asking more often the women: ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’”

His question was met with silence from the audience.

“When we get to that point, I’ll ask you that question,” Bash responded.

A spokesperson for Hickenlooper, Lauren Hitt, addressed criticism towards the Hickenlooper’s question on Twitter, attempting to clarify Hickenlooper’s intended arguement, “Making the point that the media too often discounts the chances of women winning the nomination themselves.” (RELATED: Is There A Place For Moderate John Hickenlooper In A Democratic Party That Embraces The Green New Deal?)

Several other male Democratic 2020 presidential candidates have encountered the same question regarding their vice president selection.

When asked if he would consider a female running mate, former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said, “That would be my preference.”

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders expressed that he will be looking for a young female candidate upon announcement of his 2020 presidential bid.

“I think we would look for somebody who is maybe not of the same gender that I am, and maybe someone who might be a couple of years younger than me, and somebody who can take the progressive banner as vice president and carry it all over this county,” Sanders said to the Young Turks. “I’m not going to box myself in, but should I become [the presidential nominee], you know I’ll be looking to women first.” Sanders continued.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker stated outright that “there will be a woman on the ticket,” to reporters last week.

Source: The Daily Caller

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A staffer from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign who specialized in opposition research on Bernie Sanders is joining the Vermont senator’s 2020 campaign.

Tyson Brody, former deputy research director for Clinton’s campaign, will direct Sanders’s research operation, the senator’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir confirmed to Intelligencer Wednesday.

“This campaign will comport itself according to the values of Senator Sanders, which means we will not engage in mudslinging or character assassination. That said, one of the reasons we hired Tyson is to prepare this campaign for whatever false accusations and allegations are leveled against us,” Shakir said in a statement. “Most importantly, Tyson’s work on this campaign will help us educate voters about the issues, policies and stances that the Senator has taken over the course of a lifetime fighting for working people.”

Brody is the first staffer to hop from Clinton to Sanders after their heated battle for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, according to Intelligencer. He will bring with him his experience doing self-research for Clinton as well. (RELATED: Gillibrand Nabs First New York Lawmaker Endorsement)

Tyson Brody (R) appears in a video on Hillary Clinton's Facebook page about lawsuits against then-candidate Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton/Facebook screenshot

Tyson Brody (R) appears in a video on Hillary Clinton’s Facebook page about lawsuits against then-candidate Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton/Facebook screenshot

“It’s a really smart move by the Sanders campaign. Tyson literally wrote the book on Bernie’s oppo,” one of his Clinton campaign coworkers told Talking Points Memo.

Clinton never used its opposition research on Sanders for negative paid advertising during the 2016 race, according to Intelligencer.

Brody reacted nonchalantly to the Intelligencer’s story on his hiring Wednesday.

“Soooooooo I did a thing,” he wrote in a tweet with a link to the story.

Brody’s acquisition comes on the heels of the Sanders campaign hiring David Sirota as a top communication aide and speechwriter. Sirota wrote an opinion piece in 2013 headlined “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon Bomber is a white American.”

Sanders’s campaign had the biggest first-day fundraising haul until former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke entered the race on March 13. Sanders raised $5.9 million in 24 hours, while O’Rourke raised $6.1 million. O’Rourke’s donors gave more, but Sanders had more donors.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Jane Philpott, when she was newly appointed president of the Treasury Board, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
FILE PHOTO: Jane Philpott, when she was newly appointed president of the Treasury Board, signs a book in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Canadian cabinet minister, who had quit in protest over the government’s handling of a corruption scandal, said she and others had more to say about the matter, indicating more pain to come for embattled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau has been on the defensive since Feb. 7 over allegations that top officials working for him leaned on former justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, last year to ensure that construction firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc avoided a corruption trial.

“There’s much more to the story that should be told,” former treasury board president, Jane Philpott, told Macleans’ magazine in an interview released on Thursday.

“I believe we actually owe it to Canadians as politicians to ensure that they have the truth,” she said. Philpott added that she and Wilson-Raybould had more to say but did not elaborate further. Philpott, a close political ally of Wilson-Raybould, quit on March 4.

Trudeau has denied any political interference to protect SNC-Lavalin from a bribery trial.

The crisis may threaten Trudeau’s reelection chances in the upcoming October vote. Polls show Trudeau’s center-left Liberals, who as recently as January looked certain to win the election, could lose to the official opposition Conservatives.

As well as the two ministers, the affair has claimed Trudeau’s closest political aide and the head of the federal bureaucracy. A Liberal legislator who backed Wilson-Raybould quit on Wednesday to sit as an independent.

Trudeau suffered further potential embarrassment on Thursday when SNC-Lavalin Chief Executive Neil Bruce denied he had told government officials that 9,000 jobs could be at risk if the firm was found guilty of offering bribes to Libyan officials.

Trudeau has often referred to the 9,000 potential job losses as a reason for helping the firm, which wanted to take advantage of new legislation to pay a large fine rather than be prosecuted.

“Until we are able to put this behind us, it’s pretty difficult to grow our Canadian workforce,” Bruce told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday.

Asked whether he had mentioned a specific number of jobs that could be at risk, he replied: “No, we never gave a number.”

A court conviction would bar SNC-Lavalin from bidding on federal government contracts for 10 years.

Bruce added that if the company’s share price continued to suffer, it might become a takeover target. He played down comments by officials that the company might move abroad.

SNC-Lavalin’s headquarters are in the populous province of Quebec, where the Liberals say they need to pick up more seats in the October election to retain a majority government.

Trudeau has dismissed calls for a public inquiry, noting the House of Commons justice committee was probing the matter. That committee – dominated by Liberal legislators – shut down its inquiry on Tuesday, saying no more action was needed.

In protest, the Conservatives forced the House to sit through the night on Wednesday casting votes on hundreds of confidence motions. The marathon continued into Thursday.

“We’ll keep fighting and we hope Canadians join us in this cause and raise their voices,” Conservative legislator Michelle Rempel told reporters.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Source: OANN

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

When two Texans found out that the popular pet store Petco supposedly welcomes all leashed pets in their stores, they decided to put that rule to the ultimate test.

The two men brought their leashed steer to a Houston-area Petco. Vincent Browning and Shelly Lumpkin, of Atascocita, Texas, brought their African Watusi steer, Oliver, into the Petco on a leash. (RELATED: Quarterback AJ McCarron Signs With The Houston Texans For $3 Million)

Browning shared the interaction on his Facebook page on Monday. He wrote, “The awesome crew at Petco-Atascocita did not disappoint!! They welcomed Oliver the African Watusi with open arms. The staff members here are always super friendly and courteous to us. We really enjoy coming to this location … our favorite Petco BY FAR!!

The video has received over 500,000 views as of the publication of this piece.

Oliver the steer is trained by Browning to compete in rodeos and other shows. Even though his specific weight is unknown, African Watusi bulls can weigh up to 1,600 pounds, according to Fox News.

Oliver has his own Facebook page where Browning posts photos of the bull and announces places where Oliver is making appearances around the Houston area.

As a native Houstonian, seeing a leashed bull enter a Petco would not shock me. In Texas, you’ll occasionally see a person riding a horse down the side of a street. All this story shows is that everything is truly bigger and better in Texas.

Source: The Daily Caller

Some Democrats are pushing for a complete overhaul of the U.S. government – from lowering the voting age to expanding the size of the Supreme Court, CNN is reporting.

The list of reforms being proposed by prominent Democrats goes far beyond climate change and healthcare, the news network said in an analysis posted Thursday.

Here are some of the changes being floated by the Democrats:

  • Overhauling the election system:  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a presidential candidate, has endorsed abandoning the Electoral College.
  • Expanding the size of the Supreme Court: Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Warren – all presidential candidates — told Politico they would consider increasing the number of justices on the high court.
  • Addition of a new state: CNN noted every Democrat making a bid for the White House, who serves in the House or Senate, has endorsed making Washington D.C. a state.
  • Lowering the voting age: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has endorsed lowering the voting age to 16, which would require a constitutional amendment.

    CNN noted the idea have little or no chance of becoming reality in the near future. And President Donald Trump commented on the proposals on Wednesday calling the Democrats "strange" for pushing them.

Source: NewsMax

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

March 21, 2019

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – If British Prime Minister Theresa May hoped a televised address late on Wednesday would help persuade wavering lawmakers to support her Brexit deal, it appears to have backfired, instead alienating the very people she needs to win over.

On Thursday, lawmakers lined up to attack the statement in which May blamed parliament for the need to seek a delay to Britain’s March 29 European Union exit. They branded it dangerous, reckless, toxic and irresponsible.

May’s Brexit deal has twice been crushed by parliament, first in January in the largest government defeat in modern history and again this month by a smaller, yet still sizeable, margin. She needs to win over at least 75 lawmakers to get it through.

“The Prime Minister’s statement was disgraceful,” said opposition Labour lawmaker Lisa Nandy, who represents a Brexit-supporting area. “Pitting parliament against the people in the current environment is dangerous and reckless,” she added on Twitter. “She’s attacking the MPs (Members of Parliament) whose votes she needs. It will have cost her support.”

Nandy had put forward a proposal which backed May’s deal on the condition parliament has a greater say in the next phase of Brexit talks, but told ITV: “I will not support a government that takes such a dangerous, reckless approach to democracy.”

After writing to the EU on Wednesday to request a three-month delay to Brexit, May told Britons parliament had done “everything possible to avoid making a choice”.

“Of this I am absolutely sure: you the public have had enough. You are tired of the infighting. You are tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows,” she said in the televised statement from her Downing Street office.

“You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide.”

May’s statement succeeded in uniting both pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers – against her.

“If you are trying to persuade numbers of MPs to back a proposition, you don’t do that by insulting them,” pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Mark Francois told Sky News.

Conservative Sam Gyimah, who quit as a government minister over the Brexit deal and now supports a second referendum, said May resorting to a “blame game” was “all part of her strategy to run down the clock and rule out other options. Toxic.”

“DIAL DOWN THE HATE”

Several lawmakers said they had received death threats in recent weeks as Brexit has come to a head in parliament, and warned May’s comments had fueled the flames.

“Last week I received a message saying that my head should be chopped off,” said Labour lawmaker Paula Sherriff, who represents an electoral district neighboring one where Labour lawmaker Jo Cox was killed by a man obsessed with extreme right-wing ideology a week before the 2016 Brexit vote.

“I apprehended the prime minister last Thursday evening and I begged her ‘dial down the hate prime minister,’” she told parliament. “People are frightened … and the prime minister must show some leadership.”

Fellow Labour lawmaker Wes Streeting said May’s speech had been incendiary, warning on Twitter “If any harm comes to any of us, she will have to accept her share of responsibility.”

Asked about the suggestion May’s speech had put lawmakers at risk, her spokeswoman said: “I would flatly reject that.”

“It was a message to the public on a significant decision she has taken,” she said.

In response to the concerns, parliament’s Speaker, John Bercow, told lawmakers: “None of you is a traitor, all of you are doing your best … I believe passionately in the institution of parliament, in the rights of members of this House and in their commitment to their duty.”

“The sole duty of every member of parliament is to do what he or she thinks is right.”

(Editing by Stephen Addison)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Emma Roberts and Evan Peters have apparently thrown in the towel and called it quits.

According to US Weekly, the Hollywood power couple is done after years of dating. However, it doesn’t sound like it ended on bad terms. Roberts and Evans are reportedly still friends. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

Well, I guess love is officially dead. Roberts and Peters were a pillar of Hollywood love over the years, despite an alleged domestic violence incident years ago when the star actress allegedly struck Peters. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

If those two can’t make it after all these years, then what is a guy like me to do? (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

These two were actually both great in “American Horror Story” together, and Peters has continued to just dominate that show. I’m not sure it could honestly even exist without him at this point. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

As for Roberts, she’s continued to rise since leaving the show, and we should always remember that she was outstanding in season three. Season three of “AHS” is also vastly underrated. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

I guess now we’ll have to search for love elsewhere. Then again, what is the point? If a power couple like Peters and Roberts can’t last, then can any of us?

These are now the big questions that we must ponder.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

The chairwoman of the Tennessee Democratic Party admitted this week that she “used a poor choice of words” when she dismissed her state as “racist.”

In her apology, published by the Tennessean newspaper of Nashville, Mary Mancini suggested Republicans in Tennessee are guilty of “bigotry, misogyny and homophobia.”

Mancini wandered into the political minefield earlier this month at a meeting with County Coffee Democrats when she mused about the candidates that Tennessee Democrats were nominating — supposedly not selecting enough people of color, millennials  or members of the LGBTQ community.

Thousands celebrate the annual LGBTQ Capital Pride parade in Washington June 10, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Thousands celebrate the annual LGBTQ Capital Pride parade in Washington June 10, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

“We have a little bit of a problem in this state, and I’m just going to say it outright,” Mancini said, according to Fox News. “This is a racist state.” (RELATED: Taylor Swift’s Political Outreach Falls Short And Political Commentators Let Her Know It)

Mancini reportedly repeated the smear again, this time referring to Tennessee as “a very racist state.”

The chairwoman’s comments did not resonate well, even within her own party — so she issued a half-hearted apology that suggested only Republicans are bigoted.

“In the heat and the frustration of seeing and hearing the constant drumbeat of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia coming from the Republicans at the state legislature, I used a poor choice of words and vented my frustration and I apologize,” Mancini wrote in her statement. (RELATED: Tennessee Senate Candidate Advocated For Taxpayers To Fund Down Syndrome Abortions)

In response to her frustration, Tennessee Republican Chairman Scott Golden told the Tennessean that Mancini’s words only hurt the image of the state while insisting Republicans are committed to “lift all Tennesseans up,” through education and employment.

In the November midterm elections, Republican Marsha Blackburn became Tennessee’s first woman senator, replacing outgoing GOP Sen. Bob Corker.

In the lead-up to that election, a Democratic communications officer said the “idiots” who voted for President Donald Trump “aren’t listening” to other viewpoints.

US President Donald Trump arrives for a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally at McKenzie Arena, in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 4, 2018. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump arrives for a “Make America Great Again” campaign rally at McKenzie Arena, in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Nov. 4, 2018. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

Mancini made her initial comments about race when she suggested a black candidate couldn’t win his state constituency because there are few minority voters and “two out of the three counties in that area are extraordinarily racist,” Mancini told the County Coffee Democrats, according to Fox.

“I wasn’t the only one who was told that we need to run someone who is not African-American in that district, because (some believed) an African-American cannot win in that district because white people will not vote for an African-American,” Mancini told the Tennessean.

Follow David on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Conor McGregor had some very honest and open thoughts when recently discussing Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The Khabib beat McGregor at UFC 229, and we all know what happened afterward. It turned into pure chaos. Now, McGregor is admitting that he overlooked the Russian-born fighter and didn’t give him the proper respect. (SLIDESHOW: These UFC Women Really Hate Wearing Clothes)

McGregor said the following, in part, as he stood on top of a bar addressing his fans (transcription via MMAFighting.com):

It’s easy to do this once. It’s very easy for someone to be given something and to do it just one time. You put your absolute all into it. But to do it time after time and year after year, that’s when the motivation kind of dips, that’s when the dedication kind of lacks, and that’s when people creep up. That’s what I feel has happened here. I didn’t give him his respect.

You can watch his full comments below. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Greatest Ronda Rousey Photos On The Internet)

For those of you wondering if he wants a rematch, don’t worry because it’s clear that he very much does. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Sexiest Paige VanZant Photos On The Internet)

These two just need to do us all a favor and fight again immediately. Their fight at UFC 229 and the melee that followed was awesome. It’s what the UFC is all about.

Dana White can claim it’s bad and all that stuff, but we know what the fans want. McGregor might not fight him right away again. He might have to take a smaller fight first, but make no mistake this isn’t settled yet.

There is blood that has yet to be spilled between these two, and I can’t wait to watch them into the octagon together again.

It’s going to be epic.

Source: The Daily Caller

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

March 21, 2019

By Padraic Halpin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

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

March 21, 2019

By Raya Jalabi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“IT WAS A GOOD LIFE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANXIOUS, IDLE AND TRAUMATIZED

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tajikistan has said it will take children back soon.

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

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

Source: OANN

A man removes broken glass from a window after multiple explosions in Kabul
A man removes broken glass from a window after multiple explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Parwiz

March 21, 2019

By Akram Walizada and Hameed Farzad

KABUL (Reuters) – Several explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday killed six people and wounded 23 in an attack during celebrations to mark the Persian new year, government spokesmen said.

The attacks came on Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival to mark the start of spring that is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but has also faced opposition from some hardline Islamists, who say it is un-Islamic.

There were conflicting reports about of the cause of the blasts near the Kart-e Sakhi shrine, in a heavily Shi’ite Muslim area in the west of Kabul.

An interior ministry spokesman said mortar bombs had been fired. The defense ministry said in a post on twitter that three rockets were fired at civilian homes and Nowruz gatherings.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Broken windows and collapsed walls were visible on homes and shops near the blast site. Blood stained the side of the road.

“It was terrible,” said Sayed Samim Sadit, a shopkeeper, who said he and his family were unhurt. “We were all sitting in our home and all the glass blew in on us.”

Elderly resident Haji Rajab Ali said he saw two explosions in front of him and later awoke to find himself in hospital.

Afghanistan’s defense ministry said police had arrested Thursday’s attacker and secured the area.

The attack happened two weeks after a mortar attack on a Shi’ite Muslim gathering in Kabul that killed 11 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

Shi’ites are a minority group in Afghanistan and they have been repeatedly attacked by Sunni Muslim militant groups.

Violence has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants are in talks with U.S. officials.

The latest round of talks wrapped up this month, with both sides citing progress, but no agreement to end the 17-year war.

The Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces and to oust the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.

(Additional reporting by Rod Nickel and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union could next week hold an emergency summit to offer a Brexit extension with potentially onerous conditions such as holding another referendum, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday.

“There could be and we don’t know there will be an EU emergency summit to offer us an extension,” Hunt told BBC radio.

“We don’t know what the length would be and it could have some very onerous conditions,” such as holding another referendum. He said such an option would be unlikely to be supported by the British parliament.

Hunt said the government did not yet know whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s twice-defeated Brexit deal would be brought back to parliament next week.

“Do we resolve this or have Brexit paralysis?” Hunt said. He said a no-deal exit on March 29 remained the legal default.

Hunt said if the deadlock remained next week – parliament still had the option to vote to revoke Article 50 and cancel the entire Brexit process, though it was “highly unlikely”

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill. Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

ISU World Figure Skating Championships
ISU World Figure Skating Championships – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – March 21, 2019. China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in action during the Pairs Free Skating. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 21, 2019

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took the pairs skating crown at the World Championships on Thursday after a breathtaking free skate at the Saitama Super Arena.

Despite a season blighted by injury, the 2017 world champions skated a lyrical, moving program for a season’s best 155.60 (234.84 combined), drawing a packed crowd to its feet with their clean jumps and gorgeous lifts.

“This has been a difficult year for us, we’ve had injuries and other issues,” said Sui, who laughed as Han pumped his fists at the end of the routine.

“But our coaches and team gave us support that we were able to turn into strength.”

Russians filled out the rest of the podium with second place going to Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov after a regal but mistake-marred program that included the latter putting his hand to the ice in the wake of their Triple toe loop.

“In the free program it was tough and we had to fight for every single element,” Morozov said after their routine, which garnered a season’s best 147.26 for a total of 228.47.

“It was totally different to yesterday, we were struggling to get everything right.”

Third place went to Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, whose dynamic program earned them 144.02 and a combined total of 217.98.

European champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, favorites going into the worlds after an undefeated season, were only able to manage fifth.

Frenchwoman James collided with Italian skater Matteo Guarise during warm ups for the short program on Wednesday and fell after a botched landing in their routine.

“Worlds hasn’t been our best friend, I fell on the twist in the short program once and I fell on the triple Salchow before, but we know that each time we are getting stronger,” said Canadian-born James.

Cipres echoed her determination.

“I think we did our job today and we are never giving up. We won’t give up until we get the world title.”

The World Championships continue at the arena north of Tokyo until March 23, with the most-watched contest – the men’s singles – beginning later on Thursday.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

ISU World Figure Skating Championships
ISU World Figure Skating Championships – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – March 21, 2019. China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in action during the Pairs Free Skating. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 21, 2019

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took the pairs skating crown at the World Championships on Thursday after a breathtaking free skate at the Saitama Super Arena.

Despite a season blighted by injury, the 2017 world champions skated a lyrical, moving program for a season’s best 155.60 (234.84 combined), drawing a packed crowd to its feet with their clean jumps and gorgeous lifts.

“This has been a difficult year for us, we’ve had injuries and other issues,” said Sui, who laughed as Han pumped his fists at the end of the routine.

“But our coaches and team gave us support that we were able to turn into strength.”

Russians filled out the rest of the podium with second place going to Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov after a regal but mistake-marred program that included the latter putting his hand to the ice in the wake of their Triple toe loop.

“In the free program it was tough and we had to fight for every single element,” Morozov said after their routine, which garnered a season’s best 147.26 for a total of 228.47.

“It was totally different to yesterday, we were struggling to get everything right.”

Third place went to Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, whose dynamic program earned them 144.02 and a combined total of 217.98.

European champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, favorites going into the worlds after an undefeated season, were only able to manage fifth.

Frenchwoman James collided with Italian skater Matteo Guarise during warm ups for the short program on Wednesday and fell after a botched landing in their routine.

“Worlds hasn’t been our best friend, I fell on the twist in the short program once and I fell on the triple Salchow before, but we know that each time we are getting stronger,” said Canadian-born James.

Cipres echoed her determination.

“I think we did our job today and we are never giving up. We won’t give up until we get the world title.”

The World Championships continue at the arena north of Tokyo until March 23, with the most-watched contest – the men’s singles – beginning later on Thursday.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt -/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States could soon freeze preparations for delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, officials told Reuters, in what would be the strongest signal yet by Washington that Ankara cannot have both the advanced aircraft and Russia’s S-400 air defense system.

The United States is nearing an inflection point in a years-long standoff with Turkey, a NATO ally, after so far failing to sway President Tayyip Erdogan that buying a Russian air defense system would compromise the security of F-35 aircraft.

“The S-400 is a computer. The F-35 is a computer. You don’t hook your computer to your adversary’s computer and that’s basically what we would be doing,” Katie Wheelbarger, acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told Reuters.

While no decision has been made yet, U.S. officials confirmed that Washington was considering halting steps now underway to ready Turkey to receive the F-35, which is built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

“There (are) decisions that come up constantly about things being delivered in anticipation of them eventually taking custody of the planes,” said Wheelbarger.

“So there’s a lot of things in train that can be paused to send signals to them (that we’re serious),” she added, without detailing those steps.

However, another U.S. official said one of the measures the United States was looking at was alternatives to an engine depot in Turkey, without giving more details. The official said any potential alternatives would likely be somewhere in Western Europe. Turkey is home to an F-35 engine overhaul depot in the western city of Eskisehir.

If Turkey was removed from the F-35 program, it would be the most serious crisis in the relationship between the two allies in decades, according to Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The strains on ties between Washington and Ankara already extend beyond the F-35 to include strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of U.S. consular staff.

“This (the F-35 standoff) is really a symptom, not a cause of the problem between the two countries,” Aliriza said.

Many U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, worry that Turkey is drifting away from NATO and watch improving relations between Ankara and Moscow with concern. The prospect of Russian contractors or officials on Turkish bases that also are home to the F-35 is unfathomable to many U.S. officials.

The tensions could further escalate. If Ankara goes ahead with the Russian deal, Turkey also could face U.S. sanctions.

ERDOGAN IMPASSE

Despite U.S. hopes that Turkey may still forgo the S-400, experts say Erdogan may have already backed himself into a rhetorical corner. He has repeatedly said he would not reverse course on the S-400, saying earlier in March: “Nobody should ask us to lick up what we spat.”

A decision to drop Turkey from the F-35 program would have broader repercussions, since Ankara helps manufacture parts for the aircraft, including components of the landing gear, cockpit displays and aircraft engines.

Wheelbarger acknowledged that the Pentagon, in light of the standoff, was looking “across the board” at potential alternate suppliers for F-35 parts, including in other NATO countries.

“It’s prudent program planning…to ensure that you have stability in your supply chain,” she said, without speculating that Turkey might be dropped from the program.

Washington has sought to persuade Turkey to purchase the American-made Raytheon Co Patriot defense system, instead of S-400s. Erdogan has said that Turkey was still open to buying Patriot systems from the United States but only if the conditions are suitable.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said that in addition to the Patriot air defense system, the American offer “includes significant government-to-government cooperation on advanced system development.”

Although Turkey has held out the prospect of buying both the S-400 and the Patriot system, the United States has warned Turkey it will take its offer of Patriots off the table unless it changes course.

A Turkish S-400 purchase could also trigger a fight with the U.S. Congress, which has already blocked all major arms sales to Ankara while the S-400 deal is pending.

Lawmakers could renew attempts to introduce legislation that would legally prohibit the Trump administration from allowing Turkey to have the F-35 if it secures the S-400s.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mary Milliken and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

Scott Morefield | Reporter

PJ Media senior editor Tyler O’Neil joined Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday to discuss racism at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Morris Dees, the group’s co-founder, was abruptly fired last week for failing to meet “the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” according to a statement from SPLC President Richard Cohen to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Carlson noted Dees’ firing “under mysterious circumstances” and the irony that a group that often falsely labels others as “racist, sexist bigots” would be accused of those things itself.

WATCH:

“This group has been rotten for years,” said Carlson. “Why are people just now noticing?”

“The story actually is really, really bad,” said O’Neil. “You had 13 black former employees of the SPLC interviewed. Twelve of them said they witnessed racist incidents in their time there and three of them called the organization a plantation for its black workers.”

Dees’ firing was first reported by the Montgomery Advertiser, which included a reference to its 1994 series on racism within the organization and the co-founder’s “near singular control over the organization and its mammoth budget.”

The series, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, revealed a figure seen as heroic by some and single-minded by others. Dees’ critics said he was more concerned with fundraising than litigating.

The series also alleged discriminatory treatment of black employees within the advocacy group, despite its outward efforts to improve the treatment of minorities in the country. Staffers at the time “accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’” The organization denied the accusations raised in the series.

O’Neil noted that it wasn’t just the Advertiser, but also former employees who went to Glassdoor.com to “talk about their experiences facing racial discrimination” in 2017. (RELATED: Southern Poverty Law Center Is Not So Poor)

“There are apparently 100 lawyers and advocates of the SPLC,” he noted. “Only five of them are black. Black employees worked there 12 years and yet, none of them were elevated to senior leadership.”

The PJ Media editor added that if the group “hires more black leaders,” since “blacks tend to be more Christian” perhaps they would stop characterizing Christian groups as anti-LGBT.

Follow Scott on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Mar 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

The Milwaukee Bucks played without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game Wednesday night as he continues to nurse a sprained right ankle.

Antetokounmpo, a candidate for MVP, did not play in the Bucks’ road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without their own superstar, LeBron James (sore left groin).

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo before Wednesday’s game, “He’s making progress, he just can’t go tonight. It’s us hopefully being smart and being somewhat cautious, but it’s more than that. He can’t play. We’ll see how the next 24-48 hours go, and I’m hopeful he’ll be in a good place as we move forward.”

The NBA-best Bucks (53-19) fell 107-102 to the Cavaliers, who own the third-worst record in the league at 19-53. Milwaukee returns home Friday for a game against the Miami Heat.

–Bucks power forward Nikola Mirotic will miss two-to-four weeks with a “slight fracture” of his left thumb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.

The Bucks acquired Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline to provide depth off the bench. The team confirmed the injury but did not update his status.

Since the trade, Mirotic has played in 14 games (three starts), averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game. Mirotic sustained the injury in the Bucks’ 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. The injury likely will keep him out the rest of the regular season.

–The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019, as the Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced.

Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don’t make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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

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

WATCH:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

March Madness begins Thursday, and that’s great news for everybody.

This is the time of year that we wait for and dream about for months on end. This is the time of year that separates the boys from the men. This is what college basketball is all about.

A total of 64 teams (I’m ignoring dumb play-in games) will begin their journey to a championship today. Of them, 65 will fall short and fail. Only one will cut down the nets. The stakes couldn’t get any higher.

The first matchup will between Minnesota and Louisville shortly after noon, and it’ll only get crazier from there. You can see the full slate of games here(RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

I also want to congratulate all of you who will be taking this journey with me for another run through March and into early April. The eyes of the world are upon us as we prepare to do battle against one another.

While I might hate you all on the court, we share a bond as college basketball fans that is simply unbreakable. We walked on the moon and we play basketball. Find me another country that can say the same.

You can’t.

I hope you all are even a fraction as excited as I am. We’re going to drink some beers, debate nonstop for the next three weeks, win some money (probably won’t come out on top) and maybe we’ll even get smitten with a few young ladies that share our desires for great post defense, boxing out and working the shot clock. If only we could be so lucky.

As for me and by Wisconsin faithful, we’re hunkered down and ready for a long siege if it comes to it. We’re at DEFCON 2, gentlemen. With any luck, we’ll be at DEFCON 1 by the time the sun goes down at the end of the weekend. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

The further our teams advance, the higher the stakes will get. Welcome to the world of college sports. My Badgers are going to show up and show out, and I don’t care who we steamroll in the process.

Doubt us at your own peril.

Get your beers cold, get your bets placed and get ready for a hell of a lot of fun. This is what we train for. Now, it’s time to go out there and execute our way to a championship.

Godspeed to all of you. It’s been a hell of a ride, and it’s been my honor to share this season with each and every one of you.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Day 2
FILE PHOTO: Mar 5, 2019; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Novak Djokovic (SRB) works on the practice court in preparation for the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday dismissed any suggestion of friction with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as tennis politics spilled over to the Miami Open.

Tension between the three biggest names in men’s tennis appeared on the rise after Djokovic, president of the ATP Player Council, rebuffed a request by Federer to meet during the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells earlier this month to discuss the future of ATP chairman Chris Kermode.

Despite a tenure which brought record prize money and growth, Kermode was ousted as ATP chief when players’ representatives on the ATP Board failed to endorse an extension of the Englishman’s contract.

As head of the 10 member Player Council Djokovic had been pushing for change while Federer and Nadal backed Kermode or at the least felt the issue needed more discussion.

“I saw Roger today, we were in the opening ceremony cutting the ribbon on center court,” said Djokovic during his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. “We had a small chat there was no time to talk about the political stuff.

“That is hopefully something we will have time in the next few days to go through.

“It’s not necessary for you guys to create any tensions between us. In contrary I have a very good relations with both of them.”

With Kermode’s status decided Federer said on Wednesday that he is still willing to talk to Djokovic but with the decision made saw no urgency to meet.

“A lot of stuff has been decided already so we’ll see if this week is going to happen or not but we are not chasing each other at this point,” said Federer. “If it happens, it happens.”

For his part Djokovic appeared eager to wash his hands of the entire affair reminding everyone that it was the three players representatives on the ATP board that voted not to renew Kermode’s contract and not the Player Council, which was only part of the discussion.

The Serb added that if Federer and Nadal have opinions they were welcome to share them with the Player Council at any time.

“The player council is only part of the structure,” said Djokovic. “We are not part of the board or deciding anything that is voted on later on.

“We are in consultation and collaboration with our player board representatives.

“Board members are the ones voting on what they think is appropriate for the players side.

“Federer and Nadal have been icons of our sport for so many years and their opinions are extremely important to everyone.

“If they want to be active and part of it, either officially or unofficially, I think it’s only positive news for us.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is coming to the defense of his late friend John McCain in the face of continued attacks by President Donald Trump.

After Trump threw another volley of verbal shots at McCain, a war hero, former POW, and retired Republican senator who died after a battle with brain cancer last August, Graham told reporters Wednesday that Trump's words are doing more damage to himself than McCain.

"I think the president's comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain," Graham said. "I'm going to try to continue to help the president.

"My job is to represent the people of South Carolina. They want me to work with the president where I can. I've gotten to know the president. We have a good working relationship. I like him."

Graham, however, added he is not happy when Trump takes aim at McCain. The president and the late senator feuded ever since Trump questioned his status as a war hero during the 2016 campaign. Trump is still bitter about McCain's no vote on the Obamacare repeal in 2017, which killed the measure.

"I don't like when he says things about my friend John McCain," Graham said. "The best thing that can happen, I think, for all of us is to move forward."

Source: NewsMax

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is coming to the defense of his late friend John McCain in the face of continued attacks by President Donald Trump.

After Trump threw another volley of verbal shots at McCain, a war hero, former POW, and retired Republican senator who died after a battle with brain cancer last August, Graham told reporters Wednesday that Trump's words are doing more damage to himself than McCain.

"I think the president's comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain," Graham said. "I'm going to try to continue to help the president.

"My job is to represent the people of South Carolina. They want me to work with the president where I can. I've gotten to know the president. We have a good working relationship. I like him."

Graham, however, added he is not happy when Trump takes aim at McCain. The president and the late senator feuded ever since Trump questioned his status as a war hero during the 2016 campaign. Trump is still bitter about McCain's no vote on the Obamacare repeal in 2017, which killed the measure.

"I don't like when he says things about my friend John McCain," Graham said. "The best thing that can happen, I think, for all of us is to move forward."

Source: NewsMax

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is coming to the defense of his late friend John McCain in the face of continued attacks by President Donald Trump.

After Trump threw another volley of verbal shots at McCain, a war hero, former POW, and retired Republican senator who died after a battle with brain cancer last August, Graham told reporters Wednesday that Trump's words are doing more damage to himself than McCain.

"I think the president's comments about Sen. McCain hurt him more than they hurt the legacy of Sen. McCain. I'm going to try to continue to help the president," Graham said.

"My job is to represent the people of South Carolina. They want me to work with the president where I can. I've gotten to know the president. We have a good working relationship. I like him."

Graham, however, added that he's not happy when Trump takes aim at McCain. The president and the late senator feuded ever since Trump questioned his status as a war hero during the 2016 campaign. Trump is still bitter about McCain's no vote on the Obamacare repeal in 2017, which killed the measure.

"I don't like when he says things about my friend John McCain," Graham said. "The best thing that can happen, I think, for all of us is to move forward."

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jass

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Amnesty International attacked the electric vehicle (EV) industry on Thursday for selling itself as environmentally friendly while producing many of its batteries using polluting fossil fuels and unethically sourced minerals.

Manufacturing batteries can be carbon intensive, while the extraction of minerals used in them has been linked to human rights violations such as child labor, a statement from the rights group said.

“Electric vehicles are key to shifting the motor industry away from fossil fuels, but they are currently not as ethical as some retailers would like us to believe,” it said, announcing the initiative at the Nordic Electric Vehicle Summit in Oslo.

Production of lithium-ion batteries for EVs is power intensive, and factories are concentrated in China, South Korea and Japan, where power generation is largely dependent on coal or other fossil fuels, Amnesty said.

Global automakers are investing billions of dollars to ramp up electric vehicle production. German giant Volkswagen for one plans to raise annual production of electric cars to 3 million by 2025, from 40,000 in 2018.

Amnesty demanded the EV industry come up with an ethical and clean battery within five years and in the meantime that carbon footprints be disclosed and supply chains of key minerals identified.

Last month, a letter seen by Reuters showed that 14 non-governmental organizations including Amnesty and Global Witness had opposed plans by the London Metal Exchange to ban cobalt tainted by human rights abuses.

Instead of banning the cobalt brands, the LME should work with firms that produce them to ensure responsible souring, they said.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Source: OANN

Major breaking news is going uncovered as the lose ends of Jeffrey Epstein plea deal are being pulled on and anonymous names are trying to keep them tied. Tommy Sotomayor joins us to talk the war on masculity and how it is destroying the family. Laura Loomer also joins to talk #StopTheBias.

GUEST // (OTP/Skype) // TOPICS:
Laura Loomer//OTP
Tommy Sotomayor//Skype

Source: The War Room

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

March 20, 2019

By Gabriela Baczynska

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXIT DATE APPROACHING FAST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

A boy walks past a sign with voting instructions on his way to school in Honiara
A boy walks past a sign with voting instructions on his way to school in Honiara, Solomon Islands, March 11, 2019. Picture taken March 11, 2019. ISHMAEL AITOREA/Handout via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

By Charlotte Greenfield and Tom Westbrook

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (Reuters) – As politicians hit the hustings across the Solomon Islands two weeks out from a general election in the South Pacific archipelago, the loyalty of one of Taiwan’s few remaining allies is in the balance.

Some Solomons’ candidates are promising to review lucrative, but loosening, ties with Taipei that if broken, could trigger a reshaping of diplomatic relations in a region home to a third of Taiwan’s shrinking list of allies.

Although Pacific island states offer little economically to either China and Taiwan, their support is valued in global forums such as the United Nations and as China seeks to isolate Taiwan. China see the democratically ruled island as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

In the Solomons, where two-thirds of exports go to China, many politicians are questioning whether diplomatic ties with Taiwan are still in their best interests.

“Sooner or later, when we see our country hasn’t been able to grow out of this relationship, we are at liberty to review our relations and to explore other avenues,” said former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, who is contesting the election.

Lilo’s views, echoed in the rival ruling Democratic Alliance Party policy manifesto, and by other candidates, have caught Taipei’s attention.

Taiwan this month sent its deputy foreign minister to the tropical capital of Honiara shore up the alliance.

President Tsai Ing-wen is also touring the South Pacific this week, visiting other allies Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands to “deepen ties and friendly relations”.

Already five countries have switched recognition to China since Tsai took office in 2016, leaving just 17 mostly small, undeveloped countries that formally recognize Taiwan.

Four of the six Pacific island nations aligned with Taiwan have elections this year, putting its Pacific stronghold under increasing pressure.

The elections also come at a time when traditional regional powers from the West and Japan have been boosting their presence in the Pacific due to unease at China’s growing influence there.

Last week, the new U.S. ambassador to Australia said China was using “pay-day loan diplomacy” to exert influence in the Pacific.

“The West is watching the outcome of the election in the Solomon Islands very closely. There is no doubt that there are some Solomon Islands lawmakers who would like to align with China,” said a senior U.S. diplomatic source.

“There is a legitimate worry that it will have a domino effect.”

FLASHPOINT OR CASHPOINT?

Acknowledging that China takes the position that there is “one China” and Taiwan is part of it is the “common consensus of international society”, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“The Chinese government, under the one China policy and the principles of peaceful coexistence, develops friendly cooperation with countries across the world,” he said, without elaborating.

Shifting allegiances are nothing new in the South Pacific.

Vanuatu flirted with recognizing Taiwan in 2004 but ultimately stuck with Beijing, while Kiribati and Nauru have each switched sides in the past.

The Solomons have recognized Taiwan since 1983.

The chain of islands stretching across some 600,000 sq km (232,000 sq miles) of ocean is a strategic gateway to the South Pacific and was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in World War II.

It is the largest of Taiwan-aligned Pacific countries, with access to the airfields and deepwater ports the conflict left behind.

The Solomons’ situation is further complicated by an unpredictable coalition building process after the vote, expected to last weeks before a government is formed.

FUNDING CRITICISMS

Taiwan is fighting to retain its ties.

“I think China is trying everything they can do to replace us in our diplomatic allies,” Taiwan’s deputy chief of mission to the Solomons, Oliver Liao, told Reuters in a phone interview.

He said Taipei was cautiously optimistic of retaining Honiara’s friendship because it has a long history of rural-development donations.

“Many friends here continue to share with us how much they appreciate Taiwan’s support and how they appreciate the flexibility this budgetary support allows – politicians and also the citizens.”

Its strategy, though, has come under fire.

Taiwan’s support of around $9 million a year is paid directly into a government account which lawmakers tap for projects in their far-flung provinces, with little oversight.

“In the rural areas there is no tangible development,” said Andrew Fanasia, politics reporter at the Solomon Star newspaper.

“Mostly these people blame their leaders and this fund.”

Anti-graft agency Transparency Solomon Islands says “vote buying” with cash linked to development funds is by far the most common complaint it fields, according to data it collected in 2017 and 2018.

Lawmakers say there are successes, and the government’s rural development website lists health and sanitation projects, community buildings, and text-message testimonies from citizens about improvements to their lives.

But even Taiwan’s Liao – and former prime minister Lilo – say economic progress has not been fast enough.

And in the capital, patience with the incumbents charged with disbursing Taiwan’s largesse is in short supply.

“Most students would really like to see a change in the leadership and style,” said law student Ishmael Aitorea, 25, on the phone from the student association office of the University of the South Pacific in Honiara.

“The perception is that if the old parliament members go back, nothing will change.”

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON, Tom Westbrook and Colin Packham in SYDNEY, Yimou Lee in TAIPEI and Philip Wen in BEIJING; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: OANN

A boy walks past a sign with voting instructions on his way to school in Honiara
A boy walks past a sign with voting instructions on his way to school in Honiara, Solomon Islands, March 11, 2019. Picture taken March 11, 2019. ISHMAEL AITOREA/Handout via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

By Charlotte Greenfield and Tom Westbrook

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (Reuters) – As politicians hit the hustings across the Solomon Islands two weeks out from a general election in the South Pacific archipelago, the loyalty of one of Taiwan’s few remaining allies is in the balance.

Some Solomons’ candidates are promising to review lucrative, but loosening, ties with Taipei that if broken, could trigger a reshaping of diplomatic relations in a region home to a third of Taiwan’s shrinking list of allies.

Although Pacific island states offer little economically to either China and Taiwan, their support is valued in global forums such as the United Nations and as China seeks to isolate Taiwan. China see the democratically ruled island as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.

In the Solomons, where two-thirds of exports go to China, many politicians are questioning whether diplomatic ties with Taiwan are still in their best interests.

“Sooner or later, when we see our country hasn’t been able to grow out of this relationship, we are at liberty to review our relations and to explore other avenues,” said former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, who is contesting the election.

Lilo’s views, echoed in the rival ruling Democratic Alliance Party policy manifesto, and by other candidates, have caught Taipei’s attention.

Taiwan this month sent its deputy foreign minister to the tropical capital of Honiara shore up the alliance.

President Tsai Ing-wen is also touring the South Pacific this week, visiting other allies Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands to “deepen ties and friendly relations”.

Already five countries have switched recognition to China since Tsai took office in 2016, leaving just 17 mostly small, undeveloped countries that formally recognize Taiwan.

Four of the six Pacific island nations aligned with Taiwan have elections this year, putting its Pacific stronghold under increasing pressure.

The elections also come at a time when traditional regional powers from the West and Japan have been boosting their presence in the Pacific due to unease at China’s growing influence there.

Last week, the new U.S. ambassador to Australia said China was using “pay-day loan diplomacy” to exert influence in the Pacific.

“The West is watching the outcome of the election in the Solomon Islands very closely. There is no doubt that there are some Solomon Islands lawmakers who would like to align with China,” said a senior U.S. diplomatic source.

“There is a legitimate worry that it will have a domino effect.”

FLASHPOINT OR CASHPOINT?

Acknowledging that China takes the position that there is “one China” and Taiwan is part of it is the “common consensus of international society”, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

“The Chinese government, under the one China policy and the principles of peaceful coexistence, develops friendly cooperation with countries across the world,” he said, without elaborating.

Shifting allegiances are nothing new in the South Pacific.

Vanuatu flirted with recognizing Taiwan in 2004 but ultimately stuck with Beijing, while Kiribati and Nauru have each switched sides in the past.

The Solomons have recognized Taiwan since 1983.

The chain of islands stretching across some 600,000 sq km (232,000 sq miles) of ocean is a strategic gateway to the South Pacific and was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in World War II.

It is the largest of Taiwan-aligned Pacific countries, with access to the airfields and deepwater ports the conflict left behind.

The Solomons’ situation is further complicated by an unpredictable coalition building process after the vote, expected to last weeks before a government is formed.

FUNDING CRITICISMS

Taiwan is fighting to retain its ties.

“I think China is trying everything they can do to replace us in our diplomatic allies,” Taiwan’s deputy chief of mission to the Solomons, Oliver Liao, told Reuters in a phone interview.

He said Taipei was cautiously optimistic of retaining Honiara’s friendship because it has a long history of rural-development donations.

“Many friends here continue to share with us how much they appreciate Taiwan’s support and how they appreciate the flexibility this budgetary support allows – politicians and also the citizens.”

Its strategy, though, has come under fire.

Taiwan’s support of around $9 million a year is paid directly into a government account which lawmakers tap for projects in their far-flung provinces, with little oversight.

“In the rural areas there is no tangible development,” said Andrew Fanasia, politics reporter at the Solomon Star newspaper.

“Mostly these people blame their leaders and this fund.”

Anti-graft agency Transparency Solomon Islands says “vote buying” with cash linked to development funds is by far the most common complaint it fields, according to data it collected in 2017 and 2018.

Lawmakers say there are successes, and the government’s rural development website lists health and sanitation projects, community buildings, and text-message testimonies from citizens about improvements to their lives.

But even Taiwan’s Liao – and former prime minister Lilo – say economic progress has not been fast enough.

And in the capital, patience with the incumbents charged with disbursing Taiwan’s largesse is in short supply.

“Most students would really like to see a change in the leadership and style,” said law student Ishmael Aitorea, 25, on the phone from the student association office of the University of the South Pacific in Honiara.

“The perception is that if the old parliament members go back, nothing will change.”

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON, Tom Westbrook and Colin Packham in SYDNEY, Yimou Lee in TAIPEI and Philip Wen in BEIJING; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: OANN

Matt M. Miller | Contributor

Pro-choice students at the University of Michigan were caught on video Friday allegedly vandalizing a pro-life display created by the Students for Life organization.

Though Students for Life had the university’s permission to set up their display, a women with purple hair and a black trench coat—along with several others—proceeded to collect pink crosses that were stuck in the ground. The display was comprised of 1,000 pink crosses, that were arranged at 9 a.m. Friday.

The video shows them putting the crosses in trash bags and claiming that they were “just cleaning up garbage on the school’s campus,” when confronted by Students For Life organizers. (RELATED: New York Passes Bill On Roe v. Wade Anniversary Casting Abortion As A Woman’s Right)

The pink crosses were a part of Students For Life’s #PlannedParenthoodTruth Tour, in which the pro-life organization tours college campuses to spread the word about “Planned Parenthood’s poor track record on helping women,” according to the Students for Life website.

At around 12:50 p.m., Kaylena Wiederhold, Students for Life’s Michigan regional coordinator, approached the people who were vandalizing the arrangement, asking why they were stealing Students for Life’s property. (RELATED: Supreme Court Legalized Abortion 46 Years Ago. Here’s A Look At Abortion Across The US)

“Is there a reason why you’re doing this?” Wiederhold asked the purple-haired girl.

“Because we disagree with it,” she said plainly.

She then continues to contest the fact that the crosses in the display are Students for Life’s property, refusing to stop throwing them away.

She only complies after being instructed by campus police to stop what she is doing and return the crosses to Students for Life. In response, she dumps her trash bag full of crosses on the ground and walked away, refusing to put the crosses back where she found them.

Source: The Daily Caller

Matt M. Miller | Contributor

Pro-choice students at the University of Michigan were caught on video Friday allegedly vandalizing a pro-life display created by the Students for Life organization.

Though Students for Life had the university’s permission to set up their display, a women with purple hair and a black trench coat—along with several others—proceeded to collect pink crosses that were stuck in the ground. The display was comprised of 1,000 pink crosses, that were arranged at 9 a.m. Friday.

The video shows them putting the crosses in trash bags and claiming that they were “just cleaning up garbage on the school’s campus,” when confronted by Students For Life organizers. (RELATED: New York Passes Bill On Roe v. Wade Anniversary Casting Abortion As A Woman’s Right)

The pink crosses were a part of Students For Life’s #PlannedParenthoodTruth Tour, in which the pro-life organization tours college campuses to spread the word about “Planned Parenthood’s poor track record on helping women,” according to the Students for Life website.

At around 12:50 p.m., Kaylena Wiederhold, Students for Life’s Michigan regional coordinator, approached the people who were vandalizing the arrangement, asking why they were stealing Students for Life’s property. (RELATED: Supreme Court Legalized Abortion 46 Years Ago. Here’s A Look At Abortion Across The US)

“Is there a reason why you’re doing this?” Wiederhold asked the purple-haired girl.

“Because we disagree with it,” she said plainly.

She then continues to contest the fact that the crosses in the display are Students for Life’s property, refusing to stop throwing them away.

She only complies after being instructed by campus police to stop what she is doing and return the crosses to Students for Life. In response, she dumps her trash bag full of crosses on the ground and walked away, refusing to put the crosses back where she found them.

Source: The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

A federal judge temporarily blocked new oil lease auctions in Wyoming on Tuesday after finding the Department of the Interior “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when proposing the lease sales, The Washington Post reports.

Washington D.C. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled the government violated federal law and did not fully study the environmental impact of oil development on 300,000 acres of federal land. (RELATED: Federal Oil And Gas Lease Sales Break $1 Billion In 2018, Nearly Triple Previous Record)

Contreras did not void leases already sold, but he ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to redo the environmental reviews used to approve the leases. The BLM must include in the redone reviews the effects of each new oil well on overall emissions in the U.S., including the pumped oil’s downstream effects, Contreras’s ruling said.

“Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling,” he wrote, according to WaPo.

Former President Barack Obama appointed Contreras to the federal bench in March 2012.

Contreras’s ruling came after the activist groups WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility sued the federal government over the lease sale in 2016.

“In spite of the President’s commitment to US leadership in moving towards a clean energy future … Federal Defendants continue to authorize the sale and issuance of hundreds of federal oil and gas leases on public lands across the Interior West without meaningfully acknowledging or evaluating the climate change implications of their actions,” the two groups wrote in their lawsuit, according to Ars Technica.

An oil train moves past the loading rack at the Eighty-Eight Oil LLC's transloading facility in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

An oil train moves past the loading rack at the Eighty-Eight Oil LLC’s transloading facility in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The BLM’s original environmental assessments included information on Wyoming’s climate and how climate change might factor into its future. The assessments granted that oil drilling in the area would increase the effects of climate change but declined to say by how much. Accurately predicting how many oil wells would eventually be dug is too difficult for any meaningful analysis, the BLM said, according to Ars.

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

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

Source: The Daily Caller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

Alec Schemmel | Contributor

The Mississippi police officer who left her three-year-old daughter strapped in a hot car so she could have sex with her supervisor pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday.

Former Mississippi Gulf Coast officer Cassie Barker left her daughter, Cheyenne, inside her patrol car for four hours on Sept. 30, 2016 after falling asleep post-sex, she admitted Monday. Authorities say the infant’s body temperature rose to 107 degrees and died. (RELATED: Six hours later, toddler dead after Dallas teacher left her in sizzling car)

Barker pleaded down to reduced charges of manslaughter after she was first indicted for second degree murder.

“I don’t know what I could ever do to you that could be worse than what you’ve already experienced,” Harrison County Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois told Barker. “You will forever be entombed in a prison of your own mind.”

Barker and the other officer, Clark Ladner, who was her supervisor at the time, were immediately fired following Cheyenne’s death. Ladner claimed he was unaware Cheyenne was in the car and was consequently not charged in her death.

This was not the first time Barker had left Cheyenne in the car alone, the Sun Herald reported. Ryan Hyer, Cheyenne’s father, believes Mississippi Child Protective Services and the police department failed to act appropriately to protect his daughter and filed lawsuits against the organizations.

“As a parent, you are supposed to protect your child, and Cheyenne is gone because her mother didn’t protect her, not once but twice,” Hyer said. “May God have mercy on her soul.”

The Hancock County sheriff’s department told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Barker will be sentenced on April 1, and can receive up to 20 years in prison.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Jon Brown | Associate Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at storage plant in Carlos Casares
FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at a storage plant in Carlos Casares, Argentina, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

PERGAMINO, Argentina/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Francisco Santillan, 55, a grains farmer from the heart of Argentina’s soybean country, has two things on his mind: the rains and twists and turns in a bitter trade war between the United States and China that has hurt prices.

The weather-worn farmer, who rides a Harley-Davidson around the 4,500 hectares of farmland he manages, is expecting a bumper soybean crop when he begins harvesting this month, but he and his neighbors are holding off from sealing deals with buyers in the hope a trade war breakthrough will bolster prices.

The United States and China, the world’s top soybean producer and importer respectively, have slapped import duties on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other’s products in their dispute. Tariffs made U.S. soybeans too expensive so Beijing stopped buying them, resulting in a glut that has hit soybean contracts in Chicago, the reference price for the global trade.

Trump said on Wednesday that a trade deal with Beijing was coming along nicely, with U.S. negotiators poised to head to China next week for another round of talks. Negotiations to resolve the dispute have been turbulent – Trump also said on Wednesday tariffs would remain in place for a long time and last week that he was in no rush to reach a deal.

Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures are hovering near $9 per bushel, only about 90 cents above decade lows posted in September.

“I am waiting for a better price,” said Santillan, one of a group of farmers who spoke to Reuters among fields of green, knee-high soy plants in the country’s fertile Pampas, where the ground was damp from heavy rains.

“The season is coming along very well. The harvest will be above 55 million tonnes and that will have a huge impact on the economy,” Santillan said. “But with news about the U.S.-China trade war determining Chicago reference prices, rather than supply and demand, it’s like we are flying without instruments.”

CASH CROP

Much in Argentina, the world’s No. 3 soybean producer and the top exporter of soyoil and the soymeal livestock feed that is fuelling Asia’s shift in diet from rice to pork and poultry, hangs on the soy crop.

A severe drought last year dragged the economy into recession, while bumper tax revenues this year could help support government spending and prop up President Mauricio Macri’s bid for re-election.

Delayed sales could hamper that. Just 16.2 percent of this season’s expected crop was sold by early March versus 30.5 percent at the same point a year earlier, government data show.

The uncertainty over prices – and the delays to deals – could also rattle the global trade as major buyers look to lock in supply, namely Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co.

The “ABCD” quartet, which dominates global grain trade, rely on a steady flow of grain to turn a profit in a typically thin-margin business. Farmers’ reluctance to sell at low prices has stung the grains merchants recently, particularly Bunge, which blamed limited farmer selling in Brazil for earnings misses last year.

Bunge’s acting Chief Executive Gregory Heckman called Argentina “one of the larger wild cards” for the firm’s oilseeds business in 2019, and said the firm anticipated farmers would hold more of their soybeans as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

“Soybean sales are happening slower this season than at any point over the last 10 years,” said a Buenos Aires-based grains broker. “Farmers are saying ‘I don’t like the price and I don’t need the money now because I was able to make cash with wheat and corn. So I’ll wait’.”

The uncertainty for the soy harvest comes at a complex time for President Macri too, who is battling to revive the economy while fending of challenges from political rivals ahead of national elections in October.

“For Argentina, the trade war between the United States and China is piling uncertainty on a country that is already full of uncertainty,” said Jorge Bianciotto, who manages a 2,300-hectare farm called La Lucila in Pergamino.

“This generates risks in terms of next year’s planting and investment decisions.”

His neighbor, Juan Girado, who manages a 500-hectare plantation, shared his concern.

“When they say the conflict is likely to end, prices rise. When the conflict looks like it’s deepening, prices fall,” he said. “So with a big crop on the way, and with prices as low as they are, it would be good for us for the trade war to end.”

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at storage plant in Carlos Casares
FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at a storage plant in Carlos Casares, Argentina, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

PERGAMINO, Argentina/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Francisco Santillan, 55, a grains farmer from the heart of Argentina’s soybean country, has two things on his mind: the rains and twists and turns in a bitter trade war between the United States and China that has hurt prices.

The weather-worn farmer, who rides a Harley-Davidson around the 4,500 hectares of farmland he manages, is expecting a bumper soybean crop when he begins harvesting this month, but he and his neighbors are holding off from sealing deals with buyers in the hope a trade war breakthrough will bolster prices.

The United States and China, the world’s top soybean producer and importer respectively, have slapped import duties on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other’s products in their dispute. Tariffs made U.S. soybeans too expensive so Beijing stopped buying them, resulting in a glut that has hit soybean contracts in Chicago, the reference price for the global trade.

Trump said on Wednesday that a trade deal with Beijing was coming along nicely, with U.S. negotiators poised to head to China next week for another round of talks. Negotiations to resolve the dispute have been turbulent – Trump also said on Wednesday tariffs would remain in place for a long time and last week that he was in no rush to reach a deal.

Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures are hovering near $9 per bushel, only about 90 cents above decade lows posted in September.

“I am waiting for a better price,” said Santillan, one of a group of farmers who spoke to Reuters among fields of green, knee-high soy plants in the country’s fertile Pampas, where the ground was damp from heavy rains.

“The season is coming along very well. The harvest will be above 55 million tonnes and that will have a huge impact on the economy,” Santillan said. “But with news about the U.S.-China trade war determining Chicago reference prices, rather than supply and demand, it’s like we are flying without instruments.”

CASH CROP

Much in Argentina, the world’s No. 3 soybean producer and the top exporter of soyoil and the soymeal livestock feed that is fuelling Asia’s shift in diet from rice to pork and poultry, hangs on the soy crop.

A severe drought last year dragged the economy into recession, while bumper tax revenues this year could help support government spending and prop up President Mauricio Macri’s bid for re-election.

Delayed sales could hamper that. Just 16.2 percent of this season’s expected crop was sold by early March versus 30.5 percent at the same point a year earlier, government data show.

The uncertainty over prices – and the delays to deals – could also rattle the global trade as major buyers look to lock in supply, namely Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co.

The “ABCD” quartet, which dominates global grain trade, rely on a steady flow of grain to turn a profit in a typically thin-margin business. Farmers’ reluctance to sell at low prices has stung the grains merchants recently, particularly Bunge, which blamed limited farmer selling in Brazil for earnings misses last year.

Bunge’s acting Chief Executive Gregory Heckman called Argentina “one of the larger wild cards” for the firm’s oilseeds business in 2019, and said the firm anticipated farmers would hold more of their soybeans as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

“Soybean sales are happening slower this season than at any point over the last 10 years,” said a Buenos Aires-based grains broker. “Farmers are saying ‘I don’t like the price and I don’t need the money now because I was able to make cash with wheat and corn. So I’ll wait’.”

The uncertainty for the soy harvest comes at a complex time for President Macri too, who is battling to revive the economy while fending of challenges from political rivals ahead of national elections in October.

“For Argentina, the trade war between the United States and China is piling uncertainty on a country that is already full of uncertainty,” said Jorge Bianciotto, who manages a 2,300-hectare farm called La Lucila in Pergamino.

“This generates risks in terms of next year’s planting and investment decisions.”

His neighbor, Juan Girado, who manages a 500-hectare plantation, shared his concern.

“When they say the conflict is likely to end, prices rise. When the conflict looks like it’s deepening, prices fall,” he said. “So with a big crop on the way, and with prices as low as they are, it would be good for us for the trade war to end.”

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN


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