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  • In sign of thaw, Israeli PM says flight crosses Sudan skies

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that an Israeli aircraft made a historic first flight over Sudan just two weeks after he met with the Arab state's leader in Uganda. The Israeli premier met with the head of Sudan's transitional government, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, in a major step toward improving ties with an Arab state that has long been hostile to Israel.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:30:18 -0500
  • Democratic hopefuls now test strength among minority voters

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    For I.S. Leevy Johnson, the Democrats’ search for a challenger to take on President Donald Trump is personal. “There is what I call an ‘ABT mood’ in the black community: Anybody but Trump,” said the 77-year-old who was the first black graduate of the University of South Carolina’s law school. Now, as the election calendar turns to Nevada and South Carolina, states with substantial minority populations, that "anybody” moves closer to being identified.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 13:05:30 -0500
  • Assad's forces make advances, further securing Aleppo region

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    Syrian troops have made significant advances against the last rebel held enclaves in the country's northwest, state media said on Sunday, consolidating the government's hold over the key Aleppo province. The Syrian government advance also appeared to put the provincial capital of Aleppo out of the firing range of opposition groups for the first time in years, another sign of Syrian President Bashar Assad's growing control of the area. The armed opposition had been driven out of Aleppo city's eastern quarters in late 2016, which they controlled for years while battling government forces who were in charge in the western part.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:44:20 -0500
  • UN chief says Pakistan sets global example hosting refugees

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:32:37 -0500
  • A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust

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    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump suggested in recent days that he had, in fact, learned a lesson from his now-famous telephone call with Ukraine's president that ultimately led to his impeachment: Too many people are listening to his phone calls."When you call a foreign leader, people listen," he observed on Geraldo Rivera's radio show. "I may end the practice entirely. I may end it entirely."Trump has always been convinced that he is surrounded by people who cannot be trusted. But in the 10 days since he was acquitted by the Senate, he has grown more vocal about it and turned paranoia into policy, purging his White House of more career officials, bringing back loyalists and tightening the circle around him to a smaller and more faithful coterie of confidants.The impeachment case against Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who actually worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistleblowers and traitors. Career professionals who worked in government before he arrived are viewed as "Obama holdovers" even if they were there long before President Barack Obama. Testifying under subpoena was, Trump has made clear, "insubordinate."The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said on Twitter after the acquittal that the investigation was useful, in its own way, because it made it easier "unearthing who all needed to be fired." The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation. All of which makes for a volatile eight months ahead as Trump fights a rear-guard battle with his own government while facing off against Democrats on the campaign trail to win a second term."I think he feels like the people are out to get him, going overboard. I mean just put yourself in his shoes," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a staunch ally, told reporters this past week as the president railed on Twitter against Justice Department prosecutors. "There's just a general frustration that the system is -- there's a double standard in the media and actually in the law."In the last week and a half, Trump has pushed out two witnesses who testified in the House inquiry, stripped a nomination from an official he blamed for being insufficiently loyal and assailed prosecutors, a judge and even the jury forewoman in the case of his friend Roger Stone.His national security adviser has just finished transferring more than 50 career professionals out of the White House and back to their home agencies. The president has brought back two of his earliest and most trusted aides, Hope Hicks and Johnny McEntee, as he retreats into a cocoon of his original 2016 campaign team. And more personnel moves are likely in the days to come.Trump's personal loyalty test now extends not to whether someone has worked in his White House since his inauguration, but to whether someone was part of his 2016 campaign and there from the beginning, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen administration officials and advisers to the president. His decision to turn the Office of Presidential Personnel over to McEntee, a 29-year-old aide who was once ordered marched out of the White House by John Kelly, the White House chief of staff at the time, was born out of concern about who is surrounding him, people familiar with the move said.While some officials cited a lack of responsiveness from officials working in the personnel office, others said that Trump had taken to blaming them for appointments that he made, on the advice of other advisers. That included Gordon Sondland, a Republican donor he appointed ambassador to the European Union who became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry and has now been dismissed. It also included John Bolton, his former national security adviser, who plans to publish a book next month revealing Trump's machinations about Ukraine.In private conversations, Trump has complained bitterly that none of his enemies have been criminally charged, citing James Comey, the former FBI director, and his onetime deputy, Andrew McCabe. Bolton in particular has been a source of his anger in several conversations, according to people familiar with what the president has said. He has accused Bolton of betraying him, and made clear his anger extends to anyone he believes helped Bolton.Trump's suggestion that he may bar government officials from listening into his phone calls with foreign leaders would reverse decades of practice in the White House. Presidents traditionally have multiple aides from the National Security Council and State Department monitor foreign leader calls to help interpret their meaning, record any agreements and inform relevant parts of government.Trump, however, felt burned early on when transcripts of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to The Washington Post. During subsequent conversations with foreign leaders, he sometimes kicked out aides for more private talks and in the case of President Vladimir Putin of Russia even demanded that his own interpreter turn over notes of the discussion."He knows that anything even reasonably controversial out of his mouth, on the phone or off, will be reported out and construed in the most evil way possible," said Rivera, a friend of the president's who interviewed him for his Cleveland radio show, said Saturday. "As a result, he indicated to me that he's dramatically scaling back" the number of people "looped into a state call."Going back to his days in the real estate business, Trump has long considered suspicion a key to success. "Be paranoid," he advised in a motivational seminar in 2000. "Now that sounds terrible. But you have to realize that people, sadly, sadly, are very vicious. You think we're so different from the lions in the jungle? I don't know."Nor is presidential paranoia a new phenomenon even as Trump seems to have elevated it to a guiding philosophy of his White House. From Thomas Jefferson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, other presidents turned at times to unseemly and even ruthless methods against their enemies like illegal wiretapping. Probably no previous presidents were as paranoid as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon and in the latter case it helped bring down his presidency."The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent," as Richard Hofstadter, the famed midcentury American historian, wrote in his landmark 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." In Trump's case, it connects with supporters suspicious of the elite.John A. Farrell, a Nixon biographer, said most other presidents managed to contain or disguise their paranoid elements, but it drove Johnson and Nixon to extremes that were ultimately self-destructive. Trump, he said, sees no need to hide it."He has responded to criticism, opposition and other curbs on his power with a vulgar energy and the vile Nixonian strategy that making Americans hate each other is a potent way to seize and secure power," Farrell said. "It is no accident that a president acting this way comes from a chain of influences that includes Roy Cohn and Roger Stone."Trump's advisers and defenders turn to the old nostrum -- just because he may be paranoid does not mean people are not out to get him. The relentless investigations against him, the Trump-bashing text messages by FBI officials, the excesses of the surveillance warrant on a former campaign adviser, the longtime lawyer-fixer who turned against him, the whistleblower who took his concerns to House Democrats, all of it, they said, has contributed to an understandable defensiveness."Trump came to office with an almost pathological distrust of others and an irresistible impulse to attack any perceived threat," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified against impeachment last year before the House Judiciary Committee. "The well-documented bias in the FBI and Justice Department against Trump fuels his suspicions and tendency to counterpunch. Both his perceptions and his responses became more exaggerated."However," Turley added, "his suspicions were validated to some degree in these investigations -- something that many refuse to acknowledge. He came to Washington with an agenda that was highly antagonistic and threatening to the status quo. It was immediately clear that he faced deep opposition to his agenda."As with so many aspects of his personality, the seeds of Trump's reaction may lie in his biography. Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump," recalled that the future president was raised by a father who taught him that all of life is a battle for power and that he should be a "killer." Trump, D'Antonio said, came to see others as useful for his own purposes or obstacles to be crushed."In this way, he's forcing us all to live in the world that once existed only in Trump's mind and in his close circle," D'Antonio said. "Here, in Trump's America, we're to believe that all institutions are corrupt. No one is to be trusted. Those who would speak against him hesitate. Words of protest and revelations that might be made by whistleblowers are stifled by fear. This is the world Trump has always inhabited and he wants us to live there, too."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:19:54 -0500
  • 'The West is Winning,' Pompeo Said. The West Wasn't Buying It.

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    MUNICH -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared at an annual gathering of Western diplomats and business leaders to declare Saturday that "the West is winning,'' something that would be obvious to Trump administration critics, he said, if they were only willing to accept "reality."The Trump administration was hardly retreating from the world or its alliances, he insisted at the meeting, the Munich Security Conference, but leading it. The problem is that many American allies are reluctant to follow as the administration confronts Iran and insists on more contributions to collective defense.Pompeo was followed by the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, who described a bleak future if the U.S. and Europe did not work to contain China on all fronts. Countries thinking of letting Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, build next-generation communications networks, he warned, should be prepared to see American intelligence cooperation reduced.His remarks were met with silence by British and German officials, who are looking for ways to avoid offending the Chinese.This year's conference reflected the division and unease that have plagued the alliance in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit. The stated theme was "Westlessness,'' a sense that close allies were unmoored and uncompetitive in a world both more diverse and more autocratic.Emmanuel Macron, the French president, arrived to declare that allies were wrongheaded about Russia, and that Europeans needed to deal with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, on their own, not just through the lens of a growing cold war with America.Still, there were fears of coming Russian interference in elections, including in the U.S., despite an upbeat talk from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, who was given more time on stage than most of the world leaders.His company -- with powers that exceed most of the nations represented in Munich -- is now spending more annually on security issues than it generated in revenue in 2012, he told the assemblage of presidents and foreign ministers.Hand-wringing is hardly new for this meeting of Atlantic allies, where Europeans expressed doubts about the depth of American commitment even during the Obama era. But that uncertainty has soared since Trump has hesitated to commit the U.S. to coming to the defense of American allies -- he would first measure their contributions to the alliance, he has often said -- and has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and the Iranian nuclear deal.So it was striking that Pompeo felt it necessary to take on those who say the post-World War order is ending, telling the assembled leaders: "I'm here this morning to tell you the facts."Pompeo made the case that governments that "respect basic human rights" and "foster economic prosperity" are magnets for migrants."You don't see the world's vulnerable people risking their lives to skip illegally en masse to countries like Iran or to Cuba.''The Europeans in the room later noted that Pompeo did not mention the new restrictions in the U.S. that drastically limit the number of refugees who can enter the country.Pompeo tried to be upbeat, talking about the joint work the U.S. and Europe were doing to confront Russia. He announced $1 billion to bolster an energy project for Central European countries on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas, an effort to blunt Russian energy projects like Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.It was left to Esper to lower the boom on European nations so dependent on exports to China that they are trying to find a balance between Washington's demands to shun Chinese technology and Beijing's warnings against being excluded from Europeans markets.Esper argued that the presence of Huawei in commercial networks risked undermining the NATO alliance, dismissing China's argument that it has no capability to use its equipment to intercept messages or shut down networks in times of conflict."The Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction -- more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more heavy-handedness, and most concerning for me, a more aggressive military posture," he said. That has become a bipartisan view: His assessment was echoed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later responded, telling the forum that Esper and Pompeo "say the same thing wherever they go about China" and dismissed their remarks as "lies.""The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the U.S. does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country," Wang said."The most important task for China and the U.S. is to sit down together to have a serious dialogue and find a way for two major countries with different social systems to live in harmony and interact in peace," he added. "China's ready, and we hope the U.S. will work with us."Esper later told reporters that he was cautiously optimistic about a seven-day "reduction in violence" in Afghanistan that could lead to a peace accord with the Taliban, saying that "we are going to suspend a significant part of our operations" in the country when the Taliban fulfill their part. But while U.S. forces could come down to 8,600, from about 13,000, he said there was not yet an agreed-upon timeline for further reductions.Many eyes were also on Macron, whose relations with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have been somewhat rocky. Macron made a plea for better European integration and more unity in defining European interests, urging the Germans to help develop "a European security culture" and not to see every security issue "through American eyes.''On Russia, he said: "We need a European policy, not just a trans-Atlantic policy.''He insisted that he was not frustrated with the apparent paralysis of the current German government, but conceded that he is "impatient.''France and Germany "need to take risks together,'' he said. "That means our relationship has to change and adapt.''He argued that the Europeans needed to define their own interests to preserve their sovereignty in a world dominated by an increasingly nationalist U.S. and an ambitious Russia. But he insisted that a stronger European defense pillar would complement NATO, not weaken or replace it, as Washington and some European countries closer to Russia, like Poland and the Baltic nations, fear is his intention.Macron also tried to explain his outreach to Moscow, viewing it as a difficult neighbor but one that Europe cannot ignore. The current policy of harsh economic sanctions, in place since the Russian annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, has not changed Russian behavior, he argued. The sanctions "have changed absolutely nothing in Russia -- I am not proposing at all to lift them, I am just stating this," he added."We need in the long term to reengage with Russia but also emphasize its responsibility in its role" as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, he said. "It cannot constantly be a member that blocks advances by this council."There is "a second choice,'' Macron argued, "which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren't able to resolve them."He said that he expected Russia will continue playing a destabilizing role in matters such as other countries' election campaigns, either directly or indirectly."I don't believe in miracles -- I believe in politics, in the fact that human will can change things when we give ourselves the means," Macron said.Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Merkel's hand-picked successor as leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, threw Germany into political uncertainty this past week when said she would not seek the chancellorship when the country votes next year. Her decision has raised concerns that Germany will again be occupied with domestic affairs at a time when it is needed as a leader in Europe and on the international stage.Still defense minister, Kramp-Karrenbauer appeared here and admitted that her country had not fully delivered on a promise made at the conference in 2014 to become more engaged in, and spend more on, security and defense."From the Munich 'consensus of words' must come a 'consensus of action,'" she said. "The impact of German and European security and defense policy must be larger, our international actions must be better coordinated and more visible."But Kramp-Karrenbauer insisted that Germany would not join an American "maximum pressure" mission aimed at Iran in the Gulf of Hormuz. Instead, Germany would seek to coordinate "a mission dedicated to free and secure navigation" with its European partners.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:12:51 -0500
  • Ivanka Trump lauds Saudi, UAE on women's rights reforms

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    Ivanka Trump lauded Sunday a handful of Mideast countries, including close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for embarking on “significant reforms” to advance women's rights, while speaking at a gathering of women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai. The daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Global Women’s Forum held in an opulent resort overlooking the city's Persian Gulf coastline.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 11:20:14 -0500
  • Iran's president: Trump doesn't want war ahead of 2020 vote

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    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that he doesn't believe the U.S. will pursue war with his country, because it will harm President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Rouhani said that Trump knows that war with Iran will “ruin" his chances of winning the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The Iranian leader added that war would be harmful to U.S. interests and those of its regional allies, as well as Iran.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 11:01:37 -0500
  • The Latest: Buttigieg says he's proud of his husband

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    Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says he’s proud of his marriage and his husband. Buttigieg said he came out as gay during a general election as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and received more support from voters than he did in his first race.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:57:03 -0500
  • U.N. official says 'unjustified' killings in Yemen conflict represent 'shocking' failure to 'protect civilians'

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    Yemen's Houthi rebels said air raids conducted by the Western-backed Saudi-UAE-led military coalition killed more than 30 civilians Saturday just one day after the rebels said they shot down a Saudi jet fighter with a surface-to-air missile. The United Nations confirmed Saturday's death toll.The Houthis said women and children were among the dead, and the coalition acknowledged the "possibility of collateral damage" during their search-and-rescue mission for the downed plane.The conflict which began in 2015 after the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, forced out former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, prompting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to support loyalist forces. Since then, Lise Grande, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said there's been little done to protect the Yemeni people."So many people are being killed in Yemen — it's a tragedy and it's unjustified," she said in light of the most recent attacks. "Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility. It's shocking." Read more at Al Jazeera and BBC.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's Justice Department takeover 6 books Erik Larson keeps returning to The sidelining of Elizabeth Warren

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:49:05 -0500
  • Iran's beleaguered President Rouhani rules out resigning

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    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday ruled out resigning and vowed to see out his term, even as he admitted he had offered to step aside twice since being elected. Speaking ahead of a general election next Friday, Rouhani also appealed to voters to turn out despite the fact that many moderate and reformist candidates were disqualified from the race. Rumours have swirled in Iran recently that the 71-year-old, whose second and last term ends next year, had been planning to quit, but his office denied the reports.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:36:10 -0500
  • UN: Warring parties in Yemen agree on major prisoner trade

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    Yemen’s warring sides have agreed to implement a long-delayed and major prisoner swap, the United Nations said on Sunday, in a sign that talks to end the disastrous war between the country's internationally recognized government and its Houthi rebels could be making progress. It would be the “first official large-scale” exchange of its kind since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab World's poorest country, according to the U.N. The prisoner swap deal was seen as a breakthrough during 2018 peace talks in Sweden.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:35:14 -0500
  • California to apologize for internment of Japanese Americans

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    Les Ouchida was born an American just outside California's capital city, but his citizenship mattered little after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war. Based solely on their Japanese ancestry, the 5-year-old and his family were taken from their home in 1942 and imprisoned far away in Arkansas. On Thursday, California's Legislature is expected to approve a resolution offering an apology to Ouchida and other internment victims for the state's role in aiding the U.S. government's policy and condemning actions that helped fan anti-Japanese discrimination.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:31:31 -0500
  • UN: Antarctic high temp records will take months to verify

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    Record high temperatures reportedly measured in Antarctica will take months to verify, the U.N. weather agency said Sunday. A spokesman for the World Meteorological Organization said the measurements made by researchers from Argentina and Brazil earlier this month have to undergo a formal process to ensure that they meet international standards. “A formal decision on whether or not this is a record is likely to be several months away,” said Jonathan Fowler, the WMO spokesman.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 09:39:56 -0500
  • Mississippi braces for near-record flooding

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 09:34:05 -0500
  • 10 things you need to know today: February 16, 2020

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 09:16:00 -0500
  • Home quarantine for travelers buys time as new virus spreads

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    On his return from China last week, Dr. Ian Lipkin quarantined himself in his basement. At odd hours, he walks in New York's Central Park, keeping 10 feet away from others. Lipkin is among hundreds of people in the U.S. and thousands around the world who, although not sick, live in semi-voluntary quarantine at home.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 09:03:11 -0500
  • Oman Sees Prospects of Talks Between Iran and U.S.

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 08:28:07 -0500
  • Palestinian PM: Trump's Mideast plan 'will be buried'

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    Shtayyeh criticized the fact that the proposal would leave a future Palestinian state fragmented and with “no sovereignty,” allowing Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank. Shtayyeh suggested the Palestinians would seek to increase pressure on Israel through international organizations, citing the recent release by the U.N. human rights office of a list of more than 100 companies allegedly complicit in violating Palestinian human rights by operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 08:27:17 -0500
  • Libya Arms Embargo Has Become a ‘Joke,’ Top UN Official Says

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:55:05 -0500
  • Xi Details Early Hands-On Approach in Virus Fight, Risking Anger

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    (Bloomberg) -- China released a speech showing President Xi Jinping was leading the national effort to contain the coronavirus almost two weeks before he first issued public orders on the outbreak, potentially exposing him to more criticism as anger mounts over the government’s initial response.In the Feb. 3 speech, Xi told China’s most powerful leaders that he had “continuously given verbal and written instructions” since Jan. 7, and had personally ordered the quarantine of about 60 million people in Hubei province later that month. The full speech appeared on the website of the Qiushi Journal, the Communist Party’s top publication, on Saturday.State media reports on Jan. 7 didn’t include any remarks from Xi on the virus, a fact that was quickly pointed out by Chinese social media users. Xi publicly addressed the crisis for the first time on Jan. 20 in a directive urging party committees and governments at all levels to take measures to curb the spread of the epidemic.“From the first day of Chinese New Year to the present, prevention and control of the epidemic situation was the issue I have been most concerned with,” Xi said, referring to a meeting of China’s seven most powerful leaders he chaired on Jan. 25. “I have been keeping track of the spread of the epidemic situation and the progress of the prevention and control work, and continuously given verbal and written instructions.”Qiushi also separately published a timeline starting on Jan. 7 of Xi’s involvement in the work to stop the epidemic. The World Health Organization said China had informed the agency on Dec. 31 of a cluster of “pneumonia of unknown cause” detected in Wuhan.The decision to publish the speech appeared to be an attempt to answer criticism that Xi had pulled back from public view as the outbreak worsened, though the revelation that he was in charge from the beginning could also place the blame for any fallout more squarely on his shoulders.Xi Has Lots at Stake as China Officials Point Fingers Over Virus“It’s clear he’s trying to allay concerns that Beijing did not glimpse the full scale of the epidemic, but Xi has now raised more questions than he’s answered,” said Jude Blanchette, Freeman chair of China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The sluggish response by China’s political system to the virus is a significant rebuke to Xi’s theory of governance.”Last Monday, Xi made his first public appearance after the death of a doctor who became a hero for speaking out about the coronavirus sparked outrage on social media, visiting a district in Beijing wearing a mask and having his temperature taken. It was the first time Xi interacted with the public since a trip to Yunnan province from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21.The epidemic has claimed more than 1,600 lives in China, with over 68,000 confirmed infections.Death of a Hero Doctor Sparks Crisis of Confidence in Xi’s ChinaXi has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong in his eight years running the country, engineering constitutional changes to make himself the “core” of the Communist Party and scrapping presidential term limits. The virus outbreak has revealed the risks involved with that strategy, with analysts warning that if the epidemic gets worse and the economic pain is deeper than expected, Xi will bear the blame.“This would hurt his own credibility,” said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Centre for China Studies. “The Chinese were not made aware of the true picture early enough,” he said, adding that internal communication within the Communist Party “wasn’t useful unless made public.”The speech also unveiled for the first time that Xi was behind the aggressive measure to quarantine millions in Hubei, the province at the epicenter of the outbreak.“I explicitly demanded Hubei province implement comprehensive and strict controls on the outflow of personnel on Jan. 22,” Xi said.(Updates with analyst comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Sharon Chen in Beijing at schen462@bloomberg.net;Peter Martin in Beijing at pmartin138@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Sharon Chen, James MaygerFor 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.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:50:04 -0500
  • Iran's Rouhani says Tehran will never talk to U.S. under pressure

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:49:58 -0500
  • Why Xi's 'defensive' coronavirus speech could backfire

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    Chinese state media published an internal speech delivered by President Xi Jinping on Saturday in which he describes taking action on the coronavirus outbreak as early as Jan. 7.In the speech, which was given Feb. 3, Xi said he had "issued demands about the efforts to prevent and control" the virus during a meeting of the Communist Party's highest council, the Politburo Standing Committee, last month, and that he personally authorized the lockdown of the epicenter, Wuhan, beginning on Jan. 23. "I have at every moment monitored the spread of the epidemic and progress in efforts to curtail it," he said.Publishing the speech is viewed as an attempt to show Xi has been involved from the start since he's been criticized for remaining in the shadows. "The overall tone of the speech of appears to be defensive," Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, told The New York Times. "He wants to change the narrative, which until this point has been very unfavorable to the top leadership."But some analysts think it could backfire and lead to even more criticism about how the government kept the public in the dark for too long. "It seems like he's trying to indicate that 'we weren't asleep at the wheel,'" Jude Blanchette, the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Times. "But it comes off like 'we knew this was a problem, but we weren't sounding the alarm.'" Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's Justice Department takeover 6 books Erik Larson keeps returning to The sidelining of Elizabeth Warren

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 07:30:00 -0500
  • Venezuela in limbo

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    Opposition leader Juan Guaidó met with President Trump last week. Does he still have a chance of taking power? Here's everything you need to know:Why was Guaidó in Washington? A year after he swept onto the international stage as the leader of an uprising that could bring democracy to Venezuela, Juan Guaidó's star has dimmed. In January 2019, Guaidó was the head of the National Assembly, the only democratically elected body remaining in the country after President Nicolás Maduro won a rigged election for a second term. The assembly declared Maduro illegitimate and Guaidó, then 35, acting president. He quickly tried to foment a general uprising against the corrupt, authoritarian Maduro regime, hoping that the army would come to his side. The U.S. and most Western governments recognized him as Venezuela's rightful leader, but Russia rushed to shore up Maduro's control, and the attempt to overthrow Maduro soon fizzled. Since then, Venezuelan politics have been in a stalemate, with Maduro still fully in charge. Last month, Maduro supporters locked Guaidó and his followers out of the parliament, and Guaidó launched a two-week world tour in hopes of regaining momentum for his opposition movement, ending his trip in Washington.What did Trump promise? President Trump singled out Guaidó as a guest of honor at the State of the Union address, calling him "the true and legitimate president of Venezuela" leading a "righteous struggle for freedom." Trump held up Venezuela's economic collapse as an example of the evils of socialism, a sign that he intends to use the country as a cautionary tale throughout his re-election campaign. Trump administration officials said the U.S. was preparing "crippling" new sanctions against Maduro's government, but offered no details. The Trump administration had already frozen all Venezuelan government assets, barred transactions with U.S. companies, and enacted an oil embargo. Though aimed at Maduro, those actions furthered the collapse of the Venezuelan economy. The GDP has shrunk a staggering 73 percent since Maduro took office, and hyperinflation has rendered the bolivar worthless. But Maduro still has powerful friends, notably Russia.How is Russia helping Maduro? Russia has supported Venezuela ever since Maduro's predecessor, the late Hugo Chávez, was elected in 1998 to bring old-style socialism to the country. Eager to project power in the United States' own hemisphere, Russia sold some $4 billion worth of weaponry to Venezuela from 2005 to 2008 and began making deep investments in its energy sector. Since Maduro took office in 2013, the Kremlin has propped him up financially and militarily, sending him 36 Russian Su-30MK2 fighter jets worth $10 billion. When Maduro seemed at his weakest last spring, Russia sent military advisers and the S-300 surface-to-air missile system — to demonstrate that the risks of U.S. military intervention would be high. And when Trump hit Venezuela with sanctions last summer, Russian state oil company Rosneft rescued Maduro by flouting the sanctions and became the main trader of Venezuelan oil, shipping it to buyers in China and India. Russia also made available billions of dollars in loans, and a Russian bank began offering Venezuela's new cryptocurrency, the Petro.How is Venezuela's economy? The Russian infusion of cash, coupled with Maduro's recent abandonment of socialist price controls, has greatly benefited Venezuela's wealthy elite. Caracas, once a scene of empty shelves, gas lines, and mass protests, now bustles with new restaurants and bars and other signs of private enterprise. With Maduro's encouragement, Venezuelans who hoarded U.S. dollars early on are now spending them on imported food, cars, and entertainment. For those who were true believers in Chávez's socialism — which did lift many out of poverty initially — the garish spectacle of extreme inequality is appalling. "This is savage capitalism that erases years of struggle," Elías Jaua, Chávez's former vice president, told The New York Times.What about outside the capital? Conditions are grim. In smaller towns and cities, government workers, including police, have quit after months without pay, and basic services like water and electricity are spotty or absent. Schools are run by unpaid volunteer teachers. In Parmana, for example, once a prosperous fishing and farming village, nearly all authority figures left, including the priest and the doctor, and the villagers, facing anarchy, were forced to invite Colombian guerrillas in to restore order. Most people who can afford to leave the country have already done so, an exodus of some 4 million, but the U.N. fears that another 4 million of the desperately poor could join them this year.What next? Guaidó doesn't have much time left to exert a claim on power. The U.S., EU, and Latin American countries recognize him as interim president because he has a constitutional role as head of the National Assembly. But parliamentary elections are due this year, and since Maduro controls the electoral apparatus and process, his party is sure to win. Latin American leaders are pushing for negotiations that would bring together Maduro and Guaidó along with their respective backers, including Russia and Cuba on one side and the U.S. and EU on the other. The goal is to allow Maduro a peaceful exit. "It's about building a golden bridge," said former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. "For Venezuela, we need a peaceful negotiated solution — with all the ­stakeholders."The Venezuelan diaspora By the end of 2019, more than 4.7 ­million ­Venezuelans — some 15 percent of the ­population — ​had left the country, fleeing hunger, poverty, and rampant crime in the largest displacement in Lat­in Amer­i­can history. Most got only as far as Co­lom­bia, Peru, or Ecua­dor, where they are struggling to survive. To help relieve the world's other major refugee crisis, from Syria, international donors have given some $5,000 per migrant; for Vene­zue­la, the figure is just $100. Neigh­bor­ing Co­lom­bia, where 1.6 million migrants have landed, is trying to integrate them rather than house them in camps, with some success: Venezuelan doctors have been recertified, and unskilled laborers have found work on coffee and flower ranches. But homelessness and crime have skyrocketed. "We can't control 2,200 kilometers of border," said border official Felipe Muñoz.This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, try the magazine for a month here.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's Justice Department takeover 6 books Erik Larson keeps returning to The sidelining of Elizabeth Warren

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:45:02 -0500
  • Merkel succession contender calls her out over slow EU revamp

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    A leading contender to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday criticised her for taking too long to respond to a French push to strengthen the EU after Brexit. "I would like to apologise for the German government," Armin Laschet said, casting himself as strongly pro-EU as the race to find a new leader for Merkel's centre-right CDU party heats up. Macron has long called for an overhaul to the European Union in response to Britain's departure from the bloc, including deeper integration in financial and defence matters, and has repeatedly urged Berlin to champion the reforms with him.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:28:29 -0500
  • Egypt’s top prosecutor denies activist was tortured

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    Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Sunday denied allegations that the police tortured a human rights activist and vocal critic of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. Police detained Patrick George Zaki, 28, an Egyptian student at the University of Bologna in Italy, after he arrived in Cairo earlier this month on what was supposed to be a brief visit home. Zaki told his lawyers he'd been tortured with electric shocks, beaten and blindfolded during interrogations about his activism, according to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:19:07 -0500
  • Questions over fate of Saudi crew in Yemen jet crash

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    The fate of the crew of a Saudi warplane that crashed in Yemen remained uncertain Sunday after Iran-linked Huthi rebels claimed to have shot down the aircraft. The Riyadh-led military coalition fighting the rebels said the two officers ejected from the plane before it crashed in northern Al-Jawf province Friday but that the rebels opened fire at them "in violation of international humanitarian law". "The joint forces command of the Coalition holds the terrorist Huthi militia responsible for the lives and wellbeing of the Tornado air crew," the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency late Saturday.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:18:36 -0500
  • 'Trump is deciding who is American': how the new travel ban is tearing families apart

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    As six countries are added to the list of restrictions, Nigerian and Eritreans in the US say the ban is devastating their livesIt started out as a joyous day for Olumide. On 31 January, the 32-year-old Nigerian American learned in an email that the US was finally processing the visa applications of his wife and daughter in Nigeria.Hours later, Donald Trump shattered their celebration, announcing that he was adding six countries to the travel ban, including Nigeria. The decision cuts off pathways to permanent US residency for Nigerians, throwing Olumide’s case into limbo at the final stage of the process. It leaves his wife and and 11-year-old girl stuck across an ocean with little hope of making it to the US.“This is inhuman,” said Olumide, a systems analyst and US military veteran who served in Afghanistan and lives in Washington DC. He asked to use his middle name out of fear he might jeopardize his case. “As a soldier, I understand the need to protect the country. But to completely shut the doors … it’s just plain wrong.” Millions of Africans now banned: ‘We are not criminals’Trump’s January order builds on the 2017 travel ban that has continued to target five Muslim-majority countries, and significantly restricts permanent residency for nationals from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria and Myanmar. It also blocks people from Tanzania and Sudan from obtaining green cards through the “diversity visa” lottery.Just like the 2017 restrictions, it blocks permanent immigration from the targeted countries, making limited exceptions if applicants prove that denials would cause “undue hardship” and that granting them visas would support “national interest”.number listThe original ban already resulted in denied visas for more than 42,000 people, the majority from Iran. The addition of the new countries has doubled the number of Muslims targeted across the globe to roughly 320 million, advocates estimate. Roughly one-quarter of all Africans are now affected.The restrictions now apply to 13 countries, including Nigeria, home to Africa’s largest population and economy. It cuts off countries where some are fleeing violence. Some estimate the new ban, which goes into effect on 21 February, could hinder more than 12,000 immigrants seeking to resettle in the US and reunite with family in the next year.The restrictions are a signature component of Trump’s aggressive anti-immigrant agenda, which has included curbs on legal migration, a destruction of the American asylum system, an all-time low cap on refugees, expanded detention and mass deportations.“Trump started out by scapegoating Muslims in 2017,” said Javeria Jamil, attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Asian Law Caucus, who has been fielding calls from families affected by the new ban. “Now, it’s not just the Muslim ban. It has turned into an African ban.”The Trump administration has claimed that the ban, which blindsided some diplomats, is a national security measure, and that the added countries failed to meet US security and information-sharing standards.But immigrant rights groups said the policy is a political maneuver amid Trump’s re-election campaign – and one that will have profound consequences. “People are in turmoil,” said Audu Kadiri, a 43-year-old community organizer who left Nigeria in 2014. He had planned to bring his mother to the US, but the ban may make that impossible. The activist, who now lives in the Bronx, hasn’t yet told his mother about Trump’s order, because he doesn’t know how to break the news. “There is so much collateral damage, it’s hard to quantify.”In Nigeria, Kadiri was an LGBTQ+ rights advocate who worked on HIV prevention and other human rights issues. He was forced to flee due to his activism and sought asylum in the US. It’s now unsafe for him to return to Nigeria, which is why he wants his 68-year-old mother to come to the US.He hasn’t seen her since 2014 and, if Trump is re-elected, he fears it will be at least another five years before they reunite. She’ll probably miss the birth of his third child.“Nigerians have contributed to the development of this country, like every immigrant community,” he said. “We are not criminals.” Torn apart, with dwindling optionsBefore the January announcement, the Trump administration had already clamped down on travel from Africa, including hikes in visa fees, and new obstacles and increased denials for Nigerians seeking approval for short-term visits. The US further suspended visitor visas from Eritrea in 2017.That means families have been fighting for years to use the dwindling avenues available to them to reunite, and for those who have invested significant time and money into the process, the sudden news of an outright ban was particularly brutal.“There’s nothing you can do, and it makes you feel so helpless,” said Olumide, the veteran. Olumide arrived in the US from Nigeria when he was 10 years old. He met his wife in Nigeria in 2012 after he left the military, and the two got married last year.US Citizenship and Immigration Services approved the petition for his wife and daughter in January, just before the announcement of the ban. But they don’t yet have their visas – and the ban may make it impossible to get them.Olumide had hoped they would be starting their lives together in the US by now, and said he was pained by feelings of guilt: “I made promises to her.” The couple hasn’t fully processed the news, he added: “We don’t want to think about not being together.”He noted that his daughter has typhoid and his wife has malaria, and he constantly fears for their health and safety.Hana Mohamed, a 20-year-old student in San Diego, who grew up in Sudan, said she was eager for her grandparents to come to the US, especially so her grandmother could get medical care in California: “It’s just so sad and frustrating. They are getting older, and I want to see them before anything happens.”Mohamed said it was difficult to accept that the US was banning large groups of Muslims in the name of safety while seeming to do little about the ongoing terror threat of American mass shootings: “It’s just so shocking that we have come to this day where a whole nation of people are getting discriminated against. Isn’t the purpose of the United States to stand up for everyone who is getting hurt and treat them right?”> Isn’t the purpose of the United States to stand up for everyone who is getting hurt and treat them right?> > Hana MohamedOne Eritrean American who works as an engineer in Silicon Valley, and requested anonymity for fear of hurting his family’s case, has petitioned for his mother to come live with him in the US and was hoping she would soon get an interview date at the embassy. Then the new ban was unveiled.“We’ve waited our turn. We’ve followed the law. I’m a tax-paying citizen contributing to the economy,” he said, noting that his mother is 69 years old and lives alone in Eritrea. “This is just pure evil.”He said he felt Trump was implementing the ban as a “soundbite for the campaign” while disregarding that it would leave Eritreans like his mother with no options: “This was our only hope to get her here.”For Eritreans, the ban comes as as the Trump administration has ramped up deportations of Eritrean asylum seekers, despite the US government’s own acknowledgment of the torture and arbitrary detention Eritreans are currently facing.Abraham Zere, an Eritrean journalist who was granted asylum in the US and now lives in Ohio, said it seemed some Eritreans were reluctant to speak out about the ban and live in fear of potential repercussions from both governments: “People are scared to even discuss it.”Zere’s own family is affected: his mother is still in Eritrea, separated from her children. She can’t even video chat with her family because of the poor internet in Eritrea, which means she never gets to see her granddaughter, an eight-year-old she hasn’t yet met, he said.Some warn the ban may have life-or-death consequences. For queer and transgender migrants in the targeted countries, it could lead them to embark on perilous journeys to escape to the US as they run out of options, said Zack Mohamed, who is Somali American and a member of the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project: “This is a big ‘not welcome’ sign in front of our faces.”In response to questions about the impact on migrants fleeing violence, a US state department spokesperson said the ban was not meant to “limit the ability of an individual to seek asylum”, adding: “Our first priority remains national security. We continue to work with our dedicated consular officers in the field to identify and expedite those individuals with urgent travel needs.”Asked about charges that the ban is discriminatory, the spokesperson said the restrictions are based on “nationality” and “visa category” and that “consular officers do not adjudicate based on religion”. The spokesperson said there were specific criteria to determine which countries are restricted and noted that Chad was on the original list but removed in 2018. Fighting to end the banWith the first travel ban upheld by the US supreme court, there are few recourses left to challenge the policy. Advocates are hoping a Democratic president will immediately repeal the ban and have also recently renewed the push for Congress to pass the No Ban Act, which would end the ban and prevent discriminatory immigration policies.Until then, Trump will continue to use his executive power to try to redefine what it means to be a citizen, advocates warned.“The president of the United States, the US government is explicitly trying to decide who gets to be an American,” said Eric Naing, who is Burmese American and works with Muslim Advocates, a group that has challenged the ban. His family would not have been able to come to the US if the ban on Myanmar had been in place. “He’s saying I shouldn’t be American. My parents shouldn’t be American. It’s deeply upsetting.”Olumide noted that the ban was punishing countless American citizens like him: “It’s hurting the exact people you’re trying to protect.”

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 06:00:27 -0500
  • Israeli army: Hamas hackers tried to 'seduce' soldiers

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    The Israeli military on Sunday said it has thwarted an attempt by the Hamas militant group to hack soldiers' phones by posing as young, attractive women on social media, striking up friendships and persuading them into downloading malware. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters that the phones of dozens of soldiers had been infected in recent months, although he said the army detected the scam early on and prevented any major secrets from reaching the Islamic militant group. Conricus said this was the third attempt by Hamas to target male soldiers through fake social media accounts, most recently in July 2018.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 05:05:37 -0500
  • Israel's Gantz vows to form government without Netanyahu

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    Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the predominantly Arab parties in Parliament. In a series of TV interviews two weeks before national elections, Gantz looked to project confidence that the March 2 vote will provide the decisive outcome that eluded the two previous elections last year. Gantz's Blue and White party is currently polling ahead of Netanyahu's Likud, although neither appears to have a clear path to a parliamentary majority required to form a coalition government.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 04:43:03 -0500
  • Wales bears the brunt as Storm Dennis hammers Britain

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    Storm Dennis hammered Britain Sunday, bringing a month's worth of rain in just 48 hours to parts of South Wales, which bore the brunt of the country's second severe storm inside a week. Rivers across Britain burst their banks and a number of severe flood warnings remained in place as authorities strove to get people to safety and to protect homes and businesses. Major incidents have been declared in a number of areas in England and Wales as authorities mobilized resources to deal with the impact of the overflowing rivers that have cut off some communities.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 03:46:20 -0500
  • Powers renew pledge to uphold Libya arms embargo

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    Countries with interests in Libya's civil war recommitted themselves Sunday to uphold a barely working arms embargo, four weeks after a peace summit in Berlin was followed by numerous new arms violations, officials from Germany and the U.N. said. Germany and the U.N., which co-hosted the Jan. 19 Berlin summit, gathered foreign ministers and other officials from a dozen countries on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference to try to bolster a drive to cut off outside military support for Libya's warring parties.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 03:39:56 -0500
  • Rocket attack hits near US embassy in Iraq capital: militaries

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    Multiple rockets hit an Iraqi base hosting American troops near the US embassy early Sunday, the latest in a flurry of attacks against US assets in the country. "The Coalition confirms small rockets impacted the Iraqi base hosting (coalition) troops in the International Zone... No casualties," said coalition spokesman Myles Caggins. Iraq's military said three Katyusha rockets hit inside the Green Zone, the high-security enclave where the US mission and Union III are located, as well as Iraqi government buildings, United Nations offices and other embassies.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 03:22:05 -0500
  • Rockets strike near US Embassy in Baghdad; no injuries

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    At least four rockets hit near the sprawling U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and a Iraqi base hosting American troops inside the Green Zone early Sunday, but caused no casualties and only minor damage, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. The attack came just before 3:30 a.m. local time, according to Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for the U.S. military operation in Iraq. The Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 22:45:47 -0500
  • China reports fall in new virus cases for 3rd straight day

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    China reported Sunday a drop in new virus cases for the third straight day, as it became apparent that the country's leadership was aware of the potential gravity of the situation well before the alarm was sounded. There are 2,009 new cases in mainland China, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 68,500, according to the country's National Health Commission. The death toll in mainland China from COVID-19, a disease stemming from a new form of coronavirus, now stands at 1,665.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 20:38:49 -0500
  • Air strikes on Yemen kill 31 civilians after Saudi jet crash

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    Thirty-one people were killed in air strikes on Yemen Saturday, the United Nations said, the victims of an apparent Saudi-led retaliation after Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed to have shot down one of its jets. The deadly violence follows an upsurge in fighting in northern Yemen between the warring parties that threatens to worsen the war-battered country's humanitarian crisis. "Preliminary field reports indicate that on 15 February as many as 31 civilians were killed and 12 others injured in strikes that hit Al-Hayjah area... in Al-Jawf governorate," the office of the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:55:36 -0500
  • Germans hit the streets against deals with far right

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    Thousands of anti-fascist protesters on Saturday took to the streets in Erfurt, capital of Thuringia state in Germany's former communist east where far-right lawmakers last week helped install a new state premier. Thuringia rocked national politics on February 5, when state lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right CDU party voted with far-right, anti-immigrant AfD representatives to elect liberal politician Thomas Kemmerich state premier.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:54:10 -0500
  • Ongoing Libya violence 'deeply troubling', UN says

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    The situation in wartorn Libya is "deeply troubling", a United Nations representative said Sunday, warning that a fragile truce was hanging "by a thread" as daily life in the North African country worsens. Speaking after talks with foreign ministers in the German city of Munich, the UN's deputy special representative to Libya Stephanie Williams said that over 150 violations had been reported since last month's ceasefire was agreed.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:36:21 -0500
  • France warns of bloody Brexit talks battle

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    France on Sunday warned Britain to expect a bitter, bloody battle in Brexit trade talks with the EU, saying the two sides would "rip each other apart". Negotiations for a deal on future EU-UK relations are not due to start until next month, but London and Brussels have already clashed over rules for British financial firms' access to the EU after Brexit. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said it would be tough to achieve Britain's aim of agreeing a free trade deal by the end of the year, with the two sides far apart on a range of issues.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:25:51 -0500
  • UK post-Brexit rules to 'turn off tap' of low-skilled foreign labour

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    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 19:01:00 -0500
  • Candy, cheese soar to space station to satisfy crew cravings

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    Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus capsule from the Virginia seashore. It took three tries over the past week to get the Antares rocket off the pad, with it finally taking flight at 3:21 p.m. — an auspicious 3-2-1. “Awesome launch,” Joel Montalbano, NASA's deputy space station program manager, said once the capsule reached orbit.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 15:22:23 -0500
  • Mississippi braces for flooding amid cresting river

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    Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Saturday amid predictions that a river running in the area around the state capital of Jackson could burst its banks and spark widespread flooding. Forecasters believe the Pearl River will crest at 38 feet (11.6 meters) Sunday evening to levels not seen in decades, following days of torrential rains across the Southeast. Reeves said the state should prepare for “the third worst flood” in its history.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 15:13:33 -0500
  • Israeli military says 2 rockets fired from Gaza

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    The Israeli military said two rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday. The rockets set off warning sirens in nearby Israeli communities but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired a number of rockets and explosive balloons into Israel in recent weeks as tensions have risen following the Jan. 28 release of the Trump administration's Mideast initiative, which strongly favors Israel.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 14:47:24 -0500
  • Sanders' bond with Latinos gets first test of many in Nevada

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    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 14:15:13 -0500
  • Canada, others nations push Iran on downed airliner probe

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    Diplomats from nations that lost citizens when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner pushed Iran’s foreign minister Saturday for more cooperation from Tehran on the investigation and other issues. Amid heightened tensions with the United States, Iran said it accidentally shot the aircraft down Jan. 8 after mistaking it for an incoming missile attack. All 176 people aboard the Ukraine International Airlines plane died.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 13:56:33 -0500
  • Egypt sentences ex-minister's brother for artifact smuggling

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    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 13:46:58 -0500
  • Germany wants another crack at a EU mission in the Strait of Hormuz

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    Berlin last summer rejected a request to join a U.S.-led naval protection mission for fear of getting tangled up in shooting war between the United States and Iran.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 13:25:07 -0500
  • The Latest: Sanders claims Bloomberg will not excite voters

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    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders laced into billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Democratic Party dinner in Las Vegas while Bloomberg was campaigning in Virginia. Sanders rattled off a list of Bloomberg heresies against the Democratic party -- implementing “racist policies like stop and frisk” in New York, opposing the minimum wage or higher taxes on the wealthy during the Obama administration.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 13:00:35 -0500
  • US agency to pay for 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in 6 states

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    The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles (17,703 kilometers) of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. The fuel breaks are intended to prop up fire mitigation efforts and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources, The Oregonian reported Saturday. According to the BLM, wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states.

    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 12:00:22 -0500
  • 2 charged in multimillion-dollar prostitution operation

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    Sat, 15 Feb 2020 11:52:21 -0500
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