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  • Trump says he doesn’t know if Giuliani is still his lawyer as impeachment proceedings heat up

    Golocal247.com news

    Donald Trump has told reporters he doesn’t know if Rudy Giuliani is still his personal attorney, as controversy grows around the president’s key ally and his dealings in Ukraine.Asked on Friday if Mr Giuliani was still his lawyer, the president replied: “Well, I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 05:28:04 -0400
  • HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 06:53:29 -0400
  • Serial killer's victim portraits could help crack cold cases

    Golocal247.com news

    Most of the women in Samuel Little's hand-drawn portraits seem to be frowning. Little, whom the FBI identified this month as the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, produced startlingly detailed likenesses of dozens of women he says he strangled over the course of more than three decades. Now the FBI is publicizing his portraits — hoping that someone, somewhere, will recognize the face of a long-lost loved one in an image drawn by the killer himself.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 14:37:18 -0400
  • BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?

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    Will Beijing's strategy work?

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:00:00 -0400
  • Canada vote pitches Trudeau into fight of his political life

    Golocal247.com news

    The gloves have come off as Justin Trudeau struggles to hold onto his parliamentary majority heading into the last week of a tight campaign before Canada's October 21 general election. The latest polls put his Liberals in a dead heat with the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer. Barring a trip-up over the coming days, whoever wins the most votes may have to seek the backing of one or more minor parties to form the next government.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 21:37:36 -0400
  • Brexit Deal in Sight as Negotiators Wrestle With the Details

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    (Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. The U.K. and European Union signaled a Brexit deal is in sight, with negotiators heading into intensive talks in Brussels as a potential compromise over the Irish border starts to emerge.With EU officials saying Boris Johnson had indicated a possible path to detailed talks, the U.K. prime minister planned to update his Cabinet on Sunday on progress toward a Brexit deal. Speculation that Britain will avoid dropping out of the EU without a divorce accord lifted the pound last week to its biggest two-day gain in a decade, though both sides cautioned that much work remains to be done for Britain to leave by Johnson’s Oct. 31 deadline.At issue are the prime minister’s plans to take Northern Ireland out of Europe’s customs union and give Stormont, its power-sharing assembly, a veto over the arrangement. The first would trigger the return of checks on goods crossing the frontier, something the Irish government and the EU oppose. The second would hand Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party an effective veto over the deal, something unacceptable south of the border.DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds rejected any weakening of Northern Ireland’s custom ties with the U.K. and said his party is awaiting the outcome of the talks in Brussels, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview.A possible compromise is a British idea for Northern Ireland to technically leave Europe’s customs union but for the province to adhere to EU customs rules and tariffs, according to two officials. This would have the twin benefit of preventing a border on the island of Ireland and enabling the U.K. to strike trade deals around the world.It’s similar to a “customs partnership” plan the EU rejected in 2018, and would leave Northern Ireland with a different customs regime to the rest of the U.K. British authorities would have to collect tariffs on behalf of the bloc on goods crossing the Irish Sea. EU officials said the proposal is extremely complicated and needs work before it could be considered to be a solution, but didn’t rule out that it could emerge as the compromise.“Getting Brexit done by 31 October is absolutely crucial, and we are continuing to work on an exit deal so we can move on to negotiating a future relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation with our European friends,” Johnson said in a statement.BackstopEU officials view the only sure-fire solution as an arrangement that keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union, the so-called backstop. While there’s no discussion yet of putting a time limit on that arrangement, something the EU has previously rejected, one EU official said that it could yet be considered.Any agreement would have to be backed by Parliament in London, where Johnson is reliant on the DUP. The party staunchly opposes subjecting Northern Ireland to different customs rules than the rest of the U.K.After EU officials said Johnson indicated he was prepared to make sufficient concessions to allow detailed talks to begin, teams from both sides started work Saturday to explore whether they can arrive at the basis of an accord ahead of a summit of EU leaders that begins Thursday.Can Johnson Get a Deal Through Parliament? Silence Is GoldenIn a meeting with envoys of the bloc’s remaining 27 countries on Friday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggested that Johnson is softening his stance on both customs and Stormont’s consent. In what would potentially be a significant climb-down, Johnson acknowledged there should be no customs border on the island of Ireland, two officials said. When asked in a pooled interview for British television, Johnson declined to say whether Northern Ireland will leave the EU’s customs union.“There is a joint feeling that there is a way forward, that we can see a pathway to a deal,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s work to be done.”Ship of StateIn an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Jacob Rees-Mogg -- whose hardcore anti-EU stance has peppered the airwaves since the 2016 referendum -- suggested that some Brexiteers will have to come around to accepting Johnson’s compromises.“As a Leaver, Boris can be trusted,” Rees-Mogg wrote. “If he thinks the ship of state is worth an extra ha’porth of tar, he deserves support.”While negotiations are heading into a new intensive phase, they aren’t headed into the full “tunnel,” the formal Brussels process by which the actual legal text of an agreement is thrashed out in secret.This suggests that the EU still has reservations about the chances of getting a deal done, and that member states are unwilling to outsource the process entirely to Barnier and his team.The European Commission will update the EU’s national envoys Sunday, with the aim of having something concrete for EU affairs ministers to look at when they meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday to prepare for the summit.sDUP Leader Arlene Foster fired a warning shot against trying to keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union, though she stopped short of explicitly withholding support from the prime minister.“Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community,” she said in a statement.For all the optimism, there’s still a long way to go.European Council President Donald Tusk said the U.K. hadn’t yet “come forward with a workable, realistic proposal.”But there are “promising signals,” he said.(Updates with DUP leader’s comments in fourth paragraph, Johnson comments in seventh)\--With assistance from Dara Doyle, Nikos Chrysoloras and Alexander Weber.To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:00:10 -0400
  • Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wall

    Golocal247.com news

    An 18-foot replica of President Trump’s border wall has been climbed in a matter of seconds by an 8-year-old girl and a man who returned for another attempt while juggling with one hand.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:35:24 -0400
  • Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stops

    Norwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:31:10 -0400
  • Rose McGowan attacks Hillary Clinton over ties to ‘monster’ Harvey Weinstein

    Golocal247.com news

    Rose McGowan has lashed out at Hillary Clinton over a report that Ronan Farrow’s investigation into Harvey Weinstein was a “concern” for the Clinton camp.The actor was one of the first to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the disgraced producer, and a lead campaigner for the MeToo movement. Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:33:00 -0400
  • Jake Tapper Exposes Pompeo, Graham and Giuliani’s ‘Stunning’ Hypocrisy

    Golocal247.com news

    It’s easy to forget just how different some of President Trump’s most loyal servants felt about oversight and impeachment when there were Democrats in the White House. On Sunday morning, CNN anchor Jake Tapper made sure his viewers remembered. In the final moments of his State of the Union broadcast this week, Tapper said that the White House’s outright refusal to “participate” in the House impeachment inquiry means that the president is “seemingly thumbing his nose at the very notion that the U.S. government was designed with three co-equal branches, specifically to offer checks and balances on each other.” “When President Obama was in the White House, the Republican-led House of Representatives conducted lots of oversight,” Tapper continued, “on the Fast and Furious scandal, on the Benghazi tragedy and more.” He said that anyone who covered or followed the Benghazi saga “may find it stunning to see Republican members of Congress trash-talking whistleblowers and inspectors general and trash-talking the oversight responsibilities of the House.” “After all, during the Obama years, in the trenches, pushing to conduct oversight were many of these same House Republicans,” Tapper said, “such as then Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas.” After playing a clip of Pompeo extolling the constitutional necessity of oversight, Tapper added, “Yes it is!” In response to him saying it was “unacceptable” for the Obama administration to ignore subpoenas, Tapper said, “It is unacceptable!”“One has to wonder what that congressman would make of the secretary of state, who has the same name, whose department is ordering State Department officials to ignore congressional subpoenas,” Tapper said, before moving onto Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also reportedly urged Donald Trump Jr. to do the same.That is a “far cry,” Tapper said, from what Graham had to say when he was tasked with prosecuting the impeachment case against Bill Clinton. “The day that Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is the day that he was subject to impeachment,” Graham said at the time. “Similarly, during the Clinton impeachment, Rudy Giuliani made it very clear where he stood on the matter of avoiding subpoenas,” Tapper said, revealing another clip from 1998 of Trump’s personal lawyer telling Charlie Rose that “the president is not above the law, is not able to avoid subpoenas.” “Now that Giuliani is enmeshed in the Ukraine scandal, however, Giuliani hasn’t even made it clear whether he is going to honor the congressional subpoena aimed at him,” Tapper added. “The arguments that Democratic presidents needed to comply with congressional oversight were correct. That’s how the system was set up.” Tapper concluded, “If you only apply constitutional standards to the other political party and not to your own, then those aren’t principles, they’re tactics.” Rachel Maddow Predicts Senate GOP May Just Find Its ‘Conscience’ and Impeach TrumpRead 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.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:34:51 -0400
  • UPDATE 2-Hong Kong protesters, police in chaotic clashes, as metro, shops targeted

    * 'Hong Kong has become a police state. Several rallies in shopping mall started peacefully around midday with a few hundred people at each chanting slogans such as "Free Hong Kong", but by late afternoon hardcore black-clad activists trashed shops and metro stations and erected road blocks around the city.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 05:16:15 -0400
  • The Latest: Typhoon leaves up to 33 dead in Japan

    Golocal247.com news

    Rescuers in Japan are continuing to help people in the aftermath of a ferocious typhoon, as the death toll from the storm climbed to as high as 33. The government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, which tends to be conservative in its counts, said late Sunday that 14 people died and 11 were missing as a result of Typhoon Hagibis, while 187 suffered injuries. Japan's Kyodo News agency said 33 people died and 19 were missing.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:38:15 -0400
  • Russia's New Nuclear Weapon Is A Real Doomsday Device (And Aimed At America)

    Golocal247.com news

    If you can't beat them, destroy them.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 02:00:00 -0400
  • France 'worried' after nearly 800 IS relatives escape Syrian camp

    Golocal247.com news

    France said Sunday it was "worried" after Kurdish authorities reported that hundreds of relatives of foreign jihadists had escaped from a displacement camp in northern Syria in an area under Turkish assault. France has been hit by a wave of jihadist attacks since 2015, many claimed or inspired by the Islamic State group, and has expressed concerns that a Turkish assault on Kurdish forces at the helm of the fight against IS in Syria would bolster the radicals. "Of course we are worried about what could happen and that is why we want Turkey... to end" the assault "as quickly as possible", government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told France 3 television.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:32:32 -0400
  • Missing dog reunited with owner 12 years later

    Golocal247.com news

    "I'm just so happy to have her back. I cried so many nights without her," Dutchess's owner, Katheryn Strang, said

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 07:51:37 -0400
  • EU Seeks to Halt U.S. Tariffs Over Airbus Aid in Last-Gasp Plea

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The European Union made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. to refrain from triggering retaliatory tariffs over illegal subsidies to Airbus SE, warning of economic harm to both sides and repeating a call for a negotiated solution.European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told her U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, that his plan to hit $7.5 billion of EU goods ranging from planes to whiskey with duties would compel the EU to apply countermeasures in a parallel lawsuit over market-distorting aid to Boeing Co. U.S. levies would make a negotiated settlement harder to reach, she said.“I strongly believe that imposing additional tariffs in the two aircraft cases is not a solution,” Malmstrom said in an Oct. 11 letter to Lighthizer seen by Bloomberg News. “It would only inflict damage on businesses and put at risk jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time.”The World Trade Organization is due to give final approval for U.S. retaliation in the Airbus case on Monday, allowing tariffs to kick in as planned on Friday.The trans-Atlantic dispute over aircraft aid risks fraying a trade truce struck between the U.S. and EU in July 2018. At the time, both sides pledged to try to scale back commercial barriers and avoid a repeat of tit-for-tat tariffs that began with President Donald Trump’s duties on European steel and aluminum on U.S. national-security grounds.The WTO cases over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing are 15 years old. Because of the calendar, the U.S. is entitled to strike first and the EU would follow suit sometime in 2020.Malmstrom gave no sign in her letter to Lighthizer that an idea floated in some EU circles for quicker European retaliation is gaining ground. The idea weighed was to hit back by invoking an unrelated, older WTO case against a now-defunct U.S. tax break given to companies, including Boeing, via subsidiaries known as foreign sales corporations.Instead, Malmstrom said the EU’s planned countermeasures of $12 billion would be applied “when the time comes on the parallel Boeing case.”Aside from causing economic harm, hastier European retaliation could undermine the EU’s claim to be working to uphold the WTO system that Trump’s protectionism is shaking.“We are ready to negotiate a settlement for both the Airbus and the Boeing case addressing remaining compliance obligations on both sides, putting these cases behind us,” Malmstrom said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Tony Czuczka, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 14:17:59 -0400
  • Kamala Harris to Donald Trump Jr: 'You wouldn’t know a joke if one raised you'

    Golocal247.com news

    The 2020 democratic hopeful was responding to the President's son calling her "The most disingenuous person in politics, after Hillary” for laughing at her own jokes

    Fri, 11 Oct 2019 22:43:46 -0400
  • Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office

    Golocal247.com news

    The US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:54:00 -0400
  • Water Finds Its Level as Fox News Hires Dictator-Loving, Deep State-Loathing John Solomon

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    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyOver the weekend, Fox News announced that it had made a new hire: John Solomon, the self-proclaimed journalist at the heart of the unfolding scandal involving Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani, and the impending impeachment of Donald Trump. It’s not hard to see why Fox executives may have wanted to bring him aboard. Solomon’s work has underpinned the entire cascade of lies the White House and Trump in particular have pushed over the past few weeks. Solomon’s writings—including those most recently at The Hill, where he worked until last month—are drenched in innuendo and mischaracterizations, all in service of attacking Trump’s political opponents. Solomon is already a regular Fox News fixture. He appeared on Fox News’s The Story show last week to claim that he was being victimized by “McCarthy-like” attacks. As Mother Jones noted on Solomon’s hiring—which coincided with Giuliani claiming that the man deserves a Pulitzer—Solomon’s “alliance with pro-Trump forces” is now “official.”Leaked Memo: Colleagues Unload on John Solomon, the Journo Who Kicked Off Trump’s Ukraine ConspiracyFor many, Solomon remains far from a household name: a relatively obscure journalist who worked until recently at a relatively obscure outlet pushing relatively obscure stories about relatively obscure countries. But for those who’ve followed his work (which includes a long-ago stint at Newsweek and The Daily Beast), his role in the entire unfolding national nightmare—and the fact that he provided a willing platform to lies and half-truths coming out of Ukraine—wasn’t a surprise. This is a man, after all, about whom the Columbia Journalism Review wrote not one, not two, but three separate takedowns. (One headline: “John Solomon Gives Us Less Than Meets the Eye — Again”). The most recent topped out at nearly 5,000 words, highlighting Solomon’s “history of bending the truth to his storyline,” as well as his “hyping [of] petty stories” and his outsized habit of “massaging facts to conjure phantom scandals.” Complaints from colleagues tailed Solomon wherever he went; as one former co-worker said about Solomon’s work, “Facts be damned.” Small wonder that, as The Daily Beast reported last week, staffers at The Hill were “enraged” by his presence at the publication. But there was one kind of friend on whom Solomon could always count, and who could always count on Solomon’s support in return: post-Soviet officials, oligarchs, and lobbyists looking to launder their image and spin their narrative. We’ve seen this most clearly over the past few months, as Solomon’s coverage of Ukraine has gained a national audience—and completely fallen apart under the most basic scrutiny. To take one example, Solomon’s writing lent credence to the notion that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, had given a Ukrainian prosecutor a “do-not-prosecute” list. One problem: there’s no evidence the list ever existed, and the prosecutor himself eventually walked back the claim entirely.But the damage was already done: The White House this year canned the ambassador, who’s since been personally targeted by Trump as some kind of henchman in former Vice President Joe Biden’s machinations. (For good measure, Solomon this weekend described Ukraine’s successful 2014 revolution to oust corrupt strongman Viktor Yanukovych as a “coup.”) But Ukraine was far from the only post-Soviet state where crooked actors and dirty money looked for, and found, help from Solomon. A couple years ago, while I was a graduate student at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, focusing on post-Soviet affairs, I patched together a Master’s thesis on how post-Soviet kleptocrats whitewash their reputations for American audiences. And there, in the middle of a lobbyist-led campaign to clean up the image of Azerbaijan—one of the most heinous, most kleptocratic governments in the world—sat none other than John Solomon. In 2015, Solomon was an editor at The Washington Times. His tenure there just so happened to coincide with the paper becoming one of the go-to outlets for Azerbaijan’s lobbyists to lie about the brutal Azeri regime’s supposed graces—including pieces that failed to disclose that the authors were on the Azeri dole, like one column by former GOP Congressman Dan Burton, written while he was lobbying for Azerbaijan. Solomon took some responsibility in that case when contacted by The Washington Post, claiming the lack of disclosure was just an oversight. And when I spoke with Solomon in the context of my research, telling him that one of the pieces—which claimed that “few places in the world… are as welcoming to Americans as Azerbaijan”—still didn’t note it was written by a pro-Azeri lobbyist, he told me that he’d add the disclaimer in. But four years later, the article remains unchanged—and anyone reading it would think the author was simply interested in the pleasures and pastimes of Azerbaijan, and not that he was a paid-off hack. In the years since, I—like many familiar with his work—have looked askance at anything that Solomon has published, never taking it at face value. And rightfully so, as we’ve recently seen out of Ukraine. Solomon is still massaging facts, and he’s still conjuring phantom scandals. And now he’s been hired by Fox News for his efforts. And federal filings may provide a hint of who Solomon might help whitewash next. According to documents filed with the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) database, Solomon’s 2015 push to include a raft of pro-Azeri material in The Washington Times just so happened to coincide with his meetings with Azeri lobbyists. (The subject of those 2015 meetings: “Azerbaijan public relations.”) Fast-forward to 2019, and as FARA further outlines, Solomon was also in contact with Lanny Davis—a man who, until recently, was working on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Accused by American authorities of massive bribery and described by the DOJ as an alleged “upper-echelon [associate] of Russian organized crime,” Firtash is currently fighting extradition from Austria to the United States. For help, Firtash recently hired conspiratorial pro-Trump lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova – both of whom have joined Rudy Giuliani in working to dig up Ukrainian dirt on Biden. (Firtash also just so happens to publicly loathe Biden.)There are no FARA filings yet listed on any communications between Toensing, diGenova, and Solomon. But we already know that Solomon was emailing at least some of his stories before publication at The Hill to Toensing and diGenova—as well as to Lev Parnas, the now-arrested bagman and associate of Giuliani, who also happens to be working for Firtash. So if you see Solomon, whom Politico recently described as an “all[y]” of the two lawyers, beginning to spin Firtash as some kind of wronged businessman—someone unfairly targeted by the Obama administration, perhaps—don’t be surprised. After all, something like that would fit squarely within Solomon’s track record as a kleptocrat’s favorite spin-man, no matter the cost—and no matter the consequences. 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.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:45:11 -0400
  • Hong Kong pro-democracy activists hoist 'Lady Liberty' statue above city to rally protests

    Hong Kong protesters scaled the city's Lion Rock peak and hoisted a large statue they called "Lady Liberty" early on Sunday to rally anti-government activists ahead of more planned demonstrations in the Asian financial hub. It held a black banner that read "Revolution of our time, Liberate Hong Kong" and could be seen from the city below. One of the protesters told Reuters he hoped it would inspire Hong Kong people to keep fighting.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 22:48:06 -0400
  • In or out? Court case on job bias casts pall on LGBT fests

    Golocal247.com news

    National Coming Out Day festivities were tempered this year by anxiety that some LGBT folk may have to go back into the closet so they can make a living, depending on what the Supreme Court decides about workplace discrimination law. "I want all members of our community to feel supported by the government, and often for a lot of us and a lot of friends of mine, it's the first time that they feel represented," said Jessica Goldberg, a bisexual senior at the University of Colorado Denver.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:40:44 -0400
  • Why Poland Really Needs the Patriot Missile Defense System (Think Russia)

    Golocal247.com news

    A robust, modern, integrated Polish air defense will complicate Russian attack planning and help ensure the survivability of both Polish military units and installations, as well as NATO's forward-deployed forces.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 22:00:00 -0400
  • Nancy Pelosi doesn't have to hold House impeachment inquiry vote. But the speaker should.

    Golocal247.com news

    Donald Trump is wrong on what the Constitution needs on impeachment inquiry. But a full House vote would give investigators a stronger hand: Our view

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 20:49:25 -0400
  • Southern California wildfires burning unchecked

    Golocal247.com news

    Gusting winds fueling a fast-moving wildfire in southern California showed no signs of abating Saturday as a blaze that forced the evacuation of some 100,000 people kept burning out of control. A red flag warning of critical fire danger -- strong winds and very low humidity -- has been extended into the weekend, the National Weather Service said. Firefighters said people have taken evacuation orders seriously in the so-called Saddleridge fire burning in the San Fernando Valley area of greater Los Angeles.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 11:40:29 -0400
  • Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say

    Golocal247.com news

    City’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:40:37 -0400
  • Iowa teacher who posted 'sniper rifle' comment about Greta Thunberg visit resigns

    Golocal247.com news

    Science teacher Matt Baish had been placed on administrative leave after posting "Dont have my sniper rifle" on an article about Greta Thunberg.

    Fri, 11 Oct 2019 22:46:58 -0400
  • German police investigate bitcoin transfer to synagogue killer

    Golocal247.com news

    German police are investigating a bitcoin transfer made to the far-Right extremist behind Wednesday’s terror attack in Halle to determine if the man possessed a broader support network. German media outlet Spiegel reports that a transfer of 0.1 bitcoin – approximately €750 (£660) – was made to alleged attacker Stephan Balliet in the lead up to the attack. Police said the transfer came from an unknown source. Balliet told police interrogators that he had received the money from someone whom he had communicated with on the internet, but that he did not know who they were. Questions were raised as to how Balliet, who had been unemployed for a significant period of time in the lead up to the attack, was able to fund the attack, including buying the materials for his home-made weapons. As reported by Spiegel, the man told investigators that the weapons were cheap to manufacture, primarily as he constructed them from basic raw materials. He told police he bought steel worth €50, cartridge cases for €25 and a telescope for €20 to manufacture the weapons, which he based on designs released online by British pro-gun activist Philip Luty "The further investigations will deal in particular with the question of whether other persons were involved in the act or its preparation alongside Stephan Balliet", said a spokesman for the Federal Criminal Police Office. The 27-year-old Balliet was active in far-Right chatrooms, with police suspecting he was radicalised online. Balliet uploaded a manifesto outlining his motives, details of his weapons and indications as to the nature of his plans in the lead up to the attack.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 10:12:17 -0400
  • Syria’s Assad Sends Troops North As Turkish Offensive Escalates

    (Bloomberg) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad sent troops to the northeast of the country to confront a Turkish offensive, raising risks of an escalation after Kurdish fighters turned to Damascus in the absence of U.S. support.The state-run SANA news agency said soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army had begun to move northwards. The Kurdish command for the northeast said it had reached a deal with Assad. The deployment comes after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered remaining U.S. forces in northern Syria to withdraw in the face of a rapid Turkish advance that has drawn international condemnation and the threat of sanctions.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his offensive aims to push back Syrian Kurdish fighters linked to the separatist PKK group that has battled the Turkish government for decades; Turkey seeks to carve out a buffer zone inside Syrian territory to protect its own border and resettle Syrian refugees. The Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces say they are fighting for their rights inside Syria alone and have accused Turkish-backed Syrian fighters of committing war crimes.Who Are the Syrian Kurds the U.S. Is Abandoning?: QuickTakeErdogan launched the offensive on Wednesday, after receiving assurances from Trump that U.S. troops, who supported the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the grueling war to defeat Islamic State, would stand aside.Kurdish-led forces control roughly a third of Syria and have tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters, their families, sympathizers and others in their custody in prisons and camps in northeastern Syria. They’ve warned that they will not be able to secure those areas whilst fending off an offensive by Turkey, a major NATO army. Even Trump allies have warned that chaos in the area could lead to an IS resurgence.U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on CBS that Trump had directed the deliberate withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria due to an expected increase in military action. Esper said the U.S. had learned in the past 24 hours that Turkey was likely to attack further south and west and that Kurdish forces were looking to cut a deal with Assad and Russia to counterattack.Trump Has Ordered Troop Withdrawal From N. Syria, Esper Says (2)“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” Esper said. “We want to make sure we don’t put our soldiers in a situation where they could be killed or injured.”The Kurdish leadership said that while the SDF had fought hard, Turkey was pressing ahead with its campaign. “To prevent and confront this assault, we agreed with the Syrian government, who’s duty it is to defend the borders of the country and protect the sovereignty of Syria, to enter and spread out across Syria’s border with Turkey,” to help liberate the areas under Turkish control, it said in a statement.For the Kurds, inviting in Assad could come at a heavy price. The move may succeed in pushing Turkey back across the border but will likely mean allowing Damascus to take back control over the northeast after eight years of bruising civil war that has claimed some 500,000 lives and displaced millions.Facing a backlash at home and abroad, Trump has defended his move by saying he did not support the Turkish offensive. On Sunday, he said the U.S. Treasury had further sanctions ready to impose on Turkey. He gave no timeline.European Union leaders may also settle on an arms embargo on Turkey over its advance into Syria as soon as this week, four officials familiar with the discussions said. Germany and France said Saturday they stopped shipments of military equipment to their NATO ally.EU Leaders May Impose Weapons Embargo on Turkey Over Syria (1)EU government envoys in Brussels discussed on Sunday the draft of a decision adopting punitive measures against Turkey over Syria, as well as its drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus.According to a copy of the draft communique, due to be adopted by EU foreign ministers on Monday and seen by Bloomberg, the bloc’s nations will vow to coordinate on imposing an arms embargo against Turkey and take one more step in the process of adopting sanctions against Turkish individuals and companies involved in Mediterranean drilling operations.But two officials familiar with Sunday’s debate said the wording in the statement will change, as many member states want tougher language: Cyprus, supported by Greece, wants a decision on drilling sanctions now, including asset freezes, travel bans, and a ban on exports of equipment which can be used for hydrocarbon exploration.France, supported by several member states, is pushing for stronger language on the arms exports ban. Sweden, supported by the Netherlands and Denmark wants the EU to condemn the Syrian operation in stronger terms. The final decision may be left to ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, on Monday.Why What Happens in Syria Matters Beyond Its Borders: QuickTake\--With assistance from Nikos Chrysoloras and Samer Khalil Al-Atrush.To contact the reporters on this story: Zaid Sabah in Washington at zalhamid@bloomberg.net;Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Rosalind MathiesonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:30:06 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Scientists endorse mass civil disobedience to force climate action

    In a joint declaration, climate scientists, physicists, biologists, engineers and others from at least 20 countries broke with the caution traditionally associated with academia to side with peaceful protesters courting arrest from Amsterdam to Melbourne. Wearing white laboratory coats to symbolise their research credentials, a group of about 20 of the signatories gathered on Saturday to read out the text outside London's century-old Science Museum in the city's upmarket Kensington district. "We believe that the continued governmental inaction over the climate and ecological crisis now justifies peaceful and non-violent protest and direct action, even if this goes beyond the bounds of the current law," said Emily Grossman, a science broadcaster with a PhD in molecular biology.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 07:53:22 -0400
  • Trial date set for former decorated Green Beret facing murder charge

    Golocal247.com news

    Maj. Mathew Golsteyn is accused of killing a Taliban bombmaker; an update on the case from Nancy Golsteyn and Rep. Duncan Hunter.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 09:03:47 -0400
  • Can The U.S. Army's Latest Air Defense System Handle 21st Century Warfare?

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    A demonstration might give us hints.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:37:00 -0400
  • Xi becomes 1st Chinese president in 2 decades to visit Nepal

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    Xi Jinping on Saturday became the first Chinese president in more than two decades to visit Nepal, where he is expected to sign agreements on several infrastructure projects. Xi arrived Saturday from India, where he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nepal is expected to tread cautiously while building relations with big neighbors India and China.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 11:38:10 -0400
  • Four killed in shooting at illegal gambling club in Brooklyn: police

    Golocal247.com news

    Four men were killed and three people wounded early on Saturday in a shooting at an unlicensed gambling club in New York City, police said. Officers responding to a 911 call of shots fired at an address on Utica Avenue in the borough of Brooklyn found victims inside ranging in age from 32 to 49 years old and recovered two handguns. "I would not be shocked if we recovered more," the New York Police Department's chief of detectives, Dermot Shea, told reporters at the scene.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 11:09:58 -0400
  • Democratic debate: Time for 2020 presidential candidates to get real on health care

    Golocal247.com news

    Promises win elections, but how does this field plan to keep those promises once they reach the Oval Office?

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 13:47:59 -0400
  • Power returns to Northern California; firefighters gain on wildfires in SoCal

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    The lights were back on for more than 2 million Northern Californians after strong winds fueling wildfire concerns prompted a preemptive outage.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:58:06 -0400
  • Canadian Snowbird plane crashes during Atlanta air show

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    The remaining festivities associated with the annual air show were cancelled following the crash

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 15:54:44 -0400
  • Pentagon says up to 1,000 US troops to withdraw from northern Syria

    Golocal247.com news

    The Pentagon said Sunday President Donald Trump had ordered the withdrawal of up to 1,000 troops from northern Syria -- almost the entire ground force in the war-torn country -- amid an intensifying Turkish assault on Kurdish forces. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move came after the US learned that Turkey was pressing further into Syria than expected. The Kurds -- with whom the US partnered to combat the Islamic State (IS) group -- later announced they had reached a deal with the regime in Damascus to deploy Syrian troops near the border to confront the Turkish offensive.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 21:35:50 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Russia says exploring settlement in euros, roubles for energy exports

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 02:02:45 -0400
  • Police Respond to Reports of Mall Shooting in Florida, Confirm One Person Injured

    Golocal247.com news

    Authorities have not yet identified the circumstances which led to the shooting

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:06:02 -0400
  • California governor signs bill banning 'lunch shaming'

    Golocal247.com news

    The new bill guarantees all students a state-funded meal of their choice, even if their parent or guardian has unpaid meal fees.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 14:47:16 -0400
  • Saudi Arabia Should Be Careful About Buying Russian Weapons

    Golocal247.com news

    Should Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or any other country receive the S-400, the United States would deny them the best U.S. defense technologies and redeploy any U.S. military aircraft based there.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 16:41:00 -0400
  • The Latest: Man charged in New Hampshire church shooting

    Golocal247.com news

    The New Hampshire attorney general's office says a man has been charged in a shooting that took place during a wedding ceremony. Thirty-seven-year-old Dale Holloway has been charged on Saturday with purposely and knowingly causing bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon for shooting 75-year-old Stanley Choate in the chest. A third person, Mark Castiglione, 60, was struck in the head by an object.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 19:44:08 -0400
  • The USS Enterprise: How One Aircraft Carrier Changed Naval History

    Golocal247.com news

    What was really remarkable about the Enterprise was that it marked the debut of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, which are the backbone of U.S. naval power.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0400
  • A professor spoke about whiteness at Georgia Southern University. Students burned her book.

    A Latina author challenged students at Georgia Southern University to think about white privilege. Students burned copies of her book.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:53:17 -0400
  • Another storm to keep chilly air in place across northern Plains through midweek

    Golocal247.com news

    Following the potent snowstorm and blizzard conditions just a few days ago, another storm will keep the November-like chill in the region into Wednesday.The last storm brought more than two feet of snow across parts of the Dakotas, and caused chaos for travelers by air and along interstates 90 and 15.This same storm will stall north of the Great Lakes, helping to funnel in chilly Canadian air into much of the region through Sunday. Snow showers will linger in Minnesota and the northern half of Wisconsin.The cool conditions will hold for the Chicago Marathon on Sunday as well, with wet weather staying to the north and east. The storm will gradually weaken and move northward into Canada through Monday, allowing for a brief rise in temperatures for some in the Plains.By being further removed from the storm and on the southern side of the jet stream, cities like Rapid City, South Dakota; Omaha, Nebraska; and Des Moines, Iowa, will all warm up noticeably on Monday.After being stuck in the 40s, afternoon highs on Monday in these cities will reach into the middle and upper 50s, which is still 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the middle of October.The next storm looks to take shape in western Canada on Sunday, which will trek through the northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Monday night and Tuesday.Unlike the last storm, significant snow accumulation is not expected, although there could be a little light snow for some. "A cold rain, gusty winds and even some wet snowflakes will be in store for portions of the Upper Midwest on Tuesday, lingering into early on Wednesday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham.Snowflakes will be most likely to mix in across northern Minnesota during the day on Tuesday, but there could be some snowflakes mixing in across northern Michigan and Wisconsin Tuesday night."In what has been a difficult year already for farmers across the Midwest, early season snow and well below-average temperatures aren't providing much help during the harvest," said Buckingham.The cold air filtering in along with the storm could cause any wet areas to rapidly freeze up, leading to areas of black ice. Motorists and those on foot should be on the look out for these slippery spots, even if it only rained in their area.Farther east, temperatures are likely to peak on Tuesday before the chilly air moves in Wednesday."Temperatures will rebound briefly to around 60 Tuesday for places like Chicago and Detroit, but the warmer temperatures will be accompanied by showery weather," Buckingham added.By Wednesday, the wet weather will shift to the Northeast, but leave behind November-like temperatures for the Great Lakes region.The late-autumn weather is likely to hold through the middle of the week, before a high pressure pushes a different air mass into the area late this week."This should bring more seasonable conditions by late in the week," said Buckingham. Download the free AccuWeather app to see the exact forecast for your area. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:49:44 -0400
  • US-China partial trade deal: the main points

    Golocal247.com news

    US President Donald Trump on Friday announced a partial trade deal with China after talks in Washington with Vice Premier Liu He. "We have a fundamental understanding on the key issues... but there is more work to do," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters. Mnuchin said Liu needed "to go back to do some work with his team, but we have made a lot of progress over the last two days," signaling that approval from the highest level in Beijing would be sought.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 03:58:51 -0400
  • U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria; Syrian army to redeploy on border

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    WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States said on Sunday it will withdraw its remaining 1,000 troops from northern Syria in the face of a Turkish offensive and Syria's army struck a deal with Kurdish forces to redeploy along its border with Turkey, both major victories for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The developments illustrate Washington's waning influence over events in Syria and the failure of the U.S. policy of keeping Assad from reasserting state authority over areas lost during the more than eight-year conflict with rebels trying to end his rule.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 03:14:47 -0400
  • Canada Has Winter-Tire Appointment Week, and Maybe We Should, Too

    Golocal247.com news

    With snow making its first appearance, U.S. drivers in northern areas should consider switching to winter tires.

    Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:01:00 -0400
  • Elizabeth Warren Is Jussie Smollett

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    Elizabeth Warren has a moving story about being fired from a teaching job because she was pregnant, a story that perfectly complements her political narrative that she is the tribune and champion of those who have been treated unfairly by the powerful. Joe Biden has a moving — and horrifying — story about his wife and daughter being killed by a drunk driver, a story that similarly could not have been designed more perfectly to bolster his political image as a man who can be counted on to soldier on in the face of adversity.Of course, neither story is true.Are we still caring about that sort of thing?Elizabeth Warren has long pretended to be a person of color — a “woman of color,” the Harvard law faculty called her. (That color is Pantone 11-0602.) What Senator Warren has in common with Jussie Smollett turns out to have nothing to do with skin tone. Smollett, you’ll recall, regaled the nation with the story of a couple of violent, Trump-loving, MAGA-hat-wearing white supremacists who just happened to be cruising a gay neighborhood in Chicago on the coldest night of the year, who also just happened to be fans of Empire, who also just happened to have some rope at hand. Who happened, as it turns out, to be a couple of Nigerian brothers and colleagues of Smollett’s.Fiction, yes. Deployed, as we are always told when these lies are exposed as lies, in the service of a larger truth, a truth of which such habitual and irredeemable liars as Warren, Biden, Smollett — and Lena Dunham, and the so-called journalists of Rolling Stone, and the perpetrators of a thousand phony campus hate-crime hoaxes — are the appointed apostles.“Does anybody seriously believe it was not as everyday as sunrise that employers made pregnant women leave their jobs 50 years ago?” CNBC’s John Harwood demanded in defense of Warren. Perhaps it has not occurred to Harwood, who purports to be a journalist of a kind, that the relevant question is not whether this sort of thing happened in the past to a great many women but whether this particular thing actually happened to this woman, which does not seem to be the case: The minutes of the local school-board meeting quite clearly document that Warren was offered a contract for further employment, which she declined. She was forthright in her account of the episode at earlier points in her life. She seems to have suddenly remembered the discrimination sometime between when she began advertising herself to the Ivy League as a Cherokee and the day when the Cherokee finally shamed her into knocking it off.Similarly, people are killed by drunk drivers every day in this country. Joe Biden’s wife and daughter were not among them, in spite of his libelous claims that they lost their lives in an accident involving an irresponsible truck driver who, as Biden put it, “drank his lunch.” The man who oversaw that investigation, Delaware Superior Court judge Jerome O. Herlihy, repeatedly has confirmed that there is no evidence alcohol was involved. The survivors of the driver, who has since passed away, have publicly asked Biden to stop telling this lie and besmirching the memory of their father. Investigators at the time determined that the accident was not even the other driver’s fault — Mrs. Biden seems to have driven accidentally into the path of the truck.But what’s a lie about some nobody in Delaware in the service of the “greater truth,” which is somehow allied to the political ambitions of Joe Biden?After reporting here in National Review, actress and political gadfly Lena Dunham was forced to retract claims that she had been raped at Oberlin College by a College Republican named Barry. As it turns out, there was a prominent College Republican named Barry (it is not a very common name) attending Oberlin during Dunham’s time there, but the two by all accounts — including Dunham’s own account, now — never had anything to do with one another. Dunham’s publisher was obliged to amend her book and to pay the man a small settlement.Of course it was a College Republican. Of course the white supremacist late-night gay-neighborhood frequenting eagle-eyed Empire fans who spotted Jussie Smollett on that frosty late-night sandwich run while in possession of a length of rope and the knowledge of how to tie a noose were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. Of course that fictitious rape at the University of Virginia did not falsely implicate the chess team or the Sierra Club — and neither did the one at Duke.A few weeks ago, the headlines were full of angst and alarum over the fact that a young black girl attending a school at which Karen Pence teaches suffered a racial assault at the hands of three smug white boys who cut her hair. Of course Karen Pence’s name appeared in the headlines: “SIXTH GRADERS HOLD DOWN CLASSMATE, CUT HER DREADLOCKS AT PRIVATE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL WHERE KAREN PENCE TEACHES,” in Newsweek’s all-caps account. Newsweek put Pence’s name in the lead, too — in fact, it made sure to put her front and center even before it described what was alleged to have happened. The smear was transparent, obvious even by the low standards of Newsweek.Of course it was a lie. Here’s Newsweek now: “Amari Allen, who accused her classmates of hurling verbal abuse at her and forcibly cutting her hair has told reporters that she fabricated the event. The Allen family has formally apologized to both the school and the falsely accused boys.” Newsweek has not apologized to Karen Pence, who had no connection at all to the fictitious events save that they were purported to have happened at her place of employment. But the Democrats have invested a great deal in the storyline that Mike Pence must be some kind of crypto-racist, and it would follow that this tendency infests everyone and everything around him.Warren’s fictions, and Biden’s, and Smollett’s, and Newsweek’s smear of Karen Pence, all have in common that they are lies that have been put into the service of the campaign against Donald Trump in 2020. (I assume, for the moment, that there will be such a campaign.) There is a supreme irony in that: Trump himself is not what one would call excessively scrupulous with the facts, but to resort to lies and inventions in the race against him is a confession of sorts.

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 06:30:35 -0400
  • Cubans' resilience sorely tested as US oil sanctions bite

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    As Washington punishes Cuba for supporting Venezuela, Cubans are replacing tractors with oxen and oil with firewoodZoraide Hernández sits at her doorstep for fresh air in Havana this week. Photograph: Alexandre Meneghini/ReutersOn a muggy morning in eastern Havana, a bus crammed with more than 100 sweaty commuters pulls in to a bus stop. The doors open and more passengers press in before – inch by inch – the hydraulic doors groan shut, slowly shunting the new arrivals inside.“All the buses are coming like this”, said Roberto López, 66, on his way – fingers crossed – to buy biscuits in the city centre.Bus services throughout Cuba have been slashed in recent weeks as the island grapples with acute petrol shortages caused by US sanctions which target companies and oil tankers transporting Venezuelan petroleum to the island.Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel has said the island is currently operating with 62% of the petrol it needs, and announced emergency measures to “disrupt the plans of imperialism”. Across the island, production has been cut and stopgaps found, so that fuel can be prioritized for hospitals, schools and food distribution.Oxen have replaced tractors in sugarcane fields; some bakeries are using firewood to power their ovens. Transport inspectors have been deployed to ensure that anyone driving a vehicle which belongs to a ministry or state enterprise gives fellow citizens a lift.At the Alamar textile factory – and in offices and factories throughout the island – all machines and lights are switched off between 11am and 1pm. Taking her extended lunch break, Aimee Machu, 52, said the US wants to stem the flow of oil to “extinguish the flame of communism”. “It they cut the power in my house it’ll be torture,” she laughed, adding with mettle: “But if we have to go through power cuts again, we’ll do it.”“We’re Cuban,” her colleague Rita Castro, 60, chuckled. “We’re used to this!”Despite its myriad problems, the Cuban economy has proved resilient when times get tough, according to Pavel Vidal, a former economist at the Cuban Central Bank who now teaches at the Javeriana Cali University in Colombia.“In normal conditions, Cuba’s centrally planned economy impedes economic growth, progress and innovation,” he said. “But in times of crisis, having a plan to assign resources where they are needed is an advantage.”The collapse of Venezuela’s oil industry – the result of years of mismanagement, incompetence and, more recently, US sanctions – has seen its oil shipments to Cuba slump, from more than 90,000 barrels a day four years ago to about 40,000 today.Alberto Font and Iris Ortiz watch a local TV news recording of a speech by Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Havana on Thursday. Photograph: Alexandre Meneghini/ReutersThe current US plan to starve the Cuban economy of oil – which the state department says is necessary to pressure Cuba to stop supporting Nicolás Maduro’s regime – is part of an onslaught on the communist-ruled island unleashed by the Trump administration this year. The US has progressively ratcheted up sanctions against Venezuelan oil and those buying or transporting it since January, culminating in Cuba’s oil import-export company also being placed under sanctions in July.The three biggest sectors of the island’s economy have all been targeted. The state department is working to delegitimise the island’s main export: the leasing of doctors to other developing countries. In June, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said Cuba’s medical cooperation programmes – to which doctors sign up voluntarily – amount to “human trafficking”.In June US cruise ships were banned from docking at the island – a major blow to tourism – while in September the cap on remittances people in the US can send to the island was sharply cut back.The Cuban government insists the situation is “temporary” and has said there will be no return to anything resembling the “Special Period”, the official term for the deep economic crisis Cuba went through after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the average adult lost more than 5kg and getting through the day without electricity was so common that Cubans talked not so much of “power cuts” (apagones) but of “power ons” (alumbrones).After seeing her country’s economy improve rapidly after the normalisation of US-Cuban relations announced in 2014, Maite Rizo, 26, has watched the deterioration of relations between the two countries with alarm.“I feel confused, even scared,” she said. “We’ve gone from a period of bonanza to a situation where everything’s gone backwards very quickly. From here on, we don’t know what will happen.”Throughout the capital, meanwhile, commuters get by as best they can.“It’s a battle to get to work,” said Nuerca Sánchez, 45, a rumba teacher, while a dozen commuters jostled for spare seats in a car on its way to a state cigar factory. She sees the emergency transport measures as common sense, and is touched when the odd private car stops voluntarily to give people lifts.“Helping each other isn’t about politics,” she said. “It’s about having heart.”Under the blazing sun, others take the long view.Pedro Leocadeo, 64, who is retired, concedes that he might wait hours for a place on a bus. Shimmering in beads of sweat, he sees the sanctions on tankers in the broad sweep of New World history.“We’ve been in this ever since Hatuey,” he said, invoking the Taíno warrior who in 1511 fled from the island of Hispaniola to Cuba to warn the natives of unscrupulous aggressors from foreign lands.“We’re like this today; tomorrow things might get better – the following day things might get worse again,” he said. “Today, it all depends on the Yankees.”

    Sun, 13 Oct 2019 04:00:19 -0400
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