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Somali-born lawmaker brands Trump 'fascist' after rally taunt

Somali-born lawmaker brands Trump 'fascist' after rally tauntDemocratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar branded Donald Trump a "fascist" on Thursday as the president sought to distance himself from mocking chants of "Send her back!" directed at the Somali-born lawmaker by his supporters. "We have said this president is racist, we have condemned his racist remarks," said Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress. Omar received a very different reception when she returned home to Minnesota Thursday night and was greeted by crowds of supporters at the airport.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 12:07 AM

Gibraltar extends detention of Iranian tanker for a month

Gibraltar extends detention of Iranian tanker for a monthGibraltar was granted the power on Friday to detain Iran's Grace 1 oil tanker for another month, keeping the vessel at the center of a big-power quarrel between Iran and the United States and its allies. Gibraltar said the Iranian vessel, seized by marines in a daring landing in darkness off the coast of the British territory on July 4, was suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions. Iran has repeatedly called for the ship's release, denies the allegation that the tanker was taking oil to Syria in violation of sanctions and says Gibraltar and Britain seized the vessel on the orders of Washington.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 6:23 AM

Florida sheriff to investigate Epstein's work release

Florida sheriff to investigate Epstein's work releaseA Florida sheriff launched an investigation Friday into whether his department properly monitored the wealthy financer Jeffrey Epstein while he was serving a sentence for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. The inquiry will focus on whether deputies assigned to monitor Epstein in a work-release program violated any rules or regulations, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said in a statement. Under a 2008 plea deal, Epstein was allowed to spend most of his days at the office of his now-defunct Florida Science Foundation, which doled out research grants, rather than in the county jail.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 9:28 PM

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif: We Can't "Discount" Possibility of War

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif: We Can't "Discount" Possibility of WarOn Thursday, National Interest Editor Jacob Heilbrunn interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in New York at the Ambassador’s residence on the current state of U.S.-Iran relations. The transcript has been lightly edited for readability.Jacob Heilbrunn: With the American shooting down of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz today, are we on a path of escalation?Mohammed Javad Zarif: I checked with Tehran, and we do not have any information about having lost a drone today. So, we don’t know, as of now what has happened. We have the president saying that they shot a drone. We don’t know whose drone it is, but we don’t have that information. But we are certainly moving in the wrong direction. The fact that the United States has an increased presence in the Persian Gulf doesn’t help security or stability in the area—it’s a tiny body of water and you cannot have such congested traffic there without something happening.Heilbrunn: A lot of the tension is also focused on the tanker that went missing. Is Iran responsible for that?Zarif: All the information we have is that we confiscated a small tanker that was only carrying a million liters of smuggled oil products—not oil—and that happens quite often in the Persian Gulf because of heavily subsidized prices in Iran of oil products. There is a lot of smuggling from both sea and land borders and we interdict them on a regular basis. So if that is the tanker they’re talking about, that is a smuggling tanker, not a shipping tanker.Heilbrunn: Another move that the Trump administration has announced is sending about five hundred more soldiers to Saudi Arabia. What is your response to that?




POSTED JULY 18, 2019 4:01 PM

View Photos of the Lexus GXOR Concept

View Photos of the Lexus GXOR Concept




POSTED JULY 18, 2019 12:59 PM

California city set to ban gendered words like 'manhole' and 'manpower'

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




POSTED JULY 18, 2019 3:54 PM

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is Lying

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is LyingLucas Jackson/ReutersIn a new filing against the National Rifle Association, lawyers for ad agency Ackerman McQueen suggest that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre is lying about a critical moment in the gun rights group’s recent leadership shake up. At issue is multi-million-dollar litigation between the NRA and its ex-ad firm. In court filings of its own, the NRA has alleged that Oliver North, the groups's former president, was ousted in part because he withheld information from the NRA about payments he took from Ackerman McQueen, which had served as the gun rights group’s primary ad contractor until just months ago. The NRA claims North kept the nature of his deal with Ackerman McQueen a secret from LaPierre and the gun group’s leadership. But in a July 16 filing that was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre himself helped negotiate the deal between their firm and North. And they hint that they have documentation to prove it. In a statement, the NRA denied the suggestions. “The facts are clear – Mr. LaPierre and the NRA had no idea that Col. North was negotiating to become an employee of Ackerman McQueen,” said Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And to the extent Col. North was pushing a contrived narrative about Mr. LaPierre and the NRA, he was conflicted. He was an employee of Ackerman at the time he was allegedly scheming with the agency to unseat Mr. LaPierre.”  It’s a messy new chapter in the months-long legal battle between the NRA and the ad firm it used for more than three decades. And it comes as the gun group has jettisoned senior staff and faced revolts from grassroots activists and donors. “LaPierre negotiated the terms of the North Contract directly with Lt. Col. North and a detailed term sheet was sent to AMc [Ackerman McQueen] for completion of the formal agreement,” the filing reads. The NRA’s then-treasurer, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, also reviewed and approved North’s contract with the firm, according to the filing, and the NRA board’s audit committee green-lit the contract as well. “On at least two occasions, counsel for the NRA has reviewed the North Contract,” the filing adds. NRA Pulls the Plug on NRATVAckerman McQueen’s insistence that NRA officials were aware of the contract with North is directly at odds with the contention the NRA made in a suit it filed against the ad agency in April. North was ousted from the NRA that month during the group’s annual meeting and has since accused LaPierre of gross mismanagement and making highly questionable expenditures. The NRA, meanwhile, has alleged that North tried to oust LaPierre in a coup. And in a separate suit in May, it accused Ackerman McQueen of breach of contract by leaking information about both LaPierre and the NRA’s finances. Ackerman McQueen had been a central force behind the NRA’s evolution from a gun rights group to a conservative cultural institution. As part of that mission, the ad firm helped launch and manage NRATV, the NRA’s recently shuttered internet-video arm. The NRA has alleged in court that Ackerman McQueen had refused to share its analytics with the gun group. But In its July 16 filing, Ackerman McQueen claims that the opposite is true. “Two days before the lawsuit was filed, LaPierre was in AMc’s office and was in attendance for the presentation of the NRATV analytics,” it reads. “LaPierre walked out of the meeting.” A spokesperson for the NRA’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The filing indicates that the fight between the NRA and Ackerman shows no signs of losing steam. Earlier this week, longtime NRA director of public affairs Jennifer Baker left the group. And a month ago, the group parted ways with its longtime top lobbyist, Chris Cox. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 1:46 PM

AOC to DHS chief: Border agents shared 'images of my violent rape' in secret Facebook group

AOC to DHS chief: Border agents shared 'images of my violent rape' in secret Facebook groupRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan about the whereabouts of Border Patrol agents who threatened her in a secret Facebook group.




POSTED JULY 18, 2019 6:02 PM

Hong Kong Protesters Who Stormed Legco Seek Asylum in Taiwan: Report

Hong Kong Protesters Who Stormed Legco Seek Asylum in Taiwan: Report(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of Hong Kong protesters involved in the ransacking of the city’s Legislative Council this month have arrived in Taiwan to seek asylum, the Apple Daily newspaper reported.About 30 protesters have already landed in Taiwan, while as many as 30 others -- and possibly more -- are planning to try soon, the Hong Kong newspaper said, citing unidentified people who assisted them.The fleeing activists were part of the group that smashed into the legislature on July 1, the paper said. The people who assisted the protesters told the paper they had been in contact with Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles the island’s relations with Beijing, to seek help.The council hasn’t received any formal asylum applications from Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, its deputy minister Chiu Chui-cheng said in a text message. If Taiwan receives any applications, authorities will handle them appropriately based on existing regulations and the principle of protecting human rights, Chiu added.Read more: Pain From Hong Kong Protests Spreads as Luxury Names Get HitA flight to Taiwan by Hong Kong asylum seekers would be fraught with geopolitical risk. It threatens to raise tensions between the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen, a China critic who’s up for re-election in January, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has already faced embarrassment over the global attention paid to Hong Kong’s anti-government protests.Hong Kong’s historic demonstrations over legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland for the first time have resonated widely in democratically run Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province.Seeking RefugeThe Taiwan Association for Human Rights, a top local non-governmental organization, wouldn’t comment on the case. “We cannot divulge any information regarding any individual case,” said Secretary-General, Chiu E-ling. “If there are individuals who approach us for help, we’ll interview these people and help them get in touch with government officials if that is what they wish.”Earlier: China Drafting Urgent Plan to Resolve Hong Kong Chaos, SCMP SaysProtesters used a metal cart as a battering ram to break their way into the legislative building on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return from British rule, spray-painting slogans on its chamber’s walls and draping a Union Jack-emblazoned colonial flag across the dais.At the time, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam condemned the “extreme use of violence and vandalism” and supported the police’s decision to leave it undefended in the face of a small group of protesters.Emily Leung, a spokeswoman for Lam, referred queries on the report to the Hong Kong police, who declined to comment on Friday.who didn’t immediately respond to a call and an email Friday for comment.(Updates with police comment in final paragraph.)\--With assistance from Ina Zhou, Kari Lindberg and Debby Wu.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Marlow in Hong Kong at imarlow1@bloomberg.net;Adela Lin in Taipei at alin95@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 6:27 AM

Ramush Haradinaj, Kosovo's 'Rambo' ex-PM and Serbian antagonist

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




POSTED JULY 19, 2019 12:50 PM

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