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  • Ocasio-Cortez throws her support to Bernie Sanders

    Golocal247.com news

    At a rally Saturday in Queens, N.Y., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president official.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:57:07 -0400
  • Nestor heads into Georgia after tornados damage Florida

    Golocal247.com news

    Nestor raced across Georgia as a post-tropical cyclone late Saturday, hours after the former tropical storm spawned a tornado that damaged homes and a school in central Florida while sparing areas of the Florida Panhandle devastated one year earlier by Hurricane Michael. The storm made landfall Saturday on St. Vincent Island, a nature preserve off Florida's northern Gulf Coast in a lightly populated area of the state, the National Hurricane Center said. Nestor was expected to bring 1 to 3 inches of rain to drought-stricken inland areas on its march across a swath of the U.S. Southeast.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:21:44 -0400
  • Trump misspells his defence secretary’s name in rambling rant about securing oil in Syria

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    Donald Trump has misspelled his defence secretary’s name while discussing his controversial decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria.The US president tried to quote Mark Esper in a tweet, but instead he referred to him as “Mark Esperanto”.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:22:48 -0400
  • At a School for Suicide Bombers' Children, Dancing, Drawing and Deradicalization

    Golocal247.com news

    MEDAN, Indonesia -- Ais likes to dance. She knows the words to "I'm a Little Teapot." Her dimples are disarming.Her parents didn't want their daughter to dance. They didn't want her to sing. They wanted her to die with them for their cause.Last year, when she was 7, Ais squeezed onto a motorcycle with her mother and brother. They carried a packet that Ais refers to as coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves. Her father and other brother climbed onto a different bike with another parcel. They sped toward a police station in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, a place of mixed faith.The parcels were bombs, and they were set off at the gate to the police station. Catapulted off the motorcycle by the force of the explosion, Ais rose from the pavement like a ghost, her pale head-to-toe garment fluttering in the chaos. Every other member of her family died. No bystanders were killed. The Islamic State militant group, halfway across the world, claimed responsibility for the attack.Ais, who is being identified by her nickname (pronounced ah-iss) to protect her privacy, is now part of a deradicalization program for children run by the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. In a leafy compound in the capital, Jakarta, she bops to Taylor Swift, reads the Quran and plays games of trust.Her schoolmates include children of other suicide bombers, and of people who were intent on joining the Islamic State in Syria.Efforts by Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, to purge its society of religiously inspired extremism are being watched keenly by the international counterterrorism community. While the vast majority of Indonesians embrace a moderate form of Islam, a series of suicide attacks have struck the nation, including, in 2016, the first in the region claimed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.Now, with hundreds of Islamic State families trying to escape detention camps in Syria amid Turkish incursions into Kurdish-held territory, the effort has taken on more urgency. The fear is that the Islamic State's violent ideology will not only renew itself in the Middle East, but may also metastasize thousands of miles away in Indonesia.There are signs that it is already happening.Last week, a man whom the police linked to ISIS wounded the Indonesian security minister, Wiranto, in a stabbing. Since then, at least 36 suspected militants who were plotting bombings and other attacks have been arrested in a counterterrorism crackdown, the police said this week.Hundreds of Indonesians went to Syria to fight for ISIS. In May, the police arrested seven men who had returned from the country and who, the police say, were part of a plot to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices.The risks, however, are not limited to those who have come back. Indonesians who never left the region are being influenced by the Islamic State from afar.In January, an Indonesian couple who had tried but failed to reach Syria blew themselves up at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines. More than 20 were killed in the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State.In Indonesia, there are thousands of vulnerable children who have been indoctrinated by their extremist parents, according to Khairul Ghazali, who served nearly five years in prison for terrorism-related crimes. He said he came to renounce violence in jail and now runs an Islamic school in the city of Medan, on the island of Sumatra, that draws on his own experience as a former extremist to deradicalize militants' children."We teach them that Islam is a peaceful religion and that jihad is about building not destroying," Khairul said. "I am a model for the children because I understand where they come from. I know what it is like to suffer. Because I was deradicalized, I know it can be done."Despite the scale of the country's problem, only about 100 children have attended formal deradicalization programs in Indonesia, Khairul said. His madrassa, the only one in Indonesia to receive significant government support for deradicalization work, can teach just 25 militant-linked children at a time, and only through middle school.Government follow-up is minimal. "The children are not tracked and monitored when they leave," said Alto Labetubun, an Indonesian terrorism analyst.The risks of extremist ideology being passed from one generation to the next are well-documented, and a number of Indonesians linked to the Islamic State are the offspring of militants.The son of Imam Samudra, one of the masterminds of the 2002 bombing on the island of Bali that killed 202 people, was 12 when his father was executed in 2008. He joined the Islamic State and died in Syria at 19.Khairul, whose father and uncles were members of a militant organization, said he understood the pull of family obligation. He was sent to prison in 2011 for armed robbery and for planning an attack on a police station. Before his conviction, Khairul taught four of his 10 children to fire weapons."Deradicalizing my own children was very difficult," he said. "My wife and my children looked at me very strangely when I got out of prison because I had changed."Some of the children under Khairul's care were taught to assemble bombs by family members. The parents of about half the students were killed in armed conflict with the Indonesian counterterrorism police."It's natural for the children to want revenge for their parents' deaths," he said. "They were taught to hate the Indonesian state because it is against the caliphate."When Indonesia achieved independence in 1945, religious diversity was enshrined in the constitution. About 87% of Indonesia's 270 million people are Muslims, 10% are Christian, and there are adherents of many other faiths in the country.A tiny fraction of the Muslim majority has agitated violently for a caliphate that would arc across Muslim-dominated parts of Southeast Asia. The latest incarnation of such militant groups is Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, considered the Indonesian affiliate of the Islamic State.The parents of Ais, who is now 8, were members of a Jamaah Ansharut Daulah cell. Each week, they would pray with other families who had rejected Surabaya's spiritual diversity.The day before Ais and her family rode up to the police station in May 2018, another family -- mother, father, two sons and two daughters -- made their way to three churches in Surabaya and detonated their explosives. Fifteen bystanders were killed. The militant family was extinguished entirely, including the two girls, who went to school with Ais.Hours later, members of two other families in the prayer group also died, either from shootouts with the police or when explosives hidden in their apartment detonated. The six children who survived the carnage are now in the Jakarta program with Ais.When they first arrived from Surabaya, the children shrank from music and refrained from drawing images of living things because they believed it conflicted with Islam, social workers said. They were horrified by dancing and by a Christian social worker who didn't wear a head scarf.In Surabaya, the children had been forced to watch hours of militant videos every day. One of the boys, now 11, knew how to make a bomb."Jihad, martyrdom, war, suicide, those were their goals," said Sri Wahyuni, one of the social workers taking care of the Surabaya children.On a recent weekday, however, the children shimmied their way through team-building exercises. During Arabic class, they squirmed. They drew the human figure they had once considered taboo.But their religious practice remains important. Although it is not required, all seven still fast two days a week to demonstrate commitment to their faith."We don't want to challenge their religion by stopping them," said Ahmad Zainal Mutaqin, a social worker who also teaches religion classes. "Indonesians respect their elders, and we don't want them to think their parents were evil."Some day soon, these children of suicide bombers will have to leave the government program in which they have been enrolled for 15 months. It's not clear where they will go, although the ministry is searching for a suitable Islamic boarding school for them.The children of those who tried to reach Syria to fight get even less time at the deradicalization center -- only a month or two. Some then end up in the juvenile detention system, where they re-encounter extremist ideology, counterterrorism experts said."We spend all this time working with them, but if they go back to where they came from, radicalism can enter their hearts very quickly," said Sri Musfiah, a senior social worker. "It makes me worried."Irfan Idris, the director of deradicalization for Indonesia's National Agency for Combating Terrorism, acknowledged that threat, saying there "is not a guarantee" that the minors who have been funneled through government care pose no threat.Most children of the 1,000 or so people who have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in Indonesia don't even have the chance to go through this effort at education and moderation. The government runs the one program in Jakarta and provides support for Khairul's madrassa."The solution is a very expensive, long-term mentoring program such as takes place with some of the white power youths in Europe, involving schools, social psychologists and attention to families," said Sidney Jones, the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta and an authority on Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia.But the political commitment to such an extensive effort is lacking in Indonesia.Alto, the terrorism analyst, said that even the nascent efforts underway in Indonesia might only be camouflaging the problem."Although it seems that they are obedient, it's a survival mechanism," he said of the students undergoing deradicalization. "If you were taken prisoner, you will do and follow what the captor told you to do so that you will get food, water, cigarettes, phone calls."But, he added, "you know that one day you will come out."At the madrassa in Medan, which preaches the dangers of radicalism within a conservative approach to Islam, a row of boys sat on the veranda of a mosque and expounded on their worldview. Dan, 12, agreed with classmates that Indonesia should be an Islamic state.What of the churches interspersed with the mosques in Medan? Dan, who is also being identified by a nickname to protect his privacy, giggled.His hands mimicked the shock of an explosion, and he formed a word."Bomb," he said. His laughter stopped.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:41:06 -0400
  • 7 Things To Do With Your Old Smartphone

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    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Let jihadists return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

    Golocal247.com news

    The refusal of the French government to take back Islamic State fighters from Syria could fuel a new jihadist recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP. David De Pas, coordinator of France's 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said that it would be "better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary" in France "than let them roam free". Turkey's offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 jihadists, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 07:39:02 -0400
  • Malaysia Fears Becoming Sanctions Target in Trade War Crossfire

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Malaysia may become a target of sanctions as the export-reliant economy is caught in the crossfire of the U.S.-China trade war, according to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.Mahathir said trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies could evolve into another Cold war, although he didn’t specify who could impose the curbs.“Economically we are linked to both markets, and physically we are also caught in between for geographical reasons,” Mahathir said in Kuala Lumpur. “There are even suggestions that we ourselves would be a target for sanctions.”He said Malaysia will prepare for the worst by cooperating with regional neighbors, but didn’t elaborate.Neighboring Vietnam has already drawn the U.S. government’s ire, with President Donald Trump describing the Southeast Asian nation as “almost the single worst abuser of everybody” when asked if he wanted to impose tariffs on the nation.Malaysia was placed on the U.S. Treasury watch list for currency manipulation in May for its bilateral trade and current-account surplus. The central bank has denied the nation manipulates its currency and said it supports free and fair trade.To contact the reporter on this story: Anisah Shukry in Kuala Lumpur at ashukry2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Yudith Ho at yho35@bloomberg.net, Liau Y-SingFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 22:39:29 -0400
  • The U.S. Army And Marines Have a Plan To Take On China and Russia's Navies

    Golocal247.com news

    Dispersed attacks from land and sea.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -0400
  • Gun control advocate: Pushing mandatory buybacks will hand victory to the NRA, again

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    We can pass significant gun safety laws but not if the 2020 campaign is about confiscating assault weapons. This is not timidity, it's reality.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:00:16 -0400
  • How Buttigieg's 'beta city' approach as mayor highlights his differences with Biden, Warren and Sanders

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    Pete Buttigieg says the "beta city" approach he took in South Bend shows why he'd take a different approach to the White House compared with the top contenders.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 08:54:04 -0400
  • Hong Kong activist stabbed as protesters gird for march

    Golocal247.com news

    A man distributing leaflets near a wall with pro-democracy messages was stabbed and wounded, as Hong Kong anti-government protesters prepared to hold an unauthorized march Sunday to press their demands. On Wednesday, a leader of the nearly 5-month-old pro-democracy movement, Jimmy Sham, was attacked by assailants wielding hammers and knives as the unrest rocking semi-autonomous Hong Kong turns increasingly violent. Protesters are trying to keep the pressure on the government to respond to their demands, including full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:15:27 -0400
  • U.S. troops cross into Iraq from Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    United States troops have crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk, Reuters witnesses said on Monday. Reuters video images showed armored vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, part of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. An Iraqi Kurdish security source also told Reuters that U.S. troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:51:14 -0400
  • Deadly protests in Guinea as Russia calls for change of rules to keep despot in power

    Golocal247.com news

    When police shot dead nine pro-democracy protesters in Guinea this week, Western embassies quietly shared their misgivings with the country’s president, Alpha Conde. International human rights groups were more unequivocal. François Patuel of Amnesty International denounced “a shameful attempt by Guinean authorities to stifle dissent by any means necessary”. But one major power seemed unperturbed. Mr Conde’s ruthless response to protests against his apparent efforts to cling to power not only suited Russia, it seems probable that they were tacitly endorsed by the Kremlin. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, will host leaders from 35 African states at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as he seeks to consolidate Moscow’s growing influence in the world’s poorest continent. Russia may lack the heft of its rivals, able neither to match the West in aid nor China in terms of infrastructure financing, but it does have other resources with which to woo African leaders, particularly those of a more authoritarian bent. Vladimir Putin is looking to expand Russian influence Not only has Russia sold arms to 18 African states over the past decade, its mercenaries have fanned out across the continent to offer protection and other services to receptive governments.  “Political technologists” have also allegedly mounted disinformation campaigns in several recent African elections. In return, Russia has won concessions to mine minerals and secured backing from African delegates at the United Nations. Russia’s blossoming relationship with Mr Conde is an example of just how successful its muscular Africa policy can be. Guineans are meant to elect a new president next year. Having served two five-year terms, Mr Conde is constitutionally barred from standing again, but has made it increasingly clear that he is not yet ready to surrender the presidency. At least four people have been killed in Guinea's capital after police fired tear gas and bullets Monday to disperse thousands of opposition supporters Credit: AP To do so, Guinea will need an entirely new constitution, plans for which have already been advanced by Mr Conde’s ruling party.  The opposition has accused the president of seeking to ease its path by stacking the constitutional court, taming the electoral commission and delaying parliamentary elections by more than a year to protect his narrow legislative majority. Russia has openly given its cover to Mr Conde’s efforts. In an extraordinary intervention, brazen even by the Kremlin’s standards, Russia’s ambassador, made a televised address on New Year’s Eve backing a constitutional change. Alexander Bregadze told Guineans they would be mad to allow the "legendary" Mr Conde to step down, saying: “Do you know many countries in Africa that do better? Do you know many presidents in Africa who do better?” “It’s constitutions that adapt to reality, not reality that adapts to constitutions.” Such naked campaigning from a diplomat is unusual. But Russia has a vital relationship to nurture.  Guinea holds the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the ore that is refined and smelted to produce aluminium. The Russian firm Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside Russia, sources more than a quarter of its bauxite from Guinea. Guinea’s importance to Russia grew immeasurably last year after the United States imposed sanctions on Rusal and its co-owner, the oligarch and close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. Sanctions have since been lifted on Rusal but not on Mr Deripaska. Young people block the road as they protest against a possible third term of President Alpha Conde on October 16, 2019, in Conakry Credit: AFP The significance of the relationship was underscored when Mr Bregadze stepped down as ambassador in May to head Rusal’s operations in Guinea. Other Russian firms also have mineral interests in Guinea. Tellingly, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a shadowy Kremlin associate linked to mercenary and mining outfits in Africa, is understood to have set up operations in Guinea. Mr Putin has wooed President Conde, too, twice inviting him to Moscow for talks. Guinea’s opposition has denounced what it says is Russian interference. Protesters last week made their feelings clear by blockading a Rusal-owned railway line used to transport bauxite. Their anger is likely to achieve little. Emboldened by Russian backing, Mr Conde has only cracked down harder. Last week, nine senior opposition figures were charged with insurrection. They face five years in prison. Given everything it has invested in Mr Conde, Russia cannot risk the opposition coming to power. When Mr Putin meets his guest in Sochi, he is likely to encourage him to persist with repression.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:54:27 -0400
  • William Barr's speech on religious freedom alarms liberal Catholics

    Golocal247.com news

    Prominent liberal Catholics have warned that the U.S. attorney general’s devout Catholic faith threatens the separation of church and state, after William Barr delivered a speech on religious freedom in which he warned that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:05:32 -0400
  • Thousands protest against Haiti's president

    Golocal247.com news

    "Jovenel is incapable and incompetent, he must pack his bags because Haiti must live," said one of the protesters, Jean Ronald. Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:44:32 -0400
  • Johnson’s Battle to Deliver Brexit: Here’s What Happens Next

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    (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed in his first attempt to get his Brexit deal approved in a vote in the British Parliament. He’s been forced to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline, but says he’s going to fight all the way to complete the U.K.’s divorce from the European Union on time.Here’s what could happen next, according to government plans.Monday, Oct. 21Hundreds of civil servants get to work on the government’s no-deal Brexit contingency plan, Operation Yellowhammer, in preparation for a split on Oct. 31.Johnson will propose another “meaningful vote” on his Brexit dealThe government thinks there is a good chance Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow will not allow this to happen on the grounds MPs have already considered the exact same question, and convention bars a repeatThe House of Commons opens for business at 2:30 p.m. and Bercow will make his decision at some point after that; if it does happen, the vote is likely to be before 10 p.m.The government is also expecting to publish the draft law implementing the Brexit deal -- this is called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. It won’t be debated until later in the weekA Scottish court will decide whether Johnson has complied with the Benn Act that requires him to seek a delay to Brexit if he hasn’t reached a deal. Johnson’s lawyers previously promised the judge hearing the case that the premier would act according to the lawTuesday, Oct. 22Government will propose a motion designed to speed up progress of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill -- the crucial piece of law that will incorporate Johnson’s Brexit deal into British statute, preventing a no-deal divorceThis “programme motion” will lay out a timetable for rushing the law through Parliament before the Oct. 31 deadline, potentially by completing all its House of Commons stages before the end of Friday, with an emergency House of Lords sitting over the weekendBut the government fears it could lose a vote on this timetable, and that could mean the Bill does not get put forward at all. Or that there will be no way to get the legislation through before the Oct. 31 deadline. That could mean a no-deal Brexit -- or more likely a delay If the government wins the motion on the timetable for the bill, members of Parliament will begin debating it immediatelyTo Be Decided:The EU is considering Johnson’s formal request for a Brexit extension. It is possible an emergency EU summit will be convenedTo contact the reporter on this story: Tim Ross in London at tross54@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Steve Geimann, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 03:57:33 -0400
  • WKD: Ukraine Is Facing a Tough Path Towards Peace with Russia

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    Can Kyiv pull it off?

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:37:00 -0400
  • China trade: Deal or no deal?

    The smartest insight and analysis, from all perspectives, rounded up from around the web:As the Trump administration and Beijing appear to edge closer to a trade agreement, "China is emerging with wins," said Chao Deng and Lingling Wei at The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. agreed last week to suspend an imminent tariff hike on $250 bil­lion worth of Chinese imports; in return, President Trump said, China will buy up to $50 bil­lion in U.S. agricultural products. Beijing has pursued a "tit-for-tat strategy" on tariffs in the year-old trade war but has grown more open to a deal as it "runs out of ammunition on more U.S. imports to hit." Yet it's not clear what China is really willing to concede to secure a trade pact; even the billions supposed to go to U.S. agriculture may be more of an "aspiration" than a firm target. Despite that lack of firm commitments, Trump has played down the protests in Hong Kong to keep the trade talks on track -- a success for Beijing. The two sides emerged from talks last week with different takes on what will be included in any eventual accord "and how close they are to signing a document," said Bloomberg. President Trump claimed to be very close to a "phase one" agreement, calling the latest talks a "lovefest" and saying that "we've come to a deal, pretty much, subject to getting it written." But China has been much more measured, saying only that progress has been made.For the U.S. and China, this is already the 13th round of trade talks, said Weizhen Tan at CNBC. Trump's phase-one deal is really more of a truce, with China still "hunkering down." The very limited agreement leaves the hard issues such as cyber­security and the fate of blacklisted Chinese tech companies, including the giant Huawei, still on the table. "The agreement, such as it is, seems more like a demonstration of goodwill than a resolution of the trade dispute," said The Economist. We've been here before, and prior cease-fires have collapsed "under a barrage of tweets." And what advances have been made aren't all in the right direction. Yes, having China buy some $50 billion worth of agricultural produce would help American farmers. "But trade is supposed to be about markets, not state intervention," and in the long run this movement toward managed trade could "further undermine the global trading system.""Don't get too excited" about hopes of relief from the trade war, said David Fickling at Bloomberg. More than $460 billion worth of tariffs remain in place between the world's two biggest economies, and there are few reasons to think the bilateral relationship will improve anytime soon. Trump's impulsive, unpredictable behavior discourages China from striking a more comprehensive deal. "There's little point in offering concessions on intellectual property protection or opening more sectors of the economy to foreign investment if the other side is prepared to throw over the chessboard because of a separate issue." Meanwhile, an increasingly authoritarian China is "busy making itself a markedly less attractive place for U.S. businesses to invest." There could well be no resolution at all to the trade battle, and the current "grim equilibrium" may be all we can get.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:55:02 -0400
  • Bob Menendez says Pompeo ‘in a parallel alternate universe’

    Sen. Bob Menendez said Sunday there are “no guarantees” that U.S. interests in the Middle East are still being served following the White House decision to pull troops out of northern Syria. The New Jersey Democrat also scoffed at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertions that the region has become more stable since the U.S. announced its withdrawal and that the Islamic State is being effectively countered. President Donald Trump’s abruptly announced pullout allowed Turkey to invade the region and attack Kurdish forces that were allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:28:12 -0400
  • The Latest: Kurdish fighters pull out of Syrian border town

    Golocal247.com news

    A spokesman for the main Kurdish-led group in Syria says their fighters have evacuated the northern town of Ras al-Ayn, saying they have no armed presence there anymore. Kino Gabriel of the Syrian Democratic Forces said Sunday's evacuation was part of the agreement to pause military operations with Turkey with American mediation. The withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from Ras al-Ayn would open the way for them to leave a broader swath of territory along the Syria-Turkey border, as part of an agreement reached between the U.S. and Turkey.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:12:40 -0400
  • Thousands take to Lebanon's streets in third day of anti-government protests

    Golocal247.com news

    Tens of thousands took to the streets of Lebanon on Saturday for a third day of anti-government protests, directing growing rage at a political elite they blame for entrenched cronyism and driving the country to the economic brink. In central Beirut, the mood was fiery and festive, with protesters of all ages waving flags and chanting for revolution outside upmarket retailers and banks that had their store fronts smashed in by rioters the night before. From the south to the east and north of Lebanon, protesters marched and blocked roads to keep the momentum going despite gunmen loyal to the Shi'ite Muslim Amal movement appearing with firearms to scare them away.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 07:28:47 -0400
  • ‘I’m not your n-word’: school guard fired for repeating racial slur

    Golocal247.com news

    Students rally round Marlon Anderson as Madison Metropolitan School District indicates it will review zero-tolerance policyMarlon Anderson, a security guard at a Wisconsin high school who was fired after he says he repeated a racial slur while telling a student who had called him that word not to use it, has filed a grievance seeking his job back. Photograph: Steve Apps/APA high school security guard in Madison, Wisconsin, said he was fired after repeating a racial slur that was used against him. The news spurred protests and demands for reinstatement.“Short story....I get called a bit@ @ss Ni€€A by a student, I responded do ‘not call me ni€€a !’ And I got fired,” Marlon Anderson wrote in a Facebook post on 16 October. Anderson also criticized the Madison Metropolitan School District, writing “MMSD I unfortunately expected better.”The district said Anderson was fired due to its “zero-tolerance” policy against the use of racial slurs, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.The local teacher’s union said it would file a grievance on behalf of Anderson, NBC 15 reported. Anderson reportedly said he would file suit if MMSD did not give him his job back.On Friday, hundreds of students left school to protest, walking two miles to the MMSD offices. The school’s black student union, of which Anderson’s son is a member, met the MMSD superintendent and the school board president, the Journal Sentinel reported.“Anything that involves us, our voices will be heard,” Noah Anderson reportedly told a crowd of around 1,000 following the meeting.National figures came to Anderson’s defense. Arne Duncan, Barack Obama’s education secretary, tweeted Friday": “The Madison, WI school district needs to grow a brain, and a heart, really quickly! I’ve seen some crazy things over the years, but this is one of the worst. Just more evidence our country still can’t handle issues of race, and racism.”The singer Cher also offered to help, telling Anderson “if you want to sue … I will incur your expenses”.Anderson, 48, claims he was escorting an unruly male student out of Madison West High School on 9 October when the student started calling him the n-word. The student also allegedly shoved and threatened the school’s assistant principal, the Journal Sentinel said.Madison West High School senior Noah Anderson, 17, president of the school’s Black Student Union and son of the school’s recently-fired security guard Marlin Anderson, leads a rally in support of his father outside the school in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday. Photograph: John Hart/AP“Every type of n-word you can think of, that’s what he was calling me,” Anderson said. “I said, do not call me that name. I’m not your n-word. Do not call me that.”The school’s principal, Karen Boran, told Anderson later that week keeping his job would be “an uphill battle”. Boran then told parents in a letter on Wednesday a school staffer wasn’t coming back to work, following an investigation.“As you know, our expectation when it comes to racial slurs has been very clear,” Boran wrote. “Regardless of context or circumstance, racial slurs are not acceptable in our schools.”The school district superintendent said on Friday it wants to have a strict policy against racial slurs, but suggested it might be reviewed.“All of us here know that education is a dynamic social process,” the Journal Sentinel reported the statement as saying. “Sometimes it gets messy when we have to grapple together around deeply held values like what it means to be anti-racist.“…There is no doubt that language matters and racial slurs are harmful. However, at this point, we have an opportunity to look more deeply into the response to the use of racial slurs in our schools.”The school board president also said it would review district rules on disciplining staff for using such language.An area youth organization, the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, said on Friday that it had hired Anderson while district officials weigh his appeal.On Facebook, Anderson wrote: “This is a great help to be able to earn wages while we go through this appeals process. The reality is I did not just lose wages but also benefits. Most importantly we will soon be without health insurance … which makes the loss that much more impactful to myself and my family.“This among other reasons is why I am still fighting for my position @ West with fervor.”He added that he was “amazed at the dynamic support from my Madison Community your love is recognized and so appreciated. I am still fighting for my position @ West and for justice to be applied to my situation. I am also still fighting to challenge the ‘no tolerance’ policy that made me a casualty to its flawed planning and implementation. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 08:46:24 -0400
  • Burmese fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant

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    Sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer. The accidental drug haul off Burma's coastal Ayeyarwady region occurred when fishermen spotted a total of 23 sacks floating in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday. Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea - packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth to far-flung destinations including Japan, South Korea and Australia. Locals were mystified by the crystallised substance in the sacks, Zaw Win, a local official of the National League for Democracy party who assisted the fishermen and police, told AFP. At first, they assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma. "So they burned it, and some of them almost fainted," he said. They informed the police, who on Thursday combed a beach and found an additional two sacks of the same substance - bringing the total to 691 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) which would be worth about $20.2 million (£15.6m), Zaw Win said. "In my entire life and my parents' lifetime, we have never seen drugs floating in the ocean before," he said. The massive haul was sent on Sunday to Pyapon district police, who declined to comment on it. Burma's multi-billion-dollar drug industry is centred in eastern Shan state, whose poppy-covered hills are ideal cover for illicit production labs. Made-in-Burma crystal meth - better known as ice - is smuggled out of the country to more lucrative markets using routes carved out by narco gangs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year - a conservative estimate, according to experts - thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. In March, Burma authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, which police said at the time was their biggest drug haul this year.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:57:48 -0400
  • Four killed as police fire on Bangladesh protesters

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    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday called for calm after at least four people were killed when police fired on thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims protesting Facebook messages that allegedly defamed the Prophet Mohammed. Mob attacks over online posts perceived to be blasphemous have emerged as a major headache for security forces in Bangladesh, where Muslims make up some 90 percent of the country's 168 million people. Some 20,000 Muslims demonstrated at a prayer ground in Borhanuddin town on the country's largest island of Bhola to call for the execution of a young Hindu man charged with inciting religious tension through online messages.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:55:04 -0400
  • Vietnam Targets GDP Growth of 6.8% in 2020, Prime Minister Says

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Vietnam seeks to sustain economic growth next year at about 6.8% amid a projected 7% rise in exports, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.Inflation should stay below 4% in 2020, Phuc told legislators in a speech in Hanoi aired live on television. Overseas sales are set to gain 7.9% this year while inflation will likely average 2.7%-3% in 2019, he said.Growth in the Southeast Asian economy accelerated to 7.31% in the third quarter from a year ago, surpassing expectations to reach the fastest pace since the start of 2018. Vietnam is benefiting from rising foreign investment in manufacturing as businesses shift production from China to bypass higher tariffs.Vietnam Becomes a Victim of Its Own Success in Trade WarThe prime minister also reiterated his nation’s stance on the South China Sea, saying that Vietnam will continue to defend its sovereignty and pursue different ways of doing that, including using international laws.He also urged the government to accelerate the privatization of state companies and deal strictly with projects that are inefficient or losing money.\--With assistance from Nguyen Kieu Giang.To contact the reporter on this story: Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi at uyen1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John Boudreau at jboudreau3@bloomberg.net, ;Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net, Clarissa BatinoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 23:36:32 -0400
  • India's Nuclear Weapons Arsenal Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger

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    A large arsenal in a dangerous part of the world.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:30:00 -0400
  • South Korean prosecutors seek arrest of ex-minister's wife

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    Prosecutors said Monday they are seeking to arrest the wife of South Korea's former justice minister, who resigned last week amid allegations of financial crimes and academic fraud surrounding his family that sparked huge protests and dented the popularity of President Moon Jae-in. The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it requested an arrest warrant for Chung Kyung-shim over her suspected involvement in dubious private equity investments, attempts to destroy evidence, and creating fake credentials to help her daughter get into medical school.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 23:37:29 -0400
  • Russian Media Cheers Trump’s Moves in Syria: ‘Putin Won the Lottery!’

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    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyPresident Trump has boasted he’s “getting a lot of praise” for his abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds—America’s longstanding allies—to Turkey’s incursion. On the home front, the controversial move has been met with criticism on both sides of the political aisle, but the reaction in Moscow was far from mixed. As Trump uncorked chaos in the Middle East, champagne tops were likely popping at the Kremlin.“Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East,” raved Mikhail Rostovsky in his article for the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. “Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again...What Washington got out of this strange move is completely unclear. To the contrary, what Moscow gained from this is self-evident...Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.”  Maksim Yusin, the editor of international politics at the leading Russian business daily Kommersant, was amazed by the ongoing stream of inexplicable actions by the American president that benefit the Kremlin. “All of this benefits the Russian Federation,” Yusin marveled. “You know, I’ve been watching Trump’s behavior lately and get seditious thoughts: maybe he really is a Russian agent? He is laboring so hard to strengthen the international image of Russia in general—and Putin in particular...In this situation, Americans—to their chagrin and our enjoyment—are the only losers in this situation.”“This is such a pleasure,” grinned Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s state television program 60 Minutes. “Russian soldiers have taken an American base under our complete control, without a fight!” Skabeeva’s co-host Evgeny Popov added: “Suddenly, we have defeated everyone.” Incredulously, Skabeeva pointed out: “This is an American base—and they just ran away! Trump ran away!”The U.S. Spoiled a Deal That Might Have Saved the Kurds, Former Top Official Says“It’s been a long time since America has been humiliated this way,” gloated political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak, “They ran away in shame! I can’t recall such a scenario since Vietnam.” He added: “For us, this is of great interest, because this is a key region where energy prices are being determined. That is a shining cherry on top.” Political scientist Andrey Nikulin concurred: “This is sad for America. A smaller-scale version of what happened in Vietnam.”Appearing on the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, political analyst Evgeny Satanovsky recounted many ways in which Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria and abandon the Kurds has hurt the image and standing of the United States: “America betrayed everyone...Trump also strengthened the anti-American mood in Turkey, when he promised to destroy the Turkish economy.” Satanovsky opined that now any economic problems or currency fluctuations in Turkey can be blamed directly on the United States, prompting textile, tobacco, steel and other industries to turn away from America. “Anti-Americanism in Turkey is off the charts,” Satanovsky pointed out, “American politics are tangled in their own shoelaces... America is successfully self-eliminating from the region.”The timing also struck the Russians as incredibly fortuitous and inexplicable. “They lost their only chance to remove [Syrian President] Bashar Assad,” exclaimed Russian lawmaker Oleg Morozov, appearing on 60 Minutes, “They were only half a step away!”     President Trump’s primitive letter to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also delighted the Russians. Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russia’s 60 Minutes, sarcastically pointed out that President Trump seems to be unfamiliar with even the most basic manners: “We should send a message to the American president: ‘Don’t call people names. Don’t fight. Don’t pick your nose. It’s nasty and unacceptable.’” Host Evgeny Popov said that the Turkish president threw Trump’s letter in the trash and remarked: “But who wouldn’t? The only thing missing was for Trump to call Erdoğan ‘dude.’” For his part, President Erdoğan said he “cannot forget” the letter in question and ominously promised that Turkey would “do what’s necessary” concerning the letter “when the time comes.”Discussing the exchanges between President Trump and President Erdoğan, Leonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of Russian State Duma Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States affairs, commented: “I don’t care that those two clowns write such letters to each other. You can only pity them. Is it better for us that the Americans left Syria? Of course it is! Will we make deals with Erdoğan? Of course we will.”   Pence Just Ratified All of Turkey’s War Aims in SyriaPundits all over the Russian state media pondered out loud about the merits of Trump’s self-proclaimed “infinite wisdom” of pulling the U.S. forces out of northern and eastern Syria, concluding that the decision was an enormous blow to America’s standing, undermining its current and potential alliances. On the other hand, Turkey is delighted with the outcome. Vice President Mike Pence gave Erdoğan everything the Turkish side has been attempting to achieve, in exchange for a promised five-day pause in the offensive. A Turkish official told Middle East Eye, “We got exactly what we wanted out of the meeting.” At the conclusion of the five-day pause, Erdoğan will be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.Appearing on 60 Minutes, Franz Klintsevich, a member of the Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security, declared that Russia will take full advantage of America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, becoming a top player in the region. Klintsevich argued that America’s withdrawal from Syria represented Russia’s “global victory” and “demonstrated the absolute superiority of Russia’s arms, diplomacy and foreign policy.”During the same show, political analyst Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak was overcome with gratitude: “I look at Trump and think: ‘May God grant him good health—and another term. This is a great situation for Russia...We can practically sit back and reap the dividends from what others are doing...Meanwhile, Trump is yet to make a single good deal, which is why I wish him good health, may he flourish and get re-elected...Trump is a great candidate. I applaud him...For America, this isn’t a very good president.”To the contrary—for Russia, Trump’s presidency is a gift that keeps on giving. The Kremlin’s propagandists see no acceptable alternative to Trump amongst any viable presidential candidates in the United States. Complaining about prevailing anti-Russian attitudes, Vladimir Soloviev—host of the nightly television show The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev—sarcastically surmised: “So it looks like we’ll have to elect your president—again.”  Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:28:04 -0400
  • Trump calls Mexico's president to express 'solidarity'

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    Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said on Saturday that President Trump called him to express his "solidarity" following an attempt to arrest a drug kingpin's son that prompted a wave of violence in the city of Culiacan.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:42:58 -0400
  • Russian nuclear submarine fails to test fire ballistic missile -Vedomosti

    A Russian nuclear submarine taking part in military exercises overseen by President Vladimir Putin failed to test fire an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, the Vedomosti daily reported on Monday. The nuclear submarine K-44 Ryazan, part of Russia's Pacific Fleet, was meant to launch two R-29R ballistic missiles from the Sea of Okhotsk on Oct. 17, but fired only one successfully with the other remaining in its tube onboard the submarine, Vedomosti reported, citing two people close to the Ministry of Defence. The incident occurred on the same day as Putin oversaw the drills from a command centre at the Defence Ministry in Moscow.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 06:04:50 -0400
  • Milan seeks US apology for WWII bomb that killed children

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    Milan's mayor appealed Sunday to U.S. authorities to apologize for a World War II bombing raid that killed 184 elementary school children. Mayor Giuseppe Sala made the request following a Mass marking the 75th anniversary of the Gorla massacre, named for the quarter in the city that was struck, the news agency ANSA reported. "I think it's necessary that the American government apologizes, knowing that we are here to forgive," Sala said, adding that he would formalize the request with the U.S. consul in Milan this week.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:40:44 -0400
  • Lost hiker rescued in Oregon snowstorm: 'I wouldn’t have survived another night'

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    Lost in a fierce snowstorm on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon, hiker Robb Campbell made a desperate call for help.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:27:44 -0400
  • Ousted Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is buried: family

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    A former Chinese Communist Party leader ousted after he opposed the use of force to quell 1989 democracy protests was buried over a decade after he died, his family said, in a service ignored by state media. Zhao Ziyang, who is a revered figure among Chinese human rights defenders, is still a sensitive topic in the country, where commemorations of his death are held under tight surveillance or prevented altogether. There was no mention of his burial ceremony Friday on state media, and searching for his name on social media returned no results.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:13 -0400
  • The coming end of Christian America

    America is still a "Christian nation," if the term simply means a majority of the population will claim the label when a pollster calls. But, as a new Pew Research report unsparingly explains, the decline of Christianity in the United States "continues at a rapid pace." A bare 65 percent of Americans now say they're Christians, down from 78 percent as recently as 2007. The deconverted are mostly moving away from religion altogether, and the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated -- the "nones" -- have swelled from 16 to 26 percent over the same period. If this rate of change continues, the U.S. will be majority non-Christian by about 2035, with the nones representing well over one third of the population.Smaller details from the study are equally striking. Protestantism lost its narrow claim to an outright majority of Americans' souls around 2012. While older generations remain at least two-thirds Christian, millennials have an even 49-49 split of Christians vs. nones (40 percent) and those of other faiths (9 percent). Religious service attendance rates haven't dramatically declined in the last decade, but they will soon if generational trends hold.As even the strictest practitioners of laicite must concede, major religious shifts like this will have equally major political effects -- but we are in somewhat uncharted territory as to what those effects may be. In broad strokes, this decline keeps the U.S. trailing Western Europe's religious and political evolution: the end of Christianity as a default faith and a move toward left/right politics that can be roughly characterized as socialism against nationalist populism. Yet Europe can hardly provide a clear window to our future, not least because many European states have both multi-party parliamentary systems and state churches.So what, then, should we expect of an increasingly post-Christian American politics? I have a few ideas.For ChristiansIn what remains of the American church, reactions to this decline will vary. Some will see it as a positive apocalypse, which is to say a revealing of what was always true. America was never really a Christian nation. Our government and society have long made choices and embraced values that are difficult, if not impossible, to square with Christianity, so an end of any association between the two is welcome. Likewise, the proportion of Americans who actually practiced Christian faith in any meaningful, life-altering sense was always substantially lower than the proportion who would identify as Christian in a poll. What we're seeing is less mass deconversion than a belated honesty which may be an opportunity for new faithfulness, repentance, or even revival.Other Christians, especially on the political right, will respond to this shift with sadness, alarm, or outright fear. And this is not mere selfishness, mere worry over loss of political or cultural power -- though certainly that is a factor for some. But if you believe, as people of faith generally do, that your religion communicates a necessary truth about God, the universe, humanity, the purpose of life and how we should live it -- well, then a precipitous decline in that religion is an inherently horrible thing with eternal implications for millions.Still other Christians (and I count myself among them) will land somewhere in between these two views. Yet all across this spectrum of responses, I suspect, we'll see an increasing concern for religious liberty as an ever-smaller portion of the broader public has a personal stake in its preservation as a special right distinct from freedoms of speech, association, and so on.Dumping fuel on this fire are proposals from the post-religious left -- Pew's data shows religion is especially on decline among white Democrats -- like Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke's plan to revoke tax exemptions for religious institutions that don't affirm gay marriage. As O'Rourke's fellow candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg commented, "I'm not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying." That includes the panic the idea induces among traditionally religious people who are already feeling isolated, caricatured, misunderstood by their country's cultural mainstream. (For more on that panic, see this helpful explainer from Vox's Jane Coaston.)For nonesFor religiously unaffiliated Americans, the political consequences of declining Christianity feel more difficult to predict, because this group is legitimately a new phenomenon. That is not to say there has never been a mass movement away from religion in a relatively modern, Western, democratic context -- see revolutionary France, for example, or, again, most of Western Europe. But there has never been anything like this in America, and you don't have to take a big swig of the American exceptionalism Kool-Aid to concede our country is in many ways unique. Moreover, there is a substantial difference between the humdrum religious apathy or vague spirituality of a none as compared to the murderous anti-Catholicism of a French revolutionary. In fact, that lack of specific opposition is key here: Many nones aren't consciously deconverting out of atheistic fervor. They're not rebelling against Christendom but growing up entirely in its aftermath. That is what makes this situation unprecedented.This caveat aside, I'd suggest the lack of a state church (which persists in nations as irreligious as Iceland, Sweden, Scotland, and the like) in America means religious efforts to obtain or keep political power will strike the unaffiliated rather differently here. No established religion means religious political action feels less like a tiresome anachronism -- outdated and unnecessary, but nice for Grandma -- and more like a threat of theocracy. In Europe, the state church already has a certain territory staked out as part of an ancient status quo. Here, every bit of territory is up for grabs, so the fight is always on.Yet as contradictory as it may seem, I'll also suggest left-wing nones may come to find they miss the religious right when grappling with its successor. The New York Times' Ross Douthat has argued the post-religious right of which President Trump has given us a glimpse will be an ugly beast indeed. Polling shows the "churchgoers who ultimately voted for Trump over Clinton still tend to hold different views than his more secular supporters," he wrote last year, including being "less authoritarian and tribal on race and identity. ...The trend was consistent: The more often a Trump voter attended church, the less white-identitarian they appeared, the more they expressed favorable views of racial minorities, and the less they agreed with populist arguments on trade and immigration." In other words, on the right, the decline of Christianity looks to mean the rise of racism, as the communal life of active faith is replaced by darker impulses.For allFinally, for Americans of any religious affiliation or none at all, the decline of Christianity will make political communication more difficult. For centuries the Christian faith has indelibly shaped the English vocabulary -- it is no exaggeration to say the King James Bible specifically is unparalleled in its cultural influence. That's especially so with politics, which beside religion is the most common context in which we discuss the world as it is and as it should be.The ways of thinking and turns of phrase that Christendom once made normative in America will become newly strange as Christianity declines. Those of us who remain religious will have to thoroughly rethink our assumptions about other Americans' frames of reference. I am regularly reminded of this by revealing expressions of religious ignorance by my fellow journalists, the archetypal example of which is an Associated Press headline which announced, after the famous cathedral burned, that "Tourist mecca Notre Dame [is] also revered as [a] place of worship." (For the AP writers, if no one else, "mecca" is a metaphor from Islam, and Notre Dame was a place of worship for centuries before the concept of tourism emerged. I read this headline to religious friends to peals of rueful laughter.)Perhaps, whether you are among the nones or not, you think moving toward a more secular shared vocabulary is a good thing. But even if you're right, the transition will be no less challenging. In an era of social fracture, loss of common language patterns can only exacerbate our disintegration. We have always talked against each other in politics; now we are talking past each other, too. As the decline of Christianity in the United States "continues at a rapid pace," it will influence every level of our fractious project of self-governance, down to our very words.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:35:01 -0400
  • Andrew Yang’s ‘Freedom Dividend’ Echoes a 1930s Basic Income Proposal that Reshaped Social Security

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    Andrew Yang wants to give Americans $1,000 a month.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:00:00 -0400
  • Zuckerberg Is Quietly Advising Buttigieg on Campaign Hires

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    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg has privately recommended several potential hires to Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, a rare example of direct political involvement from one of tech’s most powerful executives.Earlier this year, Zuckerberg sent multiple emails to Mike Schmuhl, Buttigieg’s campaign manager, with names of individuals that he might consider hiring, campaign spokesman Chris Meagher confirmed. Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg’s wife, also sent multiple emails to Schmuhl with staff recommendations. Ultimately, two of the people recommended were hired.The emails between Zuckerberg and Buttigieg have come to light as Zuckerberg faces unrelenting attacks from politicians from both parties over such issues as misinformation, privacy, election meddling and bias. Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee on Facebook’s impact on the financial services and housing sectors.Zuckerberg used to make political contributions more frequently, including to former and current House speakers Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi in 2014, but he hasn’t made any political donations or endorsements to specific candidates in the 2020 election cycle. In June, he gave $5,000 to Facebook’s PAC, which contributes to both Democratic and Republican candidates.‘Top-Tier Organization’“Since the beginning of the campaign, we’ve built a top-tier operation with more than 430 staff in South Bend and around the country,” Meagher said. “The staffers come from all types of background, and everyone is working hard every day to elect Pete to the White House.”A spokesman for the Zuckerberg-Chan family told Bloomberg News that the employees asked the tech mogul and Chan to recommend them.“Having seen Mark’s visit to South Bend in 2017 and Facebook Live with Mayor Buttigieg, colleagues later asked Mark and Priscilla to connect them with the Buttigieg campaign as they were interested in joining,” spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement. Zuckerberg visited South Bend, Indiana, in April 2017 as part of his philanthropic work and got a tour from Buttigieg, that Zuckerberg live-streamed.“Mark and Priscilla have not decided who to support for President,” he added.LaBolt didn’t answer a follow-up question asking whether Zuckerberg has made similar connections for other candidates.Making IntroductionsIn the emails, Zuckerberg and Chan recommended numerous potential campaign hires, and two of them are now on staff: Eric Mayefsky, senior digital analytics adviser, and Nina Wornhoff, organizing data manager.Mayefsky previously worked as the director of data science at Quora, a 10-year-old question-and-answer startup founded by former Facebook employees. Mayefsky worked at Facebook for almost four years starting in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. Wornhoff previously worked as a machine learning engineer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and in Democratic politics in Indiana, Buttigieg’s home state.The communication was initiated by Zuckerberg and Chan, Meagher said. It was sent shortly after Buttigieg officially launched his campaign in mid-April.“From the CNN Town hall in March to our launch a month later, we literally got 7,000 resumes,” Meagher said. “I think that he (Zuckerberg) thought Eric would be a good staff hire with a lot of experience and same with Nina and Priscilla.”Crimson ConnectionZuckerberg, 35, and Buttigieg, 37, overlapped at Harvard, and Buttigieg was friends with two of Zuckerberg’s roommates. He was also one of Facebook’s first 300 users. But they were only introduced years later by a mutual Harvard friend.The staff recommendations from Zuckerberg are the first evidence of the Facebook CEO actively assisting a presidential campaign. A number of other high-ranking Facebook executives, including David Marcus, the executive leading Facebook’s cryptocurrency efforts, Naomi Gleit, one of Facebook’s longest-tenured executives, and Chris Cox, former chief product officer who is close friends with Zuckerberg, have donated to Buttigieg.In recent weeks, Democrats have escalated their criticism of Facebook for its refusal to moderate political ads. Elizabeth Warren, in particular, has repeatedly attacked Zuckerberg and Facebook over its decision not to fact check posts or ads shared by politicians. Joe Biden wrote the company on Thursday demanding that an ad paid for by a pro-Donald Trump super-PAC be pulled down for what he said were lies about his Ukrainian-related work as vice president.Silicon ValleyHe’s been more apprehensive about breaking up big tech companies than some of his Democratic counterparts, saying the issue of monopolies extends beyond tech. But he’s also raised concerns about tech companies having too much power and has floated regulation, including fines and the blocking of new mergers, for Facebook and other big tech companies.Republicans have accused Zuckerberg and Facebook of bias against conservative viewpoints, claiming that Facebook and other social media platforms unfairly suppress their views. Zuckerberg reportedly started to hold private meetings last summer with conservative leaders to hear their concerns.In the past, Facebook embedded staffers with political campaigns to give them guidance on how to best use the social media platform. The 2016 Trump campaign said it greatly benefited from having Facebook staffers on hand. The company announced in 2018 that it would pull back from offering on-site support.Now Zuckerberg needs friends in Washington, where Facebook is under unprecedented attack. His company is being investigated for possible antitrust violations by two federal agencies and Congress. It’s also trying to get skeptical regulators and lawmakers on board with its goal of launching a cryptocurrency.But this presidential cycle, Facebook has become one of Democrats’ top punching bags. In recent weeks, Warren’s campaign has bought ads on Facebook claiming Zuckerberg endorsed Trump, a deliberate falsehood that she used to draw attention to Facebook’s policies exempting politicians from fact-checking ads, and corrected later in the advertisement.\--With assistance from Bill Allison.To contact the reporters on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at tpager1@bloomberg.net;Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at kwagner71@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Ros KrasnyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 04:00:00 -0400
  • Hillary Clinton claims Tulsi Gabbard is being 'groomed' by Russia

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    Hillary Clinton has claimed a Democrat presidential candidate is being "groomed" by the Kremlin to run as an independent in 2020. In an astonishing attack on Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, Mrs Clinton suggested Russia would use her to damage the Democrats' chances of taking the White House. Ms Gabbard, 38, responded by calling Mrs Clinton the "queen of warmongers" and the cause of "rot" in the Democrat party. The bitter row began when Mrs Clinton was being interviewed about the prospect of Russian interference in the upcoming election. She said: "I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary, and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate. "She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far." Tulsi Gabbard called Hillary Clinton the "queen of warmongers" Credit: AFP Mrs Clinton did not mention Ms Gabbard by name, but a spokesman later confirmed she had been referring to Ms Gabbard. The spokesman said: "This is not some outlandish claim, this is reality." Ms Gabbard is a military veteran who served in Iraq. She caused controversy after revealing that she had met with Bashar al-Assad on a fact-finding trip to Syria. Responding to Mrs Clinton's allegations she said: "Thank you Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain." She accused Mrs Clinton of being behind a concerted campaign to derail her candidacy. Ms Gabbard added: "It was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose." The congresswoman urged Mrs Clinton to run again in 2020. She said: "Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly." During the latest televised Democrat debate in Ohio this week Ms Gabbard condemned suggestions of Russian support for her. She said: "This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable." Mrs Clinton also accused Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee in 2016, of being a "Russian asset". In 2016 Ms Stein received about one per cent of the vote but some Democrats claim that helped Donald Trump win several key states. Ms Stein denied Mrs Clinton's accusations and accused her of "peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure, instead of reflecting on real reasons the Democrats lost in 2016."

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:26:59 -0400
  • Turkey wants Syrian forces to leave border areas, aide says

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Syrian government forces to move out of areas near the Turkish border so he can resettle up to 2 million refugees there, his spokesman told The Associated Press on Saturday. The request will top Erdogan's talks next week with Syria's ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Arrangements along the Syrian-Turkish border were thrown into disarray after the U.S. pulled its troops out of the area, opening the door to Turkey's invasion aiming to drive out Kurdish-led fighters it considers terrorists.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:40:07 -0400
  • Mitt Romney said everyone in the Senate is 'really nice' except for Bernie Sanders, who 'just kind of scowls'

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    Romney has emerged as one of the few Republican senators willing to take a stand against Trump, but he says most people are really nice.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:53:18 -0400
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, minus beard, appears in London court

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    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in a London court on Monday for a hearing on whether he should be extradited to the United States to face spying charges. Australian-born Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff. WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 05:48:25 -0400
  • Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdict

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    Opposition groups called Saturday for more protests to demand that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández be removed from office after his younger brother was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York court. President Hernández insisted via Twitter that the verdict is not against the state of Honduras, saying his government has fought drug trafficking. On Saturday he attended a parade to honor the country's armed forces and posted pictures of himself on Twitter smiling alongside the U.S. chargé d'affaires to Honduras, Colleen Hoey.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:04:52 -0400
  • School apologizes after photo showing students with cardboard boxes over their heads during exam goes viral

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    An school in India has issued an apology after a bizarre image of students wearing cardboard boxes on their heads went viral. The images were taken during a chemistry exam at Bhagat Pre-University College in the town of Haveri.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:41:03 -0400
  • China talks up tech prowess in face of US rivalry

    Golocal247.com news

    China on Sunday said it aims to become a "great power" in the online world and took a swipe at Washington on trade, kicking off its annual conference promoting the Communist Party's controlled and censored version of the internet. US-China rivalry is increasingly playing out in the digital sphere, as Beijing pursues dominance in next-generation technology while Washington takes measures to cripple Chinese tech firms like Huawei. China heavily monitors and censors its internet, with US titans Facebook, Twitter and Google all hidden behind a so-called "Great Firewall" that also blocks politically sensitive content.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 03:39:53 -0400
  • FACT: Cuba Hosted Russian Spy Planes to Use Against America

    Golocal247.com news

    A forgotten tale of the cold war.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Worst Baku Clashes in Years Followed by Claims of Critic's Abuse

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- The political fallout of rare anti-government demonstrations is spreading in Azerbaijan, with the European Union issuing a warning and an opposition leader saying he was beaten up by riot police following his arrest on Saturday.An unathorized rally by hundreds of protesters demanding freedom of assembly, which has effectively been denied since the start of 2019, ended in the worst violence the Azeri capital has seen in years. Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party, was detained with scores of his supporters as they defied a ban to demonstrate in central Baku.“Six to seven police officers handcuffed me, throwing me onto the floor and kicking me,” Karimli said in a video statement on his Facebook page. With bruises visible on his head, face and neck, Karimli said he was beaten so severely that at some point he lost consciousness.While Azerbaijan ranks among the world’s most corrupt and repressive governments, arrests or torture of leaders of opposition parties are rare in the energy-rich former Soviet republic.With parliamentary elections looming next year, demonstrators gathered on Saturday despite a heavy security presence, demanding the resignation of the country’s longtime President Ilham Aliyev. Karimli and other leaders of the secular opposition are using social media to galvanize public support for a peaceful shift to democracy.Authorities had offered demonstrators a remote location on the outskirts of the city to conduct the rally.Europe’s WarningThe EU’s executive arm called for an investigation into reports of excessive and unprovoked force, urging the Azeri government to release the detained opposition protesters.“Freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and we expect Azerbaijan to ensure that it can be fully exercised, in line with the country’s international obligations,” European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.After being detained and dragged into a police car, Karimli was eventually taken to hospital where he received stitches to his forehead and his body was screened for injuries. He was later released home.The Interior Ministry’s press service didn’t answer calls for comment. Sahlab Bagirov, commander of the riot police, on Saturday rejected claims police used excessive force.In a statement late Saturday, the Interior Ministry said 60 people were detained for attending the demonstration. Of those, 42 were “warned” and released. The remaining 18 will stand trial.To contact the editors responsible for this story: Torrey Clark at tclark8@bloomberg.net, Paul Abelsky, Angela CullenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:26:54 -0400
  • Severe storms, isolated tornadoes to rattle Deep South early this week

    Golocal247.com news

    Severe thunderstorms, including a few tornadoes, tore through the south-central United States Sunday night and will threaten the Deep South on Monday.The necessary ingredients for thunderstorm development came together Sunday night as a cold front collided with the warm, moist air in place across the southern Plains.Thunderstorms exploded from southern Kansas to central Texas late Sunday evening and expanded as they moved eastward later Sunday night.The storms congealed into a powerful line of thunderstorms, or squall line, as the night progressed.This squall line will continue to sweep eastward through southern Missouri, Arkansas, northwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas into Monday morning. "The main threats with these storms will continue to be damaging winds, large hail and even isolated tornadoes," AccuWeather Meteorologist Mary Gilbert said.Just after 9 p.m. CDT, a confirmed tornado caused damage near Dallas, Texas. About half an hour later, over 50,000 customers were without power in Dallas County, Texas, according to PowerOutage.US.Residents in Springfield, Missouri; Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas; and Tyler and San Antonio, Texas, and surrounding communities may want to consider taking such a precaution.Since the severe thunderstorms will be ongoing before and during Monday morning's commute, it is a good idea to keep cell phones charged with the volume turned up and severe weather alerts enabled. This will allow you to be notified if a severe thunderstorm or tornado is heading for your community before you wake up.Commutes around Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Monroe, Louisiana; may be slowed as the stormy weather pushes through during the morning hours.Straight-line wind gusts up to an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 70 mph can toss around loose outdoor items, such as lightweight furniture or fall decorations, that are not brought inside or secured beforehand.Tree damage and power outages can also occur in such winds.The thunderstorms will move along at a quick enough pace to limit concerns for flash flooding.Later on Monday, the severe storms will shift into a portion of the Deep South.The line of thunderstorms will remain intense as it crosses through Mississippi, Louisiana and southern Tennessee on Monday afternoon.Residents from New Orleans to Birmingham, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, should be prepared for potentially violent weather during the afternoon commute.Although the threat for tornadoes will be less on Monday than what it was on Sunday night, there is the still the potential for one or two tornadoes, especially in the western half of the threat zone.Drier, cooler air will sweep in from west to east across the South behind the thunderstorms, aiding any cleanup operations that may be needed. Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest forecast and advisories for your region. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:50:15 -0400
  • 'You said what you said': Fox News' Chris Wallace rejects Mulvaney's attempt to walk back Ukraine comments

    "No, you totally said that," Chris Wallace said after Mick Mulvaney denied admitting there had been a "quid pro quo" in aid to Ukraine.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 17:24:57 -0400
  • Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison

    Golocal247.com news

    A group of Detroit-area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen, their war-torn native country. One by one, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined to send them to prison, despite guidelines that call for a few years or more behind bars. The Detroit area is believed to have the highest U.S. population of Yemenis, a demographic that has risen amid war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions more with food and health care shortages.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:22:54 -0400
  • Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

    Golocal247.com news

    Egypt sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as an existential risk, fearing it will threaten scarce water supplies in Egypt and power generation at its own dam in Aswan. Cairo says it has exhausted efforts to reach an agreement on the conditions for operating GERD and filling the reservoir behind it, after years of three-party talks with Ethiopia and Sudan.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:17:00 -0400
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