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  • Pompeo loses his temper with journalist over Ukraine questions

    Golocal247.com news

    Shouts, glares and unprintable words: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lost his temper at a journalist after she questioned him on the administration's stance on Ukraine, the country at the heart of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. It began when Pompeo gave an early morning interview to NPR radio. Much of the discussion dealt with Iran, but journalist Mary Louise Kelly closed by asking Pompeo about Ukraine.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 11:57:15 -0500
  • Trump defends Sanders, stoking Democratic divisions

    Golocal247.com news

    As tensions between Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren rose earlier this month, Sanders found himself with an unusual ally: President Donald Trump. During a raucous campaign rally in which Trump critiqued some of his Democratic challengers, the president launched into an unprompted defense of Sanders. Warren had accused Sanders of telling her that a woman couldn’t win the White House in November, but Sanders insisted he would never say such a thing.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 11:20:10 -0500
  • Pompeo responds to NPR reporter, says story is another example of 'unhinged' media

    Golocal247.com news

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently isn't ready for the story about his post-interview encounter with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly to go away.Kelly, who asked Pompeo on Friday's episode of Morning Edition about Iran and the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, said the secretary was angered by her line of questioning and "shouted" at her in a private room following the interview. Kelly also said Pompeo challenged her to point out Ukraine on an unmarked map, which she did.Pompeo didn't deny that the exchange occurred in an official statement released Saturday, but he accused Kelly of lying about the meeting being off the record. Kelly said no request to keep the discussion off the record was made, adding that she wouldn't have agreed to do it anyway. The secretary said Kelly violated the "basic rules of journalism and decency," providing "another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump." > .@SecPompeo doubles down this AM in an extraordinary statement -- issued with the @StateDept seal on top -- accusing @NPRKelly of lying to him twice & claiming it was "another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration" pic.twitter.com/DnHa7Nmot2> > -- Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) January 25, 2020He finished the letter with what appears to be a shot at Kelly's geography skills, though several people pointed out that it's unlikely Kelly would have gotten Ukraine's location wrong, especially as wildly as Pompeo insinuated. > Like hell @NPRKelly, who holds a masters in European studies, would confuse Bangladesh for Ukraine on a map. That and the rest of this statement from Pompeo is really quite something. https://t.co/Uy96PaLSB3> > -- Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 25, 2020More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did. Hong Kong, U.S. take steps to curb coronavirus spread

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 11:15:58 -0500
  • Politics weigh heavily in Trump's Mideast peace plan

    Golocal247.com news

    A blueprint the White House is rolling out to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is as much about politics as it is about peace. President Donald Trump said he would likely release his long-awaited Mideast peace plan a little before he meets Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benny Gantz. The Washington get-together offers political bonuses for Trump and the prime minister, but Trump's opponents are doubting the viability of any plan since there's been little-to-no input from the Palestinians, who have rejected it before its release.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 10:42:09 -0500
  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump's fusillade of misfires on fateful week

    Golocal247.com news

    Abroad, at home and in Twitter's ether, President Donald Trump unleashed a fusillade of statements over the past week as the Senate impeachment trial unfolded and the Davos economic forum played out in Switzerland. On impeachment, the state of the country, abortion, pollution and more, Trump didn't tell the story straight. The Pentagon said Friday that 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injury in the attack and half were taken to Germany or back to the U.S. for further observation and treatment.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 10:20:31 -0500
  • Trump lawyer says Dems want to 'overturn' last election

    Golocal247.com news

    President Donald Trump's lawyers opened their impeachment trial defense in a rare Saturday session by accusing Democrats of striving to overturn the results of the 2016 election, saying the Democrats' investigations into his dealings with Ukraine were not a fact-finding mission but a politically motivated effort to drive him from the White House. “They're here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history," White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told senators. The Trump legal team's arguments were aimed at rebutting allegations that the president abused his power when he asked Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress as it tried to investigate.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 09:58:51 -0500
  • In Limelight Again, Key Impeachment Witnesses Still Experience a Divided Response

    Golocal247.com news

    WASHINGTON -- Admirers still stop and thank them on the street and in airports, send fan mail and sometimes even offer to pay for their meals. But supporters of President Donald Trump still insult and threaten them online -- even the ones who work in the White House.The star witnesses of last November's House impeachment proceedings shook the Trump White House and turned a handful of previously obscure government officials into political household names.And just as their names and faces were beginning to fade from public memory, they were resurrected this week in the Senate by the House Democrats presenting their case for convicting the president. The House managers repeatedly played video clips of those witnesses, on large screens set up in the old Senate chamber, to buttress their case that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as discredited allegations of Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election.The effect has cut both ways for these accidental political stars. In some quarters, they are being cheered anew by admirers, while in others they are drawing a new round of insults and invective from supporters of Trump -- and even from the president himself.Some are in the awkward position of carrying on within the government. They include Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a National Security Council aide, who testified that, when he listened to the president's July 25 phone call with Zelenskiy, he "couldn't believe" what he was hearing.Vindman continues to serve on the National Security Council, but that has not prevented Trump from attacking him. On Friday, Trump retweeted Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who a day earlier had resurrected an October quote about Vindman from his former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jim Hickman: "Do not let the uniform fool you. He is a political activist in uniform."In response, a lawyer for Vindman issued a statement denouncing Blackburn's "slander" and "cowardice," writing that while the senator "fires off defamatory tweets, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman will continue to do what he has always done: serve our country dutifully and with honor."Also still working in the extended White House complex is Jennifer Williams, a career Foreign Service officer and national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence who testified in November that Trump's July 25 call with Zelenskiy had been "unusual."Williams has not spoken publicly since Trump tweeted on the day of her testimony that "Jennifer Williams, whoever that is" should "meet with the other Never Trumpers" aligned against him and "work out a better presidential attack!" Other witnesses who have returned to their government posts, without public incident, include George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Laura Cooper, who holds an equivalent post at the Defense Department.Then there is the whistleblower whose original complaint about Trump's pressure campaign on Zelenskiy ignited the fuse that led to his impeachment.Each day, the whistleblower goes to his job at the CIA's headquarters and continues to work on intelligence related to Europe and, his expertise, Ukraine, according to people familiar with his work.Although his identity is known by many inside the CIA and other intelligence agencies, supervisors have reminded intelligence officers to respect his public anonymity. As a result, inside the CIA, intelligence officers make no mention of the impeachment proceedings to him. That, according to friends, has allowed the whistleblower to focus on his intelligence work, but it has contributed to a sense of isolation.While the whistleblower remains silent at work, he has discussed the stress of the events and the gravity of impeachment with friends and expressed frustration that his decision to remain anonymous has meant that right-wing attacks on his character and motivations go unanswered.By contrast, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon D. Sondland, appears to be mounting a public rehabilitation campaign, smiling and schmoozing his way back to normalcy after public testimony that angered Trump.During the House appearance in which he contradicted Trump's prior insistence that the president never sought a "quid pro quo" from Zelenskiy, Sondland made clear his intention to carry on with his diplomatic job. Later, he was seen checking in for his flight at Dulles International Airport and saying that he was "going back to work."And he has. Sondland, a businessman whose main qualification for his job appeared to be a $1 million donation to Trump's inaugural fund, is again posting regularly on an official Twitter feed, smiling broadly alongside a series of foreign officials and working on issues like trade, the Balkans and Iran. He no longer mentions Ukraine, once a cherished part of his portfolio.Radislaw Sikorski, a Polish member of the European Parliament who met last week with Sondland in Strasbourg, France, suggested that the experience had changed him."I've talked with him a year ago, three months ago and last week," Sikorski said. "And he's learned." Before, Sikorski said, "he was borderline offensive, but now he's found a way to not to be so offensive.'"Several other witnesses who provided memorable, and often damning, testimony have left government. Among them is William B. Taylor Jr., who served as ambassador to Ukraine during the Bush administration and as de facto ambassador after Marie L. Yovanovitch was recalled to Washington last spring.Taylor left his post for good on Jan. 2, soon before his temporary appointment was set to expire.A Vietnam War veteran whose commanding voice drew comparisons to famed news anchor Walter Cronkite, Taylor officially remained a State Department employee until Jan. 10. During a visit to the building's cafeteria before his departure, Taylor was seen trying to buy a coffee and scone for breakfast when a well-wisher swooped in and insisted on paying.Taylor is expected to return next month to the federally funded United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he was working in mid-2019 when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo persuaded him to return to Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, on a temporary basis.Asked about his future plans during an interview with Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli a few days before his departure from Ukraine, Taylor said, "I am hoping that I will have a chance to keep working for the good of the U.S.-Ukrainian relations."Taylor's predecessor in Kyiv, Yovanovitch, is officially still employed by the State Department, which a Fox News reporter spotted her visiting this month. She is also teaching a class, one morning per week, at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and is scheduled to receive an award next week from the university's School of Foreign Service for "Excellence in the Conduct of Diplomacy."Yovanovitch has remained in the news thanks to texts released this month suggesting that associates of Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani were having her watched in Kyiv. And Friday, ABC News reported the existence of a recording of Trump, in the spring of 2018, saying "take her out," in an apparent reference to Yovanovitch."Get her out tomorrow. I don't care," Trump says, according to the report. "Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it."Trump's former top National Security Council aide for Russia, Fiona Hill, had already left the White House months before she publicly testified about "fictions" involving Ukraine promoted by Trump and his allies. This past week, as the Senate impeachment trial was opening, she returned as a senior fellow to her previous employer of many years, the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.Hill has told friends she is declining speaking engagements, plowing through unopened mail and contemplating writing a book drawn from her past research on Russia.Kurt D. Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, who worked with Sondland and Giuliani, in what Taylor described as a "highly irregular channel" of diplomacy to Kyiv, resigned on Sept. 27.Volker also left the job he retained as executive director of the McCain Institute, but is again an adviser with the Washington lobbying firm GBR Group. He has also returned to the foreign policy circuit, appearing at conferences where he has been a regular over the years.Tim Morrison, who succeeded Hill as the National Security Council's director for Russia affairs, left the White House a day before he testified behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee at the end of October.Morrison has maintained a low profile since then, although on Jan. 15, he was a featured speaker at a dinner panel hosted by the George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs on the future of nuclear arms control. Maintaining his hard-edge position toward Russia, he derided it is as "a Mafia-run gas station with a lot of nuclear weapons."But Morrison avoided discussing National Security Council policymaking and rebuffed efforts to coax him into any conversation about impeachment. On Thursday, he became a nonresident fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute in Washington.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 09:56:35 -0500
  • Trump Impeachment: Making a Case Against a President, and Against Tuning Out

    Golocal247.com news

    They played video. They brought graphics. They cited Alexander Hamilton so many times, they may owe royalties to Lin-Manuel Miranda.The Democratic House impeachment managers, unfolding their case against President Donald Trump, were conducting a TV trial without many of the staples of legal drama, particularly witnesses on the stand. Instead, they relied on multimedia, impassioned speeches and repetition, repetition, repetition -- all in a presentation of 24 hours over three days.If the O.J. Simpson trial was a long-running daytime soap, this was democracy in binge mode.The trial of Trump, as the TV pundits reminded us before, during and after, was an unusual one, in that much of the jury was assumed to already have a verdict in mind. This meant a different dynamic from the usual televised trial, in which the prosecution is speaking to the jury first and the viewing audience second, if at all.Instead, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and his team were effectively speaking to the court of public opinion -- home viewers who might bring pressure to bear on certain swing senators or turn against them at the ballot box -- although they had to do so by at least arguing as if the outcome were not a foregone conclusion.So there was the case, and then there was the case about the case. If the Republican majority was going to acquit the president, and if it was going to be voting against calling witnesses and subpoenaing documents that might weaken his defense, the Democrats would make sure that the viewing audience knew it.Their arguments often focused on what the audience wasn't seeing and hearing, because the White House refused it. Wednesday night, Schiff made a refrain of referencing evidence -- a diplomatic cable, a statement attributed to the former national security adviser, John Bolton -- and turning it into a question to the Senate. Wouldn't you like to read them? Wouldn't you like to hear them? "They're yours for the asking," he said.What the three days asked of viewers, largely, was patience. The constitutional stakes were as high as they come. But the dynamics were staid, thanks to Senate rules that limited TV coverage to two cemented-in-place camera vantages that gave the broadcast all the visual verve of a security-camera tape.The managers' most effective tool, both to break out of the visual monotony and substitute for live witnesses, was file video, which they used to string together the words of Trump and his staff into a kind of cinema-verite documentary of the often right-out-in-the-open scandal.There was Trump at a news conference with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland, dismissing his own intelligence agencies' findings on Russian hacking. There was his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, regaling Fox News hosts about his Ukraine exploits. There was Sen. John McCain, a frequent critic of Trump, summoned Friday as a posthumous witness.Certain greatest hits went into heavy rotation. The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, seemed to say "get over it" on-screen as often as his boss said "You're fired" on "The Apprentice."The senators were a captive audience, although some ducked out, unseen by the stationary cameras. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vanished before managers played a video of him, prosecuting the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, in which he contradicted arguments he's made to defend Trump. (Graham did make himself available to cameras between sessions, as did the Democratic presidential candidates kept off the trail in Iowa by Senate duty.)If any senators weren't keen on their duty, a good chunk of their constituents were willing to volunteer. Eleven million viewers watched the trial's first day -- hardly Super Bowl numbers but more than watched the Clinton trial, although the numbers declined the next day. And the three major broadcast networks aired more of the trial during the daytime than in 1999, although they left the evening portion to cable news.In a way, the Democrats programmed their presentation the way a cable news channel does. They recycled through their arguments and video clips during the daytime, for a home audience watching snippets here and there.Then in prime time, they brought out their centerpiece programming, delivered by Schiff. (This was around where Fox News usually cut away, preferring its own prime-time hosts.) At the end of Friday's session, he stepped back from the specifics of the abuse-and-obstruction cases to argue "moral courage" and putting country over party."Give America a fair trial," he concluded. "She deserves it."The tone wasn't entirely solemn. On Thursday evening, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told a story about a friend who'd just asked him if he'd heard about "the latest outrage." Jeffries assumed this referred to Trump. Actually, his friend said, "Someone voted against Derek Jeter on his Hall of Fame ballot."Jeffries moved on to connect the American pastime of baseball with the American tradition of the Constitution. But his anecdote made another point. The House managers were not just vying with an opposition party and a truculent defender. They were pitted against every other distraction in the mediasphere, every other shiny enticement and new outrage offering a reason to tune out.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 09:55:25 -0500
  • GOP senators incensed by Schiff's 'head on a pike' remark

    Golocal247.com news

    Senate Republicans said lead impeachment prosecutor Adam Schiff insulted them during the trial by repeating an anonymously sourced report that the White House had threatened to punish Republicans who voted against President Donald Trump. Schiff, who delivered closing arguments for the prosecution, was holding Republican senators rapt as he called for removing Trump from office for abusing his power and obstructing Congress. Doing anything else, he argued, would be to let the president bully Senate Republicans into ignoring his pressure on Ukraine for political help.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 08:31:52 -0500
  • Substitute teaching a challenge in Jimmy Carter's class

    Golocal247.com news

    Every now and then, Sunday school teacher Kim Fuller makes a point during class and the old man sitting on the front pew raises his eyebrows quizzically. Fuller is the eldest daughter of Carter’s late brother Billy Carter, and she has served as the regular replacement for the world’s best-known Sunday school teacher since Carter underwent brain surgery in November. Out of the hospital and back home in Plains, Georgia, the 95-year-old Carter has been in his regular, front-row seat at Maranatha Baptist Church, along with his wife Rosalynn, each Sunday since Dec. 29.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 08:26:49 -0500
  • Libya says oil shutdown caused over $255 million in losses

    Golocal247.com news

    The closure of Libya’s major oil fields and production facilities has resulted in losses of more than $255 million in the six-day period ending Jan. 23, the country’s national oil company said Saturday. The closures came when powerful tribal groups loyal to military commander Khalifa Hifter earlier this month seized several large export terminals along the eastern coast as well as southern oil fields.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 08:23:53 -0500
  • Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did.

    Golocal247.com news

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose known for being wary of the press, apparently did not enjoy his latest interview.Pompeo reportedly berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly on Friday after she interviewed him about the ousting of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. During Friday's interview, which aired on NPR's Morning Edition, Pompeo said he has "defended every State Department official on his team," but did not provide Kelly with a specific example of him defending Yovanovitch. Pompeo complained that he was there to talk about Iran, but Kelly assured him she confirmed with his team that she would ask him about Ukraine, as well.Following the interview, Kelly said she was summoned by a Pompeo aide to a private room where Pompeo "shouted" at her, asking if she thought "Americans care about Ukraine" and challenging her to point to the country on an unmarked map, which the well-traveled, veteran reporter was able to do. Journalists like CNN's Jake Tapper defended Kelly's line questioning, while Democratic politicians blasted Pompeo's behavior. The State Department didn't have much to say on the matter, though.At the end of their encounter, Kelly said Pompeo told her "people will hear about this." They sure did - straight from Kelly. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek Hong Kong, U.S. take steps to curb coronavirus spread Trump is winning the impeachment battle — but losing the war

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 08:10:21 -0500
  • Impeachment, an Outbreak and a Climate Awakening: Weekend Reads

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Democrats concluded their arguments in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, with Republicans shutting down their efforts to introduce new evidence  in votes split sharply along party lines.In China, a deadly virus killed dozens of people, spread to other countries, prompted the government to lock down major population centers and triggered protests that the authorities’ reaction to the outbreak was too slow.The world’s economic and political elite finally put climate change at the top of the agenda at their annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. And in France, President Emmanuel Macron pushed on with a pension reform despite death threats from unions who oppose it.We hope you enjoy these and other stories, and click here for Bloomberg’s most compelling political images from the past week.Giuliani’s Sidekick Parnas Traces Part of Money Trail to UkraineThe expenses racked up Rudy Giuliani’s advance man to Ukraine, Lev Parnas, were so high that some of his Republican donors complained. Read about the new details provided by Parnas about the money web that helped support Giuliani’s work in Ukraine for Trump.Sanders Rise Means More Talk About Electability Than RevolutionBernie Sanders, who has campaigned for “radical change” leading to a revolution, is now talking more about how he can beat Trump and has something to offer every voter. Emma Kinery describes the rise in polling and fund-raising for Sanders as he refocuses on electability. It Took 50 Years for Climate Change to Top the Davos AgendaIt took five decades for climate change to dominate the annual meeting of business titans, global leaders and top thinkers in Davos. This year, though, it seemed as if no one there could stop talking about it, Laura Millan Lombrana and Aaron Rutkoff report.Inside China’s Virus Zone, Unease Grips a City in LockdownIn Wuhan, the central Chinese city that’s ground zero of the deadly new virus, a sense of fear is taking hold. The city’s 11 million residents woke to learn they were in lockdown on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday that unites families for days of feasting.Putin Has a Plan to Keep Running Russia Without Being President Vladimir Putin became Russia’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin by jumping between the presidency and prime ministership in his two decades in power. As Henry Meyer and Ilya Arkhipov report, he’s now got a plan that might keep him in power for life.Italy’s Chief Disrupter Is Masterminding His ComebackA college dropout who cracks crude jokes, Matteo Salvini is making a political comeback in Italy. The latest target of the right-wing League party leader is a center-left stronghold he plans to flip in a local election tomorrow, John Follain reports.Tech Giants’ Lobby Spending Shows Washington’s Growing HostilityThree of the biggest U.S. technology giants boosted lobbying spending last year. Eric Newcomer and Ben Brody give details on their fight against charges of unfair competition, efforts to shape privacy laws and pursuit of public contracts in a hostile Washington.Rio’s Dirty, Foul-Smelling Water Renews Privatization PushCloudy, foul-smelling water running from the taps in Rio de Janeiro is the latest crisis to rock the Brazilian city. As Simone Iglesias and Sabrina Valle report, the strain on resources for 9 million people is about to get worse as the city prepares for Carnival next month.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … In 2018, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, met with Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos in an encounter likely weighted with tension. Read this account from David Wainer and Alyza Sebenius about the small dinner in Los Angeles that apparently went well enough that they exchanged phone numbers, a move UN experts said led to a spying attack on Bezos’s phone. To contact the author of this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at mwinfrey@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 08:00:36 -0500
  • Iranian FM: Tehran still willing to negotiate with US

    Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country's foreign minister said in an interview released Saturday. Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that he would “never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities,” in an interview conducted Friday in Tehran. There has been growing tension between Washington and Tehran since in 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 07:26:41 -0500
  • Why is Vladimir Putin racing to amend Russia's constitution?

    Golocal247.com news

    Ever since Vladimir Putin announced a dramatic overhaul of Russia's constitution and the removal of his longtime prime minister and cabinet, Russians have been asking themselves a single question: What is Putin up to? Since the Jan. 15 announcement, Putin hasn't slowed down.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 07:23:00 -0500
  • Tents set ablaze after Iraq cleric withdraws protest support

    Golocal247.com news

    Security forces set fire to anti-government protest tents in the country's south early Saturday and re-opened key public squares in Baghdad that had been occupied by demonstrators for months. The crackdown came hours after a powerful Shiite cleric dealt the protest movement a blow by withdrawing his support, prompting his followers to pack up and leave the demonstration encampments. One protester was killed and 44 wounded when security forces fired tear gas and live rounds to disperse them from nearby Baghdad's Khilani Square, as clearance operations were underway, medical and security officials said.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 04:26:26 -0500
  • 'This is huge': Locust swarms in Africa are worst in decades

    Golocal247.com news

    The hum of millions of locusts on the move is broken by the screams of farmers and the clanging of pots and pans. The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the bugs swarm into the East African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. “Even cows are wondering what is happening," said Ndunda Makanga, who spent hours Friday trying to chase the locusts from his farm.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 03:49:17 -0500
  • Earthquake in Eastern Turkey Kills at Least 21 People

    (Bloomberg) -- A magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Turkey’s eastern Elazig province late Friday killed at least 21 people and injured hundreds. About 30 people remain under the rubble of collapsed buildings, the NTV news channel said on Saturday.Four buildings were wrecked in the Elazig city center, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said in a statement on its website. Twelve of the hundreds of aftershocks had a magnitude of over 4, AFAD said. The Elazig Airport is operative and communication is back to normal after an initial disruption, according to the agency.The earthquake occurred at 8:55 p.m. local time on Friday at a depth of 6.75 kilometers (4.2 miles) on the East Anatolia Fault Line. Tremors were felt in many cities across the region, Turkish TV outlets reported.In a Twitter post, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was following the rescue efforts closely. “We’re with our nation, with all our institutions,” Erdogan said.Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, Environment & Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca were in Elazig on Saturday to coordinate rescue efforts.Turkey is situated in a seismically active area and is among countries, including China and Iran, that can experience catastrophic earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1999, a 7.5-magnitude quake shook the western Marmara region killing thousands of people and damaging more than 300,000 buildings. Turkish GDP contracted 3.4% that year.(Updates with ministers’ visit in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Cagan Koc in Istanbul at ckoc2@bloomberg.net;Taylan Bilgic in Istanbul at tbilgic2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at oant@bloomberg.net, Nathan Crooks, Jacqueline MackenzieFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 03:44:09 -0500
  • How Demographics Could Spark Change in Iran

    Golocal247.com news

    For years, Iran’s ruling ayatollahs have grappled with a profoundly vexing problem: how best to maintain the loyalty of the country’s growing (and increasingly unruly) population. The question isn’t strictly a political one. It is also made significantly more complicated by the age of the Islamic Republic’s population, which cuts against the regime in key ways.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 03:00:00 -0500
  • Death toll stands at 22 from Turkey earthquake; 1,100 hurt

    Golocal247.com news

    The death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey climbed to 22 on Saturday as rescue crews searched for people who remained trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said. Speaking at a televised news conference near the epicenter of the quake in Elazig province, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 18 people were killed in Elazig and four in neighboring Malatya. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended the funeral of a mother and son killed in the quake while visiting the hardest-hit areas.

    Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:46:51 -0500
  • 'Give America a fair trial': key takeaways from Democrats' final arguments

    Golocal247.com news

    House managers spent much of Friday anticipating Republican arguments and giving pre-emptive rebuttals of Trump’s defense, which begins SaturdayThe fourth full day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the US Senate has concluded. Here are five key takeaways: The prosecution rests… for nowDemocrats completed the presentation of the case against Trump on Friday evening, after taking almost all of their allotted 24 hours. The lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff ended his presentation with an appeal to senators to show the “moral courage” to invite witnesses to testify.“Give America a fair trial,” Schiff concluded after three marathon days of argument. “She’s worth it.” Defense preview: ‘the president didn’t do anything wrong’Previewing Trump’s defense in a conference call with reporters on Friday, a source working on the president’s legal team said they would roll out a “straightforward” defense on Saturday morning: “the president didn’t do anything wrong.”The Senate was scheduled to convene at 10am Saturday, with Trump’s legal team expected to give an approximately three-hour “overview” of their defense. Defense arguments were to continue on Monday and possibly Tuesday. The silent RepublicansA familiar roster of Republicans spoke to reporters during breaks in the trial to dismiss the Democratic case along various familiar lines: they had seen no new evidence, the Democrats were repeating themselves, the conduct in question is not impeachable.Notably absent from the TV hits, however, were members of a small group of Republican senators who have said they would be open to calling for witnesses at the trial. Their silence left the basic disposition of the trial – and the question of whether it might end next week, or go on much longer – up in the air. Democrats preempt Trump defenseThe House managers spent much of their time Friday anticipating Republican arguments and delivering pre-emptive rebuttals.Schiff skippingly previewed more than a dozen lines of defense mooted by Trump’s team and the president himself – from “read the transcript” to “[Joe] Biden is corrupt” to “Obama did it” – and deftly eviscerated each one.Schiff drew laughter from the Senate when he described how Trump’s legal team would brandish in the president’s defense his statement that he wanted “nothing” from Ukraine – “no quid pro quo”. That line of argument, Schiff japed, would be based on “the well known principle of criminal defense” that when someone denies a crime they didn’t do it.> .@RepAdamSchiff: "I discovered something very significant by 'mocking the president.' That is, for a man who loves to mock others, he does not like to be mocked. Turns out, he's got a pretty thin skin. Who would have thought?" > > Watch -- https://t.co/jMlsQHAmwE pic.twitter.com/NKNtk8VT7G> > — CSPAN (@cspan) January 25, 2020> Good prebuttal> > — Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) January 25, 2020 Concern in the White House?On Friday evening – apropos of nothing? – the official White House account tweeted a monotone statement delivered by Trump in July 2018 after he returned from a disastrous outing to Helsinki in which he stood next to Russian president Vladimir Putin and credited Putin’s assurances that Russia did not hack the 2016 US election.It’s too early to know what the tone of Trump’s defense will be but the archival statement seemed like an early salvo:> President @realDonaldTrump has unequivocally denounced foreign interference in our elections and accepted the conclusions of the intelligence community. pic.twitter.com/lhdHNbvrLv> > — The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 24, 2020

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 22:14:42 -0500
  • Ukraine's Zelensky weathers crises from Trump to downed jet

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    In his first nine months as Ukrainian president, former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky has found himself at the centre of major international crises, including the US impeachment investigation and Iran's downing of a passenger jet. "Fears of his inexperience turned out to be exaggerated," said Oleksiy Melnyk, a foreign policy analyst at the Razumkov Center in Kiev. Polls show most Ukrainians are satisfied with Zelensky's performance.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:49:39 -0500
  • Xi calls situation grave as China scrambles to contain virus

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    China's leader on Saturday called the accelerating spread of a new virus a grave situation, as cities from the outbreak's epicenter in central China to Hong Kong scrambled to stop the spread of an illness that has infected more than 1,200 people and killed 41. President Xi Jinping's remarks, reported by state broadcaster CCTV, came at a meeting of Communist Party leaders convened on the Lunar New Year holiday and underlined the government's urgent and ever-expanding efforts to bring the situation under control. Travel agencies have also been told to halt all group tours, the state-owned China Daily reported, citing the China Association of Travel Services.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:10:22 -0500
  • Trial highlights: Dems cry cover-up, Trump hails activists

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    From the floor of the Senate, Democratic impeachment prosecutors said Friday that President Donald Trump tried to cover up his actions with Ukraine, another reason to remove him from office. A few blocks away, Trump told anti-abortion activists on the National Mall that he proudly stands with them. “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump said as he became the first sitting president to speak at the annual March for Life.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:51:48 -0500
  • UN alarm at education crisis: 258 million kids not in school

    The U.N. deputy chief said Friday there is an “alarming” crisis in education, pointing to the 258 million children under the age of 17 who are not going to school — and only 49 percent completing secondary education. In addition, about 770 million adults are illiterate, most of them women, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the U.N. General Assembly on the International Day of Education.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:43:18 -0500
  • Judge OKs classified information status in terrorism case

    A judge in Arkansas has allowed a U.S. government official to help guard against the release of classified information during the upcoming terrorism trial of a Yemeni citizen accused of providing material support to al-Qaida. U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright on Thursday granted the Justice Department's motion to allow a designated classified information security officer to participate in the case.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:03:58 -0500
  • Mike Pompeo Blows Up at NPR Reporter: ‘Do You Think Americans Care About Ukraine?’

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    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly cursed and shouted at an NPR reporter after she repeatedly confronted him about his handling of the politically charged ouster of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. According to a transcript of the interview between NPR host Mary Louise Kelly and Pompeo, he repeatedly dodged questions on Ukraine and grew increasingly irate after Kelly asked, “Do you owe Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology?” “You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran,” Pompeo said before going on to insist, “I  just don’t have anything else to say about that this morning.” When Kelly kept grilling him and noted that some within the State Department had criticized his failure to stand up for Yovanovitch after she was fired amid what she described as a smear campaign orchestrated by President Trump, Pompeo sought to dismiss the criticism as being from “unnamed sources.” But Kelly stopped him: “These are not unnamed sources. This is your senior adviser Michael McKinley, a career foreign service officer with four decades experience,” she said, reminding Pompeo that McKinley had testified on the matter under oath. Declining to comment on McKinley, Pompeo insisted, “I have defended every State Department official,” only to end the interview when Kelly asked him to refer her to any comments he’d made in defense of Yovanovitch. According to NPR, things grew even more heated after the interview had concluded, when Pompeo is said to have “silently glared” at Kelly before leaving the room. She was then reportedly asked to follow him without her recorder, but without any agreement that the following conversation would be off the record. At that point, Pompeo reportedly challenged Kelly to find Ukraine on an unmarked map and asked, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He reportedly wrapped up the meeting by declaring that “people will hear about this.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:52:42 -0500
  • Use of 'rescues' by Mexican migration officials criticized

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    For many people who watched the moments when hundreds of Mexican national guardsmen with helmets and riot shields confronted hundreds of migrants who had been resting in the shade after walking all morning, “rescues” didn’t seem to be the right word. Defenders of migrants' rights say rescues typically don’t involve spraying those being rescued with pepper spray.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:41:30 -0500
  • AP Exclusive: Feds plan to move Epstein warden to prison job

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    The warden in charge when Jeffrey Epstein ended his life in his jail cell is being moved to a leadership position at another federal correctional facility, putting him back in the field with inmates despite an ongoing investigation into the financier’s death, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The federal Bureau of Prisons is planning to move Lamine N’Diaye to the role at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey, the people said. The move comes months after Attorney General William Barr ordered N’Diaye be reassigned to a desk post at the Bureau of Prisons’ regional office in Pennsylvania after Epstein’s death as the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigated.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:28:52 -0500
  • House is given tape of Trump calling for ambassador's ouster

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    An associate of Rudy Giuliani has provided congressional investigators with a recording of President Donald Trump saying he wanted to get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, whose ouster emerged as an issue in the president’s impeachment, his attorney told The Associated Press on Friday. The Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, attended a small dinner with Trump at his Washington hotel in April 2018. Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ lawyer, said he turned over to the House Intelligence Committee a recording from the dinner in which Trump demands the removal of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 17:36:37 -0500
  • Your Evening Briefing

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    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every afternoon? Sign up here A recording appears to show President Donald Trump saying he wanted Marie Yovanovitch removed as ambassador to Ukraine, ABC News reported without providing the audio. “Get rid of her,” a voice that appears to be Trump’s is heard saying, ABC said. “Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.” If accurate, the recording backs up testimony in the House impeachment hearings that Trump had Yovanovitch removed because she was viewed as an obstacle to his efforts to press Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. She was recalled in May 2019. Bloomberg’s Green Daily is where climate science meets the future of energy, technology and finance. Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the smartest takes from our team of 10 climate columnists. Sign up here.Here are today’s top storiesHouse managers will wrap up their case against Trump Friday, completing three days of arguments in his Senate trial. Democratic Representative Adam Schiff drew plaudits from both sides of the aisle for his performance. Trump’s lawyers are to begin his defense on Saturday.U.S. health authorities are monitoring more than 60 people, including three in New York, for potential infection with the coronavirus. China, meanwhile, is struggling to contain rising public anger over its response to the outbreak as it restricts travel for 40 million people during a major holiday.Cities and states across America are using the courts to force energy companies to address the damage done by fossil fuels. But making Big Oil pay for climate change may be impossible.The Pentagon disclosed on Friday that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran’s missile strike this month, made in response to the U.S. assassination of its top general. Trump initially said no Americans were harmed. Goldman Sachs announced this week it won’t take a company public if the board is made up entirely of straight, white men (unless the company is in Asia).Can rodents be chic? Fashion labels trying to cash in on the coming Lunar New Year have a difficult task in 2020: It’s the Year of the Rat.What’s Luke Kawa thinking about? The Bloomberg cross-asset reporter says the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield is on track for its biggest one-week drop since November. However, it’s difficult to make the case that the retreat in yields is sending a meaningful signal about the economic backdrop. There are plenty of potential non-economic reasons for the strong start to the year for sovereign debt, he says. So while the bond market may be in a a tizzy, the Fed is still holding course, possibly because stocks aren’t far from last week’s all-time highs.What you’ll need to know tomorrowSalesforce encouraged employees to expense co-CEO's book. Soros to start $1 billion school to fight nationalists, climate change. Walmart is testing a higher minimum wage for certain jobs.  Former Wells Fargo CEO walked away with more than $80 million. Elizabeth Holmes is defending herself in an Arizona fraud lawsuit. You can now use your AmEx at as many places as your Visa card.  More and more NYC storefronts are empty as even banks disappear.What you’ll want to read tonightBoeing’s newest plane is expected to spread its gargantuan wings—so long that the tips are hinged—and rumble into the skies over Washington state in the next few days. The 777-9 is the planemaker’s first new model since two fatal crashes killed 346 people, leading to the global grounding of its 737 Max (which the federal government said was making strides towards returning to service). The new aircraft may face heightened scrutiny from regulators, airlines and investors. Safety aside, there’s concern that the jetliner is simply too big for today’s airlines.To contact the author of this story: Josh Petri in Portland at jpetri4@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 17:00:36 -0500
  • At least 18 dead, hundreds injured after powerful earthquake felt through Middle East strikes Turkey

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    An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 struck the eastern Elazığ province in Turkey Friday evening, collapsing buildings and killing at least 18 people according to Reuters.The earthquake struck at 8:55 p.m. local time with a depth of 4.2 miles (6.7 km), Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said. After the initial quake, several aftershocks followed ranging from magnitude 5.4 to 3.3. Although the quake rocked eastern Turkey, the U.S. Geological Survey has recorded reports from people who felt the earthquake from southern Georgia to western Iran to northern Israel. Rescue workers search on a collapsed building after a 6.8 earthquake struck Sivrice town in Elazig in eastern Turkey, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 rocked eastern Turkey on Friday, causing some buildings to collapse and killing at least 14 people, Turkish officials said.(IHA via AP) Videos and photos across social media platforms show five-story buildings collapsed into piles of rubble and emergency responders in the streets in Elazig province. At least 13 people were killed in Elazığ province, and there were five more fatalities in the neighboring province of Malatya, according to Reuters.More than 500 people have been injured with several dozen missing."We are hoping we will not have more casualties," Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the Anadolu news agency.Soylu described the earthquake as a "Level 3" incident, according to the country's emergency response plan, Reuters said. At this level, the incident calls for a national response but doesn't require international help. People look at a collapsed building after a 6.8 earthquake struck Elazig city centre in the eastern Turkey, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 rocked eastern Turkey on Friday, causing some buildings to collapse and killing at least four people, Turkish officials said. (IHA via AP) Rescuers were trying to reach survivors of a collapsed building in Maden, Turkey, Soylu told NTV television. One person has been rescued. In the town of Sivrice, four or five buildings have collapsed and two people were hurt.As cleanup and rescue efforts continue, The New York Times reports that village chiefs in the affected areas reported extensive damage and people could be left homeless."The next few days are expected to be dry and mainly clear with highs reaching the mid-30s F (1-2 C) Saturday but then getting into the lower to middle 40s F (4-8 C) Sunday and Monday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Gresiak said. "Nights will still be cold. The next chance for precipitation, both rain and snow, may be on Tuesday."Ankara Mayor Masur Yavaş tweeted on Friday that emergency staff was ready to move to Elazığ if needed and they were in contact with the authorities.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:49:37 -0500
  • Pompeo to visit UK ahead of Brexit, then to Ukraine

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    Pompeo arrives in London on Wednesday, meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to "discuss ways to broaden and deepen trade ties" after Brexit at the end of the month, the State Department said. Johnson is cultivating Britain's relations with Washington in a bid to offset the potential damage of withdrawal from the EU.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:50:35 -0500
  • Opioid victims can begin filing claims against Purdue Pharma

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    State and local governments have been leading the legal fight against the opioid industry, seeking payouts to help them deal with the fallout from the nation's addiction crisis. On Friday, the federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy case of Purdue Pharma set a June 30 deadline to file a claim against the company. Purdue reached an agreement with some states and local governments that could be worth more than $10 billion over time as part of its bankruptcy filing.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:50:21 -0500
  • AP FACT CHECK: Trump's false assurance about troops in Iraq

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    At first, President Donald Trump stated inaccurately that no U.S. troops were injured in the Iranian missile attack against them in Iraq. On Friday, the Pentagon said that in fact, 34 troops suffered traumatic brain injuries in the attack and half remain under medical observation in Germany or back in the U.S. more than two weeks later.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:33:06 -0500
  • Swiss Probe Metal Trader Over Congo-War Allegations

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterSwiss prosecutors are investigating a trader of one of the world’s most sought-after-minerals over allegations he illegally dealt in metals during the Democratic Republic of Congo’s civil war.It’s the first time the Swiss authorities have confirmed a probe that began in March 2018 into the illegal trade of minerals in Congo during the conflict.The Swiss are scrutinizing earlier allegations that the trader, Christoph Huber, was involved in the illegal trade of minerals during the Congo conflict two decades ago, according to a letter sent by the Swiss attorney general’s office to the United Nations Security Council in May 2018 and seen by Bloomberg. A spokesman for the AG’s office confirmed by email the existence of an investigation in the context of the illicit commerce of minerals in Congo during the war.Two non-governmental organizations -- TRIAL International and the Open Society Justice Initiative -- filed a criminal complaint against Huber to the AG’s office in late 2016, the groups said.Huber, a Swiss national based in South Africa, didn’t respond to multiple emails and calls requesting comment. He hasn’t commented publicly on the allegations or the ongoing investigation and hasn’t been charged with anything.The prosecutor’s office can’t predict the outcome of the probe, a spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions on Nov. 28.Congo was torn apart from 1998 to 2003, when Rwanda and Uganda backed different rebel groups in efforts to depose the nation’s government. United Nations investigations found that the invading armies profited from the illicit extraction and sale of Congo’s coltan, diamonds, gold and other minerals during the war, in which millions of people died.UN InvestigationA 2009 investigation by the UN states that Huber was “involved in the large-scale transport of coltan out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda” when RCD-Goma, a Rwanda-backed armed group, occupied much of eastern Congo during the war. The rebel administration also authorized a contract struck by one of Huber’s companies for Congolese cassiterite concessions, according to a decree signed by the militia in March 2001 and submitted to the prosecutor by Geneva-based TRIAL and the New York-headquartered OSJI.Tantalum, extracted from coltan ore, is a key component of everyday electronic devices like smartphones and laptops, while tin comes from cassiterite.About a decade ago, concerns that some traders were operating in an unregulated industry and bankrolling militias and national armies in central Africa’s Great Lakes region -- which by then had become the origin of most of the world’s coltan -- helped spawn the Dodd-Frank Act in the U.S., the largest consumer of tantalum products. The law and other initiatives sought to ensure that the trade in tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold should no longer contribute to the cycle of violence in eastern Congo, where hundreds of militias continue to terrorize the local population.TRIAL and the OSJI filed a criminal complaint against Huber with the Swiss Prosecutor’s Office along with “numerous pieces of first-hand evidence” in November 2016, the groups said in a joint statement. TRIAL and OSJI uncovered evidence of Huber’s “direct business relationship” with RCD-Goma, they said.“The Swiss are to be applauded for taking on the hard work of pursuing this complex and important case,” the groups said.(Corrects first deck headline and sourcing in second paragraph of story originally published Dec. 12 to show information was obtained from a letter sent by the Swiss attorney general’s office to the UN, and corrects wording in paragraph after UN Investigation sub-headline to more accurately reflect the statement in the UN report.)To contact the reporter on this story: William Clowes in Abuja at wclowes@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Osae-Brown at aosaebrown2@bloomberg.net, Paul RichardsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:05:00 -0500
  • 4 aid workers for French charity disappear in Baghdad

    The charity, SOS Chrétiens d'Orient, said the four — three French citizens and an Iraqi — failed to show up for a scheduled meeting Tuesday afternoon and have not been heard from since. All four had prior experience in crisis zones and were staying at a hotel that regularly hosts international guests. The four went missing during a time of heightened tensions in Iraq after a U.S. drone strike on Baghdad airport that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 14:49:45 -0500
  • Sudan government signs initial peace deal with rebel group

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    Sudan's transitional government Friday signed a preliminary peace deal with one of several rebel groups that had fought the government of ousted authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir for years. Deputy chief of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohammed Hamadan Dagalo, signed the agreement along with Malik Agar, head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a rebel group active in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 14:30:38 -0500
  • Why One Event in History Tells us a U.S.-Iran War Can Still Happen

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    Now that Iran has confessed to shooting down Ukrainian International Airlines 752 (PS752), could the tragedy present an opportunity to de-escalate its conflict with the United States which, just recently, threatened to combust into a major regional conflagration?

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 14:00:00 -0500
  • Iran war vote and top-secret brief scheduled in Congress, despite impeachment

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    Washington is taking action next week in the face of a possible war with Iran.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:56:03 -0500
  • Lebanon at a crossroads after 100 days of protests

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    When Nazih Khalaf heard that protests were taking place Oct. 17 in Lebanon’s capital over government plans to impose new taxes, he was just returning from south of Beirut where he’d been working to put out deadly wildfires that had been raging for days. Khalaf hasn't left downtown Beirut since. Now, 100 days after the nationwide uprising against the country's hated political class erupted, Lebanon is at a crossroads, and Lebanese are more divided than ever.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:34:28 -0500
  • Pentagon: 34 US troops had brain injuries from Iran's strike

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    The Pentagon said Friday that 34 U.S. troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries suffered in this month's Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base, and that half of the troops have returned to their military duties. Seventeen of the 34 are still under medical observation, according to Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman. President Donald Trump had initially said he was told that no troops had been injured in the Jan. 8 strike.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:29:47 -0500
  • At least 18 dead, hundreds hurt as quake hits eastern Turkey

    Golocal247.com news

    A 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked a sparsely-populated part of eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 18 people, injuring more than 500 and leaving some 30 trapped in the wreckage of toppled buildings, Turkish officials said. Rescue teams from neighboring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights in the freezing cold, and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help. TV footage showed rescuers pull out one injured person from the rubble of a collapsed building in the district of Gezin, in the eastern Elazig province.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:19:15 -0500
  • 34 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian strikes. Trump called them 'headaches.'

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    The Pentagon has confirmed more than 30 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injuries after the recent Iranian missile strike, days after President Trump downplayed these injuries as "not very serious."A Pentagon spokesperson said Friday that 34 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after Iran's missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops earlier this month, which was a response to an airstrike authorized by President Trump that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, CNN reports. Although Trump initially said in an address that "no Americans were harmed" in the attack, it was later reported that 11 Americans were injured and were being treated for concussion symptoms.Asked about this discrepancy earlier this week, Trump downplayed the seriousness of the injuries, saying, "I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious," The Hill reports. He went on to say, "I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen ... I do not consider that to be bad injuries, no."The New York Times' Maggie Haberman noted Friday, "Government officials have spent years trying to make people take these injuries seriously, and not dismiss them as minor."More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek Mike Pompeo reportedly angrily challenged a reporter to find Ukraine on a map. She did. Hong Kong, U.S. take steps to curb coronavirus spread

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 13:00:00 -0500
  • Pompeo to head to UK ahead of Brexit, then to Ukraine

    Golocal247.com news

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head to Britain next week to reaffirm the US "special relationship" with the country ahead of its exit from the European Union, the State Department announced Friday. Pompeo will travel to London on January 29, meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to "discuss ways to broaden and deepen trade ties" after Brexit at the end of the month. From there he will head on to Ukraine -- the country at the heart of the ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump who is accused of pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a White House rival.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:30:17 -0500
  • The United States' main allies are abandoning Trump after his 'dangerous escalation' with Iran

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    The United States' allies are abandoning Trump after his "dangerous" attack against Iran.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:51:00 -0500
  • Frailty of Libya Accord on Display In Merkel-Erdogan Squabble

    (Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted a five-day-old agreement to halt fighting in Libya as he squabbled with Chancellor Angela Merkel in public over the viability of the accord.One of the two main Libyan combatants, Khalifa Haftar has failed to commit to a truce and should be shunned by leaders who gathered in Berlin last Sunday to work toward a more durable cease-fire in the North African country’s civil war, Erdogan said.“It’s hard to understand how some countries recognize Haftar,” the Turkish leader told journalists in Istanbul on Friday alongside Merkel, who came for talks.The frailty of the Berlin commitment was also on display as the two leaders bickered over Haftar’s refusal to officially sign an ceasefire agreement.Merkel acknowledged there had been “individual” violations of the truce in recent days, but said violence overall “has significantly dropped.”Erdogan chimed in, saying Haftar hadn’t signed anything, but only verbally accepted a truce, which isn’t “full acceptance.” Merkel rebutted, citing the verbal commitment and an agreement to put forward five names for a committee to hash out the terms of a more permanent cease-fire.“Madame Chancellor, it’s accepted but not signed, I want to make that clear,” Erdogan responded.“I think we misunderstand each other a bit,” Merkel said, agreeing that there was no signing. “You’re right.”Read More:Erdogan’s Libya Gamble Turns Mediterranean Into Sea of TroublesEurope Mulls Military Mission in Libya, Amid Oil Disruption (1)Warring Libya Factions Agree to Set Up Cease-Fire Committee (3)The parrying between the two leaders illustrates the difficulty of resolving the proxy war, which has seen Turkey and Russia back opposing parties in the struggle and outside nations squabble over energy interests. The Libya conflict has raged for years, killing thousands and disrupting the country’s oil output.Haftar, who has led a months-long march on the capital Tripoli, and Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, backed by Erdogan, variously agreed to a truce and pledged to put forward names to secure a more lasting cease-fire.“We won’t leave Sarraj alone,” Erdogan said.\--With assistance from Arne Delfs.To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Donahue in Istanbul at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net;Firat Kozok in Istanbul at fkozok@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Raymond ColittFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:50:36 -0500
  • Pompeo heads to Ukraine next week to meet with president

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    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Ukraine next week, making his first trip to the country at the heart of President Donald Trump's impeachment. As Trump's Senate trial on impeachment charges continues, the State Department announced Friday that Pompeo would travel to Kyiv as part of a five-nation tour of Europe and Central Asia. Since November, Pompeo has twice canceled plans to visit Ukraine, most recently just after the New Year when developments with Iran forced him to postpone the trip.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:40:59 -0500
  • North Korea names new foreign minister in likely shift further away from US talks

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    North Korea confirmed its named a former army colonel as its top diplomat in what analysts say is the latest sign of a shift away from talks with the U.S. over its nuclear weapons program. Ri Son Gwon has been heavily involved in negotiations between North and South Korea about improving relations, but he is most known for what critics say are rude remarks, especially amid stalled efforts to increase economic ties between the two countries. North Korea confirmed the change in a state media report on Friday, saying Ri had attended a reception for foreign diplomats in Pyongyang.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:37:00 -0500
  • A quarter of a million Iraqis protested the US military's 'occupation' of their country

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    Iraqis' calls are growing for US troops to leave since Trump ordered the killing of Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani.

    Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:23:03 -0500
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