World

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Amy Schumer has defended her decision to talk about her husband Chris Fischer being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to the world during her stand-up “Growing” on Netflix.

“He [Fischer] was diagnosed as high functioning autism spectrum disorder,” the 37-year-old expectant comedian shared Wednesday during her appearance on “Late Night with Seth Myers.” (RELATED: TRAINWRECK–Tampa Crowd Eats Amy Schumer Alive For Going After Trump [VIDEO])

WATCH:

“That’s why we both wanted to talk about it because it’s been totally positive,” she added. “I think a lot people resist getting diagnosed and even some of their children because of the stigma that comes along with it.”(RELATED: Kate Hudson Will Raise Her Daughter ‘Genderless’: We Don’t Know ‘What She’s Going To Identify As’)

Schumer continued, “Like the tools we’ve been given have made his life so much better and our marriage and our life much more manageable. I just wanted to, you know, encourage people to not be afraid of that stigma.”

“I think there’s a lot of people with autism who go undiagnosed when I think their life could be better if they got those tools,” the “Trainwreck” star explained.

At one point, the comedian said she doesn’t want make it sound like she was “so nice” because she married “someone with autism.”

As previously reported, it comes on the heels of reports that people really freaked out, and called her out for having revealed that about her husband during her latest show that started streaming on the site Tuesday. Others came to the comedian’s defense and couldn’t figure out why people were upset and instead thanked her.

“I knew from the beginning that my husband’s brain was a little different than mine,” Schumer shared. “I have to start this over because I really want to get this right because I love him very much.”

“My husband was diagnosed with what used to be called Asperger’s,” she added. “He has autism spectrum disorder. He’s on the spectrum. And there were some signs early on.”

Schumer continued, “Once he was diagnosed, it dawned on me how funny it was, because all of the characteristics that make it clear that he’s on the spectrum are all of the reasons that I fell madly in love with him. That’s the truth.”

“He says whatever is on his mind,” the actress explained. “He keeps it so real. He doesn’t care about social norms or what you expect him to say or do.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Activists from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of non-governmental organisations opposing lethal autonomous weapons or so-called 'killer robots', stage a protest at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
Activists from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of non-governmental organisations opposing lethal autonomous weapons or so-called ‘killer robots’, stage a protest at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, March, 21, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

March 21, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams and other activists warned on Thursday that fully autonomous weapons could be deployed in just 3-4 years and urged Germany to lead an international campaign for a ban on so-called “killer robots”.

Williams, who won the Nobel in 1997 for leading efforts to ban landmines, told reporters Germany should take bold steps to ensure that humans remained in control of lethal weapons. “You cannot lead from the rear,” she said.

Critics fear that the increasingly autonomous drones, missile defense systems and tanks made possible by new artificial intelligence could turn rogue in a cyber-attack or as a result of programming errors.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called last week for action to ensure human control of lethal weapons, but is pushing a non-binding declaration rather than a global ban, given opposition by the United States, Russia and China.

The United Nations and European Union have called for a global ban, but discussions so far have not yielded a clear commitment to conclude a treaty.

Activists from over 100 non-governmental groups gathered in Berlin this week to pressure Maas and the German government to take more decisive action after twice endorsing a ban on fully autonomous weapons in their 2013 and 2018 coalition accords.

They rallied at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, with a life-sized robot telling onlookers: “Not all robots will be friendly. Stop killer robots now.”

“If Germany showed leadership and got behind it, we’d soon have the rest of Europe behind it,” said Noel Sharkey, a leading roboticist and co-founder of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

He said it was only a matter of years before fully autonomous weapons could be deployed in battle given rapid advances in artificial intelligence and other technologies.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

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

European Union leaders summit in Brussels
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – The French Senate referred President Emmanuel Macron’s top aides to prosecutors on Thursday for withholding information from an investigation into Macron’s former bodyguard, prompting the government to accuse the legislature of exceeding its powers.

In one of the sharpest confrontations in years between France’s powerful executive and its parliament, Macron’s government described the move by the opposition-controlled Senate as a “political coup”.

The Senate announced on Thursday it had referred Macron’s top aide Alexis Kohler, his chief of staff Patrick Strzoda and Lionel Lavergne, the Elysee’s top security official, to prosecutors.

It accused them of withholding information from an investigation into former presidential bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, who was sacked last year after being filmed beating up protesters while wearing a police helmet and civilian clothes.

“This is neither reasonable nor measured, this is a political coup,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told reporters of the Senate move.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe took the rare step of boycotting the government’s weekly question-and-answer session at the Senate, his office said.

The Senate has been investigating Benalla, who was fired as Macron’s security aide after video emerged of his confrontation with May Day protesters.

He was sacked only after Le Monde newspaper broke the story, prompting criticism that the president had failed to act sooner. He has also been investigated over other accusations, including that he used a diplomatic passport after he was fired.

Last month, an investigative committee of French senators said the top Elysee officials had withheld information from them during their six month investigation and recommended the case be referred to prosecutors.

Macron’s government has argued that the Senate was contravening the separation of powers by questioning decisions by the executive branch. Many experts on French constitutional law say the Senate has acted within its rights.

“This is a perfectly legitimate move by the senate’s investigative committee,” Jean-Philippe Derosier, a constitutional law expert at the University of Lille told Reuters, saying the government’s criticism was “not justified.”

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

European Union leaders summit in Brussels
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – The French Senate referred President Emmanuel Macron’s top aides to prosecutors on Thursday for withholding information from an investigation into Macron’s former bodyguard, prompting the government to accuse the legislature of exceeding its powers.

In one of the sharpest confrontations in years between France’s powerful executive and its parliament, Macron’s government described the move by the opposition-controlled Senate as a “political coup”.

The Senate announced on Thursday it had referred Macron’s top aide Alexis Kohler, his chief of staff Patrick Strzoda and Lionel Lavergne, the Elysee’s top security official, to prosecutors.

It accused them of withholding information from an investigation into former presidential bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, who was sacked last year after being filmed beating up protesters while wearing a police helmet and civilian clothes.

“This is neither reasonable nor measured, this is a political coup,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told reporters of the Senate move.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe took the rare step of boycotting the government’s weekly question-and-answer session at the Senate, his office said.

The Senate has been investigating Benalla, who was fired as Macron’s security aide after video emerged of his confrontation with May Day protesters.

He was sacked only after Le Monde newspaper broke the story, prompting criticism that the president had failed to act sooner. He has also been investigated over other accusations, including that he used a diplomatic passport after he was fired.

Last month, an investigative committee of French senators said the top Elysee officials had withheld information from them during their six month investigation and recommended the case be referred to prosecutors.

Macron’s government has argued that the Senate was contravening the separation of powers by questioning decisions by the executive branch. Many experts on French constitutional law say the Senate has acted within its rights.

“This is a perfectly legitimate move by the senate’s investigative committee,” Jean-Philippe Derosier, a constitutional law expert at the University of Lille told Reuters, saying the government’s criticism was “not justified.”

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

Harvard University was sued Wednesday for allegedly making money off of photos of slaves, which are kept in a museum at the school.

Tamara Lanier, who says she is a descendant of South Carolina slaves named Renty and Delia, filed the complaint Wednesday. She said Harvard seized and refused to give her the pictures, known as daguerreotypes, of her ancestors.

“Slavery was abolished 156 years ago, but Renty and Delia remain enslaved in Cambridge, Massachusetts,” the lawsuit said. “Their images, like their bodies before, remain subject to control and appropriation by the powerful, and their familial identities are denied to them.”

Renty is the patriarch of Lanier’s family and Delia was his daughter, according to the suit.

Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz allegedly commissioned the images in 1850 to “prove” black people were inferior and deserved to be exploited, the complaint said.

“The claim is simple,” attorney Josh Koskoff said, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. “You took something. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to me. And I want it back.”

The daguerreotypes, which are fragile, are currently kept in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. The images are shown twice a year because of “their importance, condition, age, and rarity,” according to the museum’s website.

Lanier, 54, said Harvard was dismissive or not responsive when she contacted the school multiple times, WaPo reported. (RELATED: Officials Are Looking to Recover Nearly $450K From Harvard Alum Who Took College Entrance Exams For Students)

She wants the Ivy League school to hand over the pictures along with compensation for damages and for “pain and suffering.”

Harvard is one of the schools part of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium, which aims to help institutions address “historical and contemporary issues dealing with race and inequality in higher education.”

Former Harvard President Drew Faust also installed a plaque honoring four slaves in April 2016, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Harvard and legal firm Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

People take part in a protest against government's plans to overhaul the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, on the Chain Bridge in Budapest.
People take part in a protest against government’s plans to overhaul the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, on the Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, March 21, 2019. The banner reads “Free academy”. REUTERS/Tamas Kaszas

March 21, 2019

By Gergely Szakacs

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Around 1,000 people rallied outside the Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS) on Thursday to protest against government moves to overhaul the institution, which scientists say is the latest threat to academic independence.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who took power in 2010, has tightened controls over Hungarian public life, including the courts, the media and the economy, as well as education and now scientific research.

The European Parliament’s main center-right bloc voted on Wednesday to suspend Orban’s Fidesz party amid concerns it has violated European Union principles on the rule of law.

Some of the protesters on Thursday carried EU flags and waved banners saying “Thinking does not harm your health”.

“The Hungarian Academy of Science is a trustee of the preservation and development of Hungarian culture and science,” the Forum of Academy Workers, a movement founded by HAS research staff, said on its Facebook page.

“Yet, our nearly 200-year-old national institution is left fighting for its survival.”

OVERHAUL

The second protest against Orban’s reforms in as many months followed an accord between the ministry overseeing the overhaul and leaders of the academy to separate the science research network from the academy’s teaching institutions.

The research arm would be run by a new management body, with members selected by the government and the academy, according to a joint letter of intent signed early this month.

But HAS staff said the accord, reached as a result of what they called government “blackmail”, was unacceptable.

The academy is solely funded by the government but self-managing, with a network of scientific research bodies employing about 5,000 people.

The rally was due to march to the Innovations and Technology Ministry to wave red cards at minister Laszlo Palkovics, architect of the reform, which is due to take effect at the start of next year.

Orban’s government says the aim of the reform is to reap more economic benefits from scientific research.

“My actions are driven solely by the desire to make the Academy and the entire Hungarian research ecosystem more efficient,” Palkovics told private broadcaster atv.hu.

The demonstrators rejected that argument.

“This is a pretty dangerous tendency when we talk about the need for science to turn a profit immediately and manage scientific life solely according to economic interests,” said 19-year-old student Milan Szabo.

Concerns over the erosion of academic freedom and other democratic rights in Hungary have triggered several anti-government demonstrations in recent months.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Source: OANN

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

March 21, 2019

By Marc Frank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BREXIT AND TRUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A couple look towards signs pointing out distances to different cities,at an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
FILE PHOTO: A couple look towards signs pointing out distances to different cities,at an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

March 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to back Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War.

“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 said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Alexander)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 21, 2019

By Ann Saphir and Howard Schneider

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Reserve policymakers see a U.S. economy that is rapidly losing momentum. They predict inflation will miss their 2 percent target for yet another year, despite rising wages, and they expect unemployment to increase.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s view of it all? He calls these fundamentals “very strong,” says the economy is in a “good place and sees the outlook as “favorable.”

Welcome to the new normal.

Powell’s upbeat assessment of a deteriorating economy shows how completely the Fed has embraced a world of stubbornly weak inflation, permanently slower growth and chronically low interest rates that give the central bank precious little room for conventional policy easing when the next downturn arrives.

It is a situation that poses risks to the Fed’s credibility, given the long-running failure to lift inflation to a target first specified in 2012 in hopes of guiding the economy upward. It also raises the stakes over an evolving debate about the need for fiscal, social and other policies that may be targeted to pick up the slack.

“It feels like the Fed has come to Jesus on this topic,” said University of Oregon economics professor Tim Duy, who believes the abrupt revisions to Fed forecasts show the Fed may have already raised interest rates too far. “The secular stagnation story, some part of it, must in fact be a reality.”

Powell delivered his message on Wednesday as the Fed signaled it is likely finished with the interest rate increases it started back in 2015, and hinted that should the outlook worsen, a rate cut may be next.

“We are very mindful… of what the risks are,” Powell said after the Fed held its target range for short-term rates steady at 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. “We don’t see data coming in that suggests we should move in either direction… We should remain patient and let the situation clarify over time; when the time comes, we will act appropriately.”

DOWN IN THE DUMPS?

At least nine and perhaps as many as 15 of the Fed’s 17 policymakers slashed their interest rate forecasts, with most seeing no rate hikes this year. As a group they now believe the economy has lost perhaps a third of its momentum compared with last year, and will grow around 2.1 percent in 2019.

What about the idea they would need to boost rates high enough to brake growth and actually curb inflation, a feature of their outlook in 2018? A thing of the past.

If anything, the Fed’s concern has shifted in the other direction, toward inflation remaining so low it undermines business and household expectations about the future, another potential drag on growth if either sector becomes more cautious in spending.

To some analysts, the abrupt revisions sound like a warning.

“What does the Fed know that it’s not saying?” asked Marvin Loh, global macro strategist at State Street.

“I think we are bracing for another shoe to drop,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco.

That was also the view of financial markets, with short-term interest-rate futures quickly pricing in a rate cut next year.

Powell noted risks to his positive outlook include a slowdown in Europe and ongoing trade tensions with China.

RISK OF THE LESS-LIKELY OUTCOME

To others, however, it seemed like confirmation of an inconvenient truth: that global growth may have peaked, leaving countries stuck in slow-growth mode and reliant on fiscal policy to keep from grinding to a halt. In addition, they will have to carry the load of recovery should a recession occur.

“Even once this episode is past, what do things look like? In the Fed’s view it is a world of sub-2 percent growth” over the long run, said Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former U.S. Treasury official. “By U.S. historical standards, it is not great.”

Central banks in Japan and Europe are in a similar fix, fueling a global debate about whether, given chronically low interest rates, it makes sense for larger and economically more dynamic nations to borrow more for investments in infrastructure, education, climate adaptation and other endeavors that would have a clear public return.

“It is a different world,” former International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard said in a meeting with reporters recently at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “We are going to be in a world where monetary policy is highly constrained and fiscal (policy) will become central.”

Originally skeptical of the secular stagnation argument that low growth in developed nations is hardwired into the long-term outlook by aging populations that over-save, he said he now views that as the “more likely” state of affairs.

The issue now is whether the current slow-growth expansion will continue indefinitely in the hoped-for “soft landing” that the Fed foresees in its current projections.

There are arguments to the contrary. The recently released Economic Report of the President projected growth will remain near 3 percent this year and could edge up in coming years if, for example, the now-temporary household tax cuts approved in 2017 are made permanent. Resolution of current global trade frictions could also raise the global outlook.

But 2018, a year that began with U.S. and world officials heralding an era of synchronized global growth, may also prove the outlier.

Said Bank of the West’s Anderson: “Even with the U.S. pausing, it might not be enough to stop a global downturn.”

(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Howard Schneider; Editing by Dan Burns and Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon President Michel Aoun addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg
FILE PHOTO: Lebanon President Michel Aoun addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

March 21, 2019

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. sanctions on Hezbollah are harming Lebanon as a whole, President Michel Aoun said on Thursday ahead of a visit to the country by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The United States deems the heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah group a terrorist organization and has been steadily increasing financial sanctions against it as part of efforts to counter Iran.

Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah has a large armed militia that has helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his eight-year war against rebels, but it is also a political party in Lebanon with seats in the parliament and cabinet.

“Lebanon is within the siege that has been imposed on others, particularly on Iran. And it is passing, as a result of that, through a big crisis,” Aoun told Russian media in Lebanon, the Lebanese Presidency office said.

Sanctions against Hezbollah introduced since 2016 raised fears among Lebanese that U.S. correspondent banks might deem Lebanese banks too risky to do business with, harming a major part of Lebanon’s economy.

However, Lebanon’s Central Bank has repeatedly said that the banking sector is fully compliant with sanctions and that foreign institutions are satisfied with how it implements regulation.

“We don’t expect more measures against the banks,” Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, said.

But he said the “negative impact of the siege on Hezbollah afflicts all Lebanese, as it does the Lebanese banks”.

“Every Lebanese bank has uncertainty about dealing with a depositor, fearing that he has a link with Hezbollah … This mutual fear does not build an economy and sound trade relations,” he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo is due to visit Lebanon on Friday and Saturday after trips to Kuwait and Israel. In Israel, Pompeo described Iran-backed Hezbollah as a risk to the Lebanese.

Aoun is scheduled to visit Russia over March 25-26 after being invited by President Vladimir Putin, Aoun’s office said.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington and Tom Perry; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visit the Western Wall Tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visit the Western Wall Tunnels in Jerusalem’s Old City March 21, 2019. Abir Sultan/ Pool via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accompanied Israel’s prime minister on a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday in the first such gesture since Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, angering Palestinians.

The ancient Western Wall, the most sacred prayer site in Judaism, is located in the eastern part of the city that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel has long considered all of Jerusalem as its eternal, indivisible capital, while Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they seek in territory Israel took in the June 1967 war.

Shortly after entering office in January 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump visited the Western Wall, though without Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Later that year Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy and officially recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, though making clear that he was not prejudging a settlement on where the city’s borders should be.

Since that shift, the U.S. ambassador to Israel has paid visits to the Western Wall along with Netanyahu. Pompeo suggested that his own visit as the top U.S. diplomat in Netanyahu’s presence was significant.

“I think it’s symbolic that a senior American official goes there with the prime minister of Israel,” he told reporters prior to arriving in the walled Old City.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of a Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The elevated plaza above it is the Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest site in Islam, containing the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Pompeo, Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman together approached the wall and each leaned against its massive stones with one hand. Pompeo then placed a prayer note in between the stones, as is customary.

Before going to the wall, he visited the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.

Pompeo, now on a Middle East tour, visited Kuwait before Israel and is due to proceed to Lebanon. His trip to Israel, three weeks before a closely contested election, was portrayed in local media as a Trump administration boost for the right-wing Netanyahu.

(Reporting by Rami Amichay; Writing by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

Athletics - Diamond League - Monaco
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Monaco – Stade Louis II, Monaco – July 20, 2018 South Africa’s Caster Semenya wins the Women’s 800m REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Thursday it would postpone its decision on Caster Semenya’s appeal hearing against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) until the end of April.

South African 800-metres double Olympic champion Semenya is seeking to overturn a new set of IAAF regulations that are aimed at lowering the testosterone levels of hyperandrogenic athletes.

The IAAF contend that Semenya and other female athletes that are classed as having differences in sexual development (DSDs) gain an unfair advantage due to their higher testosterone levels, but only in races between 400 and 1,000-metres.

CAS have called the hearing “one of the most pivotal CAS cases” that could have a wide reaching consequence not just for the future of athletics, but sport in general.

The body had been expected to announce its decision on March 26, six months prior to the World Championships in Doha.

It said on Thursday that since the Feb. 18-22 hearing, the parties have filed additional submissions and materials. No specific date for the decision has been set.

(Reporting by: Ossian Shine; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

London 2012 Olympic Games
FILE PHOTO: Olympics – London 2012 Olympic Games – Eton Dorney – 28/7/12 Rowing – Men’s Pair Heats – Great Britain’s George Nash and William Satch in action Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Childs

March 21, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – Heart surgery and then a shoulder operation came as “a bit of a kick in the teeth” for 2016 Olympic champion rower Will Satch last year but time off the water has provided fresh focus for the hard slog toward next year’s Tokyo Games.

The 29-year-old from Britain’s rowing heartland of Henley-on-Thames stroked Britain’s men’s eight to gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games and says he is now fully motivated and ready for more.

“Having time away has just made me appreciate what it is and why I do it,” he told Reuters.

Satch underwent heart surgery a year ago to treat the hereditary condition of atrial fibrillation, while a ruptured shoulder has kept him mostly on an exercise bike since December.

The heart problem, previously managed with tablets, had become increasingly an issue ahead of Rio and had to be addressed.

“If I’m honest, I just wanted to get Rio done and then I was going to get out,” said Satch at the launch of the SAS Ranking Points Index, which aims to help identify future elite talent as well as making club rowing closer and fairer.

“A lot of my friends retired and it would have been very easy to follow suit.

“But I’m potentially a little bit masochistic…I enjoy the pain and the training and I like building camaraderie. I do miss the old guys but now we’ve got this new group and I’m really excited to try and do it again in a different way.”

GROBLER SMILE

Satch tells a story about veteran Olympic rowing coach Juergen Grobler, a famous task-master, that shines a light on the team spirit within what has become a medal machine for Britain.

In Rio, while team mates savored their moment in the media spotlight, the dehydrated athlete spent an hour and a half trying to provide a urine sample in the confines of an air-conditioned room.

Grobler, a former East German who has mentored champions at every Olympics since Munich in 1972 and can claim to be the most successful coach in world sport, waited outside. At the end, the two men walked away together.

“I was like ‘We are going to have this conversation now, we’re on. This is going to be an emotional moment,’” recalled Satch with a smile.

“And we’re walking back and I probably got 15-20 seconds out of him, and the walk was 10 minutes long. And in my head I was thinking ‘I’ve just trained four years to get a smile out of this man’.

“I got it, but it was very short-lived. And potentially that’s why I’m back.

“I want it again. A few seconds.”

Now 72, Grobler has hinted he will retire after the Tokyo Games and is likely to add to the list of 33 gold medalists under his watch so far.

With Britain, he has personally coached gold medal-winning crews at every Games since 1992 — the first two with five-times gold medalist Steve Redgrave and four-times champion Matthew Pinsent.

“He’s as passionate as ever. And that’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to have passion. Without passion, what’s the point?,” said Satch.

“He doesn’t even need to say that much. It’s just having that inspiration around you is very special.”

Satch’s own future looks likely to lie more with the four than the eight when it comes to Tokyo selection.

Winner of a bronze medal with George Nash in the pairs at his home 2012 London Olympics, Satch joined Moe Sbihi, Matthew Tarrant and Matt Rossiter in the coxless four that took bronze at the 2017 world championships in Florida.

“I just want to be in the top boat, whatever that is,” he said. “I’m very excited about the eight although I’ve been there and done it. The pair is a very special boat to me, my debut was the Olympics with my best friend in that boat.

“And then the four is something I haven’t really done. I haven’t had a fair crack at it because I had that heart issue leading into the 2017 worlds.

“I feel like I could potentially do any boat if I am at my best.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

March 21, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday a U.N. report critical of its use of lethal force during Palestinian protests on the Gaza border was biased and should have included a demand that the enclave’s dominant Hamas group take action to stop anti-Israeli violence.

A U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the demonstrations, which began nearly a year ago, said this week that Israel should investigate the shootings of more than 6,000 people, far beyond the criminal inquiries it has announced into 11 killings.

Issuing an official response to the commission’s report, Israel said it had “serious concerns about the factual and legal analysis conducted by the commission, its methodologies and the clear evidence of political bias against Israel”.

Gaza health authorities say some 200 people have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli fire since Palestinians launched the protests. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the frontier.

Protesters have been demanding the lifting of an Israeli blockade of the territory and a right to return to land from which their ancestors fled or were expelled. Israel has said it has no choice but to use deadly force to defend the frontier.

Addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, the inquiry commission’s chairman, Santiago Canton, called on Israel, which boycotted the day-long debate, to review immediately its military’s rules of engagement.

Israel’s response, published on its Foreign Ministry’s website, said the commission’s “bias is most evident in (its) absolute failure … to make recommendations concerning Hamas”.

The militant group, Israel said, sends women, children and others to sabotage the Israeli security fence along the frontier and to act as shields for armed attacks. Balloons and kites have been flown across the border into Israel to start fires.

“If the commission seriously wished to provide an objective report that would contribute towards human rights and the safety of individuals, (it) would have seen fit to demand Hamas take action in the context of these events,” Israel said.

Asked about the Israeli allegations, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official in Gaza, said “most of those killed were hit hundreds of meters from the fence – evidence that Israeli soldiers had deliberately targeted them”.

A summary accompanying the 252-page report said protest organizers “encouraged or defended demonstrators’ indiscriminate use of incendiary kites and balloons”, and Gaza’s de facto authorities did not stop such acts.

The Human Rights Council, a 47-member forum, is due to vote on Friday on four resolutions related to the occupied Palestinian territories.

European states are divided on the resolutions, including a text related to the Gaza inquiry, with some expected to vote against and others abstaining, diplomats said.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, quit the Geneva forum last year over what it says is bias against Israel.

Gaza is home to 2 million Palestinians, mainly stateless descendants of people who fled or were driven from Israel on its founding in 1948. Israel captured Gaza in a 1967 war but pulled out troops and settlements in 2005. Hamas took control in 2007.

Since then, Israel has fought three wars against the Islamist group and, along with Egypt, imposed a blockade of the territory that the World Bank says has collapsed its economy.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva)

Source: OANN

Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian demonstrators protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

March 21, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday a U.N. report critical of its use of lethal force during Palestinian protests on the Gaza border was biased and should have included a demand that the enclave’s dominant Hamas group take action to stop anti-Israeli violence.

A U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the demonstrations, which began nearly a year ago, said this week that Israel should investigate the shootings of more than 6,000 people, far beyond the criminal inquiries it has announced into 11 killings.

Issuing an official response to the commission’s report, Israel said it had “serious concerns about the factual and legal analysis conducted by the commission, its methodologies and the clear evidence of political bias against Israel”.

Gaza health authorities say some 200 people have been killed and thousands injured by Israeli fire since Palestinians launched the protests. One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper along the frontier.

Protesters have been demanding the lifting of an Israeli blockade of the territory and a right to return to land from which their ancestors fled or were expelled. Israel has said it has no choice but to use deadly force to defend the frontier.

Addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, the inquiry commission’s chairman, Santiago Canton, called on Israel, which boycotted the day-long debate, to review immediately its military’s rules of engagement.

Israel’s response, published on its Foreign Ministry’s website, said the commission’s “bias is most evident in (its) absolute failure … to make recommendations concerning Hamas”.

The militant group, Israel said, sends women, children and others to sabotage the Israeli security fence along the frontier and to act as shields for armed attacks. Balloons and kites have been flown across the border into Israel to start fires.

“If the commission seriously wished to provide an objective report that would contribute towards human rights and the safety of individuals, (it) would have seen fit to demand Hamas take action in the context of these events,” Israel said.

Asked about the Israeli allegations, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official in Gaza, said “most of those killed were hit hundreds of meters from the fence – evidence that Israeli soldiers had deliberately targeted them”.

A summary accompanying the 252-page report said protest organizers “encouraged or defended demonstrators’ indiscriminate use of incendiary kites and balloons”, and Gaza’s de facto authorities did not stop such acts.

The Human Rights Council, a 47-member forum, is due to vote on Friday on four resolutions related to the occupied Palestinian territories.

European states are divided on the resolutions, including a text related to the Gaza inquiry, with some expected to vote against and others abstaining, diplomats said.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, quit the Geneva forum last year over what it says is bias against Israel.

Gaza is home to 2 million Palestinians, mainly stateless descendants of people who fled or were driven from Israel on its founding in 1948. Israel captured Gaza in a 1967 war but pulled out troops and settlements in 2005. Hamas took control in 2007.

Since then, Israel has fought three wars against the Islamist group and, along with Egypt, imposed a blockade of the territory that the World Bank says has collapsed its economy.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Derek Carr is the only quarterback from the 2014 draft still with the team that took him.

Carr was selected by the Raiders and hasn’t played for any other team. The other 13 quarterbacks have all left their original teams or flamed out.

ProFootballTalk reported the following on the disaster that was the 2014 NFL draft:

While Carr is the only one still with the team that drafted him, four are currently plying their trade in the Alliance of American Football: First-round pick Johnny Manziel, fifth-round pick Aaron Murray, sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger and sixth-round pick Garrett Gilbert.

Other than Carr, Garoppolo and Bortles, first-round pick Teddy Bridgewater is the only quarterback from the 2014 draft who’s still in the NFL.

What an atrocious draft year for quarterbacks. How did it go so wrong for so many of them? A total of 14 were picked, and only three of them have experienced any kind of success. You can bump that number to four if you stretch a bit and included Bridgewater, who is on his third team down in New Orleans.

Obviously, Manziel was supposed to be a big-time player in the NFL and only lasted two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Of all the guys on that list, I think it’s fair to say he was the most disappointing. He’s trying to get it turned around in the AAF, and we’ll have to see how that goes. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

There’s still no doubt his NFL career was an utter disaster.

If you had told me Carr would be the only one on his team a few years later, I never would have believed you. Welcome to the world of the NFL, it’s a crazy place and things go wrong all the time.

For the vast majority of the guys taken as quarterbacks in the 2014 draft, things didn’t go well at all.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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

March 21, 2019

MOSUL (Reuters) – At least 72 people died when an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul in Iraq, medical sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Most of the casualties on the ferry were women and children who could not swim, said the head of Mosul’s Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil.

A separate source in the Civil Defence Authority said the boat had been loaded with twice its capacity, causing it to capsize.

Mobile phone footage showed the ferry sinking into the muddy water and people shouting for help.

The rescue team was retrieving survivors and had rescued 12 people so far, Khalil said.

Police and medical sources said earlier at least 40 people had drowned. A source in a nearby hospital and another in a morgue said the toll had risen to 72.

The accident took place to the north of the city, near a recreational area popular with families.

(Reporting by Jamal Al-Badrani; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

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

March 21, 2019

MOSUL (Reuters) – At least 72 people died when an overloaded ferry sank in the Tigris river near Mosul in Iraq, medical sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Most of the casualties on the ferry were women and children who could not swim, said the head of Mosul’s Civil Defence Authority Husam Khalil.

A separate source in the Civil Defence Authority said the boat had been loaded with twice its capacity, causing it to capsize.

Mobile phone footage showed the ferry sinking into the muddy water and people shouting for help.

The rescue team was retrieving survivors and had rescued 12 people so far, Khalil said.

Police and medical sources said earlier at least 40 people had drowned. A source in a nearby hospital and another in a morgue said the toll had risen to 72.

The accident took place to the north of the city, near a recreational area popular with families.

(Reporting by Jamal Al-Badrani; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

Lauryn Overhultz | Columnist

U.S. figure skater Mariah Bell, 22, is under investigation after allegedly slashing her South Korean competitor with her skate during a Wednesday practice.

16-year-old Lim Eun-soo claims Bell crashed into her on purpose during the final warmup at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships and intentionally left a gash in Eun-soo’s calf, according to the New York Post.

The incident, which is similar to the time Tonya Harding was accused of hiring someone to injure her rival during the 1994 Winter Games, seemed to be premeditated, according to a rep from the Korean sports agency All That Sports.

Eun-soo had been skating near the outer edges of the rink for space when Bell crashed into her from behind and “suddenly kicked and stabbed Lim’s calf with her skate blades” the spokesperson told Yonhap News. (RELATED: Olympic Figure Skaters Credit God In Unlikely In Return To God)

“Mariah Bell didn’t apologize to Lim Eun-soo after the incident and instead continued to rehearse for her routine. We believe this is not a minor situation that can happen in an official rehearsal,” the spokesperson said.

Eun-soo went on to compete in the ladies short program despite the injury to her calf and even placed fifth overall beating out Bell who placed sixth.

All That Sports has requested that the Korea Skating Union file a complaint against Bell.

Both skaters are trained by the same Los Angeles coach and Eun-soo’s rep claims Bell has been bullying and harassing Eun-soo leading up to the competition.

Source: The Daily Caller

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

March 21, 2019

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte said Manila’s relations with Beijing will not be jeopardised despite two former officials filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court over China’s aggression in the disputed South China Sea.

Since taking office in 2016, the Philippine leader re-oriented his foreign policy away from longtime ally the United States and toward China, despite decades of mistrust and bitter maritime disputes with Beijing.

However, the country’s former anti-graft chief and former foreign affairs minister is asking the ICC to conduct a preliminary examination on China’s role in the South China Sea.

The letter was dated March 13 – four days before the Philippines’ unilateral withdrawal from the ICC was formalized.

Duterte said: “They think they have a good case and I would say that there is no jurisdiction over this country and of China.”

Close ties will remain as China understands that anyone can file a case as the Philippines is a democratic country, he told reporters late on Thursday.

Duterte is facing criticism from opponents for making too many political concessions to China in return for billions of dollars of pledged Chinese loans and investment, most of which have yet to materialize.

China says it has irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them.

Under the ICC rules, any individual, group or state can communicate with the prosecutor on alleged crimes falling under the court’s jurisdiction. The complaints can form the initial basis of the preliminary examinations.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

It is "stupid" for President Donald Trump to keep attacking late Sen. John McCain, and there can be "no positive outcome" from it, former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci said Thursday.

"When you are attacking dead people, it's not good," Scaramucci told CNN's "New Day." "It's one of the main reasons why you have graveyards and people don't touch the grave yards. They drive by them on the highway and say that's a valuable piece of land but they leave all the caskets inside graves."

Trump again slammed McCain, who died of brain cancer last August, during a speech at an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio, on Wednesday, after attacking him on Twitter.

"That's an unnatural social act and it will turn people off eventually," Scaramucci said. "I wish he wouldn't do that because he's got so many great things going on, and so many great things about the country and the world that are taking place. Why do that? I just think it's wrong."

He said he does understand Trump's grievances against McCain, including his vote on repealing Obamacare, but added the criticisms are not "scoring any points with anybody."

Scaramucci said he always got along with McCain, and he does not believe veterans, who support Trump by the millions, "are in love" with the president's attacks on the late senator.

"So, he could sit there and try to justify it he may have staff around him that tells him, 'hey, that's great that you're attacking a dead senator,' but I don't think it's great," Scaramucci said.

Source: NewsMax

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

Simone Biles smiles during warm-ups at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston
FILE PHOTO: Simone Biles smiles during warm-ups at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., August 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

March 21, 2019

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Simone Biles believes U.S gymnastics is moving in a positive direction after the “dark place” it found itself in a year ago following a sex-abuse scandal.

The Texas-based 22-year-old, winner of a record-equaling four gold medals at the Rio Olympics, was one of more than 100 gymnasts who say they were abused by former Gymnastics USA doctor Larry Nassar who was jailed last year.

Gymnastics USA was criticized for failing to safeguard the welfare of its athletes and the subject of dozens of lawsuits by victims of Nassar.

Speaking ahead of the Superstars of Gymnastics event taking place in London on Saturday, Biles, who said next year’s Olympics in Tokyo will “definitely” be her last, said she was encouraged by their response.

“We are all very hopeful that they (Gymnastics USA) are making the right decisions so that we can kind of get out of that dark place,” Biles told Reuters close to the O2 Arena which will host Saturday’s event.

Biles received widespread admiration when going public about being abused by Nassar and was, along with other victims, awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage award.

“The response has been good and encouraging, knowing that its kind of relateable in a way,” she said. “But you know, you have to pick and choose your battles wisely.

“I think my actions have given other athletes a way to know that they are not alone and (abuse) does happen, so they don’t have to be in the dark about everything.”

Biles, heralded as the greatest gymnast of all time, will perform exhibition routines at the Superstars of Gymnastics event, with her role chiefly as part of the judging-panel that will use an “out of 10” scoring system.

It will be a light-hearted distraction before the serious business of the countdown to Tokyo.

She admits to tough times since returning to action from a two-year break although her four golds at the world championships in Doha showed she was back to her dazzling best.

“The muscle memory is there, but it was a little bit difficult to keep up at times,” she said.

“There were times I wanted to give up. In the end I knew what the goals were and it paid off.

Biles will be 23 in Tokyo, relatively old for female gymnastics, but feels the age demographic is changing.

“Even after the Olympics we had the oldest American team with an average age of 19, but we were also the most successful,” she said. “So I feel the age is changing just a little bit, so hopefully the peaking age is not 16 any more!”

“I hope I make the team,” she said. “This time it will be smaller with just four in 2020 so that’s more difficult.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum
FILE PHOTO: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

March 21, 2019

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has appointed ruling party head Ahmed Haroun, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), as an assistant, a presidency statement said on Thursday.

Bashir, who has faced more than three months of street protests against his rule, delegated the leadership of the National Congress Party to Haroun earlier this month.

Both Bashir and Haroun are wanted by the ICC over alleged crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

William Davis | Contributor

During a visit to Jerusalem, Israel, alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decried the “dark wave of anti-Semitism” across Europe and the U.S.

Pompeo took the time to criticize perceived anti-Semitism from members of Congress while in the Israeli capital, although he did not mention anybody by name. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Slams The UN For Defending Hamas Over Israel: It’s ‘Absurd And Dishonest’)

“All nations, especially those in the West, must go to the barricades against bigotry,” Pompeo said. “Sadly, we in the United States have seen anti-Semitic language even in the great halls of our own capital.”

Pompeo’s comments come amid weeks of debate after Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar made comments that were widely perceived to be anti-Semitic, something for which she drew criticism from all sides of the political spectrum. (RELATED: Omar Has Gotten In Hot Water With Frequent Comments About Israel)

Omar has previously accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world,” and has been accused of using tropes about Jewish money to question U.S. support for the lone Democratic state in the Middle East.

Pompeo’s trip to Israel comes weeks away from the Israeli elections, where Netanyahu is facing a tough re-election bid after being indicted on fraud and bribery charges. The elections will take place April 9.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Michel Temer arrives for a breakfast with foreign media at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: Former Brazil’s President Michel Temer arrives for a breakfast with foreign media at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

March 21, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s former president Michel Temer was arrested on Thursday as part of the sweeping anti-corruption investigation known as “Car Wash”, a source involved in the case told Reuters.

Temer was president from 2016 to 2018, taking office following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Additional reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Marcelo Rochabrun)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Michel Temer arrives for a breakfast with foreign media at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: Former Brazil’s President Michel Temer arrives for a breakfast with foreign media at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

March 21, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s former president Michel Temer was arrested on Thursday as part of the sweeping anti-corruption investigation known as “Car Wash”, a source involved in the case told Reuters.

Temer was president from 2016 to 2018, taking office following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

(Reporting by Brad Brooks; Additional reporting by Pedro Fonseca and Marcelo Rochabrun)

Source: OANN

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

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

March 21, 2019

By Lamine Chikhi and Aidan Lewis

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

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

WHAT CAUSED THE PROTESTS?

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

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

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

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

HOW DID BOUTEFLIKA SURVIVE SO LONG?

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

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

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

WHO HAS BEEN RUNNING THE COUNTRY?

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

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

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SCENARIOS NOW?

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

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

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

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

WHAT CHALLENGES DO PROTESTERS FACE?

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

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

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

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

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

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

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

(Writing by Aidan Lewis, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the financial district in Oslo,
FILE PHOTO: Buildings are seen in the financial district in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Tarmo Virki

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Norway’s capital Oslo will become the first city in the world to install wireless charging systems for electric taxis, hoping to make recharging quick and efficient enough to speed the takeup of non-polluting cabs.

The project will use induction technology, with charging plates installed in the road at taxi ranks linking to receivers installed in the vehicle, Finnish utility Fortum said on Thursday.

From 2023 onward all taxis in Oslo will have to be zero emission and Norway wants all new cars to be zero emission by 2025. Among other nations, Britain and France have similar goals for 2040.

Fortum, which is working with U.S. firm Momentum Dynamics and the City of Oslo on the scheme, said the greatest hurdle for electrification of taxis had so far been the infrastructure, as it is too time consuming for cabbies to find a charger, plug in, then wait for the car to charge.

Induction is more energy efficient and enables charging the taxis while they are in the slowly moving queues at taxi ranks.

“Time equals money when taxi drivers are working,” said Ole Gudbrann Hempel, head of Fortum’s public charging network in Norway.

Norway has the world’s highest rate of electric car ownership, partly thanks to long-term perks such as free or discounted road tolls, parking and charging points. Last year, almost one in three new cars sold was electric.

The government also exempts electric vehicles from taxes on traditional vehicles that are very high in a country which does not have its own fossil fuel car industry to lobby against them.

With just five million people, Norway bought 46,143 new battery electric cars in 2018, making it the biggest market in Europe, ahead of Germany with 36,216 and France on 31,095, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

(Editing by Terje Solsvik and David Holmes)

Source: OANN

European Union leaders summit in Brussels
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker talks to the media as she arrives for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – There will be an extraordinary EU leaders meeting next week if the British parliament votes down for the third time the Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May, the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said.

“In the event the Withdrawal Agreement would not be approved by the House of Commons, we will have a second meeting of the European Council next week,” Juncker told reporters on entering an EU summit in Brussels.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Gabriela Baczynska)

Source: OANN

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is determined to boost its defence capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile programme, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday.

“We need to take Iran to a point that enemy understand that they cannot threaten Iran … America’s sanctions will make Iran self-sufficient,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States last May from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers, saying it gave too much away to Iran, and reimposed far-reaching U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions aim to force Iran to accept tougher restrictions on its nuclear work, drop its ballistic missile program and scale back support for militant proxies in Middle East conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

Khamenei said the European signatories of the deal had failed to maintain Iran’s interests.

“They have stabbed Iran in the back … The Western countries have proved they cannot be trusted,” he said in the speech in the holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad.

The other signatories to the nuclear deal – Germany, France, Britain, the European Union, Russia and China – have remained committed to the agreement and have been trying to salvage the pact by a mechanism to circumvent Trump’s sanctions.

Iran says its missile programme is purely defensive and has rejected the curbs on it demanded by the United States. Tehran says it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles), which puts Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is determined to boost its defence capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile programme, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday.

“We need to take Iran to a point that enemy understand that they cannot threaten Iran … America’s sanctions will make Iran self-sufficient,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States last May from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers, saying it gave too much away to Iran, and reimposed far-reaching U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. sanctions aim to force Iran to accept tougher restrictions on its nuclear work, drop its ballistic missile program and scale back support for militant proxies in Middle East conflicts from Yemen to Syria.

Khamenei said the European signatories of the deal had failed to maintain Iran’s interests.

“They have stabbed Iran in the back … The Western countries have proved they cannot be trusted,” he said in the speech in the holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad.

The other signatories to the nuclear deal – Germany, France, Britain, the European Union, Russia and China – have remained committed to the agreement and have been trying to salvage the pact by a mechanism to circumvent Trump’s sanctions.

Iran says its missile programme is purely defensive and has rejected the curbs on it demanded by the United States. Tehran says it has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 km (1,250 miles), which puts Israel and U.S. military bases in the region within reach.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Acting President of Kazakhstan Tokayev shakes hands with his predecessor Nazarbayev during a joint session of the houses of parliament in Astana
FILE PHOTO: Acting President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (R) shakes hands with his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev during a joint session of the houses of parliament in Astana, Kazakhstan March 20, 2019. Kazakh Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

ALMATY (Reuters) – Nursultan Nazarbayev remains omnipresent in Kazakh politics days after his surprise resignation, hinting he will effectively retain a share of power with the loyalist parliament speaker who automatically stepped into his shoes.

In stepping down on Tuesday, Nazarbayev, the only ruler Kazakhstan has known since the Soviet era almost three decades ago, formally elevated Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to the presidency -though Nazarbayev kept other senior decision-making posts.

The arrangement might be reassuring to investors in the major energy-producing country who hope the 78-year-old Nazarbayev would oversee a smooth transition of power to a permanent successor – who has yet to be identified.

On Thursday, Nazarbayev and Tokayev together spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin’s office said in a statement – an unusual move for the Kremlin leader who usually talks one-on-one with counterparts.

Putin expressed confidence that Nazarbayev “will continue to actively take part in work aimed at strengthening the cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union”, a Moscow-led trade bloc of former Soviet republics.

Putin and Tokayev also agreed the latter would visit Russia in the near future.

In another display of closeness, Nazarbayev and Tokayev took part on Thursday in festivities in the capital Astana related to the Nowruz holiday celebrated on the spring equinox across Central Asia and parts of the Middle East.

Astana itself is now being renamed Nur-Sultan on Tokayev’s suggestion, despite some opposition from residents.

Photographs published by the president’s office showed Nazarbayev wearing a traditional Kazakh coat and fur hat and waving to onlookers, shaking hands with people and blessing newlyweds, with a smiling Tokayev by his side.

Official media now routinely refer to Nazarbayev as Yelbasy, the national leader.

Tokayev’s first personnel decision was nominating Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter Dariga for the Senate speaker position he had vacated, raising the likelihood that she would eventually take over as full-time president.

Tokayev is set to serve for the rest of Nazarbayev’s term, which ends in April 2020. No candidates have yet announced plans to run in elections then, but there is little doubt that the one who secures Nazarbayev’s backing would win.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

Acting President of Kazakhstan Tokayev shakes hands with his predecessor Nazarbayev during a joint session of the houses of parliament in Astana
FILE PHOTO: Acting President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (R) shakes hands with his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev during a joint session of the houses of parliament in Astana, Kazakhstan March 20, 2019. Kazakh Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

ALMATY (Reuters) – Nursultan Nazarbayev remains omnipresent in Kazakh politics days after his surprise resignation, hinting he will effectively retain a share of power with the loyalist parliament speaker who automatically stepped into his shoes.

In stepping down on Tuesday, Nazarbayev, the only ruler Kazakhstan has known since the Soviet era almost three decades ago, formally elevated Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to the presidency -though Nazarbayev kept other senior decision-making posts.

The arrangement might be reassuring to investors in the major energy-producing country who hope the 78-year-old Nazarbayev would oversee a smooth transition of power to a permanent successor – who has yet to be identified.

On Thursday, Nazarbayev and Tokayev together spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Putin’s office said in a statement – an unusual move for the Kremlin leader who usually talks one-on-one with counterparts.

Putin expressed confidence that Nazarbayev “will continue to actively take part in work aimed at strengthening the cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union”, a Moscow-led trade bloc of former Soviet republics.

Putin and Tokayev also agreed the latter would visit Russia in the near future.

In another display of closeness, Nazarbayev and Tokayev took part on Thursday in festivities in the capital Astana related to the Nowruz holiday celebrated on the spring equinox across Central Asia and parts of the Middle East.

Astana itself is now being renamed Nur-Sultan on Tokayev’s suggestion, despite some opposition from residents.

Photographs published by the president’s office showed Nazarbayev wearing a traditional Kazakh coat and fur hat and waving to onlookers, shaking hands with people and blessing newlyweds, with a smiling Tokayev by his side.

Official media now routinely refer to Nazarbayev as Yelbasy, the national leader.

Tokayev’s first personnel decision was nominating Nazarbayev’s eldest daughter Dariga for the Senate speaker position he had vacated, raising the likelihood that she would eventually take over as full-time president.

Tokayev is set to serve for the rest of Nazarbayev’s term, which ends in April 2020. No candidates have yet announced plans to run in elections then, but there is little doubt that the one who secures Nazarbayev’s backing would win.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic poses during an interview with Reuters in Belgrade, Serbia
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic poses during an interview with Reuters in Belgrade, Serbia, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic

March 21, 2019

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Ivana Sekularac

BELGRADE (Reuters) – The failure to revive talks between Serbia and Kosovo on normalizing relations could destabilize the Western Balkan region still recovering from the wars of the 1990s, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday.

Twenty years after NATO bombed the now-defunct Yugoslavia to halt Serbia’s brutal crackdown on Albanians in Kosovo, its former southern province, talks are stalled.

Albanian-majority Kosovo declared independence in 2008 and won recognition from the United States and most EU countries, but not Serbia or its big power patron Russia, and some 4,000 NATO troops remain to safeguard peace in the tiny country.

Both countries must fully normalize ties, before either could progress further on their way to join the European Union.

“Every day of delays could create conditions in which one spark could set the region on fire. The Western countries should know that,” Vucic told Reuters in an interview.

“That is the danger … when national sentiments are stoked.”

In response to Serbia’s bid to prevent Kosovo’s membership in international organizations, Pristina imposed 100 percent tariffs on goods imported from Serbia, something that could cost the Serbian economy 600 million euros in one year, around 0.4 percent of GDP.

To restore the dialogue, Serbia wants those taxes abolished, a move supported by the EU and the United States.

What any settlement could look like is unclear. Both Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci have floated ideas about a “correction of borders” or “delimitation” – terms interpreted by analysts as land swaps.

The West sees the integration of the entire region into the EU and NATO as a way to maintain regional stability.

“Our accession to the European Union depends on the dialogue with Pristina and whether one day we will manage to reach a deal,” Vucic said, adding that he expected Germany, France or the EU to become more active in the negotiating process.

“I think we will see some of their initiatives in the near future,” he said, without elaborating.

Vucic, in power since 2012, said he had no plan to resign or call early elections, something demanded by thousands in opposition protests that started last December accusing his government of cronyism, corruption and stifling media freedoms, something he denies.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Source: OANN

Rescue workers are seen near smoke following an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui
Rescue workers are seen near smoke following an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui county, Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 21, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – An explosion at an industrial park in eastern China killed six people on Thursday and seriously injured 30, authorities and state media said.

Rescue efforts were going on, authorities in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, said in a statement. State media said authorities were investigating the cause of the blast.

Video footage and images on state media showed a fire and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

Among the injured were children at a kindergarten near the industrial park, state media said.

Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Min Zhang; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

Rescue workers are seen near smoke following an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui
Rescue workers are seen near smoke following an explosion at a chemical industrial park in Xiangshui county, Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 21, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – An explosion at an industrial park in eastern China killed six people on Thursday and seriously injured 30, authorities and state media said.

Rescue efforts were going on, authorities in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, said in a statement. State media said authorities were investigating the cause of the blast.

Video footage and images on state media showed a fire and shattered windows in nearby buildings.

Among the injured were children at a kindergarten near the industrial park, state media said.

Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Min Zhang; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

European Union leaders summit in Brussels
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday a short delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union would give parliament time to make a final choice on Brexit, hours before she will make her case with EU leaders for an extension.

On arriving at an EU summit, May again said she wanted to leave the bloc with a deal and a short extension to the so-called Article 50 two-year negotiating period would enable what is a deeply divide parliament to approve her deal.

“A short extension would give parliament the time to make a final choice that delivers on the result of the referendum,” she told reporters.

(Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper)

Source: OANN

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Corbyn and EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Barnier meet in Brussels
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media after a meeting with European Union’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – British Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said after meeting the EU’s Brexit negotiator that he will push ahead with Brexit and seek to renegotiate the terms of the divorce deal.

Corbyn’s meeting with Michel Barnier on Thursday came as Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to get her divorce deal through parliament and has asked the EU for an extension to negotiations.

“Our determination is to find an agreement, which means we prevent a no-deal Brexit, and that we have a future constructive relationship with the European Union that could be negotiated during an extension period,” Corbyn told reporters.

He added: “This morning’s meetings have been positive and we have done what I believe the government ought to be doing, which is instead of bringing back a twice-rejected deal to the British parliament, looking for a constructive alternative.”

(Reporting By Elizabeth Piper. Writing by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A traditionally-dressed Ethiopian woman walks past a mural depicting Ethiopia's Emperor Tewodros II in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
FILE PHOTO: A traditionally-dressed Ethiopian woman walks past a mural depicting Ethiopia’s Emperor Tewodros II in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 1, 2007. REUTERS/Andrew Heavens/File Photo

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – A London museum has handed back locks of hair cut from the corpse of an Ethiopian emperor during a British invasion 150 years ago, after a campaign by activists seeking the return of hundreds of pieces of colonial plunder.

Ethiopians, many dressed in the national colors of red, gold and green, cheered as staff at the National Army Museum handed over the remains in a black leather box to Ethiopia’s minister of culture, tourism and sport on Wednesday.

Hirut Kassaw will take the hair back to Ethiopia at the weekend where it will eventually be buried at the grave of Emperor Tewodros II at monastery in northern Ethiopia, an embassy official said.

She thanked the museum for its “brave and principled” decision to hand over the hair, but called on it and other British institutions to return other items taken during the Victorian-era expedition.

“For Ethiopians, these are not simply artifacts or treasures but constitute a fundamental part of the existential fabric of Ethiopia and its people,” she said.

There was no immediate response to her request or statement on the return from the museum.

Successive emperors, governments and then activists have called for Britain to hand back crowns, religious regalia and illuminated manuscripts taken after the fight – in campaigns paralleled by Greece’s demands for its Parthenon sculptures, and Nigeria’s for the Benin Bronzes.

The emperor claimed a bloodline dating back to the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

Britain invaded his territory of then Abyssinia in 1867 to rescue a group of European missionaries, adventurers and officials – including the British consul – imprisoned by Tewodros after a series of diplomatic gaffes.

They reached his mountain fortress of Magdala in April 1868, defeated his troops and freed the prisoners. The emperor shot himself as the invaders stormed his last stronghold.

Journalists on the campaign described how soldiers descended on the emperor’s body and tore off strips of his clothing as souvenirs. The museum’s records suggest the hair was taken from Magdala by an artist on the British force.

Institutions including the British Museum have resisted repatriation campaigns citing legislation preventing them from breaking up collections and arguing that they can preserve items and present them to an international audience.

Campaigners have argued that a special case should be made for human remains.

(Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

A police officer demonstrates a subminiature spycam installed inside a hairdryer which is used to film guests illicitly at a motel, in Seoul
A police officer demonstrates a subminiature spycam installed inside a hairdryer which is used to film guests illicitly at a motel, in Seoul, South Korea, March 20, 2019. Yonhap via REUTERS

March 21, 2019

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean police have arrested two men for using illegal spy cameras at motels to film and livestream videos of about 1,600 guests, raking in about 7 million won ($6,200) over the past three months, police said on Wednesday.

Illicit filming has surged in South Korea with growing use of mobile devices. Its pop music industry is reeling from a scandal over a celebrity’s sharing of videos he took secretly while having sex.

Police said the two men they had arrested, and two other people, had posed as motel guests to secretly install the cameras, obtained online from overseas, in 42 rooms at 30 establishments around the country since August.

The footage from the cameras, hidden in television boxes, sockets and hair dryer holders, was broadcast live on a website, police said.

“It was the first case we caught where videos were broadcast live online,” police said in a statement.

More than 6,600 cases of illicit filming were reported to police last year, or about a fifth of all sexual abuse cases investigated, up from 3.6 percent in 2008, prosecutors have said.

Last year, tens of thousands of women took to the streets of Seoul, the capital, to protest against illicit videos and other forms of sexual abuse and violence, and to demand stricter punishment.

The law was amended last November to toughen penalties not only for illegal filming but also distributing images without consent, which could bring jail terms of up to five years or fines of up to 30 million won.

On Thursday, K-pop singer and television celebrity, Jung Joon-young, was arrested over accusations he shared his secret sex videos..

In a statement, he admitted all of the charges against him.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Additional reporting by Joyce Lee and Joori Roh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People carry national flags and banners during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: People carry national flags and banners during a protest calling on President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit, in Algiers, Algeria March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Lamine Chikhi

ALGIERS (Reuters) – One of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s few remaining allies in the face of mass protests, business leader Ali Haddad, is facing pressure to quit as head of Algeria’s main business association, a move that would further weaken the embattled head of state.

Bouteflika’s long-time strategic partners, from members of the governing FLN party to trade unionists, have abandoned the president, peeling away layers of his ruling elite.

The 82-year-old president also relied on influential figures like Ali Haddad, who has made billions through public works projects awarded by the government and investments in the media.

He also funded Bouteflika’s election campaigns and heads the FCE, a top business association whose leaders have been long-time supporters of the president.

The forum for entrepreneurs has been hit by a series of resignations from members who have turned their backs on Bouteflika since the protests began on Feb 22.

“Voices inside the FCE exist and they have publicly called for an extraordinary General Assembly to replace Ali Haddad,” said Laid Benamor, former vice president of the organization, who resigned from it after the demonstrations began.

“He is today associated with cronyism and favors. The union must return to its original purpose, an apolitical economic space, to regain credibility.”

Haddad was not immediately available for comment.

A second businessman, Ourahmoune Nabil, described Haddad as one of the symbols of Bouteflika’s system of rule and added that he must go, echoing public sentiment.

“There won’t be a real change if Bouteflika leaves and Haddad stays,” he said.

The FCE was not immediately available for comment.

NO CLEAR SUCCESSOR

Bouteflika, 82, who has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke five years ago, bowed to the protesters last week by reversing plans to stand for a fifth term.

But he stopped short of stepping down and said he would stay in office until a new constitution is adopted, effectively extending his present term.

His move failed to placate Algerians, who want veterans of the 1954-1962 independence war against France who dominate the establishment to step aside so a new generation of leaders can create jobs, fight corruption and introduce greater freedoms.

Even if Bouteflika quits, Algerians could face a new crisis. There is no clear successor who has won the backing of the army and is younger than 70.

One option, experts say, is to create a high council of state that will set a date for general elections.

Bouteflika and his inner circle have built a multi-layered network of power over the years that includes the military — which often orchestrates politics from behind the scenes.

On Wednesday, army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah threw his weight behind protesters, saying they have expressed “noble aims”.

The ruling National Liberation Front party, known by its French acronym FLN, has also sided with the demonstrators, leaving Bouteflika more vulnerable than ever.

(Writing by Michael Georgy, Editing by William Maclean)

Source: OANN

The Wider Image: Water is now gold for desperate Venezuelans
Eleazar Azuaje, who is in charge of looking after the water system for the apartment block, checks the water level of the main tank of the building in Caracas, Venezuela, March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

March 21, 2019

By Shaylim Valderrama

CARACAS (Reuters) – Living with a scarcity of water is becoming the norm for many Venezuelans.

Families interviewed by Reuters say they have spent months without receiving any water from the tap after power blackouts cut off supply and pipes failed due to a lack of maintenance. Faced with uncertainty of when it might return, and whether it would be enough, they are conserving as much as water as they can take from rivers or buy at shops. They are bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and cooking with just a few liters a day.

From the poorest slums, to the wealthiest neighborhoods, the shortage of water cuts across Venezuelan society as families endure the country’s deepest ever economic crisis.

A 5 liter (1.32 gallons) bottle costs about $2 at a Caracas supermarket, out of reach for many low-income people in Venezuela, where the monthly minimum wage is only around $6 each month.

“We try to save water scrubbing ourselves standing in bowls,” said Yudith Contreras, a 49-year-old lawyer, in her apartment where little water has arrived over the past two years. She has taken to getting water from streams that run down the Avila mountain above Caracas.

Contreras, who is from one of the families interviewed by Reuters in a ten-story housing complex in downtown Caracas, said her family recycles the water by using it to flush the toilet. In her kitchen and bathroom, she keeps containers of water, which she carries up the nine floors to her apartment as the elevator does not work.

“You have to save water because we don’t know how long this situation will go on for,” she said.

Some residents of the building, a few blocks from the presidential Miraflores Palace, have already exhausted their water supplies. “Today I finished all that I had stored,” said David Riveros, a retired bus driver living on the first floor.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government blames the scarcity of water on a long drought and also accuses opponents of sabotaging its supply. The country’s opposition, led by Juan Guaido, who in January invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s re-election a fraud, says the problem is due to little maintenance done over many years on Venezuela’s power and water networks.

Earlier this month, Venezuela was plunged deeper into chaos after a near week-long power blackout cut off the already scant water supply to most residents. Since then, Maduro has promised to place enormous water tanks on the roofs of houses and apartment blocks to alleviate the problem.

Since the nationwide blackout, the worst in decades, lines of people queuing to fill up water flowing from the Avila have multiplied, despite warnings that the water was not fit for consumption and could contain bacteria and parasites.

Yuneisy Flores, a 31-year-old homemaker whose family live on the fourth floor, washes her dishes in cartons and strains the water to remove the leftovers of food. She then uses the liquid to flush the toilet. She bathes her 3-year-old daughter in a sink to recycle the water.

In her home, three tanks and several other containers collect water when it comes intermittently. Flores, her husband, and their two little children bathe in one of the tanks, which holds some 18 liters.

“It’s hard, too hard, you can die without water,” she said. “We weren’t aware of this before. Water now is gold.”

(See related photo essay here: https://reut.rs/2FpLiOK)

(Additional reporting by Carlos Garcia Rawlins and Carlos Jasso; Writing by Angus Berwick; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN

PM (Taoiseach) of Ireland Varadkar waits for President of European Council Tusk in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland Leo Varadkar waits to meet with President of the European Council Donald Tusk in Dublin, Ireland March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 21, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain must give a reason if it wants to delay its departure from the European Union, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said ahead of a summit of European leaders on Thursday, adding that Britain needed flexibility given the “chaos” in London.

Varadkar said that nobody in the EU wanted Britain to leave the European Union without a deal, and that there was openness to an extension.

“The situation in London is somewhat chaotic at the moment,” he added. “We need to cut the entire British establishment a little bit of slack on this and support their request … for a short extension. No deal will only ever be a British choice.”

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Alastair Macdonald, writing by Thomas Escritt, editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Chad Kelly’s arrest video has been released, and it’s pretty strange.

The former Ole Miss star and Broncos gunslinger was arrested and initially charged with first-degree criminal trespass back in October after he allegedly walked into somebody’s house, and just decided to sit down next to a woman and her baby. He was cut from the Broncos following his arrest.

Now, the arrest video along with security camera footage has been released, and it’s almost comical. Kelly is dressed as Woody from “Toy Story” as he runs out of the residence being chased by a man with a vacuum tube. (RELATED: Arrested And Disgraced NFL Quarterback Might Be Headed To An Entirely Different League)

Then, he appears incredibly distraught and nervous in police custody. Again, it’d almost be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad and disturbing to watch a full grown man throw away his NFL career while dressed as a movie character.

You can watch both videos below:

There is some good news in all of this for the once-upon-a-time promising quarterback prospect. According to TMZ, he agreed to a deal Wednesday to plead guilty to second-degree criminal trespassing in exchange for the felony charge being dropped. He was sentenced to one year of supervised probation, 50 hours of community service, and fines and fees.

Now, we’ll have to see whether or not he can make an NFL comeback. He’s got all the talent in the world, but he just can’t seem to stay on the straight and narrow.

Time will tell, but not having a felony on his record certainly can’t hurt his comeback chances. Swag Kelly got off pretty easy all things considered.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Chad Kelly’s arrest video has been released, and it’s pretty strange.

The former Ole Miss star and Broncos gunslinger was arrested and initially charged with first-degree criminal trespass back in October after he allegedly walked into somebody’s house, and just decided to sit down next to a woman and her baby. He was cut from the Broncos following his arrest.

Now, the arrest video along with security camera footage has been released, and it’s almost comical. Kelly is dressed as Woody from “Toy Story” as he runs out of the residence being chased by a man with a vacuum tube. (RELATED: Arrested And Disgraced NFL Quarterback Might Be Headed To An Entirely Different League)

Then, he appears incredibly distraught and nervous in police custody. Again, it’d almost be funny if it wasn’t so damn sad and disturbing to watch a full grown man throw away his NFL career while dressed as a movie character.

You can watch both videos below:

There is some good news in all of this for the once-upon-a-time promising quarterback prospect. According to TMZ, he agreed to a deal Wednesday to plead guilty to second-degree criminal trespassing in exchange for the felony charge being dropped. He was sentenced to one year of supervised probation, 50 hours of community service, and fines and fees.

Now, we’ll have to see whether or not he can make an NFL comeback. He’s got all the talent in the world, but he just can’t seem to stay on the straight and narrow.

Time will tell, but not having a felony on his record certainly can’t hurt his comeback chances. Swag Kelly got off pretty easy all things considered.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: U.S. ambassador to Yemen on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Matthew Tueller, U.S. ambassador to Yemen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

March 21, 2019

ADEN (Reuters) – The U.S. ambassador to Yemen blamed the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday for the stalling of a U.N.-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah and said the group’s weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah, which is under Houthi control, at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first major breakthrough in efforts to end the four year war.

While the truce has largely held, the troop withdrawal by both parties has yet to materialize with each side blaming the other for lack of progress. The deal aimed to avert a full-scale assault on the port which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis facing starvation.

“We are greatly frustrated by what we see as delays and stalling on the part of the Houthis in implementing what they agreed to in Sweden, but I have great confidence in the UN envoy and what he is doing,” ambassador Matthew Tueller told a televised news conference in the southern port of Aden, where the internationally recognized government is based.

“We are willing to work with others in order to try to implement these (Sweden) agreements and see whether the Houthis can in fact demonstrate a political maturity and start to serve the interests of Yemen rather than acting on behalf of those who seek to weaken and destroy Yemen,” he said.

Tueller said he had “not given up hope” that the deal would be implemented in Hodeidah, where thousands of Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition are massed on the outskirts.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war which pits the Houthis against other Yemeni factions backed by the Saudi-led coalition loyal to the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Houthis ousted Hadi’s government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who control Sanaa and most population centers, deny being puppets of Tehran and say their revolution is against corruption.

The United States has sided with the Yemeni government against the Houthis and provides military support to the Saudi-led coalition, including help with targeting for Saudi air strikes.

“SEVERE DANGER” TO REGION

The Sunni Muslim coalition twice tried to seize the port last year in a bid to weaken the Houthis by cutting off their main supply line. The United Nations and aid groups fear a full-on offensive may disrupt operations at the port that handles the bulk of Yemen’s imports and trigger mass starvation.

The alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accuses Iran of smuggling weapons, including missiles which have targeted Saudi cities, to the Houthis. The group and Tehran deny the accusations.

Tueller said the United States was working with Yemeni authorities to prevent arms smuggling from Iran and to strengthen local security institutions.

“The fact that there are groups that have weapons, including heavy weapons and even weapons that can threaten neighboring countries, and those weapons are not under the control of the institutions of the state – this is a severe danger to the region as well as to Yemen,” he said.

The United States does not support groups that “seek to divide Yemen”, Tueller said, in an apparent reference to southern separatists whose forces have been taking part in coalition operations under the leadership of the UAE.

The complex war has revived old strains between North and South Yemen, formerly separate countries which united into a single state in 1990. A separatist leader warned this month that any peace deal that fails to address the south’s wish for self-determination could trigger a new conflict.

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: File photo of city workers walking past the Bank of England in the City of London
FILE PHOTO: City workers walk past the Bank of England in the City of London, Britain, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

By Andy Bruce and David Milliken

LONDON, March 21 – The Bank of England kept interest rates steady on Thursday and said most businesses felt as ready as they could be for a no-deal Brexit that would likely hammer economic growth and jobs.

The BoE said its nine rate-setters voted unanimously to keep interest rates on hold at 0.75 percent, just days before the world’s fifth-biggest economy could leave the European Union without a deal to smooth its way.

“The economic outlook will continue to depend significantly on the nature and timing of EU withdrawal,” the BoE said.

The central bank again said rates could move in either direction if there is a no-deal Brexit, as a sharp fall in the value of the pound could generate inflation pressure in addition to the broader economic shock.

Separately, the BoE published a survey of just under 300 companies that showed around 80 percent feel they are “ready” for a no-deal, no-transition Brexit — up from 50 percent in January.

A disorderly Brexit on March 29 remains possible as Prime Minister Theresa May waits to hear from Brussels on her request to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union by three months, to allow her to get her deal though parliament.

Many companies reported that there were “limits to the degree of readiness” that were possible in advance of a possible no-deal scenario, the BoE said.

“Indeed, the March survey also showed that respondents – even those that felt ‘ready’ – still expected output, employment and investment over the next 12 months to be significantly weaker under a ‘no deal, no transition’ Brexit,” the BoE said.

The minutes from the March meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) showed little change in tone since the central bank published its latest economic outlook in February.

Brexit uncertainty had created volatility in British asset prices and sterling, and was hurting businesses confidence and investment, the central bank said.

“The news in economic data has been mixed, but the MPC’s February … projections appear on track,” the minutes said.

“The broad-based softening in global GDP and trade growth has continued. Global financial conditions have eased, in part supported by announcements of more accommodative policies in some major economies.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday brought its three-year drive to tighten monetary policy to an abrupt end, abandoning projections for any interest rate hikes this year amid signs of an economic slowdown.

And earlier this month, the European Central Bank announced new stimulus measures to prop up a still-fragile economy, promising to put off raising rates and to give banks access to more multi-year loans.

Last August the BoE raised rates for only the second time since before the global financial crisis.

On Thursday it stuck to plans for a further gradual increases in borrowing costs, but only once it has a clearer idea of what Brexit will mean for the world’s fifth-biggest economy.

Some members of the Monetary Policy Committee, including Governor Mark Carney, have said they would probably vote to cut rates if Britain leaves without a deal.

Most economists polled by Reuters expect rates to rise later this year if Brexit goes smoothly.

Private-sector business surveys suggest the economy has slowed sharply in the run-up to Brexit and as the world economy lost momentum.

Inflation in Britain is running just below the BoE’s 2 percent target but pay growth is running at its highest level in more than 10 years. The BoE said signs of strength in inflation pressure in the labor market were “notable”.

Source: OANN


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