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President of South Africa’s governing African National Congress Cyril Ramaphosa waves to his supporters, as he arrives for the party’s final rally at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
May 5, 2019
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) will kick-start the economy and deal with corruption, it vowed on Sunday, three days before elections at which its overwhelming majority faces its sternest test since the party rose to power.
Though the ANC has won each parliamentary election since the transition from apartheid in 1994, recent opinion polls predict that it will bleed support to opposition coalitions that have gained ground as the ANC has been dogged by political scandal and a flagging economy.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma as ANC leader in December 2017, told about 70,000 supporters packed into Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium on Sunday that the party would punish members guilty of stealing public money.
A judicial corruption inquiry that began in 2018 has heard chilling evidence of how top officials took bribes from local and multinational companies in exchange for lucrative contracts from state firms.
“We are determined that those found guilty of corruption or involvement in state capture will not be allowed to occupy positions of responsibility, either in the ANC, in parliament or in government,” Ramaphosa said at Sunday’s rally.
“The era of impunity is over. We are now entering the era of accountability.”
The torrent of allegations has hit ANC support, especially in urban areas.
Three opinion polls in recent weeks show the ANC’s support ranging between 51 and 61 percent, compared with the 62 percent it won in 2014.
Analysts said it was telling that the ANC, as well as the two largest opposition parties – the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – held their final campaign rallies in Gauteng.
Despite being the province with the smallest land area, Gauteng generates more than a third of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is the most populous province with a population of 14.3 million.
In 2016 local polls the ANC lost control of the three largest metropolitan municipalities – economic hub Johannesburg, administrative capital Pretoria, both in Gauteng, and Nelson Mandela Bay in the eastern province.
Ramaphosa said the ANC would revive economic growth and ease unemployment, which sits at more than 27 percent, by hitting an investment target of 1.4 trillion rand ($100 billion) and limiting policy uncertainty.
“It has never been done before in South Africa and only the ANC will be able to mobilize these kind of resources,” Ramaphosa said.
South Africa’s economic growth has slowed sharply in recent years, averaging about 2 percent in the past decade, while medium-term GDP is seen around 1 percent, well below the 4-5 percent needed to dent rising poverty and joblessness.
(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by David Goodman)
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Shanghai Masters – Shanghai, China – October 10, 2018 – Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in action. REUTERS/Aly Song
May 7, 2019
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Juan Martin Del Potro will return to singles action in the Madrid Open this week after 10 weeks out with a knee injury, the Argentine said on Tuesday.
The world ranked no. 8, who played a doubles match with Kei Nishikori last weekend, will face Serbian Laslo Djere on Wednesday in his first singles tournament since the Delray Beach Open in February.
Del Potro suffered a knee injury in October last year and although he reached the semi-final of the Delray tournament, he was in obvious pain and took another break afterwards.
The decision to return comes less than three weeks before the French Open, a tournament in which he has never got past the semi-final.
However, four of Del Potro’s 22 singles titles have come on clay, and the big Argentine will be aiming to return to form and add a second grand slam title to his 2009 win in the US Open.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
FILE PHOTO: Maria Butina appears in a police booking photograph released by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, U.S. August 18, 2018. Alexandria Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
April 27, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday made his first comments on a U.S. court sentencing admitted Russian foreign agent Maria Butina to 18 months in prison, calling her treatment a travesty of justice.
Butina was sentenced on Friday after the Siberia native, her voice breaking with emotion, begged a judge for mercy and expressed remorse for conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate a gun rights group and influence U.S. conservative activists and Republicans.
Speaking in Beijing, Putin said the sentence looked like an attempt by U.S. law enforcement and judicial officials to save face.
“It’s an outrage,” Putin told reporters.
“It’s not clear what she was convicted of or what crime she committed. I think it’s a prime example of ‘saving face.’ They arrested her and put the girl in jail. But there was nothing on her, so in order not to look totally stupid they gave her, fixed her up, with an 18-month sentence to show that she was guilty of something.”
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Beijing and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
An idea floated by President Trump to send immigrants from the border to “sanctuary cities” to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favor by placing them in locations that make it easier to put down roots and stay in the country, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders. Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities, with some of the nation’s biggest immigration advocacy groups based in places like San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The downside for the immigrants would be a high cost of living in the cities.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University announced this week that an analysis found that immigrants in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20 percent less likely to be arrested out in the community than in cities without such policies.
“With immigrants being less likely to commit crimes than the U.S. born population, and with sanctuary jurisdictions being safer and more productive than non-sanctuary jurisdictions, the data damns this proposal as a politically motivated stunt that seeks to play politics with peoples’ lives,” said George Gascon, district attorney for San Francisco.
Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the situation at the border, where tens of thousands of immigrant families are crossing each month, many to claim asylum. His administration has attempted several efforts to stop the flow and he recently shook up the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security.
The idea to ship immigrants to Democratic strongholds was considered twice in recent months, but the White House and Department of Homeland Security said the plan had been rejected.
Nonetheless, Trump said Friday he was still considering the idea.
“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. He added that, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”
The mayor of at least one such sanctuary city, Chicago, said she’d welcome such an immigrant influx. “We have people who are routinely coming to this city. We have a whole infrastructure that’s built up to make sure that their rights are protected while the city of Chicago has, under the current administration, provided funding for various groups to help support asylum seekers and other people that are going through the immigration court system” Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot said on CNN on Friday. “I expect it will continue, if not expand upon, those kinds of resources.”
She added: “We are a city that is a sanctuary city. We have immigrants from all over the world who call Chicago their home. They’ll continue to do that, and we’re going to continue to make sure that this is truly a welcoming community for those immigrants and we want them to come to the city of Chicago.”
The plan discussed by Trump would have financial, logistical and legal issues.
The transportation of immigrants who are arrested at the border to large and faraway cities would be burdensome and costly at a time when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is already stretched thin, having released over 125,000 immigrants into the country pending their immigration court since Dec. 21. They are currently being released mainly in border states.
Flights chartered by ICE cost about $7,785 per flight hour, according to the agency, and require multiple staffers, including an in-flight medical professional. The agency also uses commercial flights. Doing longer transports would increase liability for the agency, especially considering that many of the immigrants in its care are families with young children.
And despite the consideration given to releasing the immigrants on the streets to sanctuary cities, the Trump administration actually has plenty of jail space to detain families. As of April 11, the nation’s three facilities to detain immigrant families were nowhere near capacity, including a Pennsylvania facility housing only nine immigrants.
It’s also unclear how long the immigrants would stay in these cities because they are required to provide an address to federal authorities – typically of a family member – as a condition of their release.
“It’s illogical,” said Angela Chan, policy director and senior attorney with the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus. “It’s just alarming that they are spending so much effort and so much time to engage in political theater.”
The Trump administration has long pushed back against cities with sanctuary policies, which generally prohibit local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration police, often by refusing to hold people arrested on local charges past their release date at the request of immigration officers. Over 100 local governments around the country have adopted a variety of these polices
“New York City will always be the ultimate city of immigrants – the President’s empty threats won’t change that,” New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said in a statement.
But Trump seemed ready to step up his fight with the cities, vowing to “give them an unlimited supply” of immigrants from the border.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Joe Biden‘s fellow Democrats are trying to bring him down because he’s “too conservative,” according to Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen.
The Fox News contributor told “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday morning that he’s worked extensively with Biden on Capitol Hill and is shocked by the methods taken by Democrats to discredit the 2020 presidential hopeful.
“They want to bring him down. That’s not surprising,” Thiessen said. “What is surprising is how they’ll try to bring him down, arguing that he is too conservative. That’s the state we’ve gotten to in the modern Democratic party.
“The Obama/Biden approach to governing is no longer acceptable for the Democratic socialist trying to take over the nominating process and government,” he continued.
Biden faced criticism this week over comments he made about climate change and his prediction that Republicans would experience an “epiphany” about working with Democrats after President Trump leaves office.
Fellow 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed Biden’s “middle ground” approach to climate change during a rally on Monday in support of the Green New Deal.
“They want a Green New Deal. Anything less is heresy,” Thiessen said of Democrats’ behavior.
“They want government health care for all whether you want it or not, and say Biden is too moderate. He is not moderate. He is a liberal Democrat,” he continued.
In response to Biden’s “epiphany” comments, Thiessen said the former vice president has the support of most Democrats in shifting to a more moderate stance and finding common ground with Republican officials, but that some detractors see Biden as an “obstacle to the goal of socialism.”
“His big heresy is that he wants to work with Republicans and come up with bipartisan solutions,” Thiessen said. “It’s not acceptable in the age of the resistance.
“The resistance doesn’t want to work with Republicans. They don’t want compromise. They aren’t just opposed to Donald Trump. They’re composed to conservatism, compromise and the free enterprise system as it exists today and they want to fundamentally change America,” he concluded.
Source: Fox News Politics
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Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Real Betis - Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain - May 19, 2019 Real Betis' Jese celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates as Real Madrid's Nacho and Marcelo look dejected REUTERS/Juan Medina
May 19, 2019
MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s harrowing season came to a fittingly miserable end on Sunday as they slumped to a staggering 12th La Liga defeat, losing 2-0 at home to Real Betis as many fans left the stadium early and those who stayed booed the players off the pitch.
With Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos and Thibaut Courtois all sitting on the bench, Betis forward Loren Moron put the visitors in front in the 61st minute, completing a sweeping counter-attack by slamming the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Former Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez tapped into the net unmarked in the 75th to seal the victory for Betis, who finished the season 10th in the standings but have earned away victories at the Nou Camp and the Santiago Bernabeu.
The win proved to be Quique Setien’s last stand as a statement from Betis after the game said he would be leaving the club by mutual consent.
Madrid ended the campaign third in the standings on 68 points, their lowest total since the 2001/02 season, while they lost 12 league games for the first time since the 1998/99 campaign.
They finished eight points behind runners up Atletico Madrid and 19 adrift of champions Barcelona, who drew 2-2 at Eibar.
“We started the season badly and we’ve finished it badly,” said Madrid defender Marcelo.
“We didn’t want the season to be like this at any stage, we wanted to be in finals competing for trophies, it’s been a tough season, one of the hardest on a personal level, we tried to sort things out but now we’re just looking to next season.”
Madrid’s only good opening in another dismal display fell to top scorer Karim Benzema, who struck the post from inside the box in the first half.
Betis dominated the play and would have scored earlier had it not been for some impressive saves from Keylor Navas, who was given a rousing reception from supporters in what was believed to be his last game for the club.
BALE LEFT ON BENCH
Spanish media reports also say that Bale will not be at the club next season, but the Wales forward, who was left out of the squad for last week’s defeat at Real Sociedad, was given no opportunity for a final run out at the Bernabeu.
Madrid’s record signing and a scorer in two Champions League final triumphs, Bale was seen grimacing as he sat on the bench when his side were 2-0 down and when the fulltime whistle came he walked straight down the tunnel without acknowledging fans.
Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane would not be drawn on whether Navas or Bale would leave the club, but said players’ futures could not dictate whether or not he picked them.
“I don’t know if it’s the last game for them or not, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Keylor played well but we’ll see what happens next season,” he said.
Asked about whether Bale deserved a chance to play one last game, he said: “I’m sorry he didn’t get to play, but no-one knows what will happen.
“If I think a player doesn’t fit in the team, I have to do what I think works best. No-one can change what Bale has done for the team, but as a coach I have to live in the present.”
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who last week became one of the latest Democrats to enter the presidential race, weighed in Sunday on the moves by several states to limit abortions – saying that while he believes life starts when a fetus can survive outside the womb, it is ultimately up for a woman to decide whether or not to have an abortion.
"Ultimately, the Supreme Court settled this 45 years ago," he said on CNN's "State of the Union," in reference to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. "It's not my decision to be making a decision that a woman needs to make in consultation with her doctor, her family, her faith."
"I would say that life begins at viability, but either way it's not up to people like me to be making these decisions," Bullock added. "It's not what I think, it's what does an individual woman need to do with her body and with her health care."
Bullock’s comments come as state lawmakers in Alabama and Missouri last week passed laws that greatly reduced the ability of a woman to get an abortion.
Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law last week that will outlaw all abortions except in cases where a woman's life is threatened, while Missouri's Republican-led House on Friday passed sweeping legislation designed to survive court challenges, which would ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.
Earlier this year Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a "fetal heartbeat" abortion bill that will limit the practice to around six weeks into pregnancy.
The laws have been slammed by Democrats and pro-choice advocates who argue that these laws are unconstitutional and strip women of control of their own bodies.
Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade called the law "shameful" and said it was "scary" that there are no exceptions for rape or incest, only for medical emergencies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not letting his past failed run at the White House get him down.
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with the Democrats, said in an interview on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that instead of being disheartened by losing the 2016 Democratic primary to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he feels encouraged by his successes since then.
“We took on the entire Democratic establishment, we took on the DNC, we took on every democratic governor, every democratic mayor. We transformed the party,” the self-described Democratic Socialist said. “Four years ago people are not talking about the issues we're talking about now.”
Sanders’ fiery rhetoric and progressive ideology helped bring his more left-leaning colleagues into the political mainstream and are seen as the impetus for the success of other Democratic Socialist candidates like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. The Vermont lawmaker's message appears to be resonating with a large portion of Democratic voters as a recent Fox News poll found that Sanders trailed only frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden – albeit by 18 points.
Sanders' campaign has unveiled a number of big proposals, including on Saturday when he announced he wants to suspend taxpayer funding of new charter schools and ban those that are for-profit as part of his plan to overhaul public education.
Saying charter schools are "exacerbating educational segregation," Sanders proposes more transparency and accountability for them, as well as limits on the pay of their chief executives. According to the campaign, the 10-point plan focuses on "reversing racial and economic segregation that is plaguing elementary and secondary schools."
To combat disparities in education funding, the senator from Vermont is proposing "large new investments in programs that serve high-poverty communities, support special needs students, and augment local efforts to integrate school districts." That also includes a minimum on per-pupil spending in all school districts across the country, as well as a universal school meal plan and a goal of closing "the gap in school infrastructure funding to renovate, modernize, and green the nation's schools."
Earlier this year, Sanders proposed the Senate's "Medicare-for-all" bill, which is focused on single-payer as a way to "fully solve the health care crisis," an approach his team thinks adds to his progressive bona fides.
The Vermont senator's legislation would set up a four-year transition to government-run care for almost all health treatments, free of premiums or deductibles, with private insurance available as a supplement. Other 2020 Democrats – like Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Corry Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York -- have been less clear on how they would treat private insurers under a "Medicare-for-all" system, and each has supported more incremental steps to increase access to care.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy does not appear to be taking Rep. Justin Amash's recent tweets about President Trump very seriously, claiming that the Michigan Republican simply "wants to have attention," and questioning his GOP bona fides.
Amash tweeted his take on the Muller report on Saturday, claiming that President Trump "engaged in impeachable conduct," specifically obstruction of justice, and that Attorney General Bill Barr "deliberately misrepresented" Mueller's findings.
"This is exactly what he wants, he wants to have attention," McCarthy said on "Sunday Morning Futures." He went on to express doubt over Amash's Republican leanings in general.
"You've got to understand Justin Amash. He's been in Congress quite some time. I think he's asked one question in all the committees that he's been in. He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It's a question whether he's even in our Republican conference as a whole."
Amash criticized Republicans and Democrats for rushing to judgment over the Mueller report, accusing his colleagues of speaking out based on which side of the political aisle they are on, and not the facts.
"Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation," Amash tweeted, "and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release."
McCarthy, meanwhile, accused Amash of simply being contrarian, saying, "You could have a bill with 400 votes all supporting it, there will always be one opposed and that is Justin Amash."
Amash stated earlier this year that he was considering running against Trump in 2020 as a third-party candidate.
Source: Fox News Politics
Venezuela's Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo speaks to the media before the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali
May 19, 2019
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said on Sunday his country’s economy and oil industry was under economic and financial siege by the U.S. government.
“This therefore generates disturbances in the flow of oil supply to the world market as well as serious economic damage and suffering to the Venezuelan people,” he said in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ahead of a ministerial panel meeting of top OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Jeddah; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alison Williams)
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Sunday legal immigration reform ought to include more than just skilled workers, as President Donald Trump’s proposed merit-based plan outlines.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Toomey said he’s “open to more legal immigration.”
“I think the president is right in his insights that people who come with a lot of human capital, intellectual capital, education, these people contribute to our country enormously,” he said. “It's a no-brainer to allow people who come here, the best and brightest from around the world.”
“But I think people with lower skills can contribute as well, he added. “So I'd be open to expanding that category as well. “
Toomey also said Pennsylvania already houses some migrant families who have strained housing facilities at the southern border — a move that’s riled authorities in Florida.
“We actually do house some migrant families and that's a temporary arrangement that is made necessary by the crisis on the border,” he said. “I would like to fix the crisis so that that's not necessary.”
According to Toomey, the nation has “got to change our laws that are driving people, America is a magnet. If you come there with a child you're almost guaranteed to get in.”
Toomey also defended the president’s tariffs on China — but is adamantly opposed to subsidizing farms who suffer because of them.
“I actually think the president is right to challenge China,” he said.
But, he added: “I think it's bad policy to start just sending checks to farmers or any segment of the economy.”
“What I think we ought to be doing is working with allies, working with friendly countries finding more markets, opening up more markets, taking down trade barriers and creating an opportunity for our farmers to sell their products around the world rather than sending them a check from taxpayers.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) speaks about the formation of the Congressional Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
May 19, 2019
By Amanda Becker
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some Democrats vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination shifted the focus of the race to foreign policy on Sunday, criticizing Republican President Donald Trump as a weak commander in chief who is escalating tensions with Iran.
The relationship between Washington and Tehran has become increasingly strained in recent weeks, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.
Trump and hawkish foreign policy advisers like national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo want Tehran to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, aimed at forcing its leaders into negotiations. Pompeo last year outlined a list of demands on Iran that critics said showed he was pushing for regime change.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard, one of 24 Democrats vying for the White House nomination, said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that Trump was “leading us down this dangerous path towards a war with Iran.”
“He says he doesn’t want it, but the actions of him and his administration, people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, tell us a very different story. They are setting the stage for a war with Iran that would prove to be far more costly, far more devastating and dangerous than anything that we saw in the Iraq war,” Gabbard said.
Trump has said he is not pushing for war with Iran. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he promised to stay out of overseas conflicts, saying the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were too costly.
In May 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from a multinational deal with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration that reduced economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for scaling back its nuclear program. Trump criticized the deal as weak, saying he would negotiate a stronger one.
Gabbard, 38, enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and was twice deployed to the Middle East. Gabbard has said she is running for president to end regime-change wars, though she currently trails most of her 2020 opponents in opinion polls.
Another White House hopeful, Representative Seth Moulton, a 40-year-old former U.S. Marine Corps officer who did four tours in Iraq, told “This Week” that if the Trump administration sends additional troops to the Gulf it could “drag us into war.”
“Make no mistake, this is exactly what John Bolton wants to have happen,” said Moulton, who also trails in 2020 opinion polls. “The world is so dangerous when you have a weak commander in chief in the president of the United States.”
Moulton counts as a mentor former Vice President Joe Biden, who currently leads the 2020 Democratic field in support. When asked why Democratic primary voters should back him over his mentor, Moulton said: “I think it’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over for the generation that sent us there.”
Gabbard resigned her post at the Democratic National Committee in 2016 when Hillary Clinton was the nominee because she said the former secretary of state’s foreign policy positions were too hawkish. Gabbard was asked by ABC if that also applied to Biden, given both he and Clinton served in the Obama administration.
“We’ll see what Vice President Biden’s foreign policy vision is for this country. We may agree on some issues, disagree on others,” Gabbard said.
(GRAPHIC: Who is running in 2020 – tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC)
(Reporting By Amanda Becker in Washington; editing by Bill Berkrot)