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FaviconPower station fires knock out service on hot day in Madison 19 Jul 2019, 9:26 pm

Power station fires knock out service on hot day in MadisonFires at two transmission substations in Wisconsin's capital on Friday knocked out power to thousands of customers on the hottest day of the year to-date, sending dual plumes of thick, black smoke into the air and shutting down government buildings, courtrooms and businesses, and leading the governor to declare a state of emergency. No injuries were reported as a result of the 7:40 a.m. explosion and fire at the Madison Gas and Electric main power center a few blocks from the state Capitol, which was among the buildings that were forced to close. Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency in Madison and surrounding Dane County.


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FaviconMueller probe witness now faces child sex trafficking charge 19 Jul 2019, 7:04 pm

Mueller probe witness now faces child sex trafficking chargeA businessman who served as a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation now faces a charge of child sex trafficking in addition to transporting child pornography. An indictment made public Friday in federal court in Alexandria charges Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, 60, with transporting a 14-year-old boy from Europe to Washington, D.C., in February 2000 and engaging in sex acts with him. It details his efforts to serve as liaison between a Russian banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of President Donald Trump's transition team.


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FaviconVenezuela Political Chaos Deepens With Third Claim to Presidency 19 Jul 2019, 6:20 pm

Venezuela Political Chaos Deepens With Third Claim to Presidency(Bloomberg) -- If Venezuelan politics weren’t convoluted enough, they just got a bit more complicated this week.The opposition-aligned Progressive Advance party hired Ari Ben-Menashe, a Montreal-based lobbyist, to “pursue Henri Falcon’s election as President of Venezuela,” according to a contract filed with the U.S. Justice Department.Days after the public filing, Falcon and his advisers are walking back the purpose of the $200,000 contract. An amended document, obtained by Bloomberg News, said their main aim is “to pursue a peaceful solution to Venezuela’s economic, humanitarian and political crisis.” Progressive Advance said in a press release that it was “absurd” to consider a presidential candidacy for Falcon.The former Lara state governor didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.Falcon lost to President Nicolas Maduro in a widely criticized election last May. That led the U.S. and more than 50 governments to recognize National Assembly President Juan Guaido as the nation’s rightful leader this January, when Maduro’s second-term began.The lobbying effort underscores an ongoing rift within Venezuela’s opposition, even as roughly four-fifths of Venezuelans share a negative view of Maduro’s government. Last year, the nation’s main opposition bloc boycotted what it called a sham vote pitting Maduro against Falcon and televangelist Javier Bertucci.In the contract, Progressive Advance said it’s working with Ben-Menashe’s firm to establish contact with Washington and Moscow to seek a solution to the country’s crisis. The party has proposed an oil-for-food program in which Venezuela could export oil to the U.S. and the profits would be used exclusively to buy food for the nation. At the moment, hyperinflation makes it almost impossible for most Venezuelans to buy the food they need.Maduro’s government and opposition officials representing Guaido started negotiations in May, sponsored by Norway, seeking to find a solution to Venezuela’s political and economic crisis. The most recent talks ended Wednesday in Barbados with no deal. Guaido’s representatives pushed for early presidential elections, according to two lawmakers with direct knowledge of the matter.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Vasquez in Caracas Office at avasquez45@bloomberg.net;Ben Bartenstein in New York at bbartenstei3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Julia Leite at jleite3@bloomberg.net, Robert JamesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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FaviconBritish-flagged tanker seized by Iran in escalation of Gulf tensions as second ship also veers off course 19 Jul 2019, 6:07 pm

British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in escalation of Gulf tensions as second ship also veers off courseA British-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iran on Friday night, in a major escalation of tensions along one of the world's most vital oil shipping routes. The Stena Impero had been en route to Saudi Arabia but made an abrupt change of course and began moving towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, according to data relayed by maritime tracking services. The ship “went dark”, meaning its identification system was turned off, at 16:29 UK time and nothing has been heard from her or her 23 crew since. Northern Marine, a Clyde-based subsidiary of the ship's Swedish owner Stena AB, confirmed that a “hostile action” had preceded the vessel's change of course on Friday afternoon. They issued a statement saying it had been “approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters.” The ship turned suddenly into Iranian waters Credit: marinetraffic.com/PA Iran's Revolutionary Guards said in a statement that they stopped the tanker at the request of the maritime authority in the Iranian province of Hormozgan on suspicion it has "violated international maritime law", but did not elaborate.  There were also concerns about a second oil tanker, the British-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar, which turned sharply north towards Iran's coast, about 40 minutes after the Stena Impero's course shift. There was no immediate word from the Guards about the second tanker or from the operator of the second tanker on what had prompted the change in direction along the vital international oil shipping route. Tracking data showed the Stena Impero was in the same area where a United Arab Emirates-based vessel was detained on Sunday and where a British vessel, the British Heritage, was blocked by Iranian forces earlier this month. A Cobra meeting was held between officials from the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and other Government departments on Friday night to determine the UK's response. A Whitehall source told the Telegraph of the Stena Impero: "It does look like it has been hijacked. Ships don't follow that pattern. It turned right and straight into Iranian waters. It is really concerning that this has happened. "It looks on the face of it as though the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have boarded and taken a UK-flagged ship. It appears to be linked to events around the Grace 1 tanker." British authorities seized the Iranian Grace 1 supertanker off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4, on suspicion it was carrying crude to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions. The fate of the tanker has been at the centre of escalating tensions between the UK and Iran and seen as a pawn in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West. Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, had hinted last Saturday that the UK would release the ship if Iran promised its cargo would not go to the Syrian regime. He said talks between him and counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif had been productive. However, a court in Gibraltar on Friday extended for 30 days the detention of the vessel, which was carrying two million barrels of oil. Revolutionary Guards have been threatening retaliation for its impounding and the move would likely have aggravated an already-tense situation. Tensions have been building for weeks in the Persian Gulf.  On 10 July, a British warship, the HMS Montrose, intervened to drive three Iranian military vessels that were attempting to divert the British Heritage.  Iran seized a Panama-flagged ship on Sunday, it alleges, for “smuggling oil to foreign countries". However, mystery has surrounded the capture as no country has come forward to claim the ship or its cargo. The vessel, however, was only carrying a very small amount and it had been thought Iran had seized it as merely a show of strength. The US then on Thursday claimed to have downed an Iranian drone that had been flying too close to one of its navy ships.  The USS Boxer, an amphibious assault craft, destroyed the drone after it came within 1,000 yards in the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance to the Gulf However, Iran denied the claims and released footage on state TV to proof it was still in possession of the drone. The latest incidents will only increase fears for security along the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost one-fifth of the world's oil passes. Oil prices rose on Friday night in reaction to the news. After one of the worst performing weeks since May, oil started the day firmer but slipped as the US and Iran continued to trade brickbats. The later rise initially still left it well down on the previous week. Oil was down more than 8pc this week overall when markets in London closed.   Iran has threatened to close the Strait if it cannot export its oil. The Trump administration is trying to block Iran's exports as a way to pressure it to renegotiate the landmark 2015 nuclear deal it abandoned last year. The UK, which is understood to have seized the Grace 1 after a request from the US, is trying - alongside the EU - to keep the accord alive, believing it is the best chance to stop Tehran acquiring a nuclear weapon.


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FaviconMother wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer has double mastectomy before doctors realise their mistake 19 Jul 2019, 5:29 pm

Mother wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer has double mastectomy before doctors realise their mistakeA mother who was wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy before the NHS hospital realised its mistake. Sarah Boyle has been left traumatised after doctors at Royal Stoke University Hospital misdiagnosed her with triple negative breast cancer at the end of 2016. The hospital only recognised the error several months later in July 2017, by which time the 28-year-old had already received several rounds of gruelling treatment and major surgery. The mother of two also had to cope with the knowledge that the breast implants may put her at added risk of developing cancer. Her lawyers said the mistake occurred because a biopsy sample was incorrectly recorded. Mrs Boyle has suffered psychological trauma as a result the ordeal and also continues to endure ongoing symptoms caused by the unnecessary treatment. She was initially told that her cancer treatment may harm her fertility. The patient was ultimately able to have a second child, who is now seven months old, but she was unable to breastfeed him due to the treatment. The trust has since admitted liability and apologised to Mrs Boyle, although legal proceedings are continuing. "The past few years have been incredibly difficult for me and my family,” she said. "Being told I had cancer was awful, but then to go through all of the treatment and surgery to then be told it was unnecessary was traumatising. "And while I was delighted when I gave birth to Louis, it was really heartbreaking when I couldn't breastfeed him.” "As if that wasn't bad enough, I am now worried about the possibility of actually developing cancer in the future because of the type of implants I have and I am also worried about complications that I may face because of my chemotherapy.” Mrs Boyle worries her breast implants may increase her future cancer risk Credit: SWNS The case emerged weeks after health chiefs warned that 11,000 patients a year may be dying as a result of NHS blunders. A new strategy was unveiled last month with an aim of saving 1,000 lives a year within five years by ensuring all staff, however, junior, are trained to act if they spot risks. Mrs Boyle was aged 25 when she was misdiagnosed. She was later informed by her treating doctor, Mr Sankaran Narayanan, that her biopsy had been incorrectly reported and that she did not have cancer. Sarah Sharples, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, which is representing Mrs Boyle, said: "This is a truly shocking case in which a young mother has faced heartbreaking news and a gruelling period of extensive treatment, only to be told that it was not necessary. "The entire experience has had a huge impact on Sarah in many ways. "While we welcome that the NHS Trust has admitted to the clear failings, we are yet to hear if any improvements have been put in place to prevent something like this happening again. "We are also deeply concerned following reports surrounding the type of implants Sarah has, with suspicions over their potential link to a rare form of cancer. A spokesman from the University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust said: “A misdiagnosis of this kind is exceptionally rare and we understand how devastating this has been for Sarah and her family. He added: “Ultimately the misreporting of the biopsy was a human error so as an extra safeguard all invasive cancer diagnoses are now reviewed by a second pathologist.” The trust said it had shared the findings of its investigation with Mrs Boyle.


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FaviconRamush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonist 19 Jul 2019, 4:50 pm

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonistRamush Haradinaj, who resigned as Kosovo's prime minister on Friday, is hailed as a hero at home -- where he is nicknamed "Rambo" -- but considered a war criminal by Belgrade, which has long sought to see him behind bars. The controversial 51-year-old, who was a wartime commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), stepped down after being summoned as a suspect by a war crimes court in the Hague. It is the second time he has resigned after being called before a war crimes court over crimes allegedly committed by the ethnic Albanian KLA separatists during the 1998-99 war.


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FaviconUS weather: Potentially deadly heat wave set to break records 19 Jul 2019, 4:32 pm

US weather: Potentially deadly heat wave set to break recordsThe hottest weather in years is stifling two-thirds of the United States, stretching from Texas and Oklahoma northeastward to Maine. The National Weather Service is using strong language to describe the hazards posed by this event.The Weather Service forecast office in Chicago, for example, is calling this “one of the hotter and more humid air masses since 2012.”By the time this event ends by Tuesday, 86 per cent of the Lower 48 states will have experienced high temperatures of at least 90 degrees (32C), and close to 50 per cent will have seen temperatures reach or exceed 95 degrees (35C).On Friday morning, forecasters at the Weather Service forecast office in Philadelphia wrote that this heat wave would be “prolonged, dangerous, and potentially deadly.” Warning of a heat index as high as 115 degrees (46C) on Saturday, forecasters noted: “Heat related illnesses and death can occur in minutes on days such as these in cases of over- exertion or entrapments in hot vehicles. Because of this, extreme caution should be exercised over the weekend with regards to the heat.”Expansive areas of high pressure, with one located over the central states and another out in the western Atlantic will yield near record warmth for multiple days.The heat wave, which comes in the midst of what may turn out to be the hottest month Earth has recorded since instrument records began in the late 19th century, poses a public health threat to tens of millions. In a typical year, heat is the top weather-related killer in the US, beating out tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and other weather hazards.Because this event is occurring at the height of summer, it’s difficult to set temperature many all-time hot temperature records. However, the Weather Service still anticipates many records to fall, especially for warm overnight temperatures.This heat wave stands out for the high humidity that is accompanying it, as a vast heat dome helps drive Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean moisture northward.Dew point temperatures, which are a measure of the amount of water vapor in the air, have climbed well into the oppressive humidity category. The high dew points will also prevent overnight low temperatures from falling significantly overnight.Already, in Chicago on Friday morning, the temperature had not fallen below 81 degrees (27C) for the low, which – if it holds through midnight – would break the daily record warm overnight minimum temperature, which was 79 degrees (24C), set in 2011.Such high overnight lows will increase the risk to public health from this hot weather. Heat-related illnesses increase when the human body is not given time to cool off overnight. Heat stress and poor air quality can exacerbate other illnesses and even lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly.The groups most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses include the elderly, chronically ill, children and outdoor workers. Pets are also vulnerable, particularly if they are left in areas without air conditioning and proper hydration.During the day, the humidity levels will combine with air temperatures near the century mark to drive heat index values – which is how hot it feels to the human body – as high as 110 to 115 degrees (43C to 46C), particularly along the East Coast, according to Weather Service forecasts.Along the northern periphery of the heat dome will be what meteorologists refer to as the “Ring of Fire.” This is the battle zone between the heat wave air mass and cooler air to the north. In this area, strong winds in the upper atmosphere can spark severe thunderstorms, including complexes of storms that cause wind damage for hundreds of miles, known as a derecho.The Weather Service is forecasting such an event today across the Great Lakes, for example, with more storms along the heat dome’s periphery throughout the weekend.As the climate warms because of human activities, numerous studies have shown that heat waves such as this one are becoming more common and intense, as well as longer-lasting. It’s one of the most robust conclusions of climate science, since as you increase the global average temperature, the odds of hot extremes increase even faster.According to NOAA data, summer nights have warmed at nearly twice the rate as summer days in the United States, making heat waves a more formidable threat to public health.Climate change attribution studies have shown that global warming has dramatically increased the likelihood of extreme heat events. In fact, one study published in 2019 found the record-breaking summer heat wave in Japan during 2018 “could not have happened without human-induced global warming.”In addition, the National Climate Assessment, published by the Donald Trump administration last year found heat waves are on the increase in the United States and have been since the 1960, though the 1930s still stand out as having the most extreme heat events on record in the US, due to weather variability and land use practices at the time.Washington Post


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FaviconBrazil's Petrobras refuses to refuel Iran ships due to US sanctions 19 Jul 2019, 4:03 pm

Brazil's Petrobras refuses to refuel Iran ships due to US sanctionsUS-listed Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras said Friday it will not refuel two Iranian vessels that have been stuck for weeks at a Brazilian port for fear of violating American sanctions. Washington has imposed a slate of sanctions on Tehran and companies with ties to the Islamic republic since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark nuclear pact last year. The ships Bavand and Termeh, which reportedly belong to Iranian company Sapid Shipping, arrived at Paranagua port in the southern state of Parana early last month, an official at the port told AFP.


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FaviconWasp spray leads to 3 deaths in West Virginia after being used as alternative meth 19 Jul 2019, 3:34 pm

Wasp spray leads to 3 deaths in West Virginia after being used as alternative methWest Virginia state police are cautioning residents against using wasp sprayas an alternative form of methamphetamine after three people purportedlyoverdosed


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FaviconCORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Vietnam says Chinese vessel violated its sovereignty in South China Sea 19 Jul 2019, 2:49 pm

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Vietnam says Chinese vessel violated its sovereignty in South China SeaVietnam on Friday accused a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts of violating its sovereignty and demanded that China remove the ships from Vietnamese waters. Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters in the South China Sea.


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FaviconIran claims US shot down its own drone by mistake 19 Jul 2019, 2:43 pm

Iran claims US shot down its own drone by mistakeIran and the US were locked in a bizarre war of words on Friday, after Tehran denied President Donald Trump's claim that a US Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone. Mr Trump said on Thursday that the drone had flown to within 1,000 yards of the USS Boxer and had ignored "multiple calls to stand down" in the latest episode to stir tensions in the Gulf. It was the first US military engagement with Iran following a series of increasingly serious incidents and the Trump administrator threatened more yesterday if Iranian planes flew too closely to its ships. Abbas Araqchi, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, responded in a tweet this morning: We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!— Seyed Abbas Araghchi (@araghchi) July 19, 2019 Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, an Iranian armed forces spokesman, added: “Despite Trump's baseless and delusional claims, all of (Iran's) drones... have safely returned to their bases." Revolutionary Guards released footage from what it said was the downed drone. State TV, which broadcast it, claimed the timing notations showed it was still filming after Washington said it had been put out of action. The US said it had its own “clear evidence”, but it was not forthcoming. Mr Trump announced that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, "took defensive action" against the Iranian drone as it was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew." "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce," he said. A first-hand account from a journalist aboard the Boxer suggested that Iran had been harassing the navy ship before the drone was shot down. US President Donald Trump meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Washington on July 18 Credit: REX A Wall Street Journal reporter said that an unarmed Iranian navy Bell 212 helicopter flew alongside them, yards away from the deck, before it was chased away by a US helicopter. The convoy of six US warships passed numerous Iranian speedboats without incident, but was then tailed by a larger Iranian warship which closed to within 500 yards of the Boxer. An Iranian Y-12 surveillance plane was then pursued by US helicopters before a surveillance drone came even closer and was then brought down by electronic warfare jamming. A series of attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf has ratcheted up tensions between the US and Iran Credit: AP It came as a court in Gibraltar extended for 30 days the detention of an Iranian supertanker suspected of breaching European Union sanctions.  The fate of the Grace 1 has been at the centre of escalating tensions between the UK and Iran and seen as a pawn in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West. Gibraltar denies that it was ordered to detain the vessel, which was carrying up to 2.1 million barrels of oil, but several diplomatic sources said the US asked the UK to seize it. Tehran has threatened retaliation if its vessel was not released.  The decision suggested talks between Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, and Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Iranian counterpart, were not progressing. Iran could decide to further disturb western shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, where a fifth of the world's crude is shipped through, if it feels Britain has not played “fair”. Meanwhile, the Iraqi army said an unmanned aircraft dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-linked Shia paramilitary groups in northern Iraq on Friday morning, killing at least one person. It was reported that ballistic missiles were being stored at the base, located in Salahuddin province. No one claimed the hit, but the target suggested either Islamic State or Israel could be responsible. While Israel has carried out such strikes against Iranian arms depots in Syria, it would be the first time in Iraq.


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FaviconHouse Democrats demand new testimony citing inconsistencies with newly released Michel Cohen documents 19 Jul 2019, 2:37 pm

House Democrats demand new testimony citing inconsistencies with newly released Michel Cohen documentsHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler wants former White House aide Hope Hicks to clarify her testimony; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Aspen, Colorado.


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FaviconUkraine's president says he backs prisoner swap with Russia 19 Jul 2019, 1:29 pm

Ukraine's president says he backs prisoner swap with RussiaUkraine's president on Friday outlined the details of an impending prisoner swap with Russia, saying that Kiev is willing to release a jailed Russian journalist in exchange for a Ukrainian film director. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's statement comes at the end of the week of shuttle diplomacy, with the Russian and Ukrainian human rights ombudswomen holding talks both in Moscow and in Kiev. The flurry of activity around imprisoned Russians and Ukrainians follows last week's first telephone call between Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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Favicon'My entire world was gone': floods devastate northern Pakistan 19 Jul 2019, 10:15 am

'My entire world was gone': floods devastate northern PakistanNow only jagged rocks and a few damaged homes remain after torrential rains wreaked havoc on the picturesque mountain village in the Laswa Valley. More than 270 people have been killed in recent days across South Asia as monsoon rains deluged large swathes of the subcontinent, flooding waterways and destroying communities. "I was holding the hand of my mother trying to save her, but unfortunately I lost her hand and she was swept away by the floodwater," says Amin Butt, who was visiting his family in Kashmir.


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Favicon“We Can Stop All of You:” Air Force Warns that They Are Ready to Protect Area 51 19 Jul 2019, 10:15 am

“We Can Stop All of You:” Air Force Warns that They Are Ready to Protect Area 51It started as a bit of a joke, but now the US Air Force (USAF) has told people not to go near Area 51.As we have reported last week more than a million people have RSVP’d to an event on Facebook, planning a raid on Area 51 in southern Nevada to “see them aliens.”The event, titled, “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” would see a group of alien hunters meeting at 3 a.m. on Sep. 20, 2019 near the top-secret USAF Base to coordinate a plan of attack to reveal the truth behind the curtain. Thousands have commented on the page, which reads: “We will ‘Naruto run’ with our arms stretched behind us like Naruto Uzumaki in the Japanese anime series “Naruto.” We can move faster than their bullets.”A spokeswoman for the Air Force has told The Washington Post it is “ready to protect America and its assets”.Facebook user Jackson Barnes wrote on the event page: “Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan”.“I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the Internet. I’m not responsible if people decide to actually storm area 51.”But the Air Force isn’t seeing the funny side.


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FaviconMob in India kills three on suspicion of cattle theft, three arrested 19 Jul 2019, 9:56 am

Mob in India kills three on suspicion of cattle theft, three arrestedA mob on Friday beat to death three men suspected of trying to steal cattle in India's eastern state of Bihar, police said, the latest in a spate of attacks that have provoked alarm among religious minorities. In recent years angry mobs have lynched many people from marginalized groups in India, especially Muslims and the Dalits who occupy the lowest rung of the ancient caste system, often over suspicions of cow slaughter. The three men were caught by some villagers early on Friday while trying to load cattle on a pickup truck, police official Har Kishore Rai said.


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FaviconSqueezed by sanctions, Iranians seek day jobs in Kurdish Iraq 19 Jul 2019, 9:51 am

Squeezed by sanctions, Iranians seek day jobs in Kurdish IraqWhen the car pulled up to the curb in Iraq's Arbil, a half-dozen Iranian labourers swarmed around it. Squeezed by US sanctions on Tehran, they were hunting for work across the border. Mostly Kurds themselves, they have sought day jobs in construction and other menial labour in Iraq's northern Kurdish region to make up for the deteriorating economic situation at home.


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FaviconStudents at Georgetown University slam Donald Trump over Obama immigration quote 19 Jul 2019, 9:44 am

Students at Georgetown University slam Donald Trump over Obama immigration quoteCampus Reform media director Cabot Phillips speaks with students about comments made by the former president.


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FaviconHand signals and Post-its: The Hong Kong protester playbook 19 Jul 2019, 9:05 am

Hand signals and Post-its: The Hong Kong protester playbookHong Kong's youth are no rookies when it comes to protests. Using a range of new tactics, they have helped rally hundreds of thousands of fellow Hong Kong residents to take to the streets over the past month. The Hong Kong-based web forum LIHKG and Telegram, the encrypted messaging app, have served as crucial organizing platforms for the largely leaderless protests.


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FaviconHow Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution Was Resurrected—and Betrayed 19 Jul 2019, 8:45 am

How Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution Was Resurrected—and BetrayedCourtesy Bill GentileBill Gentile covered the Central American wars of the 1980s that haunt the United States to this day. In the first chapter of this series he wrote about the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua. In the second, he looked at the U.S.-backed counter-revolution. Here he looks at what has become of the region, and of journalism.* * *Return Trips* * *MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Journalists follow the news. So when peace came to Central America at the beginning of the 1990s, I knew it was time for me to leave. The story there that had dominated front pages and nightly news for more than a decade dissipated almost overnight. In any case, I was ready to expand my work from Latin America and the Caribbean to more distant frontiers and Claudia, my Nicaraguan wife, was glad to escape the pressure cooker of a country mired in perpetual crisis. So we moved to Miami, a blend of developed and developing countries, where I still could cover major national and international stories, where my experience in conflict reporting and fluency in Spanish would be assets, and from where I could cover not just the region but stories far beyond.Central America’s Wars of the ’80s Still Haunt the U.S.It was a difficult transition. The logistics made sense, but the profession itself faced growing threats. By the end of the 1980s and especially at the beginning of the 1990s, the craft of photojournalism was contracting. Digital photography was becoming accessible to everyone; social media began to compete with the old mainstream operations, and 24/7 cable meant legacy outlets like Newsweek, my employer, became the platforms of old news before they even hit the stands.A peasant walks past a cotton plantation in western Nicaragua.Courtesy Bill GentileI moved to Philadelphia and began working for Video News International (VNI), the first company in the nation to use the new digital “prosumer” cameras to generate television content. Claudia and I separated and eventually divorced. When VNI fell apart, I turned to freelancing with video. By the year 2000 I had begun teaching as my main gig and freelancing as much as time and energy would allow.But Nicaragua never left me. And I never left Nicaragua.* * *‘The World Stopped Watching’* * *White Pine Pictures is a Canadian documentary film production company whose members in 1986 produced The World Is Watching, about the coverage of the Contra War in Nicaragua by Western media. I was one of the featured journalists. In 2002, some 16 years later, White Pine contacted me to ask whether I would be willing to return to Nicaragua to film a sequel.“Absolutely.”I proposed we scan a handful of images from my book, Nicaragua, and publish them in the country’s newspapers. We’d ask people to contact our producer in Managua if anyone recognized the people in the pictures, then we’d follow up on their stories since the Sandinista victory on July 19, 1979. A peasant man and daughter make adobe blocks for building their new home.Courtesy Bill GentileIt worked. Sandinista soldiers. Contra fighters. Peasants. Workers. Our producer’s phone rang off the hook. And in the end? I found myself trying to explain how terrible those days had been, in large part because they failed to advance the Sandinistas’ plan for a more equitable Nicaragua than the one they inherited from the Somoza dictatorship.‘Terrible and Glorious Days’ Covering the Contra War of the 1980sCalling their sequel The World Stopped Watching, the White Pine filmmakers produced a documentary explaining how the absence of international media loosens the restraints on the bad guys, who can do whatever they want because we, the international observers and watchdogs, are not around to hold them accountable. And that’s exactly what has happened.At their electoral defeat in 1990, the Sandinista government accepted the process and, with no small amount of urging by former President Jimmy Carter, handed over power to a new government. It was the first time in Nicaragua’s history that a sitting government peacefully handed over power as the result of a legitimate, internationally recognized election.At a news conference recognizing their landslide loss, Sandinista leaders, including ousted President Daniel Ortega, showed up with pallid, drawn faces. Most of the international press corps was stunned by the results as well.A mural of famed guerrilla fighter and liberator Augusto Cesar Sandino in the northern mountains.Courtesy Bill Gentile“El cuadro esta pintado,” one high-ranking Sandinista official declared just days before the vote. “The painting is finished,” he said, assuring me with blind confidence that the Sandinistas would crush the opposition. The result was a measure of how deeply the Sandinista leadership was disconnected from the people.But at a rally not long after the vote, Ortega promised his followers that, “We will rule from below.” In other words, the highly organized Sandinista party would flex its muscles and get its way no matter who was president.* * *Malign Neglect* * *Anthony Quainton is Distinguished Diplomat in Residence in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, D.C. He spent 38 years in the U.S. foreign services as a diplomat in Nicaragua, Peru, Kuwait and the Central African Republic. He also served as Coordinator of the Office for Combating Terrorism. At a recent conference, Quainton delivered a keynote speech titled, “Managua and Washington in the Early Sandinista Revolution,” calling his his assignment in Nicaragua in the early 1980s “Mission Impossible.”He argued that had the United States made a major and long-term commitment to the social and economic development of the region and backed off its support for corrupt regimes, “some of the problems we are now encountering might have been avoided or at least ameliorated. Unfortunately when the Sandinistas were eventually voted out of power in 1990, the United States largely lost interest in the region. We are reaping the whirlwind of that neglect in the refugee and gang crises we are now facing,” he said.“Opportunities to create a more stable Central America existed four decades ago,” said Quainton. “They were lost. Both sides could not see beyond their ideologies. Neither could escape from its history. The Sandinistas believed that they were a vanguard party and that history had entrusted them a revolutionary mission. … They could not escape from the troubled history of Yankee intervention. We could not escape from Vietnam and the experiences of the Cold War. Bridging the historical, ideological and emotional divide between us was more than I or my colleagues could do. Try as we could, the Mission was always impossible.”Quainton’s argument is balanced and cogent, but it presumes there was some kind of parity in 1979 between a little country devastated by earthquakes and wars with no tradition of good governance, and a stable, global, functional democracy and superpower some 200 years old. Prior to 1979 much of the Sandinista leadership lived in La Montaña and in clandestine cells. They had little or no institutional foundation to build on. No Harvard or Oxford background to draw from. No Jefferson, Washington or Lincoln to emulate.A young woman washes clothes in Lake Managua, which borders the capital, Managua.Courtesy Bill GentileInstead, they were forced to cope with political, economic and military aggression by the single most powerful nation on the planet. To justify that action, Ronald Reagan warned a group of conservative supporters that defeat of the contras would create "a privileged sanctuary for terrorists and subversives just two days' driving time from Harlingen, Texas." He warned that “feet people” trudging north would be “swarming into our country” to escape communism.But if, as the Trump administration claims, Central Americans are now headed north in huge numbers, it’s because of the complete failure to address their hopes, their needs, and their safety.* * *Rule and Ruin* * *Yet none of this justifies what Sandinista rule has become.Today, most of the original Sandinista leadership has abandoned the Ortega regime, viewing it as a betrayal of the organization’s original promises to the Nicaraguan people. Daniel Ortega has been president, once again, for the past 10 years. His wife, Rosario Murillo, is vice president.Facing Down the Death Squads of NicaraguaDuring anti-government protests in the spring of 2018, Sandinista police and Sandinista-backed armed thugs killed an estimated 300 people. Media outlets are constantly harassed and shut down. Even international non-governmental organizations whose only agenda is to help the poor and underprivileged have abandoned the country because of government restrictions and intervention. Nicaragua continues to be rated as the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.So where do journalists and journalism fit into all this? How do we see our role? Four decades after my first arrival in Managua, have I helped bring about positive change? Did I do any good here?I certainly hope so. I hope the images I created and published via UPI, Newsweek magazine, my Nicaragua book and other outlets, have contributed to the visual record of that time and that place in history. It’s important to remember that, at the time when I was covering the region, there was no Facebook, no Google, no Instagram, no email. There was no internet! Television was limited to ABC, CBS and NBC. CNN was just beginning. Fox did not exist. So most of the world relied on a handful of magazines including Newsweek, Time and U.S. News & World Report, Life and National Geographic, for its visual explanation of the globe. Major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post published only black and white pictures back then.A tiny handful of women and men, including myself, were privileged to be part of a small cadre of photojournalists entrusted with the mission of providing the world with a visual explanation of itself. And we did so sometimes despite great peril.But there is another dimension to what we do, perhaps more important than our impact on the wider world. And that is the mere act of practicing our craft defines and validates us. Like La Montaña for the guerrillas, journalism is the anvil upon which we test, forge and mold ourselves into what we aspire to be.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.


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FaviconThe Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Could Put the F-35 in a Museum 19 Jul 2019, 7:47 am

The Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Could Put the F-35 in a MuseumNew much-longer range sensors and weapons, incorporating emerging iterations of AI, are expected to make warfare more disaggregated, and much less of a linear force on force type of engagement. Such a phenomenon, driven by new technology, underscores warfare reliance upon sensors and information networks. All of this, naturally, requires the expansive "embedded ISR" discussed by the paper. Network reliant warfare is of course potentially much more effective in improving targeting and reducing sensor-to-shooter time over long distances, yet it brings a significant need to organize and optimize the vast, yet crucial, flow of information.The Navy is currently analyzing air frames, targeting systems, AI-enabled sensors, new weapons and engine technologies to engineer a new 6th-Generation fighter to fly alongside the F-35 and ultimately replace the F/A-18.(This first appeared earlier in the year.)The Navy program, called Next-Generation Air Dominance, has moved beyond a purely conceptual phase and begun exploration of prototype systems and airframes as it pursues a new, carrier-launched 6th-Gen fighter to emerge in 2030 and beyond, service officials explained.“Some important areas of consideration include derivative and developmental air vehicle designs, advanced engines, propulsion, weapons, mission systems, electronic warfare and other emerging technologies,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Lauren Chatmas told Warrior earlier this year.A formal Analysis of Alternatives, expected to complete this year, is weighing the advantages of leveraging nearer-term existing technologies such as new variants or upgrades to cutting edge weapons, sensors and stealth configurations - or allowing more time for leap-ahead developmental systems to emerge.


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FaviconGermany honors resisters who tried to assassinate Hitler 19 Jul 2019, 6:28 am

Germany honors resisters who tried to assassinate HitlerGermany is marking the 75th anniversary of the most famous plot to kill Adolf Hitler, honoring those who resisted the Nazis — who were stigmatized for decades as traitors — as pillars of the country's modern democracy amid growing concerns about the resurgence of the far-right. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will speak Saturday at an annual swearing-in ceremony for some 400 troops before addressing a memorial event, paid tribute ahead of the anniversary to executed plot leader Col. Claus von Stauffenberg and his fellow conspirators and highlighted their importance to modern Germany. Von Stauffenberg tried to kill Hitler with a briefcase bomb on July 20, 1944, during a meeting at his headquarters in East Prussia.


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FaviconNew Hampshire lawmaker Werner Horn: 'Owning slaves doesn't make you racist' 19 Jul 2019, 4:13 am

New Hampshire lawmaker Werner Horn: 'Owning slaves doesn't make you racist'A New Hampshire lawmaker came under fire this week for claiming American slavery was based on economics, not racism.


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FaviconHe threatened to bomb, shoot up Harvard's first black commencement. Now, he gets prison time 19 Jul 2019, 1:12 am

He threatened to bomb, shoot up Harvard's first black commencement. Now, he gets prison timeNicholas Zuckerman, 25, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for threatening to bomb Harvard University and shoot up its first-ever black commencement.


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FaviconNavy warship sunk by German sub in WWII finally located 18 Jul 2019, 10:15 pm

Navy warship sunk by German sub in WWII finally locatedA private dive team has located the last U.S. Navy warship to be sunk by a German submarine in World War II, just a few miles (kilometers) off the coast of Maine. The sinking of the USS Eagle PE-56 on April 23, 1945, was originally blamed on a boiler explosion. The patrol boat's precise location remained a mystery — until now.


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FaviconThe U.S. Marines Might Be Souring on Amphibious Assault Ships. Here's Why. 18 Jul 2019, 8:55 pm

The U.S. Marines Might Be Souring on Amphibious Assault Ships. Here's Why.The incoming commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps is backing away from the service’s longstanding requirement for 38 dedicated amphibious assault ships.The move could signal the beginning of a new approach to amphibious warfare for the world’s leading marine force.New commandant Gen. David Berger is “willing to shed some key tenets of the Marines’ amphibious force-planning in recent years – including the demand for 38 amphibious warships to support a two Marine Expeditionary Brigade-sized forcible entry force,” Megan Eckstein reported for the U.S. Naval Institute.Force-structure assessments in 2009 and 2016 affirmed the Marines’ requirement for 38 assault ships including LHA and LHD big-deck vessels and small-deck LSDs and LPDs.The Navy in 2019 was short of the 38-amphib goal. The 32 ships currently in the fleet together can carry hundreds of jump jets, tiltrotors, helicopters, ACV armored vehicles, LCU landing craft and LCAC hovercraft as well as thousands of Marines.“We will no longer use a ‘2.0 MEB requirement’ as the foundation for our arguments regarding amphibious ship building, to determine the requisite capacity of vehicles or other capabilities, or as pertains to the Maritime Prepositioning Force,”  Berger wrote. “We will no longer reference the 38-ship requirement memo from 2009, or the 2016 Force Structure Assessment, as the basis for our arguments and force structure justifications.”A new force-structure assessment due to end in 2019 could reduce the number of traditional assault ships in the Marines require and instead include alternative vessels in the tally of ships that can support a beach assault.


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FaviconCalifornia: 'resistance' state has donated more to Trump than to most Democrats in 2020 race 18 Jul 2019, 8:33 pm

California: 'resistance' state has donated more to Trump than to most Democrats in 2020 racePresident has raised $3.2m in California this year, analysis finds – more than Joe Biden and Bernie SandersDonald Trump takes a selfie with a local member of the press as he tours the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Calexico, California, in April. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesResidents of California, the self-fashioned “resistance” state that has sued the Trump administration more than 50 times, has donated more money to the Trump 2020 campaign than to most Democratic candidates in the 2020 race.Donald Trump raised $3.2m in California since the beginning of this year, according to campaign finance data analyzed by CalMatters, a not-for-profit news organization focused on California issues.trump in caliTrump beat out everybody in the field except for Senator Kamala Harris, who raised $7.5m, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who raised $5.1m. Harris, who is California’s junior senator, has been leading in donations from the state since launching her campaign in January.Trump bested even the former vice-president Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have strong support throughout the state.Although affluent donors in Beverly Hills, Orange county and San Diego contributed significant sums – and together constituted a majority of California funds in Trump’s campaign war chest – 92.8% of donations came from small donors contributing less than $100. Many of these small donations came from the central region of the state, which tends to skew more conservative.Trump’s prowess among small donors in California is striking, with the president besting Sanders in this field. Sanders, who raised $2.2m in California, 89.6% of which consisted of contributions of less than $100, has spoken repeatedly about the power of the people fueling his campaign through small donations.California has remained a staunchly blue state for some time – in total, Californians have donated more than $26m to the more than two dozen Democratic candidates – but Trump’s fundraising figures show the president still has a loyal base in the state. And though he loves to troll the state and its leaders from his Twitter account, Trump is campaigning in the area. Donald Trump Jr and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle – who was once the first lady of San Francisco, when she was married to the current governor, Gavin Newsom – were in San Francisco on Tuesday for a campaign fundraiser.Candidates submitted their second-quarter donation numbers to the Federal Election Commission on 15 July, but the agency is still processing much of the data. Much of Trump’s data is still unavailable.


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Favicon‘I am disgusted’: New Yorkers react to Trump telling congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries 18 Jul 2019, 8:14 pm

‘I am disgusted’: New Yorkers react to Trump telling congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countriesNew Yorkers, like much of the country, have some strong opinions about the latest controversy engulfing President Trump. “I am disgusted at the Republicans,” said Randi, of Manhattan. “I can’t believe no one stands up to him. I thought of myself as independent, and I’m forced into being a Democrat.”


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FaviconCalifornia city set to ban gendered words like 'manhole' and 'manpower' 18 Jul 2019, 7:54 pm

California city set to ban gendered words like 'manhole' and 'manpower'The City Council in Berkeley, Calif., votes to remove gender-specific words from its municipal code.


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FaviconJon Stewart Eviscerates Rand Paul for Blocking 9/11 Victim Funding: ‘It’s an Abomination’ 18 Jul 2019, 7:41 pm

Jon Stewart Eviscerates Rand Paul for Blocking 9/11 Victim Funding: ‘It’s an Abomination’One month ago, former Daily Show host Jon Stewart went on Fox News to shame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to protect 9/11 first responders. Wednesday afternoon, he was back on that network to give the other Republican senator from Kentucky a piece of his mind. In an interview with Bret Baier, Stewart immediately took aim at Rand Paul who, along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), blocked a Senate bill that would extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, making the case that it should be offset by other spending cuts.  Responding directly to Paul, Stewart called his objection “absolutely outrageous,” adding, “Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling.” Jon Stewart Fires Back at Mitch McConnell on ‘Colbert’: Stop ‘Jacking Around’ 9/11 First RespondersStewart went on to condemn Paul for supporting President Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut that “added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit” and now trying to “balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.” “Bret, this is about what kind of society we have,” a clearly furious Stewart continued. “At some point, we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and at this moment in time maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. And what Rand Paul did today on the floor of the Senate was outrageous.” “He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt,” he said of Paul. “And now he’s going to tell us that a billion dollars a year over 10 years is just too much for us to handle? You know, there are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community—the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors—all of a sudden we’ve got to go through this.” Appearing next to Stewart was 9/11 first responder and activist John Feal, who thanked the host and Fox News as a whole for being so “generous” with their time on this issue before calling Senators Paul and Lee “bottom-feeders” who “lack humanity” and “lack leadership.”Stewart said survivors like Feal and others shouldn’t have to “drag themselves back to Washington, put their hats in their hands and beg for something that this country should have done 14 years ago,” adding, “It’s an abomination.” 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.


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FaviconSatellite images ‘show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia’ amid Iran tensions 18 Jul 2019, 6:04 pm

Satellite images ‘show US military buildup in Saudi Arabia’ amid Iran tensionsThe United States is preparing to send hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia where satellite images appear to show a build up of American forces on the ground. Up to 500 soldiers are to be sent to the Prince Sultan Airbase in the desert to the east of the capital Riyadh, two officials told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity. Preparations are also reportedly underway for a large missile installation from which Patriot surface-to-air missiles can be launched to protect the base from incoming threats. The moves would likely strengthen the US' controversial relationship with Saudi Arabia, while also responding to rising tensions with Iran which escalated dramatically in recent months. After the US unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed tight sanctions, Iran announced in July that it had surpassed limits on enriched uranium imposed in the agreement. The country insists it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.A standoff has also ensued in the Gulf, with sabotage attacks on foreign tankers, blamed on Iran by the US. In the latest incident Tehran said it had seized a foreign-owned vessel suspected of being used for oil smuggling out of the country/ The Trump administration has long sought to base troops in the remote region, but the decision to send them to Saudi Arabia comes amid outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A United Nations report concluded his death at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul was "an extrajudicial execution" sanctioned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The Trump administration has also been criticised for its response to the murder.Despite these issues, the US has said it is committed to helping protect Saudi Arabia from Iranian aggression, and last month said 1,000 troops were being sent to the middle east, but did not say which countries they were going to.Photographs taken by high-resolution commercial satellites, captured by satellite imagery company Planet Labs, show a deployment of US troops and support personnel who arrived at the air base in mid-June, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, who has studied the new images.Pictures of the site taken in late June and early July show preparations being made for the arrival of troops, Mr Lewis told CNN.“A small encampment and construction equipment appeared at the end of a runway by June 27, suggesting that improvements are already underway. The encampment to the east of the runway is typical of Air Force engineering squadrons deployed overseas,” he said. The US is reportedly hoping to be able to fly stealth, fifth-generation F-22 jets and other fighter planes from the base.Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the New York Times there was “no official announcement” of the deployment to the Middle East but said the American military “continually works to manage our force posture in the region.”Amid rising tensions between Iran and the US last month, Mr Trump said he was not seeking war with the country but warned, if pushed, the country would face “obliteration like you’ve never seen before”.


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FaviconAfter census debacle, White House to knock out senior Commerce official 18 Jul 2019, 5:24 pm

After census debacle, White House to knock out senior Commerce officialSenior Trump aides have sparred with the policy director for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over the census, 5G and other issues.


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FaviconCyprus detains 12 Israeli men over allegations of gang rape of British teenager 18 Jul 2019, 4:58 pm

Cyprus detains 12 Israeli men over allegations of gang rape of British teenagerTwelve Israeli tourists were remanded in custody for eight days by a court in Cyprus for the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old British woman at a popular holiday resort on the island. The Israelis were arrested on Wednesday after the British teenager told police that she had been raped at the hotel where she was staying in the beach resort of Ayia Napa. Doctors who treated the woman said they found bruises and scratches on her body. The suspects, aged 16 to 18, were staying in the same hotel. The young men covered their faces with their t-shirts as they arrived handcuffed at the court in the nearby town of Paralimni, in the southeast of Cyprus. One broke down in tears. Some were accompanied by their parents. The hearing was held behind closed doors because some of the suspects are minors. The suspects covered their faces as they arrived at court Credit: Petros Karadjis/AP A judge accepted a request by Cypriot police to remand the men in custody for eight days while an investigation is launched into the rape allegation. They have not yet been charged with any offence. Three of the men allegedly raped the British tourist while others filmed the attack on their mobile phones, local media reports said. Ioannis Habaris, a lawyer representing four of the suspects, told The Associated Press it was unclear exactly how many of the men were implicated in the alleged rape. He said there was "some evidence" the British woman was involved in a "relationship" with one of the suspects. Tourists on a beach on the outskirts of the resort of Ayia Napa in Cyprus Credit: Amir Makar/AFP Nir Yaslovitzh, an Israeli lawyer representing three other suspects, said the 12 teenagers had arrived in Ayia Napa in three separate groups. Some were having a holiday prior to being drafted into the Israeli army for compulsory military service. He said police were trying to flush out the perpetrators among the group by arresting all 12 and having them detained. "I think it's a trick," Mr Yaslovitzh told AP. "They want to know how my clients will (react)." The Foreign Office said British authorities were "supporting a British woman who was assaulted in Cyprus and are in contact with local police". Cyprus’s sandy beaches, bars and nightclubs attract around 1.3 million British tourists a year. Ayia Napa has a reputation for being a party town, with booze cruises and pub crawls.


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Favicon'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobe 18 Jul 2019, 4:25 pm

'Not what your mom sent you:' Teen takes legendary senior photos in a bathrobeEvan Dennison wanted to do something funny for his senior photos. No one believed he would actually do it. Now he is a "legend."


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FaviconRussia summons U.S. diplomat in Moscow in protest over visa row 18 Jul 2019, 3:44 pm

Russia summons U.S. diplomat in Moscow in protest over visa rowRussia summoned a representative of the U.S. embassy in Moscow on Thursday to issue a protest after U.S. officials alleged Russia had refused visas to teachers at an international school in Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said. The ministry said in a statement it had not denied the visas, but that teachers at the school were entering Russia under diplomatic visas, despite not being diplomats. It said Russia was ready to issue visas promptly to U.S. diplomatic personnel as soon as Washington started issuing visas promptly to Russian diplomats in the United States.


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FaviconLos Angeles police officer charged with multiple rapes after DNA links him to cold case 18 Jul 2019, 1:45 pm

Los Angeles police officer charged with multiple rapes after DNA links him to cold caseA LAPD officer is facing life in prison after an investigation into an accusation of rape led to the discovery of another victim.


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Favicon'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli to stay behind bars, loses appeal of conviction 18 Jul 2019, 1:39 pm

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli to stay behind bars, loses appeal of convictionA federal appeals court upheld the conviction and seven-year prison term of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical executive known as "Pharma Bro," for defrauding investors in his hedge funds and conspiring to manipulate the stock of Retrophin Inc, a biotechnology company he ran. In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan on Thursday rejected Shkreli's argument that his trial judge gave incorrect and confusing instruction about securities fraud to the Brooklyn jury that convicted him. Shkreli, 36, had been appealing his August 2017 conviction on two securities fraud counts and one conspiracy count.


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FaviconFrance turns down citizenship for immigrant nurse because she 'works too much' 18 Jul 2019, 1:27 pm

France turns down citizenship for immigrant nurse because she 'works too much'France has rejected an immigrant nurse’s application for citizenship on the grounds that she was working too many hours a week in breach of the statutory 35-hour week and strict limits on overtime. The nurse, whose name and nationality have not been made public, holds three jobs and averages 59 hours a week, which the authorities said placed her “in violation of regulations on working time in France”. The 35-hour rule introduced under a Socialist government in 2000 gave France one of the world’s shortest working weeks, but it has since been loosened and employees may be permitted to work up to 48 hours a week including overtime.  The Préfecture in Val-de Marne, near Paris, said in a letter to the nurse that it was “postponing” her naturalisation application for two years. The letter was posted on social media by one of her friends, Nicolas Delage. “I find this scandalous,” Mr Delage told the online newspaper 20 Minutes. “One reason for granting [French] nationality is work. She is not stealing anyone’s work.” Sanjay Navy, a lawyer, said immigrants were often denied naturalisation for working too many hours. “I’ve seen similar cases before this. This is not an isolated decision.” Mr Navy said he had seen a number of naturalisation applications by security guards turned down because they had multiple employers and worked too many hours. According to the most recent official figures, some 63,000 immigrants were granted French citizenship in 2017. The French are bitterly divided over the 35-hour week, which became a campaign issue in the 2017 presidential election. The unsuccessful conservative candidate, François Fillon, promised to abolish it, arguing that it caused economic stagnation. Emmanuel Macron, the victorious centrist, has stopped short of scrapping it but has introduced greater flexibility for companies to negotiate longer hours with staff. An economy ministry report in April which revealed that more than 300,000 civil servants work less than 35 hours a week caused outrage among private-sector employees, many of whom say they regularly work longer hours to achieve their targets. A baker in northern France was fined €3,000 (£2,700) last year for breaching legal limits on work hours by opening his bakery seven days a week. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


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FaviconTurkey considering ‘alternatives’ to US fighter jet amid Russian offer 18 Jul 2019, 1:25 pm

Turkey considering ‘alternatives’ to US fighter jet amid Russian offerA defiant Turkey said it was considering “alternatives” to US fighter jets, including Russian models or making its own, a day after Washington suspended it from a programme to build and deploy advanced warplanes.The US punished Turkey for its purchase of a Russian air defence system by pushing it out of a long-term programme to upgrade Nato forces with F-35 advanced fighter jets. The Kremlin quickly attempted to exploit the disagreement, which has already drawn Ankara closer to Moscow, offering to sell Turkey Russian fighter planes.Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s defence industries, responded that “all kinds of options are on the table,” according to the official Anadolu news agency.“Turkey will continue to evaluate alternatives,” he said.The months-long dispute had pushed already strained relations between Turkey and the US to a new low. Analysts say Washington sought to avoid having to make a decision on the matter. But after the delivery of parts for the Russian S-400 missile system began late last week, the White House was forced to act. It announced late on Wednesday that it was ending Turkey’s involvement in the programme to build F-35s, citing security concerns. “Turkey’s decision to buy the Russian S-400 air defence systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible,” said a White House statement. “The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities.” The US is expected to punish Turkey with sanctions for doing business with a Russian arms industry blacklisted since the invasion and annexation of parts of Ukraine. Ankara and Washington are at odds over a number of issues, including US support for the separatist-minded Kurds in Syria. “This is another step in the unfolding disaster that is Turkish-US relations,” said Nicholas Danforth, a Turkey specialist at the German Marshall Fund think tank. Turkey’s foreign ministry has described the removal as “unfair”, but many of the country’s officials were holding out hope the damage could be mitigated. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump share a warm rapport, and many were holding out hope that the White House would defer or suspend any moves that would severely damage Turkey’s fragile economy. “If you believe what Erdogan said, Trump [told him] there won’t be sanctions,” said Mr Danforth. “If you don’t believe that, they’re coming soon.”But uncertainty remains, and many analysts were warning that powerful lobbies in Washington, already hostile to Turkey, would push for harsher penalties. “This is indeed uncharted terrain,” said Selim Sazak, a Turkey specialist at Brown University. “It is a game of chicken that went terribly wrong. Neither Ankara nor Washington thought that the other could go as far as it did.”Still, few other Nato members appeared as eager as the US to punish Nato. The organisation’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, called Turkey an important Nato member. “As long as that issue’s not solved, we need to minimise the negative consequences,” he was quoted as saying.Turkey sought to purchase the S-400s after several western countries pulled their Patriot air defence batteries from the country’s southeast in 2015 over a political dispute. Mr Erdogan has insisted the US would not give it favourable terms for the purchase of its own Patriots, and so turned to Moscow, which it was negotiating with over Syria in the absence of robust US involvement. Other Nato countries have purchased Russian weapons in the past, but Pentagon officials have argued that over time, the advanced S-400 could be used to track and monitor the F-35 and undermine its stealth capabilities to the advantage of the Russians.“Ankara backed itself into a wall over Syria, where its subsequent actions forced it into engaging with Russia, and mobilised its own public in a way that made backing out impossibly costly,” said Mr Sazak. “Ankara also overestimated the extent to which it could play Trump.”


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FaviconU.S. says Navy ship 'destroyed' Iranian drone in Gulf 18 Jul 2019, 1:23 pm

U.S. says Navy ship 'destroyed' Iranian drone in GulfThe United States said on Thursday that a U.S. Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after the aircraft threatened the vessel, but Iran said it had no information about losing a drone. "This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests," Trump said.


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FaviconA prisoner was 'likely innocent' for 25 years, and prosecutors knew the whole time 18 Jul 2019, 12:20 pm

A prisoner was 'likely innocent' for 25 years, and prosecutors knew the whole timeChester Hollman III, 48, was freed Monday from a state prison in Pennsylvania and a formal dismissal of the charges is expected later this month.


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FaviconI was a military doctor. The Pentagon's plan to cut doctors will make whole system worse. 18 Jul 2019, 11:00 am

I was a military doctor. The Pentagon's plan to cut doctors will make whole system worse.As an Army physician, I earned my patients' trust by serving side-by-side with them. Now,


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FaviconMarine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Can’t Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign 18 Jul 2019, 9:32 am

Marine Corps Tells Rep. Duncan Hunter He Can’t Use Trademarked Corps Material for His Campaign"It is personally disappointing to Congressman Hunter that he is now being told that he cannot use this motto or image that thousands of Marines like Congressman Hunter, who went to war under this banner, have used for tattoos, coins, and multiple other items of personal sentiment," Harrison told Task & Purpose.Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has been told to stop using the Marine Corps' emblem and the 1st Marine Division's motto in his campaign literature, Corps officials confirmed.The Marine Corps Trademark Licensing Office has sent Hunter, a Marine veteran, a cease and desist letter telling him to quit using the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem along with the phrase, "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy," on a fundraising mailer that accuses his political opponent of having links to terrorism, NBC News first reported on Wednesday."Please be advised that you are more than welcome to simply and accurately state that you are a Marine Corps veteran, or provide other information about your service that is based on fact," according to the letter, which NBC News posted online. "As an alternative, we do offer a 'Marine Veteran' logo (Attachment B) for use by Marines to indicate their pride in service."Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield confirmed the Corps had "taken appropriate action" to address the campaign mailers cited in the NBC story.


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FaviconIndia's 'dosa king' dies one week into life term 18 Jul 2019, 8:51 am

India's 'dosa king' dies one week into life termAn Indian restaurant tycoon known as the "Dosa King" died in hospital Thursday, a week after beginning a life sentence for the murder of a love rival. P. Rajagopal, 71, was convicted for the murder of his love interest's husband in 2004, but only went to jail this month when the Supreme Court rejected his final appeal. Rajagopal, who turned his Saravana Bhawan restaurant into a global chain, died at Chennai's Vijaya hospital where he was taken on Tuesday with heart problems.


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FaviconChina Is Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says 18 Jul 2019, 8:37 am

China Is Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP Says(Bloomberg) -- Chinese officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs are working on an urgent strategy to solve the city’s political chaos and have ruled out the use of military force, the South China Morning Post reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the discussions.They will soon present top leaders in Beijing with both an immediate plan to handle the mass protests and a longer-term strategy that could result in China overhauling its management of the former British colony, the newspaper said, without elaborating on a date.Beijing maintains that the crisis is best left for Hong Kong authorities to resolve and doesn’t want to get directly involved, according to the report. Beijing has expressed public support for Chief Executive Carrie Lam throughout weeks of unrest and political gridlock, saying this week that it “firmly supports” her leadership.On Thursday, China condemned a joint motion for a resolution in the European Parliament that called on EU member states and other nations to investigate export controls “to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies” that could be used to violate human rights.“China strongly opposes this,” spokesman Lu Kang said. “China does value its relations with Europe, but maintaining a healthy relationship requires joint efforts.“Lam on Monday vowed she would remain in office, after a Financial Times report said she had offered to resign but that Beijing insisted she stay and clean up “the mess she created.”The Chinese officials also see Hong Kong’s police force as key to maintaining stability, the newspaper said. Officers’ tactics have come under fire after they used rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray in dispersing the protests. Demonstrators have demanded an independent investigation into what they deem a use of excessive force, while opposition lawmakers have called for the resignation of security chief John Lee.Earlier: Hong Kong Police Tactics Under Fire as Legislature ResumesMainland officials want to avoid bloodshed and ensure the financial hub remains largely stable, the newspaper reported, citing the people familiar. China’s approach will be to “lure the snake from its hole,” according to one adviser cited by the SCMP, taking a defensive position until the opposition reveals its strategy.They’re also considering whether the current environment makes it too risky for President Xi Jinping to visit another former European colony, Macau, later this year for 20th anniversary celebrations of its return to Chinese rule, the paper reported.Crowds of Hong Kong protesters have turned out in unprecedented sizes every week since mid-June. In recent gatherings, their anger has focused on China. More protests are being planned in neighborhoods across the city by demonstrators vowing to spread the word until Lam responds to their demands, including the official withdrawal of legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland and first sparked the rallies.There are indications that Xi and his top officials are preparing for their annual summer conclave in the seaside city of Beidaihe, which this year will bear even closer watching than usual as China faces growing risks at home and abroad, including Hong Kong’s unrest and an ongoing trade war with the U.S.(Updates in fourth paragraph with China foreign ministry comments)\--With assistance from Dandan Li.To contact the reporters on this story: Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.net;Dominic Lau in Hong Kong at dlau92@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, James Mayger, Iain MarlowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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FaviconWhy the Air Force's F-15 EX Fighter Would Get Crushed by Russia In a War 18 Jul 2019, 1:00 am

Why the Air Force's F-15 EX Fighter Would Get Crushed by Russia In a WarWhile an F-35 can carry 22,000 pounds of munitions to a ceiling of 50,000 feet and a distance of 670 miles at a top speed of Mach 1.6, the F-15EX can haul 29,500 pounds of weapons as high as 60,000 feet and as far as 1,100 miles at a top speed of Mach 2.5.The debate continues over the Pentagon’s proposal to buy new F-15EX Eagle fighters from Boeing to complement Lockheed Martin-made F-35 stealth fighters.As lawmakers weigh the military’s request, Air Force magazine has published an infographic comparing the two fighters.Both fighters cost roughly $80 million apiece, according to Air Force. But the similarity ends there. The F-35 is stealthier but the F-15 flies higher, farther and faster and carries more weaponry.(This first appeared in April 2019.)A Russian-made S-400 air-defense system could detect an F-35 at 20 miles, Air Force estimated. It could pick up an F-15EX 200 miles away.While an F-35 can carry 22,000 pounds of munitions to a ceiling of 50,000 feet and a distance of 670 miles at a top speed of Mach 1.6, the F-15EX can haul 29,500 pounds of weapons as high as 60,000 feet and as far as 1,100 miles at a top speed of Mach 2.5.An F-35 costs $35,000 per hour to operate. An F-15EX costs $27,000 per hour.The new Eagle’s main advantage, however, is that existing F-15 squadrons quickly and cheaply can convert to the type, Air Force‘s John Tirpak explained.“The F-15EX, USAF argues, is essentially an in-production aircraft. It has upward of 70-percent parts commonality with the F-15C and E already in USAF service and can use almost all the same ground equipment, hangars, simulators and other support gear as the Eagles now in service,” according to Tirpak.


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