Sign In   |   Sign Up   |   Contact Us

International News

  • The Latest: North Korea increases steps against China virus

    Golocal247.com news

    North Korea said it’s taking “emergency steps” to prevent the spread of a new virus from neighboring China. The paper also says North Korea’s health authorities have “urgently” produced related hygiene documents and distributed them to medial facilities. North Korea hasn’t officially reported any cases of the new coronavirus.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 01:14:12 -0500
  • IS tries to stage comeback amid rising US-Iran tensions

    Golocal247.com news

    The Islamic State group's self-styled “caliphate” across parts of Iraq and Syria seemed largely defeated last year, with the loss of its territory, the killing of its founder in a U.S. raid and an unprecedented crackdown on its social media propaganda machine. American troops in Iraq had to pause their operations against IS for nearly two weeks amid the tensions.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 01:10:25 -0500
  • Bloomberg creates a parallel presidential race. Can he win?

    Golocal247.com news

    When the leading Democratic presidential candidates marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by linking arms and marching through South Carolina's capital, Michael Bloomberg was nowhere near the early primary state. “Mike Bloomberg,” a supporter clarified. While his competitors are hunkered down in the four states with the earliest primaries, Bloomberg is almost everywhere else — a Minnesota farm, a Utah co-working space, an office opening in Maine.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:18:35 -0500
  • Trump to unveil Mideast peace plan amid skepticism

    Golocal247.com news

    President Donald Trump is set to unveil his administration’s much-anticipated Mideast peace plan in the latest American venture to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Odds of it taking shape, though, appear long, given the Palestinians' preemptive rejection of of the plan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's shaky political standing. For both men, the White House summit looks to be a welcome diversion.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:15:45 -0500
  • Iran, photos suggest a US-criticized satellite launch looms

    Golocal247.com news

    Iranian officials and satellite images suggest the Islamic Republic is preparing to a launch a satellite into space after three major failures last year, the latest for a program which the U.S. claims helps Tehran advance its ballistic missile program. Satellite images from San Francisco-based Planet Labs Inc. that have been annotated by experts at Middlebury Institute of International Studies show work at a launchpad at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran's Semnan province. The photos also show more cars and activity at a facility at the spaceport, some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southeast of Iran's capital, Tehran.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:15:37 -0500
  • The Coronavirus Won’t Wreck the Commodities Market

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A rampaging epidemic in the country that consumes about half of the world’s metals has to be bad news for mining stocks, right?Investors are certainly making that bet. The week started with the Bloomberg World Mining Index falling the most in nearly six months, and a six-day losing streak continued Tuesday on expectations that a slowdown in economic activity will cut China’s voracious appetite for commodities.Australian shares of Rio Tinto Group fell as much as 5.9% when trading resumed after a public holiday Monday, on track for their biggest slide in three-and-a-half years. Those of iron-ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. slumped as much as 8.7% in early trading.That looks overdone. In the grip of an epidemic, it can feel like the sky is falling — but most such viruses die down in a matter of months, and people shouldn’t underestimate how much industrial stimulus Beijing will inject in the economy to keep growth on-target in the aftermath.Consider Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which swept through southern China and east Asia in the early months of 2003. Like most coronaviruses — and indeed, most infections of the nose and throat, such as influenza — it exhibited a pronounced winter seasonality, with infections beginning in November and dropping rapidly through April, before approaching zero in June.Even Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a coronavirus associated with parts of the world where winter weather is less extreme, showed a relatively similar pattern, with a peak in the early months of the year.Combined with this natural decline is the fact that, despite early surveillance and response lapses, China and other countries are already employing extreme measures to halt the spread. While quarantining of the entire city of Wuhan may not be sufficient — given the disease appears to have spread unchecked until it was too late — that probably won't be the last attempt to isolate the virus. China’s government, property developers and businesses are likely to implement further measures such as canceling public events and closing commercial and retail spaces.If things play out this way, it’s not impossible that the epidemic could start to subside in April, just as China’s industrial machine is revving up from its normal winter slumber. Cold weather and the long shadow of the Lunar New Year holiday typically lead to very low levels of industrial activity in January and February, before picking up to full speed between March and June.In the five years through 2018, for instance, daily pig iron production in March was about 7.4% higher on average than it was in January. Cement output ramps up even more rapidly, as warming weather makes it possible to mix concrete on building sites again: While January and February figures are often too weak to be reported by China’s statistical agency, May output over the same period averaged about 23% above the levels just two months earlier. That cycle could be particularly pronounced this year. China’s consumers are staying home during what’s traditionally been high season for shopping, dining, seeing films or traveling. A 10% fall in services consumption could cut gross domestic product growth by about 1.2 percentage points, according to S&P Global Ratings.That could, in theory, put a serious dent in output over the full year, which economists already expect to fall below the government’s target of “about 6%.” It might also violate a long-term pledge to double the country’s GDP by 2020, delivered on the eve of Xi Jinping’s accession to the Communist Party's highest leadership in 2012.Beijing is unlikely to take that sort of blow lying down. Just recall the responses to the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2008 financial crisis, and the overzealous economic rebalancing toward consumption in 2015. As on those occasions, fixed-asset investment (particularly by state-owned companies) is likely to surge to fuel fresh industrial activity. China’s yearlong credit diet — no less serious, in its way, than the one that preceded the 2016 boom — will be loosened to inject some fresh life into a virus-hit economy.That’s likely to further defer China’s shift to an economy more dependent on consumption and less on mounting debt and carbon emissions — but it will also be bullish, not bearish, for commodities. China’s coal imports in the 12 months through June 2017 were nearly a third higher than in the preceding year; copper rose 12%, oil by 13% and iron ore by 7.7%.As the virus dies down, don’t be surprised to see that pattern play out one more time. What exactly is it about a country vowing to build two hospitals in a fortnight that makes investors think industrial commodities are heading for the sick bay?To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at dfickling@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:10:00 -0500
  • The Coronavirus Won’t Wreck the Commodities Market

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A rampaging epidemic in the country that consumes about half of the world’s metals has to be bad news for mining stocks, right?Investors are certainly making that bet. The week started with the Bloomberg World Mining Index falling the most in nearly six months, and a six-day losing streak continued Tuesday on expectations that a slowdown in economic activity will cut China’s voracious appetite for commodities.Australian shares of Rio Tinto Group fell as much as 5.9% when trading resumed after a public holiday Monday, on track for their biggest slide in three-and-a-half years. Those of iron-ore producer Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. slumped as much as 8.7% in early trading.That looks overdone. In the grip of an epidemic, it can feel like the sky is falling — but most such viruses die down in a matter of months, and people shouldn’t underestimate how much industrial stimulus Beijing will inject in the economy to keep growth on-target in the aftermath.Consider Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which swept through southern China and east Asia in the early months of 2003. Like most coronaviruses — and indeed, most infections of the nose and throat, such as influenza — it exhibited a pronounced winter seasonality, with infections beginning in November and dropping rapidly through April, before approaching zero in June.Even Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a coronavirus associated with parts of the world where winter weather is less extreme, showed a relatively similar pattern, with a peak in the early months of the year.Combined with this natural decline is the fact that, despite early surveillance and response lapses, China and other countries are already employing extreme measures to halt the spread. While quarantining of the entire city of Wuhan may not be sufficient — given the disease appears to have spread unchecked until it was too late — that probably won't be the last attempt to isolate the virus. China’s government, property developers and businesses are likely to implement further measures such as canceling public events and closing commercial and retail spaces.If things play out this way, it’s not impossible that the epidemic could start to subside in April, just as China’s industrial machine is revving up from its normal winter slumber. Cold weather and the long shadow of the Lunar New Year holiday typically lead to very low levels of industrial activity in January and February, before picking up to full speed between March and June.In the five years through 2018, for instance, daily pig iron production in March was about 7.4% higher on average than it was in January. Cement output ramps up even more rapidly, as warming weather makes it possible to mix concrete on building sites again: While January and February figures are often too weak to be reported by China’s statistical agency, May output over the same period averaged about 23% above the levels just two months earlier. That cycle could be particularly pronounced this year. China’s consumers are staying home during what’s traditionally been high season for shopping, dining, seeing films or traveling. A 10% fall in services consumption could cut gross domestic product growth by about 1.2 percentage points, according to S&P Global Ratings.That could, in theory, put a serious dent in output over the full year, which economists already expect to fall below the government’s target of “about 6%.” It might also violate a long-term pledge to double the country’s GDP by 2020, delivered on the eve of Xi Jinping’s accession to the Communist Party's highest leadership in 2012.Beijing is unlikely to take that sort of blow lying down. Just recall the responses to the 2003 SARS outbreak, the 2008 financial crisis, and the overzealous economic rebalancing toward consumption in 2015. As on those occasions, fixed-asset investment (particularly by state-owned companies) is likely to surge to fuel fresh industrial activity. China’s yearlong credit diet — no less serious, in its way, than the one that preceded the 2016 boom — will be loosened to inject some fresh life into a virus-hit economy.That’s likely to further defer China’s shift to an economy more dependent on consumption and less on mounting debt and carbon emissions — but it will also be bullish, not bearish, for commodities. China’s coal imports in the 12 months through June 2017 were nearly a third higher than in the preceding year; copper rose 12%, oil by 13% and iron ore by 7.7%.As the virus dies down, don’t be surprised to see that pattern play out one more time. What exactly is it about a country vowing to build two hospitals in a fortnight that makes investors think industrial commodities are heading for the sick bay?To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at dfickling@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:10:00 -0500
  • The WTO Must Reform or Die

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Markets) -- America’s longest-serving secretary of state, Cordell Hull, is best known for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in establishing the United Nations at the end of World War II. Today, 75 years later, another important piece of his legacy looks increasingly at risk as President Donald Trump realigns the U.S.’s relationships across the globe.Hull helped create the modern global trading system that eventually led to the advent of the World Trade Organization in 1995. He viewed tariff battles as a threat to international peace and advocated for unconditional trade liberalization among nations. Indeed, he considered barriers to the exchange of goods and unfair economic competition as synonymous with war.Hull’s vision is running aground on the shores of Lake Geneva at the WTO’s headquarters in Switzerland. Under Trump, the U.S. is weaponizing tariffs and has effectively neutralized the organization’s dispute-settlement function at the very moment when global trade arbitration is needed most.Some economic historians fear that the new chapter of rising protectionism has led to an existential moment for the WTO. “Cordell Hull would be fretting over the state of the debate,” says Douglas Irwin, an economist at Dartmouth College whose book, Free Trade Under Fire, is being updated for 2020. “He would be very concerned about the deterioration of the WTO system, as he worked hard to replace a power-politics, law-of-the-jungle approach to trade in the 1930s with the rule-of-law approach that was capstoned in his time.” Hull’s beliefs helped pave the way for Western nations to sign the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, in 1947. The accord sought to lower import duties and was an unparalleled success. Setting the rules for world trade, it reduced average tariff levels among its participants to 5%, from more than 20%, over its lifetime.Just as the UN replaced the League of Nations after it failed to prevent war, the international trading system has been forced to morph into something else after losing its influence. By the end of the 1980s, GATT was outmoded and slipping into irrelevance.President Ronald Reagan’s administration fomented a crisis by hammering the U.S.’s trade partners with unilateral tariffs and stonewalling them when they pursued justice via GATT’s dispute-settlement system. In the 1990s the Clinton administration pivoted and agreed to shelve some of the country’s unilateral tools in return for new rules to govern trade in services and intellectual property. The 120-plus GATT member nations also agreed to create a more muscular dispute-settlement system to enforce those rules, and the deal was packaged into a comprehensive agreement called the WTO.“Most businesses want the WTO process to work. A system of rules for international trade with the U.S. both abiding by and benefiting from those rules is a good thing”Today the Trump administration is pursuing a Reaganesque playbook that’s disrupting international trade flows and blunting the WTO’s power to arbitrate disputes. The rebirth of American unilateralism has spurred a rise in global trade restrictions, which now cover more than $700 billion worth of imports. That, in turn, has reduced global trade growth projections to the lowest level since the financial crisis a decade ago.At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Trump told reporters that he and WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo had discussed a “very dramatic” change in the WTO’s future. “We’re talking about a whole new structure for the deal or we’ll have to do something,” Trump said, without elaborating on details.To prevent a return to the last century’s era of power politics, some observers see an opportunity to reform the WTO for the 21st century. Meanwhile, this question remains: Will the U.S.’s maximum­-pressure approach to trade result in the organization’s reinvention or obsolescence?QuickTake: What’s Next for Trade Referee After Sabotage by U.S.?Over the coming year, governments have a decision to make. Will they try to work with Washington to converge on a new set of trade rules for the 21st century? Or will they, on their own, try to patch together a temporary fix while the U.S. brandishes trade penalties at allies and foes alike rather than pursuing liberalization through the WTO?“It may be that we are in another moment where the rest of the world says that going down this road threatens economic growth because of the chaos and the uncertainty that result from not having these bedrock rules to rely on,” says Jennifer Hillman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The two most important functions of the WTO are negotiations, which must be adopted by a consensus among all members, and dispute settlement, which forces nations to comply with WTO rules or face retaliation. The WTO is like a bicycle whose two wheels are represented by the organization’s negotiating and dispute-settlement functions. The bicycle is able to operate smoothly with minimal effort as long as the two wheels are working properly. “If we take away one of those wheels, however, and rely solely on the dispute-settlement system, things suddenly get quite wobbly,” Harvard lecturer Craig VanGrasstek wrote in his 2019 book, Trade and American Leadership: The Paradoxes of Power and Wealth From Alexander Hamilton to Donald Trump.A smoothly functioning WTO provides businesses with the certainty and predictability they need to invest and operate abroad. That, in turn, can foster global economic growth and the political integration of large and small economies. Since the organization was born, the volume of global trade has almost tripled, while its value has almost quadrupled.“Most businesses want the WTO process to work,” says Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington. “A system of rules for international trade with the U.S. both abiding by and benefiting from those rules is a good thing.”The stability of the WTO was dealt a major blow last year when the U.S. paralyzed the dispute-settlement system after blocking new appointments to the seven-member panel that hears appeals. A quasi-supreme court for trade, it was unable to issue any judgments on future cases as of Dec. 11 because there weren’t enough active members.Although WTO members can still receive an initial ruling on a dispute, any party can now appeal the decisions into legal limbo. As a result, governments are essentially free to impose unilateral measures on their trade partners without fear of WTO-sanctioned retaliation.Trump’s gripe is that the WTO evolved into a legal tool for nations to exert pressure on the U.S., or what his top trade official called a “litigation-centered organization” two years ago. “Too often members seem to believe they can gain concessions through lawsuits that they could never get at the negotiating table,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told attendees at the WTO’s 11th ministerial conference in 2017.Indeed, the organization has a poor record of negotiating deals among its members. Nations have concluded only two multilateral trade agreements since 1995, and the most recent round of trade talks—the Doha development agenda—failed spectacularly. The WTO has fallen behind the massive shifts that have taken place in the global economy, such as the proliferation of digital trade and China’s rise. Ending China’s state-led mercantilist approach to trade and investment policy is a key American objective at the WTO. The U.S. argues that the Chinese system of governance isn’t compatible with WTO norms. What’s more, it was a mistake to let China into the organization because Beijing failed to adopt an open, market-oriented trade regime, the U.S. says.Specifically, the Trump administration has alleged that Beijing steals American intellectual property and deploys massive state subsidies that created a glut of cheap steel and aluminum. The U.S. has also sought to curb China’s ability to benefit from WTO preferences intended for the world’s poorest nations.Trump reiterated those complaints in Davos. “Our country hasn’t been treated fairly,” he said. “China is viewed as a developing nation. India is viewed as a developing nation. We’re not viewed as a developing nation. As far as I’m concerned, we’re a developing nation, too.”Lighthizer and Trump argue that China’s WTO status as a developing country—which it’s had since it joined in 2001—provides it with unfair advantages including longer implementation periods for tariff cuts. But China, now the world’s second-largest economy, has resisted efforts to rescind special privileges that it argues were hard-won concessions obtained during its entry into the organization.“Our country is facing various challenges, difficulties, and gaps in achieving a balanced and adequate development,” China’s ambassador to the WTO, Zhang Xiangchen, said during a meeting in October. “So we will not make commitments beyond our capabilities, nor will we give up our legitimate and institutional rights as a developing member.”Defending the U.S.’s sovereignty over trade has been a decades-long crusade for Lighthizer, who first honed his protectionist tendencies as a deputy trade representative in the Reagan administration. Following his initial stint in public service, Lighthizer jumped to the private sector, where he defended clients including U.S. steel companies in WTO disputes. He even interviewed in 2003 to be a member of the organization’s Appellate Body, but his nomination was rejected. Now, Lighthizer is waging a broad campaign of deploying tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign goods using the sharpest weapons in America’s trade arsenal.His strategy is already producing limited results. In January the U.S. forged a “phase one” trade agreement with China to purchase more American goods and curb Chinese policies that force U.S. companies to give up their technology secrets. In addition the Trump administration’s decision to impose national security tariffs on global steel and aluminum imports has resulted in trade concessions from America’s strategic allies such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea.On one hand, the U.S. has drawn attention to the WTO and provoked nations to try to reform it. There’s broad agreement the institution has problems, and even insiders acknowledge there’s validity to the Trump administration’s concerns with the appeals process. “Without this sense of crisis, there would probably be an accommodation and members would not be so very inclined to change things and to change the system,” says the WTO’s Azevêdo.On the other hand, most WTO member nations disagree with the Trump administration’s strategy of shutting down the Appellate Body, fearing the move will lead to the return of a more dangerous era in trade relations, where economic might equals right. “The way to restore the balance is to strengthen the negotiating function and strengthen the executive function,” says Hillman, who was previously an Appellate Body member. “Instead, the U.S. has decided to put down the judiciary function. To me that is the absolute wrong way to go.”It’s too soon to say whether the U.S.’s unilateralism can help forge a new mandate for the global trading system as it did 25 years ago. But it’s clear that its support for multilateralism is waning in a way that would vex Cordell Hull.Baschuk covers the WTO in Geneva.  To contact the author of this story: Bryce Baschuk in Geneva at bbaschuk2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stryker McGuire at smcguire12@bloomberg.net, Brendan MurrayRodney JeffersonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:01:37 -0500
  • Macron Snub Won’t Deter Balkan Nation’s EU Prep, New Leader Says

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- In a Balkan country so divided and dysfunctional it needed 14 months to form a government after elections, there’s one point of unity among its feuding factions: the desire to join the European Union.That clarifies priorities for Zoran Tegeltija, the head of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s new cabinet. He must put the former Yugoslav republic back on track toward EU entry even as the bloc balks at taking in new members.“If there’s one issue in Bosnia that hasn’t been politicized or divisive along ethnic lines, it’s EU accession,” Tegeltija, the president of Bosnia’s council of ministers, said in an interview last week. “By the end of 2020, I believe Bosnia will meet its commitments to get candidate status.”Bosnia is one of only two countries left in south-east Europe that hasn’t achieved candidate status. Kosovo is the other. While almost 77% of Bosnia’s 3.5 million people want to join, the hurdles they face are substantial.French President Emmanuel Macron vetoed opening negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, saying the EU needed to reconfigure its rules for applicants. The rejection sent ripples through Europe’s most volatile corner, where hopes for stability and prosperity are pinned on integrating with the continent’s richer West.None more so than in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where a fragile calm hinges on a 1995 peace pact. It shares power between Muslims, Serbs and Croats, dividing the country into two autonomous areas linked by a weak central administration. Economic output per capita is about a third of that in the EU.Bosnia’s Serb part, Republika Srpska, is dominated by leader Milorad Dodik, who has threatened to secede if the Muslim majority keeps pressing for more centralized governance. Conflicting views over possible membership in NATO heightened the tensions last year and hampered efforts to form a government.Tegeltija, a member of Dodik’s party, said he was ready to increase cooperation “to a much higher level” with the military alliance, but ruled out plans to join. Most Serbs don’t want membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after it bombed them twice in the 1990s wars in Bosnia and in Kosovo.‘Never Complete’Any push to streamline decision-making in Bosnia could make things worse, Tegeltija said. Serbs and Croats want to keep what autonomy they have under the Dayton agreement, which ended fighting that killed more than 100,000 people in the country and forced millions from their homes.“Any attempt for centralization would only strengthen the forces that advocate decentralization,” said Tegeltija. Fixing Bosnia can be done through the reform process that’s required to join the EU, he said.On the EU side, some officials are trying to overcome Macron’s opposition. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently sought to rekindle accession hopes for the western Balkans. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she wants to reach a deal with the French leader to start talks with Albania and North Macedonia before a March 26 summit.“If positive moves are made toward Albania and North Macedonia, it would be a good signal that the EU is ready to go further,” said Tegeltija. “The EU will never be complete without all the states in the western Balkans.”To contact the reporter on this story: Misha Savic in Belgrade at msavic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Irina Vilcu at isavu@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey, Andrew LangleyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0500
  • Report: Bolton writes in book he was worried Trump did favors for autocratic leaders

    Golocal247.com news

    Former National Security Adviser John Bolton writes in his forthcoming book that last year, he privately shared with Attorney General William Barr that he was worried President Trump was doing favors for autocratic leaders, The New York Times reports. People familiar with the unpublished manuscript told the Times that Bolton also says Barr told him the Justice Department was investigating two companies in China and Turkey, and he had his own concerns that Trump hinted to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping that he had influence over these inquiries.Barr reportedly brought up a conversation Trump had with Xi about ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications firm. In 2017, the company agreed to plead guilty and pay fines for violating U.S. sanctions on doing business with Iran and North Korea. ZTE was prohibited from buying American products for seven years, which hurt the company, but in 2018, Trump ignored objections from his advisers and GOP lawmakers and lifted the ban.On Sunday, the Times reported that Bolton writes in his book that Trump said he wanted to withhold military assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into domestic political rivals. This is central to the impeachment charges against Trump, and a claim he has denied.More stories from theweek.com Mike Pompeo is a disgrace MSNBC's Ari Melber: 'We just watched Ken Starr punch himself in the face' All the president's turncoats

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 22:37:00 -0500
  • China reports 25 more virus deaths as US prepares evacuation

    Golocal247.com news

    China on Tuesday reported 25 more deaths from a new viral disease, raising the total to at least 106, as the U.S. government prepared to fly Americans out of the city at the center of the outbreak. Health authorities in Hubei province, where the coronavirus first was detected in in December, reported 24 deaths and those in Beijing reported the Chinese capital’s first fatality. The U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, where authorities cut off most access Jan. 22 in an effort to contain the disease, was preparing to fly its diplomats and some other Americans out of the city.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 20:42:19 -0500
  • Trial highlights: Bolton takes center stage from afar

    Golocal247.com news

    Former national security adviser John Bolton took center stage at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial even though he was nowhere near the Capitol. Bolton's claims in a forthcoming book — that Trump told him he wanted to withhold security aid from Ukraine until it launched investigations into political rival Joe Biden — ramped up pressure on GOP senators to call him to testify. Trump's legal team has repeatedly insisted there was no linkage, and Trump tweeted on Monday that he never told Bolton such a thing.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:52:11 -0500
  • Sahel violence having devastating impact on children: UN

    Golocal247.com news

    Hundreds of children in the Sahel were killed, maimed or forcibly separated from their parents last year, the United Nations said Tuesday, as a jihadist conflict rages across the region. In Mali alone, 277 children were killed or maimed during the first nine months of 2019, the UN children's agency UNICEF said in a report, more than double the number in the year before. Despite support from French and UN troops, Mali has been struggling to quell an Islamist insurgency that erupted in the north in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:22:46 -0500
  • UK's no-deal Brexit ad blitz did not leave Britain better prepared - watchdog

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to launch one of the biggest advertising campaigns since World War Two to get Britain ready for a no-deal Brexit was largely ineffective, according to a report by the government's spending watchdog. The "Get Ready for Brexit" campaign stated that the United Kingdom would be leaving the EU on Oct. 31 last year and urged the public to visit a new website to check what they needed to do to prepare for a no-deal exit. In the end, parliament voted to extend the exit date to the end of this month and Johnson went on to strike a divorce agreement with the bloc.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:01:00 -0500
  • Boris Johnson Walks Huawei Tightrope as U.K. Sets Up Clash With Trump

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- It’s the kind of balancing act Britain may have to get used to as the country forges its way in the world after leaving the European Union.Three days before Brexit becomes reality after years of infighting, the government in London is trying to reconcile an increasingly truculent U.S. with the demands of the domestic market in the debate over whether Huawei Technologies Co. should be involved in upgrading telecom networks. The U.S. has campaigned for a ban on the Chinese giant citing security concerns.On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is set to allow the company to build fifth-generation wireless networks. Huawei is certain to be banned from core parts of the network after Digital and Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan earlier this month vowed to keep the company out of “critical national infrastructure.” The U.K. could also impose stricter rules to limit telecom companies’ reliance on any one vendor to curb Huawei’s market influence.While the decision will end months of political wrangling, it remains fraught with peril for Johnson as he prepares to end 47 years of EU membership for the U.K. A key pillar of his vision for a future outside the world’s richest single market is a trade deal with the U.S. and the Huawei license risks setting up a clash with President Donald Trump.Johnson discussed Huawei in a phone call with Trump on Friday, though his remarks on Monday suggested he wasn’t swayed by the push for a total ban. The prime minister said the U.K. could have the best of both worlds: retaining access to the best technology while protecting the data of cunsumers. British security services deem the risks manageable.“We are going to come up with a solution that enables us to achieve both those objectives and that’s the way forward,” Johnson said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have technological progress here in the U.K. but also protect our security interests and protect our key partnerships with other security powers around the world.”Data SovereigntyUnder the decision, due to be announced after a meeting of the National Security Council, British phone carriers like BT Group Plc are likely to be permitted to buy antennas for 5G networks from the Shenzhen-based vendor.That would also appease the Chinese side. The networks that Huawei would be allowed to supply are the most lucrative parts of the 5G roll-out. It would also mean the U.K. can avoid delaying the advent of ultra-fast internet that Johnson pledged in last month’s general election.Huawei has been a key supplier to the U.K. and many other European phone networks for over a decade. The decision by Johnson will be closely watched particularly in Germany and Scandinavia where governments are also weighing the pros and cons of giving the green light to the company.The timing of the announcement, though, is particularly sensitive because U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is due to visit later this week. On Sunday, he re-tweeted an op-ed on Huawei by Tom Tugendhat, an influential Conservative backbench Member of Parliament who opposes the Chinese company’s involvement in British networks.“The U.K. has a momentous decision ahead on 5G,” Pompeo tweeted. “British MP Tom Tugendhat gets it right: ‘The truth is that only nations able to protect their data will be sovereign.’”Brexit DividendThe U.K. is due to leave the EU on Friday and securing a trade deal with the U.S. has been hailed by Johnson as one of the great prizes of Brexit. But there’s friction on several fronts between the two long-time allies. They’ve also clashed over British plans for a digital tax on U.S. technology giants and the U.S. refusal to extradite the wife of an American diplomat over her involvement in a fatal car crash in the U.K.As well as trade, there’s also the issue of sharing intelligence. American officials have said they may be wary of doing so with countries that use Huawei’s equipment because the kit may be used to facilitate Chinese espionage. They argue 5G technology, which will enable automated cities, vehicles and factories, creates new vulnerabilities and the safest route is to ban the Chinese supplier completely.Huawei has always denied it poses a security risk. Yet within the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing partnership, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have effectively banned Huawei, while Canada has yet to make a decision.Tugendhat, the British lawmaker, led domestic calls for the U.K. to shun Huawei after posing an “urgent question” to Digital Minister Matt Warman on Monday. “Any decision that is made will nest a dragon into our critical national infrastructure or not,” Tugendhat told the House of Commons. “This is a decision that we will live with for the next 10, 15 or 20 years.”He was backed by other members of Johnson’s Conservatives. Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent Brexit supporter, said the U.K. was in a cyber war with China and urging ministers to “reject Huawei immediately.”No AlternativeHuawei has roughly a third of the U.K. telecom equipment market. Across Europe, its key competitors are Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj. Johnson suggested earlier this month that the U.S. had failed to indicate a credible alternative supplier that would allow Britain to access “the best possible technology.”Warman on Monday was keen to show that the government wants to reduce Britain’s reliance on the Chinese company. “There are alternatives to Huawei, and we would of course seek to use them as much as possible,” he told parliament.Under Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, the National Security Council had concluded Huawei could be allowed to operate in parts of the nation’s network. The finding was leaked in April, and an inquiry into the breach ended in the sacking of a cabinet minister.That, along with a 2019 Conservative leadership contest after May resigned, last month’s election and the endless pressure of Brexit negotiations, delayed the final decision. The consequences may yet still play out.\--With assistance from Rebecca Penty.To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Seal in London at tseal@bloomberg.net;Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, ;Flavia Krause-Jackson at fjackson@bloomberg.net, Rodney JeffersonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:00:00 -0500
  • This Is How A U.S. Iran War Would Reshape The Middle East

    Golocal247.com news

    Iran has ties to militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:00:00 -0500
  • Trump defense counsel Ken Starr says impeachment is 'hell'

    Golocal247.com news

    Impeachment, he said, “is hell.” A measure of "last resort.” A bad habit to be kicked. With that, Ken Starr, the man whose years-long probe led to the impeachment of the 42nd president, stood before senators on Monday and delivered a nearly hour-long argument against the ouster of the 45th. Starr spoke to the senators in a modulated tone, flicking at the Pentagon Papers, Richard Nixon’s crimes, the Iran-Contra scandal and, yes, the Clinton impeachment in a presentation that had echoes of a preacher extolling the virtues of moderation and expressing anguish that impeachment has become weaponized.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:29:50 -0500
  • GOP challenger LaTurner jabs Watkins on Middle East vote

    The Kansas Republican challenging first-term Rep. Steve Watkins in the party's August congressional primary has returned from a trip to Israel and is escalating his opposition to Watkins' position on Israeli settlements. The Kansas City Star reports that Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner is attempting to draw a clear contrast between him and Watkins on Middle East policy headed into the state's Republican convention on Friday and Saturday.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 17:20:10 -0500
  • Fighting sharply rises in Yemen, endangering peace efforts

    Golocal247.com news

    A drastic escalation in fighting between the Saudi-led military coalition and Houthi rebels in Yemen has killed and wounded hundreds of people over the past week, officials and tribal leaders said Monday. The U.S.-backed Arab coalition battling to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized government stepped up airstrikes on rebel targets northeast of the capital, Sanaa, following a monthslong lull, while Houthis shelled government-held areas. The sudden spike in violence across long-stalemated front lines threatened to exacerbate the five-year conflict and complicate indirect peace talks between Saudi Arabia and the Iran-backed rebels.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 15:00:28 -0500
  • Recording Shows That the Swamp Has Not Been Drained

    Golocal247.com news

    WASHINGTON -- It became such a central slogan of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign that at rallies his supporters would chant the three words representing his pledge to take on big donors and special interests: "Drain the swamp."But as President Donald Trump ramps up his 2020 reelection bid, it is clear that he has tolerated if not fostered a swamp of his own in Washington, granting up-close access to deep-pocketed supporters and interest groups willing to write six- and seven-figure checks to his political operation. Some have used the opportunity to plead their cases directly to him.The latest evidence came over the weekend, with the release of a secret recording of an April 2018 dinner for major donors and prospective donors to a super PAC supporting Trump.While news of the recording primarily focused on Trump's call for the removal of Marie L. Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine after a donor claimed she had disparaged the president, the recording revealed that Trump engaged in policy discussions with many other donors pushing their own agendas.There was the New York real estate developer whose company's project in South Korea was proposed to Trump as a possible site for his summit with Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea.There was the Canadian steel magnate who pushed the president to further limit steel imports to the United States, and whose companies donated $1.75 million to the super PAC.Other attendees discussed government policies that could benefit their businesses, including building a highway for self-driving trucks and regulations that would help make trucks powered by gas compressors to be more competitive with electric-powered vehicles.The recording is a glimpse into a broader pattern in which the administration appointed industry lobbyists to key policymaking jobs, heeded the deregulatory wishes of big corporations and granted regular access to donors and influential political supporters. Some of the policies sought by the donors at the 2018 dinner have been subsequently introduced in Congress; it is unclear in those cases whether the president or the White House intervened.In other cases, Trump has directly championed the businesses of some of his biggest donors, as he did in the weeks after his inauguration when he reportedly discussed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan an effort by the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to build a casino there.Trump's assiduous courtship of major donors closely mirrors behavior for which he chastised his opponents in 2016, when he cast himself as a billionaire whose ability to finance his own campaign would ensure that he was not beholden to financial backers.In the months after starting his presidential campaign, Trump branded his Republican rivals, as well as his eventual Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, as "puppets" of major donors who funded their campaigns and supportive super PACs.In one characteristic broadside at his rivals in late 2015, he assailed Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and Sen. Marco Rubio, also of Florida, both of whom were seeking the Republican nomination at the time, for their embrace of super PACs funded by major donors."And you look at Hillary -- let's go to the other side -- they have super PACs, where they control the candidate just like you control a puppet," Trump said. "We don't want anybody to form super PACs for me. We sent legal notices: 'Please give all the money back.' We don't want it."It was not long before Trump reversed himself.His campaign began aggressively courting donations to supplement the personal money he was spending on his 2016 bid, and his team eventually blessed the formation of a super PAC that solicited large checks from major donors to air ads attacking Clinton.Once elected, Trump's team signaled that he did not intend to spend his own money on his reelection. His allies formed a pair of political groups using variations of the name America First that could accept unlimited donations. He began appearing at events for donors, the most generous of whom were invited to the White House for briefings with top administration officials.He has attended many donor gatherings and fundraisers have been held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, including the dinner that was the subject of the recording released over the weekend. Held in a private suite on April 30, 2018, it was for donors and prospective donors to America First Action, a super PAC that has raised nearly $50 million to support Trump and allied candidates.The recording, which includes video at times, shows Trump entering the suite and posing for some photographs before joining donors in a dining room with 16 plush chairs around an ornately set table accented with rose centerpieces.Trump updated the donors on some of the most pressing issues facing his administration, including its ongoing negotiations with China over trade and North Korea over nuclear weapons. He seemed to encourage the donors to share their concerns.Trump mentioned to the donors that his administration had selected a date and a location for his first meeting with Kim, which would be held in Singapore in the weeks after the dinner. One of the dinner attendees suggested a different site for the summit: a so-called smart development outside Seoul, South Korea, called Songdo, featuring a convention center, apartments and a golf course designed by the golfer Jack Nicklaus.A leading stakeholder in the development was a company run by Stanley C. Gale, a donor to Republican campaigns and committees who attended the dinner, according to people familiar with the event. It was also attended by the golfer's grandson and namesake, Jack Nicklaus III, who works for Gale's company, according to a LinkedIn profile. Gale did not respond to a request for comment.During the discussion, Trump told the guests, "You know that Kim Jong Un is a great golfer." His remark prompted laughter and led another guest to suggest that Kim's scores were recorded as all holes-in-one in his authoritarian country.Another guest was Barry Zekelman, a Canadian citizen who owned a U.S.-based steel-tube manufacturing company that donated $1.75 million to America First Action, avoiding running afoul of a ban on foreign donations in American politics. He used the dinner to push the president on two challenges facing his company: cheap steel tube imports from Asia and new federal rules that made it harder to find truck drivers.He urged Trump to go further in his effort to limit steel imports to the United States and questioned the rules intended to prevent fatal truck accidents by using electronic monitoring systems to limit the hours drivers could be on the road."Say someone is half an hour from home on their long-haul truck -- they literally have to pull over on the side of the road and stop," Zekelman said. "They can't go home."Trump did not seem to be aware of the new federal rules that required those monitoring systems."They have a method that you shut down a truck?" Trump said, after Zekelman questioned the effect the new rules had on his ability to move the steel pipe he manufactured. "Wow."Since that dinner, legislation has been introduced in the House with the cosponsorship of 12 Republicans, including the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, to allow smaller trucking companies to get exemptions from the rule.Legislation has also been introduced to help natural gas vehicles compete with electric ones. It was applauded by an Ohio company that makes gas compressors, Ariel Corp. One of its executives, Thomas Rastin, was on the invitation list for the April dinner. He and a woman resembling his wife, Karen Buchwald Wright, who owns Ariel Corp., are briefly visible in the video of the event. Together, the couple have donated a combined $875,000 to America First Action. He did not respond to questions about whether he was the voice on the recording urging the president to take steps to help the industry.Another invitee was Wayne Hoovestol, who owns trucking companies in the Midwest, including one that works with the U.S. Postal Service. On the recording, a male voice says he runs a company that does business with the Postal Service and urges Trump to consider supporting the construction of a 500-mile section of highway to be used exclusively by self-driving trucks.Paying truck drivers, the voice said, was one of his company's biggest costs."All the technology is there, right now," he said. "It is absolutely safe."A limited liability company that shared an address and personnel with one of Hoovestol's companies donated $250,000 to America First Action on the day of the dinner.Hoovestol did not respond to a request for comment.The recording was made by a dinner attendee, Igor Fruman, and was released by the lawyer for another, Lev Parnas, an associate of Fruman.The two, both Soviet-born American businessmen, would go on to play central roles in the pressure campaign against Ukraine that led to Trump's impeachment.During the dinner, Parnas and Fruman discussed with Trump a natural gas venture they were pursuing in Ukraine. Parnas also asked the president to consider changing banking regulations to aid another business venture they would soon pursue: a plan to win marijuana retail licenses in Nevada and elsewhere.The month after the dinner, they donated $325,000 to America First Action through Global Energy Producers, a company they had recently formed to pursue energy deals.The men have since been indicted on campaign finance charges related to their business ventures and have pleaded not guilty.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:47:28 -0500
  • Bolton's Account Upends Trump's Denials, but Will It Upend Trump?

    Golocal247.com news

    WASHINGTON -- In another time, in another Washington, this might be the moment that changed the trajectory of the presidency. A former national security adviser confirms that the president, despite his denials, conditioned security aid to a war-torn ally on its cooperation against his domestic rivals, the issue at the heart of his ongoing impeachment trial.At first glance, at least, John Bolton's account of President Donald Trump's private remarks sounds like an echo of the so-called smoking gun tape that proved that President Richard M. Nixon really had orchestrated the Watergate cover-up and ultimately forced him from office. But this is Trump's era and Trump's Washington, and the old rules do not always apply.The reality show star who was elected president even after he was captured on an "Access Hollywood" tape boasting about sexual assault has gone on to survive one revelation after another in the three years since, proving more durable than any national politician in modern American history. So will this be the turning point or just one more disclosure that validates his critics without changing other minds? Will it be another smoking gun or another "Access Hollywood"?The news of Bolton's account in an unpublished book, first reported by The New York Times, could hardly come at a worse time for Trump, just as his lawyers have opened his defense on the Senate floor and days before the senators will vote on whether to call witnesses like Bolton. Until now, Trump seemed assured not only of acquittal but appeared likely to fend off the testimony of any more witnesses.But the pressure on the handful of Republican senators who had been wavering on calling witnesses will now increase exponentially and the president's defense has suddenly been thrown into disarray. When Trump's lawyers address the Senate on Monday afternoon, they will face the challenge of explaining how his own former top aide says the president did exactly what they say he did not do -- or trying to ignore it altogether.What's perhaps even more shocking is that the White House knew what Bolton had to say at least as far back as Dec. 30, when he sent his manuscript to the National Security Council for standard prepublication review to ensure that no classified information would be released, yet continued to promote a completely opposite narrative.In his book, Bolton writes that Trump told him in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine until its government helped with investigations into Democrats including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden -- exactly what Trump is on trial for.Trump and his defenders quickly sought to undercut Bolton by dismissing him as a disgruntled former employee seeking to take revenge and sell books. Bolton abruptly left the White House in September after months of tension with the president over his policies toward North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan and Ukraine; the president insisted he fired him while Bolton insisted he resigned.Starting early Monday morning, hours after the Times' report on Bolton's book, Trump firing off more than a half-dozen messages on Twitter rebutting his former adviser's account and attacking him as untrustworthy."I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens," the president wrote. "In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book."He also reposted messages from supporters assailing Bolton and comparing him to others the president viewed as disloyal like James Comey, the FBI director he fired in 2017. "Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results," read one of the messages the president retweeted.But Bolton is a hard witness for Trump to simply brush off. He is no liberal Democrat or deep-state bureaucrat, nor is he even a Never Trump Republican, but a conservative hawk with years of credibility among Republicans and a strong following from his days as ambassador to the United Nations and Fox News commentator. He spent 17 months as Trump's national security adviser and knows a lot about what happened on the inside during that time.Bolton's account on its face seems to eviscerate a central part of the defense that the White House began presenting on the Senate floor Saturday. The president's lawyers hammered House Democrats for relying on secondhand testimony and argued that no witness had come forward to say that Trump had explicitly linked the aid to the investigations."Most of the Democrats' witnesses have never spoken to the president at all, let alone about Ukraine security assistance," Michael R. Purpura, a deputy White House counsel, told the Senate on Saturday. "The two people in the House record who asked President Trump about whether there was any linkage between security assistance and investigations were told in no uncertain terms that there is no connection between the two."In their trial brief submitted earlier last week, the president's lawyers made that one of their key points. "Not a single witness with actual knowledge ever testified that the president suggested any connection between announcing investigations and security assistance," the lawyers wrote. "Assumptions, presumptions and speculation based on hearsay are all that House Democrats can rely on to spin their tale of a quid pro quo."The House managers prosecuting Trump said that distorted the strength of their evidence, but either way, Bolton's recollection is clearly a firsthand account -- which at least some in the White House had reason to know at the time the brief was filed and the presentation was made on the Senate floor.Bolton has been one of the most intriguing figures in the Ukraine matter for weeks, ever since other former officials testified that he opposed the pressure campaign, calling it a "drug deal" he wanted no part of and warning that Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney organizing the pressure, was a "hand grenade who's going to blow everybody up." He told aides to report what they learned about the pressure campaign to a White House lawyer.Until now, Bolton has remained publicly silent and, in fact, despite the Times report about his book, has remained so. His lawyer blamed the report on a leak by the White House.House Democrats requested his testimony during their hearings last month, but they ultimately did not subpoena him, reasoning that a court fight would only prolong the investigative process for months.Once the House impeached Trump and the case reached the Senate, Bolton announced that he would testify if subpoenaed. But Senate Republicans voted against subpoenaing him at the start of the trial, putting off a final decision until after arguments are complete, which could come later this week.Another witness sought by the House managers, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, has already publicly confirmed to reporters that Trump suspended the security aid in part to get Ukraine to investigate a conspiracy theory involving Democrats during the 2016 election campaign, although he later issued a statement trying to take that back.As damaging as Bolton's account would seem to be, it was too early to judge its effect. Unlike the Nixon smoking gun tape, there is no recording -- and events of the last three years have suggested even that may not matter.Trump has endured so many scandals that would have brought down an ordinary politician not even counting "Access Hollywood."Just weeks before moving into the White House, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle fraud claims against Trump University. Since becoming president, he repaid hush money given to Stormy Daniels, the pornographic film actress, to keep quiet about an alleged affair. Another woman has sued him for rape and more than a dozen others have accused him of sexual misconduct.His son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Russians offering "dirt" on his opponent that they said came from the Russian government. A special counsel investigation identified 10 instances when the president may have obstructed justice. His family foundation was forced to shut down after authorities found "a shocking pattern of illegality." His businesses have benefited from foreign patrons with cause to curry favor with the president despite the Constitution's emoluments clause.Investigative reporting found that he engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud. A wide swath of people around him have been convicted of various crimes, including his campaign chairman, his deputy, first national security adviser, longtime political adviser, longtime personal lawyer and others. And now Giuliani and a couple of his longtime associates are under federal investigation.To Trump's most fervent supporters, all of that is proof not that he is corrupt but that he has struck a nerve in Washington's "swamp" and the establishment is coming after him, manufacturing "hoaxes" to tear him down. That unwavering support within the Republican Party, which he telegraphs on Twitter regularly, has hardly gone unnoticed by Republican senators as they sit in judgment of him.But polls also show that two-thirds of the public wanted to hear from new witnesses in the trial now underway on Capitol Hill. Given the latest revelations, Bolton stands ready to testify with the fate of the president on the line.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:33:15 -0500
  • Trump's Mideast Plan Is Seen Mainly as an Election Lift for Netanyahu

    Golocal247.com news

    LONDON -- Less than a month after being sworn in, President Donald Trump welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to the White House with a bold promise: He would broker a peace accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- the diplomatic unicorn that had eluded half a dozen of his predecessors."I think we're going to make a deal," he said in 2017. "It might be a bigger and better deal than people in this room even understand.""As with any successful negotiation," Trump continued, "both sides will have to make compromises. You know that, right?" he added, turning to his guest.Netanyahu grinned. "Both sides," he replied.The Israeli leader will return to the White House for meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Trump is expected at last to lay out the details of that long-awaited plan. Netanyahu said Sunday he hoped to "make history" on the visit.But far from a bold effort to bring old enemies together -- one that demands painful concessions from both sides -- Middle East experts now expect the plan to be mainly a booster shot for Netanyahu's desperate campaign to stay in power.Benny Gantz, again Netanyahu's rival in Israel's third election in less than a year, will have his own separate meeting with Trump on Monday. He had at first resisted the invitation, fearing a political trap in which Netanyahu would get to play the statesman while Gantz would look puny by comparison. But analysts said he could not afford to snub the president, given Trump's enduring popularity in Israel.The Palestinians, who stopped talking to Trump after he ordered the U.S. Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in December 2017, will not be at the White House to be briefed on the plan. They have vowed to reject it."For him to do this in the middle of an Israeli election, without any Palestinian participation and with no intention to follow up with any of the participants, shows this is not a peace plan at all," said Martin S. Indyk, who served as special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under President Barack Obama."It is a farce from start to finish," he said.Indyk's verdict is harsh but not uncommon among diplomats who have worked on past peace efforts. Like other veterans of those fruitless negotiations, in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Indyk watched the early days of Trump's diplomacy with fascination and even muted hope -- that this most undiplomatic of presidents might achieve a breakthrough where they had failed.That triumph of hope over experience was shared by some in the region. Palestinians and Israelis took to calling it Trump's "deal of the century," outdoing his own description of it as the "ultimate deal."The president brought a deal-maker's swagger and a property developer's instincts to a problem that, after all, involves disputed territory. His close ties to Netanyahu -- something Obama lacked -- raised hopes that he might be able to extract real concessions from Israel. In a sign of the importance Trump attached to the effort, he put his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in charge of it.Kushner led a team that included Jason Greenblatt, the Trump Organization's former chief lawyer, and David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer with ties to the Jewish settler movement who became Trump's ambassador to Israel. He would emerge as the most influential adviser to Trump on Israel.For months, Kushner and Greenblatt traveled around the Middle East, meeting with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other nations. Their strategy, known as "outside-in," was designed to build a coalition of Arab support for a peace plan. The Arab leaders, the White House hoped, would pressure the Palestinian Authority to accept whatever Trump offered.Kushner devoted particular attention to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, with whom he had cultivated a friendship of like-minded scions. Salman expressed a willingness to establish relations with Israel and said the Israelis "have the right to have their own land."At home, Trump's pro-Israel supporters were growing restive. They worried that he might put too much pressure on Netanyahu. Trump told him that a rapid expansion of settlements was not conducive to an agreement. After meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, in May 2017, Trump said that it was an "honor" -- a post that later vanished from his Twitter feed.Any such worries, however, were laid to rest seven months later when Trump announced he would move the embassy, formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move delighted evangelicals, as well as pro-Israel donors like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate.But it drove away the Palestinians, who cut off contact with the White House, and doomed the White House's efforts to build Arab support for its plan. King Salman of Saudi Arabia was among those who condemned the decision, declaring, "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories."Trump reacted harshly to the Palestinian rejection. He punished them by cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, as well as funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees.The State Department shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington. It downgraded the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which had been a key channel to the Palestinians, by merging it with the embassy under Friedman, who later said Israel had the right to annex parts of the West Bank.Even as the rift with the Palestinians widened, Kushner and Greenblatt labored on their plan. Working under a veil of secrecy, they compiled a multipage document, with annexes, that officials said would propose solutions to all the key disputes: borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.While the plan never leaked -- a rarity in the sievelike world of Middle East diplomacy -- its general contours became known. It is not expected to call for a two-state solution or give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Nor will it offer Palestinian refugees a right of return or other compensation.Kushner and Greenblatt, who has since left the administration, predicted in March 2018 that the Israelis and the Palestinians would each find things in the plan to embrace and oppose. But it was already clear that it would be tilted heavily in Israel's favor -- or more precisely, in the favor of their embattled ally, Netanyahu.Facing indictment on multiple corruption charges in early 2019, the prime minister was fighting for his political life. With Netanyahu facing a closely fought election that April, Trump gave him an election-eve gift, announcing in March that the United States would reverse decades of policy and recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which was seized by Israeli troops in 1967.With the release of his plan stymied by the instability in Israel, Kushner turned his attention to economics. In June, he announced the United States would raise more than $50 billion to improve the lives of the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors. His 38-page plan, titled "Peace to Prosperity," had slick graphics and the promotional tone of a real estate prospectus.Kushner followed up with a two-day workshop in Bahrain, which was boycotted by the Palestinians and shrugged off by other Arab leaders, for whom the peace project had faded into irrelevance.Even after Trump's shift on the Golan Heights, Netanyahu was unable to cobble together a majority to form a government. After a second election, in September, he found himself again short of a majority.If Trump releases his plan this week, analysts said, it will be less about delivering the "deal of the century" than giving Netanyahu one last electoral lift.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:28:52 -0500
  • Wary of Iran, Gulf Arab states seen shrugging off new Lebanese government

    Gulf Arab states have long channelled funds into Lebanon's fragile economy but its rich neighbours, alarmed by the rising influence of their arch-rival Iran's ally Hezbollah, now appear loath to help ease Beirut's worst financial crisis in decades. Prime Minister Hassan Diab, whose cabinet took office last week with the backing of the Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah movement and its partners, said his first trip abroad would be to the Arab region, particularly the Sunni-dominated Gulf monarchies. None of the Gulf Arab countries, allies of Washington, has officially commented on the new government formed after weeks of wrangling nor extended public invitations to Diab.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:14:20 -0500
  • John Bolton's quest for vengeance and book sales

    Golocal247.com news

    It has been a while since one of the president's men has been declared a hero of the republic. The pattern should be familiar by now: James Comey, a GOP hack if not a quasi-traitor for his last-minute announcement about Hillary Clinton's emails, was elevated in his own lifetime into a kind of walking Lincoln Memorial of patriotic selflessness after a show-boating hearing, a tedious memoir, and an endless series of probable leaks. The same thing has happened with every other former confidante of President Trump or official who has left the executive branch, including, rather quietly, Steve Bannon, whose indiscreet conversations made possible the 2018 anti-Trump bestseller Fire and Fury. Heck, even Omarosa was briefly feted as a member of the Resistance.Now it is John Bolton's turn to undergo public metamorphosis from dangerous reactionary warmonger who would happily nuke Iran to selfless, devoted public servant. Once again, it is because of a book, albeit one that has not yet been published.According to The New York Times, a draft of Bolton's upcoming memoir confirms that Trump at least briefly insisted upon delaying the disbursement of $391 million in aid to Ukraine until the country started investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The story, which contains no direct quotations from the text, also suggests that Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, was wary of Rudy Giuliani's involvement in American diplomacy and that Bolton had raised his and Pompeo's concerns with the attorney general, William Barr, which Barr has denied. The story, at least as articulated by the Times, seems to reinforce what impeachment-hungry Democrats have been arguing for months.But it's worth asking what Bolton's motivations are here. If what he has written is true and he thinks it is as serious a matter as the Times apparently does, was receiving a $2 million advance and imparting his secrets to Microsoft Word really the best means of bringing it to the attention of the American people? What Bolton's conduct — not least the sudden leak of the book's contents, which he cheekily blames on the White House — tells us is that he is not interested in principles. This is not about the impeachment process itself or the violation of supposed norms or even about genuine foreign policy disagreements he seems to have had with the administration: It is about personal revenge.Do motives matter? Certainly not to Democrats, who will be as happy to trade on revelations Bolton has made out of spite as they were with past Trump defectors. The president's allies, meanwhile, will claim (not wrongly) that Bolton is simply a disgruntled former employee whose recollections can safely be ignored. In any case, nothing Bolton has written is likely to change anyone's mind about the underlying facts of the Ukraine affair. The information his book is said to contain confirms everything that the president's opponents have said all along. If it was not persuasive before it will not change the balance of opinions now, when it is repeated by someone whose animus towards the administration goes without saying. This is why — spoiler alert — this process is still going to end with Trump's acquittal.The real question is whether it will be enough to convince a handful of Senate Republicans to insist upon calling witnesses (including Bolton) to testify during the Senate impeachment trial? I think the answer is possibly yes. But if witnesses are called, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has made it clear that he intends to force his wayward Republican colleagues — and vulnerable Democrats such as Joe Manchin in West Virginia — to vote on whether those made to testify will include both Bidens and Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee who is serving as the Democrats' main impeachment manager.It is not obvious to me that forcing Schiff to provide an account of how and when he became aware of the so-called whistleblower complaint or to explain his history of support for Ukrainian nationalism would benefit his party. It is even harder to see why any Democrat would want either of the Bidens to answer questions from Republican senators and members of Trump's legal team. An incomprehensible jumble of names and dates and third-hand allegations does not make for good television, as we discovered during the House impeachment hearings: Hunter explaining why he thought he was qualified to serve as a well-paid expert on Eurasian mining infrastructure and why Joe suddenly cares so much about military aid that the Obama administration had refused to provide in the first place would be. Meanwhile, calling witnesses would likely keep Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and possibly even Biden himself away from the campaign trail ahead of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.What Bolton's testimony would reveal apart from what has already been reported is uncertain. But it is impossible not to imagine that he would make for a much more compelling witness than anyone the Democrats managed to secure during the House phase of impeachment proceedings. This would be true less because of the content than due to the manner in which it would be presented. Here is someone who can speak directly to Trump's frame of mind and motivations, an old Fox News hand who knows how to tell a story. Bolton on the witness stand would be direct, forceful, and no doubt at least occasionally amusing.For both sides in the impeachment debate the calling of witnesses would come at a considerable price. Only Bolton has nothing to lose here.More stories from theweek.com Mike Pompeo is a disgrace MSNBC's Ari Melber: 'We just watched Ken Starr punch himself in the face' All the president's turncoats

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 14:00:43 -0500
  • Underwater bombs damage Syria's offshore oil facilities

    Golocal247.com news

    Bombs planted underwater off Syria's coast exploded Monday, damaging oil facilities used to pump oil into one of Syria's two petroleum refineries, state media and the oil minister said. Oil minister Ali Ghanem told state TV that the bombs were planted by divers in the facility used to pump oil to the coast. "The aim of the attack is to cease (oil) imports into Syria," Ghanem said, adding the ministry's experts are evaluating and fixing the damage.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:43:02 -0500
  • America's F-35 Has Some Problems, And Iran Has Taken Notice

    Golocal247.com news

    Could Iran shoot one down?

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:31:00 -0500
  • Behind The Auschwitz Commemorations, A Raw Putin Power Play

    Golocal247.com news

    JERUSALEM—Before he even headed to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp liberated 75 years ago on an equally icy January 27, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s first task on landing in Warsaw was to make peace with Polish President Andrzej Duda.Kate Middleton’s Secret Photos of Holocaust Survivors UnveiledDuda was of one the few conspicuous absentees from the commemoration Rivlin hosted last week in Jerusalem, when Israel’s national Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, observed the event in the presence of some 50 world leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir Putin.In fact, Putin was the reason Duda stayed away.The Russian president has advanced a revisionist account of World War II in which Moscow’s notorious non-aggression pact with the Nazi regime is erased, and Poland, which was invaded by both Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin in September 1939, is cast as the guilty party collaborating with the Nazis.In 1941, when Hitler tore up the nonaggression pact and launched his invasion of the Soviet Union, Stalin became an ally of the United States and Great Britain. But he had already murdered, in his own right, millions of his own subjects. In 1940 his troops massacred systematically some 22,000 of Poland’s military officers and members of the intelligentsia.When Polish President Duda heard that Putin would give a keynote address in Jerusalem, he demanded equal time. But Yad Vashem, a public institution, refused, so Duda stayed conspicuously away.But there is more to it than this dispute over Putin’s reimagined Russian history. Behind the controversy lies a web of rivalries and power struggles pitting independent nations once under Soviet dominion against Putin’s broader effort to recover what he sees as the glory—and at least some of the territory—of the Soviet empire.In a parallel channel, the controversy is fed by a feud between two Jewish billionaires leveraging the Auschwitz commemorations to vie for international influence.On one side, is former U.S. Ambassador Ronald Lauder, scion of the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune and president of the World Jewish Congress, based in New York, who has long sponsored the annual memorial celebrations at the gates of Auschwitz in Poland.On the other is the oligarch Viatcheslav “Moshe” Kantor, a Moscow-born fertilizer magnate who is close to Putin. Kantor heads the European Jewish Congress and its subsidiary, the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.Rivlin is Israel’s titular head of state. When he dreamed of Israel hosting an event to mark the Nazi defeat, he did not imagine that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of government, would still be running for office more than a year after dissolving the parliament, or that Netanyahu would be managing a campaign while facing criminal indictments.Netanyahu’s Big Win Means His Party Is in Real TroubleAs the event approached, and Netanyahu encroached, hoping the moment would bolster his candidacy as “Israel’s face to the world,” Israel’s low-budget presidency found itself in want of a sponsor.Enter Kantor, for whom the commemoration became a platform to prove his international usefulness to Putin.“It wasn’t Yad Vashem’s event, nor Rivlin’s, nor even the ministry of foreign affairs’,” said Ofer Aderet, history correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, who has followed Israel’s increasingly fraught relations with the eastern European nations in which much of the Holocaust took place. “It was a one man show run by Moshe Kantor, a guy whose name is not known to Israelis, who understood this to be an Israeli event, something official.”Rivlin’s office estimated that the event cost about $5.7 million, but acknowledged paying only “several hundred thousand shekels”—a sum ranging anywhere from $60,000 to $260,000—for Wednesday night’s formal dinner for heads of state.Jonathan Cummings, Rivlin’s spokesman, said it was “accurate” to report that Kantor had, in effect, footed the entire bill—an undisclosed sum—for a three-day event Israel billed as one of the most important diplomatic showcases in its entire history.The question of why Israel would outsource a major diplomatic achievement to a Russian oligarch remains officially unanswered. But it was vigorously debated in Israeli cafés in recent days, especially by Israelis of Russian origin, many of whom, having left post-Soviet Russia for Israel, are no great fans of Putin or of the loose cast of ultra-rich men who surround him.“It’s all about propaganda,” says tour guide Igor Schwartz. Now 46 years old, Schwartz has lived in Israel for 21 years, but was born in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg, which was still called Leningrad in those days.He was unmoved by the 25-foot tall sculpture Putin and Netanyahu unveiled in Sacker Park, Jerusalem’s largest green space, to honor about 1 million Russians who died during the Nazi siege of his old hometown.“Here and in all the world,” Schwartz said, “Putin is the enemy. He’s been the leader of Russia in one way or another for about 20 years, and what has happened during that time? Russia has gone only down.”In a message to followers, an exultant Netanyahu summed up the diplomatic whirlwind in Jerusalem as “the morning with Vladimir Putin, midday with world leaders at Yad Vashem, and the evening with Vice President of the United States.”But the result was clear: “It was a huge victory for Putin,” Aderet said, a triumphant prance around the jewel of Jerusalem, in which he publicly cemented his role as the new face of power in the Middle East.In a Jerusalem speech that left many stunned, and made no mention of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Putin said that worse than the Nazis, were their “accomplices… often crueler than their masters. Death factories and concentration camps were served not only by the Nazis, but also by their accomplices in many European countries.”“He won,” Aderet said. “He succeeded in creating a situation in which he was transformed into the supreme hero, a revered king to whom everyone here pays obeisance, as if he himself opened the gates of Auschwitz.”Greeting Putin at Ben Gurion airport, Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, the son of Polish-Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, said, “Israel is appreciative of the great sacrifices the Russian people made in World War II and the overwhelmingly important contributions of the Red Army in defeating the German Nazis and liberating the concentration camps, among them Auschwitz.”“We know exactly who did the liberating. We know the historical truth,” Katz said.The Soviet Army did liberate Auschwitz—but in fact, Russian troops did not. The Red Army’s First Ukrainian Front opened the gates of hell, commanded by Ukrainian officers then subordinate to the Soviet command. In an elegant gesture, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ceded his delegation’s seats at the Jerusalem event to Holocaust survivors, few of whom secured invitations. Space was so tight at Yad Vashem, and so many personalities had to be accommodated, that only 30 out of the 780 seats at the ceremony were reserved for those who had endured the horrors of the death camps.“Israel comes off as a miserable failure,” Aderet lamented, “prepared to bend history for any immediate domestic interest.” He noted that in recent years, Poland’s right-wing populist government has indulged in its own revisionism, even passing a law criminalizing any comment implying Polish collaboration with the Nazi final solution, such as the term “Polish death camp” instead of a Nazi death camp in occupied Poland. Putin’s tactic is to suggest that he and those he supports, especially separatists in Ukraine, are still fighting the old fight against modern fascists and Nazis. And on Monday, Putin boycotted the ceremony at Auschwitz, where Lauder and Duda are the hosts.Rivlin’s first act upon landing there was to lay a wreath at a memorial to Witold Pilecki, a Polish hero who, as a leader of the anti-Nazi underground, volunteered to be imprisoned at Auschwitz and gather intelligence, which he transmitted to the west.Then, expressing sorrow that Polish-Israeli ties have been harmed in the past by “political intervention in questions of history,” Rivlin attempted to repair some of the wounds opened by the week’s jamboree of remembrances.“We remember that Poland and the Polish people are victims of the Second World War,” he said, in formal remarks.Israel, he said, remembers that “over one million Jews were exterminated at Auschwitz,” and that “Nazi Germany initiated, planned and implemented the genocide of the Jewish people in Poland… and takes full responsibility for its actions.”“We remember that during the war the Polish people fought with courage and strength against Nazi Germany. But we also remember that many Poles stood by and even assisted in the murder of Jews.”The diplomatic statement, acknowledging both Poland’s truth and the truth of Europe’s Jews, is typical of Rivlin, a fellow member of Netanyahu’s nationalist Likud party who has spent a significant part of his presidency mitigating damage caused by the prime minister’s headstrong determination to hold onto power. On Monday, Netanyahu was in Washington, D.C., with his great political ally President Donald Trump, who has promised to settle the long, painful Israeli-Palestinian dispute by unveiling “the deal of the century,” which most analysts believe will die aborning.At the very moment that Netanyahu tweeted on Monday that he was “At the White House. Making History. Keeping Israel safe,” Rivlin made his way along rows of about 200 Holocaust survivors who attended the commemoration at Auschwitz, slowly shaking hands, exchanging words with each of them, and finally marching with other world leaders on the dark path the Nazis forced on the Jews.  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.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:29:35 -0500
  • Ally of Venezuela's Maduro hires DC lobbyist to build ties

    Golocal247.com news

    An ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has hired a Washington lobbyist whose business has boomed under the Trump administration as part of a $12.5 million effort to ease sanctions and reset bilateral relations as the U.S.-backed campaign to oust the socialist leader stalls. The Maduro government’s top lawyer, Inspector General Reinaldo Muñoz, hired lobbyist Robert Stryk’s Sonoran Policy Group as part of a larger contract he signed with Foley & Lardner, a law firm with offices in Washington. Both the law firm and Stryk’s Sonoran Policy Group registered as agents of Muñoz in separate filings with the Justice Department that were published Monday on the agency’s website.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:15:50 -0500
  • An Iranian plane overshot the runway and skidded onto a busy highway — and incredibly no one was hurt

    Golocal247.com news

    The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft, which was traveling from Tehran to Mahshahr Airport in Mahshahr, Iran, was carrying 135 passengers and 7 crew members, local media reported.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 12:17:00 -0500
  • Obama warned Trump was 'fascist' in 2016, according to Hillary film

    Golocal247.com news

    * Tim Kaine quotes Obama in forthcoming Hulu documentary * Trump’s standing against Democrats improves, poll showsBarack Obama called Donald Trump a “fascist” during the 2016 election, according to Virginia senator Tim Kaine.The incendiary comment is included in Hillary, a forthcoming Hulu documentary which has already stoked controversy.Remarks Hillary Clinton made about Bernie Sanders, her challenger for the Democratic nomination four years ago, went viral last week.This weekend, NBC News, the Atlantic and other outlets reported that the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, shows Kaine, Clinton’s pick for vice-president, in conversation with his running mate at an unspecified time during the 2016 campaign.“President Obama called me last night,” he says, “and said: ‘Tim, remember, this is no time to be a purist. You’ve got to keep a fascist out of the White House.’”Clinton says “I echo that sentiment” and adds: “But that’s really – the weight of our responsibility is so huge.”Obama has been critical of Trump’s policies and character but never in such direct terms – warning for example of the danger of “homegrown demagogues” in a speech at the Democratic convention in July 2016.The 44th president will be a key campaign presence for whichever Democrat wins the nomination to face Trump at the polls in November.Obama and Kaine did not immediately comment on the reported “fascist” remark. Nor did Trump. But at Sundance on Saturday, Clinton discussed it with Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg.“If you look at the definition [of fascist], which I’ve had the occasion to read several times,” she said, “I think we can agree on several things.“[Trump] has authoritarian tendencies and he admires authoritarian leaders, [Vladimir] Putin being his favorite.“He uses a form of really virulent nationalism. He identifies targets: immigrants, blacks, browns, gays, women, whoever the target of the day or week is …“I think you see a lot of the characteristics of what we think of [as] nationalistic, fascistic kinds of tendencies and behaviors.”Clinton also said Obama never called Trump a fascist in conversation with her.But she said Obama “observed … this populism untethered to facts, evidence, or truth; this total rejection of so much of the progress that America has made, in order to incite a cultural reaction that would play into the fear and the anxiety and the insecurity of people – predominantly in small-town and rural areas – who felt like they were losing something.“And [Trump] gave them a voice for what they were losing and who was responsible.”The Hulu documentary will be available from 6 March.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:29:35 -0500
  • IS vows to attack Israel and blasts US Mideast plan

    Golocal247.com news

    The Islamic State group vowed in an audio message released Monday that the extremists will start a new phase of attacks that will focus on Israel and blasted the U.S. administration's plan to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite carrying out deadly attacks throughout the world over the past years, IS has rarely targeted Israel. The audio appears to try to win the extremist group popularity in the region at a time when President Donald Trump's “Deal of the Century” is expected to be announced in the U.S. soon.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:15:28 -0500
  • Trump hosts Israeli leaders who call his peace plan historic

    Golocal247.com news

    The Trump proposal is widely expected to be favorable to Israel, with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and challenger Benny Gantz speaking in glowing terms about the president and his initiative. The meetings come just a month before Netanyahu and Gantz are set to face off in national elections for the third time in less than a year, and both were looking to project leadership in their separate meetings with the president.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 10:00:21 -0500
  • UN report: Chilling details of Libya migrant center strike

    Golocal247.com news

    The United Nations revealed on Monday chilling new details about an airstrike that smashed into a migrant detention center in Libya, killing at least 50 people. The July attack, which ranked among the deadliest assaults on civilians since the start of Libya’s civil war, sparked international condemnation and accusations of war crimes. It also documented numerous violations of international law by warring Libyan militias and urged further investigation to ensure accountability.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:47:56 -0500
  • Alabama fire chief confirms deaths as fire destroys 35 boats

    Golocal247.com news

    Boaters leaped into the water to escape a fire that consumed at least 35 vessels docked along the Tennessee River early Monday. The blaze was reported shortly after midnight as people living in the boats were sleeping, and consumed the wooden dock and an aluminum roof that covered many of the vessels, cutting off escape routes and raining debris into the water. "There were numerous people rescued from the water who had escaped by going into the water," Jackson County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Rocky Harnen told The Associated Press shortly after dawn.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 09:25:40 -0500
  • Steve Mnuchin's wife defends Greta Thunberg after US treasury secretary said climate activist should get economics degree

    Golocal247.com news

    Greta Thunberg’s ability to cause otherwise powerful men to lose control of their tempers is legendary, with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin being among those unable to contain their animosity for the teenage climate activist.But in a new twist, after Ms Thunberg’s tireless environmental work caused yet another hot-headed senior US politician to publicly attack her, it appears the man’s wife stepped in to defend her.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:59:37 -0500
  • Emails cast further doubt on Pompeo's claim NPR reporter lied to him

    Golocal247.com news

    * Secretary of state accused Mary Louise Kelly of violating ‘basic rules of journalism’ * Pompeo reportedly ranted at Kelly after interview * Opinion: Kelly’s Pompeo interview was like satire. If only Newly released emails between the office of Mike Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly cast further doubt on the secretary of state’s extraordinary claim that the journalist lied to him before a contentious interview.Pompeo, who reportedly subjected Kelly to an expletive-ridden rant in his private living room after an interview during which he was asked about his role in the Ukraine scandal, issued a statement in which he accused the reporter of violating “the basic rules of journalism and decency”.Kelly maintained that her meeting with Pompeo after the recorded interview was not agreed to be off the record.NPR has stood by its reporter and emails quoted by the Washington Post show Kelly clearly expressing that Ukraine would be discussed.Donald Trump weighed in over the weekend, questioning the legitimacy of the independent nonprofit media outlet, one of America’s most trusted news sources.In a tweet on Sunday, Trump agreed with comments that labelled the station, which reaches 120 million monthly listeners, a “big-government, Democrat party propaganda operation” and asked: “Why does NPR still exist?”“A very good question!” the president responded.Pompeo was subjected to rigorous questioning on the administration’s handling of Iran and the Ukraine scandal last Friday by Kelly, a veteran foreign policy reporter. He grew audibly frustrated as the interview continued.The secretary of state, at the centre of the scandal that has engulfed Trump’s presidency and led to his impeachment, was asked why he had not expressed support for the US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted from her position as Trump pressed for investigations into his domestic political rivals.The email exchanges obtained by the Post, between Kelly and Pompeo press aide Katie Martin, were sent a day before the interview and clearly show Pompeo’s office was told he should expect questions on the issue.“Just wanted to touch base that we still intend to keep the interview to Iran tomorrow,” Martin stated. “Know you just got back from Tehran so we would like to stick to Iran as the topic as opposed to jumping around. Is that something we can agree to?”Kelly replied: “I am indeed just back from Tehran and plan to start there. Also Ukraine. And who knows what the news gods will serve up overnight. I never agree to take anything off the table.”

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:57:44 -0500
  • Iranian general warns of retaliation if US threats continue

    Golocal247.com news

    The chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Monday that it will retaliate against American and Israeli commanders if the U.S. continues to threaten top Iranian generals. The U.S. killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who headed the expeditionary Quds force, in a drone strike outside of Baghdad's airport in Iraq on Jan. 3. Five days later, Iran retaliated by launching ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing American troops, causing injuries but no fatalities among soldiers there.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:47:49 -0500
  • Survivors return to Auschwitz 75 years after liberation

    Golocal247.com news

    Survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp gathered Monday for commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, using the testimony of survivors to warn about the signs of rising anti-Semitism and hatred in the world today. In all, some 200 survivors of the camp are expected, many of them elderly Jews who have traveled far from homes in Israel, the United States, Australia, Peru, Russia, Slovenia and elsewhere. Many lost parents and grandparents in Auschwitz or other Nazi death camps, but today were being joined in their journey back by children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:41:18 -0500
  • Defending Long Career, Biden Has Sometimes Stretched the Truth

    Golocal247.com news

    Former Vice President Joe Biden remains atop most national polls before the first votes are cast next month in the Democratic presidential primary. Before the Iowa caucuses, The New York Times reviewed recent statements he made defending his decadeslong career, stressing his standing in the black community and highlighting his perceived strength on foreign policy. Here's a fact check.WHAT THE FACTS ARE:Biden tried to defend his record on Social Security and birth control with questionable claims.WHAT WAS SAID:Antonia Hylton, a reporter for Vice News: "Do you think, though, that it's fair for voters to question your commitment to Social Security when in the past you've proposed a freeze to it?"Biden: "No, I didn't propose a freeze."-- at the Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum last week in IowaFalse. In 1984, faced with budget deficits under the Reagan administration, Biden was a co-sponsor of an amendment with two Republican senators that froze for one year nearly all military and domestic spending, including cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security benefits.Pressed by Hylton after his inaccurate denial, Biden said that his proposal came "in the context of we saved Social Security during the Reagan administration" and noted that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a liberal stalwart, voted for the plan.When President Ronald Reagan entered office in 1981, Social Security was running low on funding and Reagan did propose to make deep cuts to benefits. But he ultimately endorsed and signed bipartisan legislation in 1983 -- which Biden and Kennedy both voted for -- to assure the fund's continuing solvency. Changes included postponing cost-of-living adjustments, and the Biden campaign said that the former vice president was referring to this episode."It is easy to believe Biden thought minor cuts in the program in the short run would represent a better outcome than the much bigger cuts President Reagan and his advisers seemed to favor," Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. "In those days, 'compromise' was not a dirty word in the eyes of most members of Congress."Biden's own freeze plan, though, came "well after the Social Security rescue was over," said Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University who wrote a book on the 1983 effort.Rather, the plan was another step in a decadeslong "mating dance between centrist Democrats and Republicans to come up with a grand bargain on the deficit," said Eric Laursen, author of "The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan."Biden said as much in April 1984, as he decried "gargantuan deficits" and argued that not accepting a one-year freeze to cost-of-living adjustments would lead to a "a fundamental debate over whether or not there should be COLAs in Social Security" at all. The amendment that he co-sponsored ultimately failed by a vote of 65-33 (Kennedy voted against it).Biden's overall record on Social Security includes both actions that would slow or reduce spending and those that would protect benefits.He voted for an amendment in 1995 to require a balanced federal budget that he and other Democrats warned would endanger the Social Security fund. He was open to raising the eligibility age for Social Security in 2007. And he brokered a deal with Republican lawmakers in 2010 that extended the Bush-era tax cuts and created a holiday for the payroll tax, which funds Social Security, that temporarily reduced the tax by 2 percentage points.But Biden also voted for an amendment to that balanced budget legislation in 1995 that would have excluded Social Security from its aims. From 2001 to 2008, he repeatedly voted against privatizing Social Security and for improving the trust fund's solvency, according to the Alliance for Retired Americans, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO that represents union retirees. In 2008, Biden's last year in the Senate, he received a lifetime score of 96 out of 100 from the group. He spoke out against Social Security privatization in the 2012 vice-presidential debate and his current plan vows to protect the safety net.--WHAT WAS SAID:Lauren Kelley, New York Times Editorial Board member: "You also originally argued for greater exemptions to the contraception mandate in Obamacare. So I think there's some concern out there --"Biden: "No, I didn't, by the way."-- in an interview with The New York Times Editorial Board published Jan. 17This is disputed. The Obama administration announced in January 2012 a rule requiring most insurance plans to cover birth control free of charge, including for the employees of hospitals, schools and charities run by Catholic groups.The making of the rule sparked an internal debate in the White House. Reporting from news outlets cast Biden as part of the camp arguing for a less stringent rule.According to ABC News and Bloomberg, the vice president and William Daley, then the chief of staff to President Barack Obama, warned of the political fallout with Catholic voters who backed Obama in the 2008 election and argued that the issue would be framed as an attack on religious liberty. The Times reported that officials had initially sought a year to work out a compromise, but "a group of advisers had bested Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others and sold the president on a stricter rule."The announcement fueled a fierce backlash from Catholic organizations and Republicans. As the Obama administration contemplated the fallout, Biden did not publicly oppose or defend the rule, but hinted during a radio interview that it would be softened."There's going to be a significant attempt to work this out, and there's time to do that," he said on Feb. 9, 2012. "And as a practicing Catholic, you know, I am of the view that this can be worked out and should be worked out and I think the president, I know the president, feels the same way."Biden also said in the interview that the administration wanted to "make sure women who need access to birth control are not denied that," according to The Wall Street Journal.A day later, the administration revised the rule to shift the responsibility of providing contraception to insurers, rather than the religiously affiliated institutions themselves.--WHAT THE FACTS ARE: Biden overstated his support among young black voters and his role in the civil rights movement.WHAT WAS SAID:Hylton: "Why is Sen. Sanders leading you with voters under age 35?"Biden: "He is not leading me with black voters under the age -- look, just all I know is, I am leading everybody, combined, with black voters."-- at the Brown & Black forumThis is exaggerated. Biden is correct that in most polls, he leads Democratic candidates among black voters overall, but he is wrong to deny Sen. Bernie Sanders' edge with younger African Americans.A January poll conducted by The Washington Post and Ipsos, a nonpartisan research firm, found that Biden held a wide lead among black Democrats with 48% support, but Sanders led with those between ages 18 and 34 at 42% while Biden placed second at 30%.An Ipsos survey conducted with Vice this month asked black Americans who they would consider voting for and found that 56% would consider voting for Sanders and 54% for Biden, a statistical tie. Among those between ages 18 and 34, Sanders' support increased to 81% compared with 65% for Biden, according to a breakdown provided by Chris Jackson, the vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs.In a poll by the political action committee BlackPac and released in December, Biden led all black voters with 38%, but trailed Sanders in support among black voters between ages 18 and 24 at 14% compared with 30% for Sanders. Support for the two candidates was nearly identical among black voters between the ages of 25 and 39, with 24% supporting Biden and 25% supporting Sanders.The Sanders campaign also pointed to an array of surveys demonstrating the same generational gap: a fall poll from Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics where Sanders was the first choice of black voters between ages 18 and 29, a January poll from Chegg Media Center where Sanders led with black college students with 43% and a September survey from Essence Magazine where Sanders had the most support of black women between ages 18 and 34 with 19%.--WHAT WAS SAID:"I was involved in the civil rights movement."-- at the Brown & Black forumThis is exaggerated. Over his long political career, Biden has occasionally suggested he played a greater role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s than he actually did. While there are accounts of Biden participating in a few desegregation events, he has also said he would not consider himself an activist in the movement.Biden has said that he protested a segregated movie theater in demonstrations in Wilmington, Delaware, at the Rialto Theater in the early 1960s. His account is backed by a former president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a former president of the Delaware AFL-CIO.A 1987 edition of "Current Biography Yearbook," a magazine that profiles American figures, noted that Biden had participated in "anti-segregation sit-ins at Wilmington's Town Theatre during his high school years."During his first bid for president, Biden wrongly said in 1987 that he had "marched with tens of thousands of others" in the civil rights movement. Later, a spokesman for Biden clarified that he had participated in actions to "desegregate one restaurant and one movie theater." Biden himself conceded that "I was not an activist.""I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Delaware. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. But I was not out marching," he said in a news conference that fall. "I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans."He struck a similar tone in interviews with the journalist Jules Witcover, who wrote the book "Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption.""I didn't do any big deal, but I marched a couple of times to desegregate the movie theaters in downtown Wilmington," Biden said in the book. But he acknowledged that "I wasn't part of any great movement."--WHAT THE FACTS ARE:Biden inaccurately characterized one element of President Donald Trump's North Korea policy.WHAT WAS SAID: "The president showed up, met with them, gave him legitimacy, weakened these sanctions we have against him."-- at the Democratic presidential debate in JanuaryThis is misleading.Biden is referring to Trump's efforts to engage diplomatically with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un. There is a widespread consensus that the president's willingness to meet with him provided Kim with additional credibility at home and abroad without giving the United States and its allies much in return.At the same time, Trump's meetings with the North Koreans have increased support from China and Russia for easing United Nations sanctions on North Korea, as the Biden campaign pointed out. Soo Kim, a policy analyst at the RAND Corp., a research group, pointed out that South Korea has also recently been testing the waters for securing sanctions relief for its northern neighbor.But the Trump administration itself has not lifted the United States' own sanctions and has opposed the calls from China and Russia to ease the international sanctions."As far as I know, sanctions have not been eased," said Jim Walsh of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Certainly the international U.N. sanctions continue unabated, and I am unaware of any significant sanctions relief granted by the administration."A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department said Biden's statement was inaccurate and that the agency "has sanctioned 261 individuals and entities under its North Korea authorities, accounting for more than half of North Korea-related sanctions ever imposed."Nearly every month from March 2017 to March 2018, the department announced sanctions on North Korean nationals and companies, as well people and entities around the world linked to North Korea. After Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June 2018, Treasury imposed more sanctions in August, September, October, November and December of that year.In March 2019, shortly after Trump met again with Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, the president issued a confusing statement on Twitter announcing that he had rolled back newly imposed sanctions on North Korea, though restrictions announced a day earlier on two Chinese companies linked to North Korea were not actually revoked. The White House press secretary at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, explained that Trump "doesn't feel it's necessary to add additional sanctions at this time."A month later, Trump said the sanctions on North Korea are "at a fair level" and should remain in place. More were announced in June, August and September. The United States opposed lifting U.N. sanctions on North Korea in December and sanctioned two more entities January.Biden's theory that Trump's personal appeals to Kim has weakened the resolve of other countries to enforce sanctions is a matter of interpretation.This line of argument "was trotted out every time Obama engaged in diplomacy," Walsh said. "We don't know if diplomacy with North Korea has had the effect of reducing the impact of sanctions. Maybe. But as with all things North Korea, it's hard to say."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 08:15:29 -0500
  • Egyptian court gives life sentence for 8 IS-linked militants

    An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced eight people to life in prison, after they were convicted of joining a local affiliate of the Islamic State group spearheading an insurgency in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The Cairo Criminal Court gave 29 others sentences ranging from 15 to 1 year in prison. The court said the defendants were accused of forming and joining IS cells that were active in several provinces including the capital, Cairo, from 2015 to early 2018.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:57:20 -0500
  • EU’s Top Diplomat Cites ‘Quite Worrying’ Violence in Libya

    (Bloomberg) -- Europe’s top diplomat warned of renewed violence in Libya recently and said international powers must put pressure on the warring parties to end the conflict.The European Union’s top foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said that recent developments were “quite worrying” and that a Jan. 19 meeting of world leaders in Berlin had not halted Libya’s civil war. “We knew, everybody, that the result of the Berlin conference would not result in automatic implementation,” Borrell told reporters in Berlin on Monday alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “Everybody knew it wasn’t an agreement that would be enforced tomorrow.”His comments come after the United Nations warned that foreign powers were setting the stage for more not less fighting in the OPEC nation. Libya’s internationally-recognized government said Sunday that repeated attacks by rival commander Khalifa Haftar have rendered a fragile truce all but meaningless.“We don’t have any illusions that this will be a difficult path, and that the largest part of it lies ahead of us,” Germany’s Maas said.Frailty of Libya Accord on Display In Merkel-Erdogan SquabbleAt stake for Europe is the stability of a major oil producer in its backyard and the threat of a growing sphere of influence of Russia and Turkey, which effectively control developments there by sending support to the warring parties. The idea for Europe to have its own military presence in Libya is far from consensual and would require an effective cease-fire first.German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted the Berlin meeting in an attempt to stanch the conflict but the precariousness of the accord was on display during her visit to Istanbul on Friday, where she and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bickered publicly over the terms of the deal.The UN on Saturday said none of the parties involved in the Berlin conference --- which also grouped Turkey, Russia and Egypt -- were honoring the terms of the deal.(Updates with context, tweets)\--With assistance from Taylan Bilgic.To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond Colitt, Caroline AlexanderFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:56:13 -0500
  • Mike Pompeo is a disgrace

    Golocal247.com news

    Here is a modest proposal for future presidents of the United States: Secretaries of state — who act as the nation's chief diplomat — should actually be diplomats.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has neither the education nor the instincts of a diplomat, a flaw that becomes apparent nearly every time he encounters a female journalist. So it was last week when he was interviewed by NPR's Mary Louise Kelly and she asked him questions about President Trump's Ukraine scandal. Pompeo cut the interview short, and then — according to Kelly — privately and profanely chewed her out. He even challenged her to find Ukraine on a mapAnd then, when the incident was publicized, he attacked her integrity and smarts."It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity," Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department.This kind of behavior is boorish, bullying, misogynistic, and needlessly offensive. It is anything but diplomatic.That is no surprise. Pompeo serves a president for whom bullying is more than a tool for getting things done — it appears to be his raison d'etre. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted an apparent threat against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who has served as one of the leaders among the House impeachment managers. At the same time, a recording emerged of a 2018 dinner in which Trump ordered the end of Marie Yovanovitch's term as ambassador to Ukraine with the words, "Take her out." Trump can't fire somebody without sounding like a cheap movie mobster ordering a hit.But the truth is that Pompeo doesn't need Trump's influence to be a jerk; his own ability to negotiate situations sensibly and peacefully is questionable. Resolving disputes without playing tough guy isn't really his thing. Pompeo went to West Point — as we've been told repeatedly, he graduated first in his class. He earned a reputation as a hawk during his time in Congress, particularly where Iraq was concerned. And when Trump came to office, Pompeo went to work running the CIA, a job that includes overseeing drone attacks and other covert operations against America's enemies. As secretary of state, he urged the assassination of Iran's General Qassem Soleimani. The entirety of his public service has been spent in arenas where disputes are often settled with violence, or threats of violence.The secretary of state is one of the most important positions in the United States government — its influence in foreign affairs aside, the office is fourth in the presidential line of succession. When President Nixon resigned from office in 1974, he didn't write the letter to Vice President Gerald Ford, but to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.Given the office's importance, it is odd that so few of its modern practitioners bring diplomatic experience to the job. Rex Tillerson, Pompeo's successor, was previously an oil executive, which was nearly relevant — the job involved hammering out oil contracts with Russia. But trying to make a profit in the energy industry isn't the same thing as trying to keep peace in the world.Some of America's most notable secretaries of state since World War II — George C. Marshall, Alexander Haig, and Colin Powell — served as high-ranking military officers before heading up the Department of State. Many of the rest — Dean Rusk, William P. Rogers, Cyrus Vance, George Schultz, Warren Christopher, and John Kerry — had either served in the military or the Department of Defense during their adult lives. Pompeo is part of the latter group.That might not immediately seem odd, but ask yourself a question: How many secretaries of defense during the same time period spent any part of their previous career in America's diplomatic corps?As far as I can tell, just one: Donald Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, was also briefly the U.S. ambassador to NATO in the early 1970s. NATO, of course, is famously a military alliance.Mike Pompeo's ugly treatment of a reporter is problematic — and undemocratic — on its own terms. It also hints at why he isn't qualified to hold the job he has, and exposes broader problems with America's approach to the world. He isn't the exception to the rule. All too often, our top diplomats are better prepared — by training and temperament — to fight. Is it any surprise that America's foreign policy often seems over-militarized?Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.More stories from theweek.com MSNBC's Ari Melber: 'We just watched Ken Starr punch himself in the face' All the president's turncoats Investigators: Kobe Bryant's pilot tried to gain altitude before crash

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:48:40 -0500
  • Tripoli Warns of Talks Boycott Amid Libya Truce Violations

    (Bloomberg) -- Libya’s internationally recognized government warned it might not participate in future peace talks after alleging repeated truce violations and attacks on civilians by rival forces of commander Khalifa Haftar.The administration headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said on its official Facebook page on Monday that nations which brokered the cease-fire must shoulder their responsibility and help end the infractions.The government, in light of the “continuing breaches, will be forced to reconsider its participation in any talks,” it said.Each side has accused the other of breaching the truce, which they agreed to earlier this month. World leaders gathered at a conference in Berlin Jan. 19 hoped to cement the deal and begin winding down what has become a proxy war involving regional powers Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as Russia.Adding to concern over the truce, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, described the spiraling violence as “quite worrying” and said international powers must put pressure on the two sides to end the conflict.“We knew, everybody, that the result of the Berlin conference would not result in automatic implementation,” Borrell told reporters in Berlin on Monday alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. “Everybody knew it wasn’t an agreement that would be enforced tomorrow.”On Sunday, the eastern-based commander’s Libyan National Army, the country’s most organized military force, launched an offensive about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of the city of Misrata, but was repelled by fighters allied with Sarraj.The LNA’s spokesman said the operation was intended to send a message to opposing militias, and didn’t amount to a breach of the cease-fire.The United Nations warned on Saturday that none of the parties were honoring the terms of the accord, which was now threatened by the “ongoing transfer of foreign fighters, weapons, ammunition and advanced systems” to combatants.Libya’s Fragile Truce Clouded Further by Fresh Assaults (2)The UN had been working for years for peace in Libya without much enduring success. Efforts were ramped up after fighting for control of the capital, Tripoli, intensified as Russian mercenary forces entered the war on behalf of Haftar.The Russian deployment -- and a subsequent decision by Turkey to send military backing for Sarraj -- deepened fears of an expanding conflict in a country where years of instability following the 2011 uprising that ousted Moammar al-Qaddafi enabled human traffickers and Islamist militants to put down roots.(Updates with EU foreign policy chief comments from fourth paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Riad Hamade at rhamade@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Michael GunnFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:44:13 -0500
  • COLUMN-For China, communication and control are key to tackling virus: Peter Apps

    When the SARS virus spread across China in 2002-3, the government in Beijing reacted with secrecy and obstruction. This year's coronavirus outbreak is being tackled very differently – a key test for President Xi Jinping and the increasingly sophisticated authoritarian system he presides over. One thing is certain: China has been able to respond in a way it's almost impossible to imagine any other country beginning to be capable of.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 07:36:25 -0500
  • Palestinian PM rejects Trump peace plan ahead of unveiling

    Shtayyeh spoke to his Cabinet as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting Washington for the announcement of President Donald Trump's plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians have not yet seen the plan but have already rejected it, saying the Trump administration is biased in support of the Israelis. The Trump administration took several steps in recent years that angered the Palestinians.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:51:11 -0500
  • Greece: 14 injured in suspected migrant smuggling car crash

    A car carrying Syrians crashed early Monday in northern Greece, police said, injuring all 14 people in the vehicle that is believed to have crossed the border clandestinely . Police said the car had been travelling along an old highway in northern Greece toward the country’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki around 2 a.m. when it failed to stop for a police check. Greek police said all were from Syria: 11 men, one woman and two teenage children.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:20:43 -0500
  • Merkel Aims for West Balkan-EU Agreement With Macron by March

    (Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to reach an agreement with French President Emmanuel Macron for Albania and North Macedonia to begin accession talks with the European Union at the meeting of the group’s leaders in Brussels on March 26.“We want both these states to be brought closer to the European Union,“ Merkel said on Monday in Berlin before a meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.Merkel’s comments renew pressure on Macron, who in October vetoed the EU’s plan to start accession talks with the two countries during the first half of 2020. He had insisted on tougher scrutiny to ensure their respect for the rule of law. Macron’s snub provoked political discontent in the western Balkans, and North Macedonia’s prime minister, Zoran Zaev, subsequently resigned.Both Albania and North Macedonia had achieved a lot on their way into the EU and therefore deserved the beginning of accession talks, Merkel said. Germany is scrambling to revive the membership hopes of both these countries in an effort to avoid political instability in a region still grappling with the aftermath of the Yugoslav civil war in the 1990s. Berlin is also concerned about the growing influence of Russia and China in the Balkans.Read More:Snubbed by EU, Balkan Hopefuls Stumped by Challenge From ECB TooTo contact the reporter on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond Colitt, Richard BravoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:05:22 -0500
  • Mother of Jailed Israeli Backpacker Hopes for Russia Pardon

    (Bloomberg) -- The mother of an Israeli woman imprisoned on drug-smuggling charges in Russia said she’s hopeful President Vladimir Putin will pardon her daughter.Naama Issachar, a 26-year-old U.S.-born Israeli army veteran, was sentenced in October to 7 1/2 years for carrying a small amount of hashish in her luggage on a transit flight via Moscow after a backpacking trip to India. Her plight has become a cause celebre in Israel, where it’s widely seen as politically motivated.Putin met with Issachar’s mother, Yaffa, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday, on the sidelines of an international forum on the Holocaust. He assured her that “everything will be all right,” and on Sunday, Naama Issachar applied for a presidential pardon, her lawyers said.When asked in a text message exchange whether she expects her daughter to return to Israel soon, Yaffa Issachar replied: “I hope so.” The request for a pardon has been received and “all necessary legal procedures are being carried out at the moment so the president can take a decision on this issue in the nearest future,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Monday.A decision to free Issachar, who’s been in detention since April, could bolster Netanyahu, who’s been indicted on corruption charges and is fighting for his political survival at the country’s third election in less than a year in March.The Kremlin said last week that Israel and Russia are also making progress in settling a dispute over the ownership of Russian Orthodox Church property in Jerusalem, which Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said could form part of a quid pro quo to secure Issachar’s release.The Russian leader has previously rebuffed multiple pleas from Netanyahu for Issachar’s sentence to be commuted.Her case for a time became entangled with that of a Russian national, Alexei Burkov, whom Israel extradited to the U.S. in November on charges including hacking and credit card fraud. Russia had offered to swap the two, according to Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician.(Adds Putin spokesman’s comment in 4th paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net;Irina Reznik in Moscow at ireznik@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory L. White at gwhite64@bloomberg.net, Amy Teibel, Tony HalpinFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:39:07 -0500
  • Iran's Rouhani sounds alarm for 'democracy' after candidates barred

    Golocal247.com news

    Iran's president warned Monday of threats to the Islamic republic's "democracy and national sovereignty", after a body dominated by his ultra-conservative rivals disqualified thousands of candidates, weeks before elections. President Hassan Rouhani's moderate conservatives and their reformist allies are locked in a public quarrel with the Guardian Council over the disqualification of thousands of candidates -- including 92 sitting MPs.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:34:54 -0500
  • Labour Front-Runner Starmer Warns Brexit Risks Breaking Up U.K.

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Keir Starmer, the front-runner to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said Brexit risks breaking up the U.K. as he called for a “radical” redistribution of power to towns and regions.In a series of broadcast interviews on Monday, Starmer, the party’s Brexit spokesman, said politicians have spent the past three years arguing about what sort of divorce agreement to strike with the European Union, without focusing on the underlying causes of Brexit. That risks creating a “vacuum” that’s filled by nationalism, he said.“There’s a very deep feeling, and this did come out in the referendum, that the power, the wealth, the resource, the opportunities are all in London and they’re not in the regions: We’ve got got address that,” Starmer told Sky News. He then told the BBC: “We are at risk of watching the breakup of the United Kingdom.”The U.K. is due to leave the EU on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson stormed to an 80-seat majority last month, enabling him to push his withdrawal agreement through Parliament. With 2020 set to be dominated by negotiations on the shape of future economic ties with the bloc, the premier has also said he’s keen to move onto domestic priorities including the health service, public transport and policing.But Starmer argued that people around the U.K. want to see more decisions being taken locally. He said in an emailed statement he plans to tour the U.K. during the leadership contest -- scheduled to end on April 4 -- arguing “for a radical redistribution of power, wealth and opportunity based on a new federal structure.”Power Monopoly“We need to end the monopoly of power in Westminster and spread it across every town, city, region and nation of the United Kingdom,” Starmer said.Starmer’s message chimes with that of Lisa Nandy, another candidate for the leadership, whose campaign -- focused on empowering towns -- has turned her into a genuine contender in the contest.Starmer, Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey -- viewed as Corbyn’s preferred successor -- have all crossed the threshold of support from unions, affiliated groups and local parties they need to make it onto the final ballot paper, while the party’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, has until Feb. 14 to get there.To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Robert Hutton, Thomas PennyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 27 Jan 2020 05:23:22 -0500
Data by Localeze
Powered by Intelligenx