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  • Ocasio-Cortez throws her support to Bernie Sanders

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    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
  • Hong Kong activist stabbed as protesters gird for march

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    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
  • 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
  • A quiet exit for Draghi? Five questions for the ECB

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    Mario Draghi's last meeting as European Central Bank chief this Thursday may prove a lively gathering given a deep rift among policymakers over renewed asset purchases that threatens the effectiveness of policy. After unleashing a wave of stimulus measures in September -- including an interest-rate cut and a decision to restart asset purchases to boost the economy -- no major announcements are anticipated. "The biggest part of the meeting will be the farewell to Draghi," said Pictet Wealth Management strategist Frederik Ducrozet.

    Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:14:17 -0400
  • At a School for Suicide Bombers' Children, Dancing, Drawing and Deradicalization

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    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
  • Malaysia Fears Becoming Sanctions Target in Trade War Crossfire

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    (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
  • 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
  • Let jihadists return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

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    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
  • 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
  • 70,000 California wildfire victims may miss out on payments

    Golocal247.com news

    As many as 100,000 Californians are eligible to receive payments for the damages they suffered from a series of devastating wildfires over the last several years. Concerned that as many as 70,000 victims may miss out on payments, attorneys filed court papers Friday to alert the bankruptcy judge that wildfire survivors — many still traumatized and struggling to get back on their feet — aren't aware of their rights to file a claim. "People really are overwhelmed and don't understand what they need to do," said Cecily Dumas, an attorney for the Official Committee of Tort Claimants, a group appointed by the court to represent all wildfire victims in the bankruptcy.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:09:01 -0400
  • 7 Things To Do With Your Old Smartphone

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    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Republican congressman announces retirement after saying he is open to Trump impeachment

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    * Francis Rooney said he wanted ‘do right thing’ with his vote * A day later, he says he will step downFrancis Rooney, right, is sworn in in January. Photograph: Susan Walsh/APA day after telling reporters he would consider voting to impeach Donald Trump, the Florida Republican Francis Rooney told Fox News he had decided to retire from Congress.On Friday, Rooney was asked about the political consequences of impeachment, a process the House will probably vote to advance after an inquiry steered by Democratic-controlled committees.He said he wanted “to get the facts and do the right thing because I’ll be looking at my children a lot longer than I’m looking to anybody in this building”.No House Republicans have yet said they will vote to impeach the president and send the matter to the Senate for trial.Senate Republicans are not expected to defect in numbers great enough to convict Trump and ensure his removal. But it has been reported that majority leader Mitch McConnell is preparing his caucus.In the same Friday conversation, Rooney said: “Whether I run again is a totally different can of worms, OK?”On Saturday he confirmed to Fox News that he would not.Asked if other Republicans felt as he did about impeachment, he said “there are people that talk, that have concerns about a lot of things that have happened – Syria and Mulvaney’s comments just the other day are probably going to drive some people to rethink this a little more. I have, I was shocked at those.”The president’s abrupt decision to withdraw US troops from Syria remains hugely controversial.The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, suggested to reporters on Thursday that there had been a quid pro quo in Trump’s treatment of Ukraine, from which he sought political gain, and that the media should “get over it”. He later tried to walk the comments back.Rooney told Fox News he “hoped” other Republicans were becoming more likely to think as he did on impeachment.Announcing his retirement, he said: “I’ve done what I came to do. I want to be the model for term limits.”He added: “I thought the idea was you came and did your public service and left, you accomplish what you want to accomplish and you left. And that’s what I want to be an example to do.“And I’m also tired of the intense partisanship that stops us from solving the big questions that America needs solved.”An investor, Republican donor and former US ambassador to the Holy See under George W Bush, Rooney was elected to Congress in 2016.Republican retirement announcements have stacked up since the Democrats took the House in the 2018 midterms. Trump’s tempestuous presidency has added to the party’s challenges at the polls.According to ballotpedia.org, 14 Republican representatives have said they will bow out in 2020. Many are from districts where Democrats are expected to challenge.Rooney is not. Asked if Republicans were worried about Florida’s 19th district, in the south-west of the state, the National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Pack simply told the Washington Post: “R+13.”

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:15:36 -0400
  • Hong Kong police and protesters exchange tear gas and petrol bombs

    Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters throwing petrol bombs on Sunday as thousands staged an illegal march through the Kowloon district that will test the strength of the pro-democracy campaign after four months of unrest. Police inside the Tsim Sha Tsui police station fired volleys of tear gas and used a loudspeaker to called on protesters in the street below to disperse. Hardcore black-clad protesters threw petrol bombs at the station's iron gate and inside the compound.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 04:07:58 -0400
  • Atomwaffen Division’s Washington State Cell Leader Stripped of Arsenal in U.S., Banned from Canada

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    Police HandoutKaleb James Cole, the 24-year-old leader of Atomwaffen Division's Washington State Cell stripped of his firearms by a “red-flag law” late last month, was deported and banned for life from Canada earlier this year, according to court records, which also showed that he had been previously interrogated by American border agents about his extremist views.Cole, a National Socialist black metal enthusiast who goes by the alias “Khimaere,” was first identified as a member of Atomwaffen Division in a 2018 ProPublica investigation. He played a key role in organizing “hate camp” trainings for the group's members at an abandoned building known as “Devil's Tower” in Skagit, Washington, and in Nevada's Death Valley. Cole also helped craft the group’s eye-catching propaganda.Atomwaffen Division is an underground neo-Nazi guerrilla organization which had 23 chapters throughout the United States as of mid-2018. Since its inception in 2015, Atomwaffen members have been implicated in five homicides and several bomb plots, and are the subject of an intensifying national investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It makes common cause with other militant fascist groups like the Base and Sonnenkrieg Division in the United Kingdom, where authorities have charged a number of members with terrorism-related offenses.As The Daily Beast reported, the Seattle Police Department obtained an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” against Cole on September 26 to confiscate his concealed carry firearms permit and any firearms he owned for at least a year. That same day, SPD seized five rifles, a shotgun, three semiautomatic handguns and four lower receivers (the firing mechanism of a rifle that can be used to craft untraceable ‘ghost guns’) from Cole's father's house outside Arlington, in Washington State's Snohomish County.According to court records, none of the guns or the lower receivers seized from Cole were registered in Washington State's licensed firearms database.“Law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about the respondent's access to firearms and his involvement in the Atomwaffen Division, a known terrorist group,” Seattle Police Sergeant Dorothy Kim wrote in a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. As further evidence, Sgt. Kim cited Atomwaffen Division propaganda calling for “Race War Now,” and the group's adherence to “acceleration theory,” which urges actions that undermine the existing social order to “exacerbate the feeling of alienation among white supremacists and a greater impulse to engage in violence or destructive behavior.”Cole's “words, actions and behavior suggest he has taken additional steps towards a plan with his ideologically motivated violence. Specifically, the coordinated camps with firearms training, overseas travel with Atomwaffen paraphernalia-flags/skull masks, threats to kill (gas the Kikes) and the possession of firearms, suggest an imminent risk to public safety if Cole is permitted to continue to purchase or possess firearms,” Sergeant Kim wrote.The request to seize Cole's guns was reportedly made to Seattle Police by the FBI, which did not have enough information to file criminal charges but believed Cole posed a serious threat to public safety.Multiple law enforcement sources told The Daily Beast that Cole had been the target of an FBI investigation following his February 2018 identification by ProPublica. However, law enforcement made no contact with him until December 28, 2018, when Cole landed in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a flight from London. Customs and Border Protection pulled Cole aside for secondary screening. Records of that interview were included by the Seattle Police Department in their emergency risk petition last month.During the interview, Cole told CBP agents he had traveled to the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine with two friends from Washington State, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh and Edie Allison Moore. The trip, Cole said, was to “see the historic architecture and museums in Eastern European countries.” The three also attended a heavy metal festival while in Kyiv. The 2018 edition of Asgardsrei, a festival several National Socialist black metal bands have played in the past, was held in Kyiv from December 15-16 last year. Photographs from the concert posted to social media show an Atomwaffen Division flag brandished by individuals in the crowd. According to information obtained by The Daily Beast, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh is a member of the Washington State cell of Atomwaffen Division, and goes by the moniker “Nythra.” The drummer for Kaleb Cole's old metal band, Operblut, is listed as “Nythra” on music websites. In the CBP interview, Cole told federal agents he and Bruce-Umbaugh had been friends since grade school.Border agents searched Cole's luggage, and found a skull mask balaclava and an Atomwaffen Division flag inside his bag. When questioned about press reports tying him to Atomwaffen Division, Cole admitted to his involvement with the group and stated that he “shares a Fascist ideology, 'strong dominate the weak'.” He also admitted he owned an AK-47 and multiple handguns “for his own protection.”Cole's phone was also searched by border agents, who downloaded several images from the device. Amongst them are a photograph of Cole and another man wearing skull mask balaclavas in front of the gates of Auschwitz, the death camp where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews. Images of him posing with other Atomwaffen members, firearms, and the group's flag were also recovered from Cole's phone.According to multiple sources close to law enforcement, Cole previously attracted the interest of Canadian authorities by frequently driving across the border to British Columbia, sometimes several times a week. In late May, Cole was detained by the Canadian Border Service Agency because of press reports linking him to Atomwaffen Division, as well as “his overseas travel to Ukraine,” where several right-wing extremists have traveled to fight with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion against Russia-backed separatists.According to court records, he was held by Canadian authorities and placed into deportation proceedings due to his involvement in “an organization that may engage in terrorism,” per Section 34 [1][F] of the Canadian Immigration Code. According to records prepared by the Seattle Police Department, Cole was deported in July and “barred from Canada for life.”The Canadian Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police both declined to comment on Cole's deportation, the Atomwaffen Division or its affiliated organizations in Canada, citing the restrictions of Canada’s Privacy Act. Earlier this year, Patrik Mathews, a master corporal in the Canadian Military Reserve went AWOL after being identified as a recruiter for the Base. Mathews—who reportedly came to the attention of multiple Canadian security agencies because racist material was previously found by the Canadian Border Services Agency in his car while crossing the border with the United States—is still at large.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 05:13:50 -0400
  • This Really Is a Crunch Week for Brexit

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    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.It’s 11 days until the U.K. is due to shed its European Union membership and, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson so often says, “take back control.”Problem is, right now there’s no control. Headed into yet another “crunch” week for Brexit where anything could happen, the U.K. is careering towards a true crisis.A special sitting of parliament yesterday resulted in another defeat for Johnson. Lawmakers, stung by his repeated efforts to bypass them, slapped him with an amendment that required him to ask the EU to defer Brexit until Jan. 31. Johnson grudgingly sent that letter — unsigned — late in the evening. He sent another — this one he signed — arguing a further delay would be a mistake.There are two things to watch: whether the EU grants an extension (see more below on that) and the gyrations in the U.K. Parliament. Debate on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (which implements Brexit) could begin as soon as Tuesday, after the prime minister makes another attempt tomorrow to get Parliament to sign off on the principle of his deal.It’s a massive gamble for a leader lacking a parliamentary majority. The whole thing will be decided by a handful of votes. Johnson will need all of his powers of persuasion and famous oratory wit. The ticking clock, and the desire among lawmakers to avoid a chaotic no-deal exit, might help him.In the incredible three-year soap opera of Brexit, the finale will be a cliff-hanger.Key HeadlinesNumber crunching | Lawmakers voted 322 to 306 to force Johnson to seek an extension — an insurance policy against a no-deal Brexit if there’s still no agreement by Oct. 31. He needs to persuade 61 Members of Parliament to back his deal. Rob Hutton and Greg Ritchie crunched the numbers to conclude Johnson now has 62, based on what lawmakers said and did both in the debate before yesterday’s vote and during it.Click here for a look at how lawmakers voted on the extension amendment.The options | Everything in theory is still on the table. Johnson could get his deal through before Oct. 31. He might fail and negotiate more time with Brussels. He might fail and try and bypass parliament, triggering legal and other challenges. He might fail and try to crash out on Oct. 31 with no deal at all. He might decide to throw everything aside and call a snap election. If you're exhausted by it all, Sky News is offering Brits an escape from the drama with a new Brexit-free news channel.Europe's view | Many European officials oppose Brexit. “Our door will always remain open,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said last week after the deal with the EU was reached. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he doesn't think a delay should be granted, signaling frustration at how long this has dragged on. But the general feeling is the EU would prefer another delay to a chaotic no-deal exit. Tusk said last night he'll start consulting leaders on how to react, which may take a few days. A unanimous vote is needed to grant an extension.Read the in-the-room rundown of how Johnson got his agreement with Europe.Sticking point | The biggest obstacle to getting the deal through parliament is the historically fraught border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, set to become the only land crossing between the EU and the U.K. after Brexit. The plan agreed by EU negotiators would see a new type of border emerge not on land, but in the Irish Sea. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which wants to remain part of the U.K., says it can't support the plan.Business imperative | Some trade bodies had urged lawmakers to ratify the Brexit deal, simply to put an end to three years of uncertainty that have clouded their prospects and hampered investment plans. Passing it would trigger a transition period that preserves much of the current trading architecture. U.K. businesses see avoiding a no-deal exit as the overriding priority. Now the door has opened to an extension, which they may welcome.And finally....Hundreds of thousands marched through central London yesterday, converging on Westminster to call for a second referendum on leaving the EU. They sang songs, chanted “Object to Brexit” and waved EU and British flags. As it began to rain, Johnson’s defeat in the House of Commons was greeted with loud cheers outside. \--With assistance from Karl Maier.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at khunter9@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:59:27 -0400
  • The U.S. Army And Marines Have a Plan To Take On China and Russia's Navies

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    Dispersed attacks from land and sea.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -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
  • Four killed as police fire on Bangladesh protesters

    Golocal247.com news

    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
  • The Latest: Kurdish fighters pull out of Syrian border town

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    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
  • 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
  • As Inquiry Widens, McConnell Sees Impeachment Trial as Inevitable

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    WASHINGTON -- It was only a few weeks ago that the top Senate Republican was hinting that his chamber would make short work of impeachment.But this week, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, sat his colleagues down over lunch in the Capitol and warned them to prepare for an extended impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.According to people who were there, he came equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, complete with quotes from the Constitution, as he schooled fellow senators on the intricacies of a process he portrayed as all but inevitable.Few Republicans are inclined to convict Trump on charges that he abused his power to enlist Ukraine in an effort to smear his political rivals. Instead, McConnell, R-Ky., sees the proceedings as necessary to protect a half-dozen moderates in states like Maine, Colorado and North Carolina who face reelection next year and must show voters they are giving the House impeachment charges a serious review.It's people like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who will be under immense political pressure as they decide the president's fate."To overturn an election, to decide whether or not to convict a president is about as serious as it gets," Collins said.McConnell is walking a careful line of his own in managing the fast-moving impeachment process. On Friday, the senator wrote a scathing op-ed criticizing the president's decision to pull back troops from northern Syria, calling it a "grave strategic mistake," without naming Trump. But McConnell, who is known for his ruthless partisan maneuvering, also views it as his role to protect a president of his own party from impeachment, and in a recent fundraising video, he vowed to stop it.The mood among Republicans on Capitol Hill has shifted from indignant to anxious as a parade of administration witnesses has submitted to closed-door questioning by impeachment investigators and corroborated central elements of the whistleblower complaint that sparked the inquiry.They grew more worried still Thursday, after Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, undercut the president's defense by saying that Trump had indeed withheld security aid from Ukraine in order to spur an investigation of his political rivals. Mulvaney later backtracked, but the damage was done."I couldn't believe it -- I was very surprised that he said that," said Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., who mocked Mulvaney's attempts to take back comments, that had been broadcast live from the White House briefing room."It's not an Etch-A-Sketch," Rooney said, miming the tipping movement that erases the toy drawing board. "There were a lot of Republicans looking at that headline yesterday when it came up, I certainly was."Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is seen as potentially open to removing Trump from office -- told reporters that a president should never engage in the kinds of actions that Mulvaney appeared to acknowledge."You don't hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative," she said. "Period."Still, Republicans said they did not detect a significant shift that would pose a serious threat to the president in the Senate. It would require 20 Republicans to side with Democrats in convicting Trump, and few observers believe that will happen.McConnell, his allies said, regards the impeachment fight in much the same way as he did the struggle last year to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, in which he was primarily concerned with protecting his Senate majority by insulating vulnerable incumbents. Then, as now, they said, McConnell is focused on keeping Republicans as united as possible, while allowing those with reservations about Trump's conduct and their own political considerations to justify their decision to their constituents."I think he will play it straight," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a close McConnell ally, who noted his party's narrow voting margin. "I don't think he has any alternative. When you are operating with 53 you have thin margins and you can't jam anybody or you end up with undesirable consequences."McConnell has told colleagues he expects the House to impeach Trump quickly, possibly by Thanksgiving, an educated hunch based on the pace of the inquiry so far and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to keep the inquiry narrowly focused on Trump's dealings with Ukraine. He plans to move swiftly too, he told colleagues, using the approach of Christmas to force the Senate to complete its work before the beginning of 2020.Yet an impeachment trial is a spectacle that is by its nature unpredictable, and most of the senators who will act as jurors were not around for the last one, of Bill Clinton in 1999. McConnell reminded senators that Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and would have wide latitude in handling motions that might be made, including any motion to dismiss the charges that Republicans might try to put forward to short circuit the process.McConnell's declaration that the Senate would move forward was in part designed to show he had no choice, an effort to deflect criticism from conservatives outraged that the Senate would even consider impeachment.On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed for Senate Republicans to write a letter to Pelosi declaring that they would not remove the president. But some senators raised objections, worrying that some of their colleagues would not want to sign on, a result that would expose disunity among Republicans. Graham's colleagues said they believe they staved off the letter, which they viewed as a mistake.McConnell has made it clear that he plans to sit down with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to see if they can find a mutually acceptable way to move forward as Democrats and Republicans did in 1999 when they unanimously agreed on the framework for the impeachment trial. The Senate is much more polarized now, though Schumer this week held out hope."We have to do this trial in a fair and bipartisan way and I hope that Leader McConnell would obey those strictures," Schumer said. In the battle for Senate control, Democrats have their own political risks to consider since impeachment could prompt a backlash against some of their candidates if enough voters conclude that the president was pursued unfairly.Just 15 senators remain in office from the time Clinton was put on trial. McConnell warned them of the weight of the trial, where they can be required to be on the floor all afternoon six days a week without speaking -- a major challenge for senators who relish their chances to be heard."It will mean day after day sitting in chamber, listening to the two sides, writing questions for them to answer that go through the chief justice," said Collins, one of the Republicans who voted to acquit Clinton 20 years ago. "Members who have not been through this before will find it is a great deal of work."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:57:28 -0400
  • Egypt unveils biggest ancient coffin find in over a century

    Egypt on Saturday unveiled the details of 30 ancient wooden coffins with mummies inside discovered in the southern city of Luxor in the biggest find of its kind in more than a century. A team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered a "distinctive group of 30 coloured wooden coffins for men, women and children" in a cache at Al-Asasif cemetery on Luxor's west bank, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement on Saturday. "It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century," the Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:53:25 -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
  • Boris Johnson Furious as Parliament Refuses to Be Bounced Into Brexit Deal

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    REUTERSLONDON—Boris Johnson was left raging on Saturday as lawmakers forced the prime minister to seek yet another Brexit delay from the European Union. The extremely rare parliamentary vote taken on a Saturday did not reject Johnson’s compromise deal with the EU outright, it merely demanded more time for the deal to be examined and inserted an additional failsafe to stop Britain from slipping out of the EU without an agreed deal on Halloween.No. 10 was furious because Johnson has repeatedly promised to leave the EU by October 31, and that will now become more difficult. Brexit campaign insiders lamented the destruction of Johnson’s “head of steam,” and an end to the momentum created by his unlikely success in securing a deal from Europe. After another vote that went against Johnson last month, the prime minister is now legally mandated to write to the EU asking for an extension to January 31. The government formally asked for the extension Saturday night, but also sent a letter from Johnson arguing against the delay.EU Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet that he had received the request. “I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react,” he said.Johnson is expected to bring the withdrawal legislation to the floor of the House of Commons early next week, so he may only have to wait a few days to secure victory but Labour opponents—and nervous No. 10 insiders—believe that potential support for the deal may ebb away once lawmakers get the chance to fully examine the fineprint.Just two days after Johnson was back-slapping European counterparts and clasping hands with fellow leaders, his precarious grip on power was underlined once again in a vote that went against him by 322 to 306.In response, Johnson stood up and said he would refuse to “negotiate” a further extension with the EU. He stopped short of saying he would refuse to comply with the law and send the extension letter, although he reiterated his hopes that the EU would not immediately grant an extension. “I don't think they'll be attracted by delay,” he said.As lawmakers continued to debate the result, Johnson sat slumped on the frontbench shaking his head. It was a sharp contrast to his mood two days earlier. Tickled pink with the deal he had unexpectedly secured from the EU, Johnson had sought to rush back to Westminster and bounce parliament into agreeing. One of his own long-term colleagues, Sir Oliver Letwin, had other ideas. Letwin is a veteran Conservative right-winger who has been in the heart of Conservative thinking for decades. He was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit in the 1980s and entrusted by David Cameron to write the Tory manifesto in 2010.He was kicked out of the party last month by Johnson after voting to ensure there wouldn’t be a No Deal Brexit. He exacted his revenge on Saturday by wrecking Johnson’s chance for a victorious homecoming. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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 10:07:52 -0400
  • Why Did 3 U.S. Navy Submarines Surface In The Pacific In 2010? China.

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    Submarines are useful for signaling intent.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:00:00 -0400
  • Pervasive Violence in 20th Week of Protests: Hong Kong Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong protesters set off fires and vandalized subway stations, banks and stores as another weekend of demonstrations descended into destruction and violence.Organizers estimated at least 350,000 people took part in an unauthorized march that failed to get approval. Police used tear gas and water cannons to clear demonstrators who lingered to cause damage after the rally ended, and said it accidentally sprayed dyed water at the entrance of a mosque while trying to disperse protesters.Protesters are seeking to keep the pressure on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam after more than four months of demonstrations. Lam was twice shouted down in the city’s legislature last week by opposition lawmakers as she discussed her annual policy address.The protests began in opposition to Lam’s since-scrapped bill allowing extraditions to mainland China and have expanded to include calls for greater democracy and an independent inquiry. The unrest has turned increasingly violent, with frequent clashes between protesters and police.Here’s the latest (all times local):Xiaomi store fire (9 p.m.)A store of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. was set on fire, while the South China Morning Post reported a blaze at a branch of medicine shop Tong Ren Tang, which belongs to a mainland group. Firefighters were also seen putting out fires at an outlet of snack shop Best Mart 360, the paper said.Kowloon Mosque (8:30 p.m.)Police said it was “most unfortunate” that its dispersal operation of protesters caused an “unintended impact” of colored water being sprayed into the compound of Kowloon Mosque. Police contacted the mosque’s religious leader and other Muslim community chiefs to clarify the incident, according to a statement.Taiwan murder suspect (8:20 p.m.)Hong Kong’s government said Chan Tong-kai, a Hong Kong man who’s been accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend during a 2018 Valentine’s Day trip to Taiwan, made the decision to surrender himself to Taipei “out of his own free will.” Chan is currently imprisoned in Hong Kong for money laundering, and is about to be released, according to a statement.“We have conveyed to Taiwan clearly that we will be pleased to provide the necessary and legally feasible assistance to Taiwan,” according to the statement. “Should Taiwan raise any request for evidence in processing Chan’s surrender case, we will positively assist in accordance with our law.”Lam to visit Japan (5 p.m.)Lam will leave for Tokyo on Monday to attend the enthronement ceremony of Emperor Naruhito, according to a statement from her office. She will return Tuesday evening.Two arrested (4:15 p.m.)Police arrested two men in Tai Po for alleged possession of offensive weapons. The suspects are aged 31 and 34, the police said in a briefing. Officers found 42 petrol bombs, materials for explosives and masks, among other things, they said.Water cannon deployed (4 p.m.)A police water cannon sprayed blue-dyed liquid at protesters as it drove down Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare through districts of Kowloon. Fire fighters were seen putting out blazing barricades in streets and fires in subway stations and banks.Protesters continued to try block off roads and hurled petrol bombs as police approached. Mobs vandalized stores in the area. They broke into one in Yau Ma Tei and dumped its merchandise on the floor. At least seven MTR stations were shut in Kowloon.Subway fires (3:15 p.m.)Protesters set fires in at least two subway-station entrances in Kowloon after the march reached its destination. Activists also barricaded roads and occupied carriageways. Police fired numerous rounds of tear gas to clear the crowds of demonstrators.MTR Corp., the city’s rail operator, closed three stations -- Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and East Tsim Sha Tsui -- after attacks on the facilities.March kicks off (1:30 p.m.)Thousands of people poured into the streets of the busy Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district in a march to West Kowloon’s high-speed rail station to mainland China, about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away.Some marchers also defied a law prohibiting face masks as they made their way peacefully through the streets. Shopkeepers and business owners stood outside the iconic Chungking Mansions handing out bottled water to protesters.Police called on the public to leave the area immediately. Protesters are blocking carriageways and are taking part in an unauthorized assembly, police said in a statement.MTR canceled 16 high-speed trains to and from the mainland on Sunday because of signal failure, RTHK reported.The march followed a relatively peaceful day Saturday where the main event was a prayer gathering in Central that drew a couple of thousand people.Man arrested after stabbing (Sunday 6 a.m.)Police said they arrested a 22-year-old man for allegedly stabbing a teenager near a subway station in Tai Po on Saturday.The 19-year-old victim was slashed across the neck and stabbed in the abdomen by a so-called Lennon Tunnel while he was handing out leaflets, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.There was no dispute between the two, Lee, the victim’s friend said, according to RTHK. The attacker said to the victim: it’s you “guys turning Hong Kong into a mess,” RTHK quoted Lee as saying.“The police strongly condemn any acts of violence. Regardless of the motives or background, we will take every case seriously and carry out investigation actively,” the police said in the statement.March ban upheld (2:30 p.m.)Hong Kong protesters lost an appeal against the police ban of their planned march on Sunday through Tsim Sha Tsui on concern about violence, RTHK reported.On Friday night protesters formed human chains citywide, with everyone covering their faces in some way in defiance of the mask ban. People masqueraded as Disney characters, animals and super heroes, but the most popular mask was one of China President Xi Jinping. In Tsim Sha Tsui a long line of protesters linked hands, all wearing a facade of Xi’s smiling face.Lam may reshuffle ExCo (1 p.m.)Lam said she would consider reorganizing the city’s Executive Council, its de facto Cabinet, but would wait until protests had ended.The beleaguered leader of Hong Kong said on an RTHK radio program that she doesn’t “blindly” support the actions of each officer but fully supports the force in enforcing the law. She urged people to wait for a report from Independent Police Complaints Council into the recent clashes, RTHK said. Lam again rejected calls for an independent inquiry into police brutality, the latest coming from Chinese University’s vice-chancellor, Rocky Tuan.Taiwan gets letter (10:45 a.m.)Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed it had received a letter from the Hong Kong police offering assistance in the case of Chan Tong-kai, Central News Agency reported.There is no precedent for the cooperation and the Taiwan bureau will follow up with relevant departments for discussion, CNA reported.Homicide suspect to surrender himself to Taiwan (11:28 p.m.)Hong Kong’s Chief Executive received a letter Friday from Chan Tong-kai, saying that he’d decided to surrender himself to Taiwan, according to a statement on the website of Hong Kong’s government.Chan “requested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to assist him in making the relevant arrangement,” according to the statement.Hong Kong newspaper Sing Tao Daily reported earlier on Friday, citing a person it didn’t identify, that Chan made the decision after consulting with a pastor.\--With assistance from Dominic Lau.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.net;Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Venus Feng in Hong Kong at vfeng7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Stanley James, Shamim AdamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:57:00 -0400
  • Thousands protest against Haiti's president

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    "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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Buttigieg blasts Trump on Syria, says he’d make ‘better' deals

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    Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying he’d make “better” foreign policy deals if he won the White House. Trump has ordered the vast majority of U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw, a move that critics argue abandons Kurdish allies who have fought the Islamic State alongside U.S. forces. “Right now, what is happening is the future [in Syria] is being decided by everybody but the United States ... and we are nowhere because American leadership has been withdrawn,” said Buttigieg, who was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:38:17 -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
  • The Latest: Mayor expects ruined hotel will be demolished

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    The mayor of New Orleans mayor says she expects a partially collapsed hotel in her city will ultimately be demolished. Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a news conference Sunday that officials successfully detonated and toppled two dangerous cranes that had leaned for days over the ruins of the Hard Rock Hotel, which collapsed Oct. 12 while under construction. Three workers died in the partial hotel collapse but only one body was removed.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:28:24 -0400
  • Russia's Putin revokes Geneva convention protocol on war crimes victims

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has revoked an additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions related to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts, a Russian parliamentary website cites a letter from him as saying. The Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention was ratified by the Soviet Union's Supreme Council, or parliament, in 1989. Putin's letter, dated Oct. 16 and addressed to the speaker of lower house of parliament on the "recall of the statement made at the ratification", said an international commission, set up in order to investigate war crimes against civilians, "has effectively failed to carry out its functions since 1991".

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:46:55 -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
  • U.K. serial killers had affair in prison, lawyer claims

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    Notorious U.K. serial killers Rose West and Myra Hindley were lovers in prison, according to one of their former lawyers. West’s ex-attorney Leo Goatley claimed his client fell for the Moors murderer in 1995 after they were both jailed in the hospital wing of Durham prison.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:47:09 -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
  • Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison

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    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
  • 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
  • 'Totally gross': Susan Rice hits back at Trump after he criticizes her Syria policy

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    Former Obama administration official Susan Rice hit back at Trump after he criticized her on Twitter.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:47:44 -0400
  • FACT: Cuba Hosted Russian Spy Planes to Use Against America

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    A forgotten tale of the cold war.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -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
  • U.S. troops cross into Iraq from Syria

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    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

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    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
  • 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 talks up tech prowess in face of US rivalry

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    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
  • 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
  • Haiti's dicey prison conditions made worse by crisis

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    Port-au-Prince (AFP) - With protests rocking the streets, some prison authorities in Haiti have confined inmates to cells that lack showers or toilets, in a country where most detainees are stuck awaiting trial for months or even years. The move is meant to stop protests from breaking out in Haiti's badly overcrowded prisons, but violates the law and risks the health of prisoners, human rights advocates say. "To prevent any kind of riot from the general tension in the country, prison officials decided to keep detainees in their cells without being allowed at least an hour of outdoor time," Marie Rosy Auguste Ducena of the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) told AFP.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 22:15:36 -0400
  • Democrats attempt to block Trump’s struggling golf resort from hosting G7 summit

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    Democrats in the house and the senate have moved to block Donald Trump’s plan to host the 2020 G7 summit at his struggling Florida golf resort.On Thursday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the influential summit between the world’s economic powerhouses would be held at the Trump National Doral Miami on the urging of the president.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:33:52 -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
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