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Peter Boykin
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Climate change protesters block access to French multinationals

Environmental activists block the entrance of the French bank Societe Generale headquarters during a
Environmental activists block the entrance of the French bank Societe Generale headquarters during a "civil disobedience action" to urge world leaders to act against climate change, in La Defense near Paris, France, April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

April 19, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Climate activists blocked hundreds of employees from entering the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale, state-run utility EDF and oil giant Total on Friday, environmental group Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace said it was protesting against the companies links to the oil and gas industry, which the group says is a driving force in global warming.

They plastered giant posters of President Emmanuel Macron carrying the slogan “Macron, President of Polluters” and a banner reading “Scene of Climate Crime” on the glass facade of Societe Generale, Reuters TV images showed.

Police pepper-sprayed one group blocking the bank’s main entrance in a sit-down protest.

Some protesters taped themselves together while others cuffed themselves with plastic ties to metal poles to make it harder for police to dislodge them.

Employees in business suits milled around outside their offices. “I just want to get inside and on with my work,” one frustrated bank employee said.

A Societe Generale spokesman declined to comment. An EDF spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.

The protest came as Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne, chief executive of Angola’s state oil company Sonangol, and the chairman of the Libya National Oil Corporation were due to attend an annual oil summit in Paris.

Greenpeace and action group Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth) have previously criticized Societe Generale for their financial role in oil and gas projects, in particular the Rio Grande LNG gas project in the United States.

Friday’s protest echoed a series by the Extinction Rebellion group of climate-change campaigners in London this week that have caused transport snarl-ups in the British capital.

Teenage protesters staged an emotional protest, weeping and singing, at political inaction on climate change near London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday.

(Reporting by Antony Paone and Inti Landauro; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

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Turkey pins hopes on Trump to avoid sanctions over Russia missile deal

FILE PHOTO: NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks withh Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan ahead of the opening ceremony of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

April 19, 2019

By Orhan Coskun and Humeyra Pamuk

ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Turkey’s hopes of avoiding punishing U.S. sanctions over its purchase of a Russian air defense system appear increasingly pinned on intervention from Donald Trump, but the president has little leeway to counter Ankara’s many critics in Washington.

The two NATO allies have argued for months over Turkey’s order for the advanced S-400 missile defense batteries, which Washington says are incompatible with the Western alliance’s defense network and would pose a threat to U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jets which Turkey also plans to buy.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several prominent U.S. senators have warned Turkey it will face penalties for buying the S-400s under legislation which calls for sanctions against countries procuring military equipment from Russia. Turkey says as a NATO member it poses no threat to the United States and the sanctions should not apply.

Resolving the dispute could allow the two governments to turn the corner on years of tense relations. The stakes are higher for Turkey, which is mired in recession after a separate U.S. diplomatic dispute last year sparked a currency crisis that has echoed in recent weeks as ties have again frayed.

Two months before the first batch of S-400s could arrive in Turkey, a team of senior Turkish ministers visited Washington this week for talks aimed at easing the crisis, culminating in an unexpected Oval Office meeting with the president.

“We are getting signals that Trump pursues a more positive attitude than Congress,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters. “There might certainly be some steps to be taken but the search for common ground will continue.”

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters on Thursday: “We’re closer” to a final decision on the S-400s after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart. “It’s like: ‘OK, where are we stuck? How do we get unstuck?” he said of the talks, adding he was optimistic.

Few details of the White House meeting have emerged, but Turkish media quoted Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdogan, as saying Trump had a “positive understanding … regarding Turkey’s needs for the S-400s.”

Other ministers and officials on the trip, including Turkey’s defense minister and Erdogan’s spokesman and national security adviser, said the visit gave Washington the chance to get a better understanding of Ankara’s point of view.

Turkey has proposed a joint working group which it believes could help convince the United States that the S-400s do not pose a direct threat to the U.S. military or its jets.

The deadline on a U.S. counter offer to sell Turkey a discounted Patriot missile defense system was extended earlier this year and remains open, according to Turkish and U.S. officials.

But neither side has given any ground publicly. Turkey reiterated the Russian purchase was a “done deal” and the U.S. administration stuck by its warning that S-400s and F-35s could not operate in the same space.

“The U.S. made clear to the Turkish side that the risk of sanctions is real if they take delivery of the S-400s,” a U.S. official told Reuters.


Even minor U.S. sanctions could prompt another sharp sell-off in the Turkish lira that deepens the recession in the Middle East’s largest economy. After shedding 30 percent of its value last year, the currency is down another 10 percent and markets remain on edge.

Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey liable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

To waive any CAATSA sanctions imposed by Congress, Trump by law would have to show that the S-400 purchase was not a “significant transaction”, and that it would not endanger the integrity of NATO or adversely affect U.S. military operations.

He would also need to show in a letter to congressional committees that the deal would not lead to a “significant negative impact” on U.S.-Turkish cooperation, and that Turkey is taking, or will take, steps over a specific period to reduce its Russian-made defense equipment and weapons.

Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said he had heard Trump pledge in a phone call with the Turkish president two months ago that he would work to find a resolution to the problem. Other officials have also portrayed the U.S. president as sympathetic.

The talks were “more positive than expected” and the Americans expressed “a softer tone” than they take in public, a second senior Turkish official told Reuters.

Trump has not weighed in on Turkey in recent weeks. Even if Turkey did have his support, however, that common ground may prove elusive.

Relations between the two countries have been strained over several disputes including military strategy in the Syrian conflict, Iran sanctions, and Turkey’s requests for Washington to extradite a Muslim cleric Ankara blames for a failed 2016 military coup.

The United States has also been angered by the detention of U.S. citizens in Turkey and three locally employed U.S. consular staff, one of whom was released in January, as well as clashes between Erdogan’s security officers and protesters during a visit to Washington two years ago.

Those disagreements have left Erdogan with very few supporters in Congress, which could respond to any White House waiver with separate sanctions legislation.

In February, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill for stiff new sanctions on Russia in an effort to corner Trump into a stronger approach over meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine.

“I don’t think it’s impossible for Turkey to get a waiver,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Program at The Washington Institute. “But Turkey has almost no cheerleaders in Washington and that’s why it would be an uphill battle.”

He added: “CATSAA is written with the idea that there should be almost no loopholes. So Trump has to find a really good one.”

(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart in Washington; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

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Carlos Ghosn to be indicted on additional charge: NHK

FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn accompanied by his wife Carole Ghosn, arrives at his place of residence in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn accompanied by his wife Carole Ghosn, arrives at his place of residence in Tokyo, Japan, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

April 19, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo prosecutors are likely to indict former Nissan Motor Co Ltd boss Carlos Ghosn on an additional charge of aggravated breach of trust as early as Monday, when his current detention period expires, public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.

Ghosn was arrested for the fourth time this month on suspicion he had tried to enrich himself at Nissan’s expense, to the tune of $5 million.

He is also awaiting trial on other charges of financial misconduct and aggravated breach of trust. Ghosn, who had been released on $9 million bail in early March after spending 108 days in jail, has denied all allegations against him.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

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Weeping teenage climate activists in peaceful protest near London’s Heathrow

Extinction Rebellion protest in London
Climate change activists attend an Extinction Rebellion protest outside Heathrow Airport in London, Britain April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

April 19, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Teenage protesters staged an emotional protest at political inaction on climate change near London’s Heathrow Airport on Friday, a further day of actions that have caused transport snarl-ups in the British capital.

The Extinction Rebellion group of climate-change campaigners stood weeping and singing in a peaceful roadside protest less than a mile from Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3. Around a dozen teenagers, some as young as 13, held a banner which read “Are we the last generation?”

The group has called for non-violent civil disobedience to push the British government to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and to stop what it calls a global climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion has blocked several locations in central London in recent days after it staged a semi-nude protest in parliament earlier this month.

The group of young people stood singing protest songs near a road busy with Easter holiday traffic. Police officers, who far outnumbered them, approached to warn them of potential arrest for trespassing.

More than 500 people have been arrested this week and 10 charged so far, police said on Thursday.

“I fear for my future” Oscar Idle, 17, told Reuters. “That fear gives me courage to act.”

“I want to live in a society which is not catastrophic where there is not going to be food shortages, wild fires and hurricanes where people can live,” he said.

(Reporting by Emily Roe, Will Russell and Simon Dawson; Writing by Elisabeth O’Leary; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

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Foxconn says it remains committed to Wisconsin investment project

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's building in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's building in Taipei, Taiwan, March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

April 19, 2019

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Foxconn said on Friday it remains committed to its contract to build a display plant and tech research facilities in Wisconsin, days after the U.S. state’s governor said he wanted to renegotiate the deal.

Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who inherited a deal to give Foxconn $4 billion in tax breaks and other incentives when he took office in January, said on Wednesday he wanted renegotiation because the firm is not expected to reach its job creation goals for the state.

Foxconn’s proposed 20-million-square-foot Wisconsin campus, announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, marks the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in U.S. history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc, has pledged to eventually create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, but said earlier this year it had slowed its pace of hiring.

“Foxconn remains committed to our contract,” the company said in a statement on Friday.

“Foxconn’s commitment to job creation in Wisconsin remains long term and will span over the length of the WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) contract and beyond,” it said, adding the construction on the LCD display manufacturing facility will commence in the summer.

To qualify for tax credits, Foxconn must meet certain hiring and capital investment goals under the current contract.

It fell short of the employment goal in 2018, hiring 178 full-time workers rather than the 260 targeted, and failed to earn a tax credit of up to $9.5 million.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee, writing by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

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Japan’s March factory output to shrink, BOJ seen keeping policy unchanged: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A worker cycles near a factory at the Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki
FILE PHOTO: A worker cycles near a factory at the Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

April 19, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s March factory output is forecast to have slipped for the first time in two months, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, though the central bank is expected to stand pat on policy as it bets on a gradual economic recovery despite rising risks to growth.

The poll of 17 economists predicted the Bank of Japan will retain its massive stimulus as well as the short-term interest rate target at minus 0.1 percent, while also maintaining its pledge to guide 10-year government bond yields around zero percent at its April 24-25 meeting.

The BOJ is facing a daunting task in its years-long efforts to help push up inflation toward its 2 percent goal, with a slowdown in global growth and trade making its task even more difficult.

Factories have been under strain in the past few months, and the poll forecast industrial production to have slipped 0.1 percent in March from the previous month after it rose 0.7 percent in February.

“Exports are weakening due to the global economic slowdown, which appears to have impacted on factory output,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute.

“The economy is either at a temporarily lull or worsening slightly. But it requires more data to assess whether the economy contracted in the first quarter.”

The trade ministry will publish the factory output at 8:50 a.m. April 26, Japan time (2350 GMT April 25).

Data on the nation’s retail sector, due at the same time with the factory output numbers, is projected to show sales rising 0.8 percent last month from a year earlier, the poll found, accelerating from a 0.4 percent increase in February.

Recent gains in oil prices appear to have supported fuel retailers and demand from inbound tourists likely also boosted the overall retail sales, analysts said.

Yet the positive retail impulse would need to be sustained for some months to help boost inflation and overall consumption.

Indeed, the BOJ is expected to forecast next week that inflation will remain below its 2 percent target through the fiscal year that ends in March 2022, sources say.

The central bank is also seen sticking to its view that Japan’s economy will emerge from a soft patch and resume a moderate expansion in the second half of 2019.

“We forecast the BOJ won’t largely change its economic view, so the central bank will likely keep its current pace of stimulus policy,” said Shuji Tonouchi, senior market economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

The poll also found Tokyo’s core consumer prices (CPI) index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, rose 1.1 percent in April from a year earlier, the same pace as in March.

Price gains in oil related products probably contributed to Tokyo’s core CPI, while falls in costs of electricity and city gas weighed on the index, analysts said.

The poll showed the jobless rate pushed up to 2.4 percent in March from 2.3 percent in February, and the jobs-to-applicants ratio improved to 1.64, which would be an over 40-year high, from 1.63 in February.

The government will publish Tokyo’s core CPI and jobs data at 8:30 a.m. on April 26 (2330 GMT on April 25).

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

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MLB roundup: Mariners blow 8-run lead, win in 9th

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Los Angeles Angels
Apr 18, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy (27) rounds the bases after his second home run of the night in the sixth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

April 19, 2019

Ryon Healy homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Seattle Mariners ended a six-game losing streak with an 11-10 win against the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of the four-game series on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

After the Mariners squandered a 10-2 lead with the Angels scoring seven runs in the seventh and tying the game in the eighth, Jay Bruce moved Seattle ahead 11-10 with a pinch-hit single in the ninth off Cody Allen (0-1).

Omar Narvaez had three hits, including a three-run homer, and a career-high four RBIs, and Daniel Vogelbach reached base all five times with two hits and three walks for the Mariners. Kole Calhoun and David Fletcher homered during the rally for the Angels.

Seattle starter Felix Hernandez went six innings and allowed four runs and nine hits. The six-time AL All Star struck out three and walked one. Roenis Elias pitched the ninth for his third save.

Dodgers 3, Brewers 1

Julio Urias gave up just one hit over six innings, while Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy hit home runs as visiting Los Angeles extended its winning streak to five games by beating Milwaukee.

In what was likely his final start before moving to the bullpen with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill about to come off the injured list, Urias (1-1) did not give up a hit until Orlando Arcia singled to center field with two outs in the fifth inning. The left-hander had a career-high nine strikeouts.

The Brewers’ Christian Yelich hit a home run to lead off the ninth inning against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, his 10th of the season and fifth of the week. It was also his 12th RBI of the week. The Dodgers extended their National League lead in home runs to 40. The Brewers are second with 36.

Nationals 4, Giants 2

Behind Patrick Corbin’s strong start and a home run by Wilmer Difo, Washington beat San Francisco to win its first home series of the season.

Corbin (1-0) got a nice ovation as he left the mound with two outs in the eighth after an RBI double by Erik Kratz trimmed the margin to 4-1. Corbin allowed one run on two hits, striking out nine and walking one.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected in the fifth inning by plate umpire Ryan Additon after Brandon Belt was called out on strikes. Belt was later ejected by Additon after being called out on strikes in the seventh. Seven of the 11 Giants who struck out did so taking the third strike.

Orioles 6, Rays 5 (11 innings)

Joey Rickard delivered a tiebreaking, two-out double in the top of the 11th inning, giving visiting Baltimore a victory over first-place Tampa Bay.

The double capped a 4-for-5 night for Rickard, who drove in two runs. Trey Mancini went 3-for-5 with a run, and Pedro Severino hit his first homer of the season and the fifth of his career.

The Rays’ Avisail Garcia had tied the score in the bottom of the ninth when he hit a solo homer off Mychal Givens. Tommy Pham also homered for Tampa Bay.

Royals 6, Yankees 1

Homer Bailey won consecutive starts for the first time in nearly two years as Kansas City won at New York.

Bailey (2-1) held the Yankees to one run on three hits in six innings, walking one and striking out six. He won consecutive starts for the first time since July 4-9, 2017, when he earned victories at Colorado and Arizona while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. He had gone 6-22 since then before Thursday.

Jorge Soler and Ryan O’Hearn hit solo homers off Yankees starter Domingo German (3-1) as the Royals won for the fifth time in seven games since losing 10 in a row. The Yankees were unable to reach .500 after sweeping a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox, dropping to 8-10.

Tigers 9, White Sox 7

Nicholas Castellanos and Grayson Greiner each had three hits, scored a run and drove in two more and host Detroit snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating Chicago.

Castellanos brought in the go-ahead run in the eighth. Miguel Cabrera supplied two hits and drove in two runs on his 36th birthday. Drew VerHagen (1-0) struck out a batter to end the eighth inning and picked up the victory. Shane Greene notched his ninth save.

Eloy Jimenez, Welington Castillo and Ryan Cordell homered for White Sox.

Diamondbacks 4, Braves 1

Christian Walker continued his late-inning magic, belting a two-run homer in the seventh inning as visiting Arizona completed a three-game sweep of Atlanta.

Walker has six homers, all of them coming in the seventh inning or later. He also hit a ninth-inning blast in the first game of the series. He is batting .619 (13-for-21) with two doubles and 11 RBIs in the seventh inning or later.

Atlanta scored its only run when Freddie Freeman hit a homer, his second, in the eighth inning off reliever Matt Andriese. Freeman was hit by a pitch in the sixth and has reached base in 18 consecutive games. Ronald Acuna Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games for the Braves.

Blue Jays 7, Twins 4

Eric Sogard had a three-run double to highlight a five-run fourth inning, and Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez each homered to lead Toronto over Minnesota in Minneapolis.

The win was the third in four games for the Blue Jays, who got their first series victory of the season. Joe Biagini (1-1) picked up the win in relief of starter Clay Buchholz, who gave up three runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out four.

Eddie Rosario hit two home runs and Willians Astudillo and Jonathan Schoop each had two hits for Minnesota. Michael Pineda (2-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout in 3 2/3 innings.

Rockies 6, Phillies 2

Ryan McMahon, in his first game back from the injured list, hit two home runs and drove in five as Colorado beat Philadelphia in Denver.

Kyle Freeland (2-3) gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings to get his first win since Opening Day, and Tony Wolters had three hits for Colorado. The Rockies have won four straight following an eight-game slide, and they earned their first home victory in six tries this season.

J.T. Realmuto homered, and Cesar Hernandez singled three times for the Phillies. Zach Eflin (2-2) allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out two over six innings.

Reds 4, Padres 1

A game-opening homer by Joey Votto and home runs by Tucker Barnhart and Jesse Winker led visiting Cincinnati over San Diego in the opener of a four-game series.

The Reds snapped a four-game losing streak while handing the Padres a fourth straight loss. The Votto and Barnhart homers were among the three hits allowed by Padres rookie starter Chris Paddack (0-1), whose only walk came in front of Barnhart’s first homer of the season in the fifth inning.

Cincinnati’s final run came on a ninth-inning homer by Winker off reliever Phil Maton. Reds right-hander Tanner Roark (1-0) allowed one run on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Manny Machado’s RBI double accounted for the Padres’ only run.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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The Mueller Report covered 448 pages.

For context, the 1998 Starr Report about President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky consumed 445 pages.

Other works of popular literature clocking in at around 400 pages or so?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (409 pages). The Shining by Stephen King (447). Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (449). Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (374). The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (396).


Perhaps the last title is most pertinent here.

Attorney General Bill Barr released the Mueller Report in the middle of the first major Congressional recess of the year. Both the House and Senate usually break for more than two weeks in March or April to observe Good Friday, Easter and Passover.

Barr long ago announced he’d make the Mueller Report public in mid-April. But that decision frustrated Congressional Democrats, who viewed the timing as nefarious since Congress was out of session and lawmakers were spread to the four winds.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was in Europe, just concluding a speech to the Dail, or Irish parliament, in Dublin. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was in Rwanda. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., was in New York City.

“The logistics make the release much more difficult,” protested Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Judiciary Committee. “The administration seems to be purposely creating obstacles and hurdles to prevent full disclosure.” Blumenthal added that Barr should have published the report ‘well before the recess. It should’ve been released the day before it was ready.”

Nadler argued that Barr’s decision to hold a press conference ahead of publicizing the report was villainous. Nadler portrayed this as an effort by the administration to seize control of the messaging in the absence of lawmakers prowling Capitol Hill. Nadler suggested Barr could then spin the conclusions on behalf of President Trump.

“The Attorney General is not letting facts speak for themselves, but baking in a narrative that benefits the White House and doing it before a holiday weekend so it would be hard for people to react,” said Nadler, who held a press conference in New York City late Wednesday to pre-empt Barr – then suggested the attorney general cancel his morning presser.

Releasing the report during the recess may mute some Congressional response. But satellite dishes and TV studios are available this time of year. Twitter remains operational. Most of the country doesn’t hang on every word out of Washington and know whether Congress is in or out of session. Many Americans wouldn’t interrupt their workday to cull through the Mueller Report, let alone actually read it. They’ll rely on others to divine meaning from the special counsel’s missive.

The timeframe didn’t matter to Lindsey Graham.

“The world keeps turning,” said Graham late last week as he departed the Capitol, en route to Africa. “I don’t need to know any more. I am done.”

There were only a few lawmakers on Capitol Hill when the report hit Washington Thursday morning.

The Constitution requires the House and Senate to convene every three days unless one body grants the other leave to abandon Washington. Otherwise, the House and Senate meet in brief, “pro forma” sessions, when each body just gavels in and gavels out. However, that requires the presence of at least one lawmaker.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., drew the lot to serve as the GOP’s designated, in-person-at-the-Capitol-spokesman-on-the-Mueller-Report once he rapped the gavel at 11:46 a.m. Thursday. Journalists waited for Blunt in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building to get his views on the report. A couple of reporters sought out Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who presided over the House’s pro forma session late Thursday afternoon.

Congressional Democrats now see a yawning chasm between the contents of the Mueller Report and the interpretation presented by Barr and want to explore that daylight. It starts with the attorney general appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1 and the House Judiciary Committee on May 2. That’s followed by a prospective appearance by Mueller himself sometime next month.

Nadler believes Mueller left a Hansel and Gretel trail of breadcrumbs through the impeachment forest. When asked Thursday about impeachment, Nadler wouldn’t rule it out – despite previous statements by Pelosi to the contrary. A top Pelosi aide tells Fox that impeachment remains out of the question. We may hear more from Pelosi on this score in the wee hours of Friday morning when she appears in Belfast, Northern Ireland and takes part in a Q&A.

There is peril for Democrats if they continue to discuss impeachment, which is why they must drive down both sides of the street. Impeachment talk harms moderate Democrats from battleground districts and lots of them would prefer to focus on policy issues like health care, prescription drugs, infrastructure and even gun policy before discussing impeachment.

However, if liberals push impeachment, moderate Democrats have a chance to contrast themselves, not with Republicans, but with members of their own party. They can say “No. I’m not for impeachment. Let’s work on bread and butter issues.”

But there is a risk for Democrats if they overplay their hand. That’s why Republicans are more than happy to lump all Democrats together. The key is how Democrats finesse this to satisfy both wings of their caucus.

House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told Fox News Thursday that Democrats won’t stop attacking the President. Republicans want Democrats to attack the President. That works for the GOP.

The Mueller Report will dominate the news cycle over the holiday weekend, then wane next week as Congress remains out of session. It could then rise like a phoenix when Congress returns at the end of the month, punctuated by Barr’s testimony. That could spark another round of media frenzy, which would then die down before ramping up again if or when Mueller testifies.

This is the downside for Democrats, especially moderates who need to hold their seats in challenging districts. Too much talk about the report diverts attention from other policy priorities. Remember that the only other big legislative item on the docket this year is an imbroglio over the debt ceiling, a government shutdown, and, you guessed it, the border wall.


The recess may have actually helped Republicans. They did not want to be in Washington for the release of the report. This is how some Republicans prefer to embrace President Trump: from afar. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said it was time to move on. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Democrats should apologize and quit harassing the President and his family.

But remember, the hot take is not always the lasting take. Public perception could shift on this, and that could be damaging to Republicans rushing to embrace what Barr said.

After all, this seems to be the never-ending story.

Source: Fox News Politics

Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, is seen at his hearing at the district court in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, is seen at his hearing at the district court in Jerusalem March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

April 16, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The director of the Israeli office of Human Rights Watch on Tuesday lost his appeal against deportation, having been accused of promoting pro-Palestinian boycotts of Israel, the Justice Ministry said.

Omar Shakir had contested the revocation of his work permit last year. The New York-based watchdog has cast his case as a bid to suppress global criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

Israel says that Shakir, a U.S. citizen, supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israel has criminalized BDS and has lobbied Western powers to follow suit.

Human Right Watch called the ruling “a new and dangerous interpretation of the law”, and said it would appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court and seek an injunction to let Shakir stay in Israel until any appeal was heard.

In its ruling on Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Court said that Shakir supported the boycott of Israel and of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. It gave him until May 1 to leave the country.

“The appellant continues to call publicly for a boycott of Israel, or parts of it, while at the same time asking (Israel) to open its doors to him,” said the ruling distributed by the Justice Ministry.

Human Right Watch said that neither it nor Shakir as its representative promoted boycotts of Israel.

“The decision sends the chilling message that those who criticize the involvement of businesses in serious abuses in Israeli settlements risk being barred from Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank,” said Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan welcomed the court’s decision. “We will not allow the promotion of boycotts under the disguise of ‘human rights activists’ as Shakir did,” Erdan said on Twitter.

The Palestinians and many countries consider settlements to be illegal under international law. Israel disputes this, citing security needs and biblical, historical and political connections to the land.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in 1967. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem and withdrawn from Gaza. The West Bank remains under Israeli military occupation with limited Palestinian self rule.

(Reporting by Stephen Farrell and Maayan Lubell; Writing by Maayan Lubell)

Source: OANN

Chinese Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Chinese Grand Prix – Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China – April 14, 2019 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Thomas Peter

April 14, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday to retake the overall lead from Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in Formula One’s 1,000th world championship race.

Bottas, who had started on pole but lost out to five times world champion Hamilton into the first corner, finished second for his team’s third one-two finish in as many races this season.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third place, the German’s first podium appearance of the campaign, with Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly taking the fastest lap.

(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A watch tower is pictured at the former Austrian Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen
FILE PHOTO: A watch tower is pictured at the former Austrian Nazi concentration camp in Mauthausen May 7, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer/File Photo

April 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – German prosecutors have charged a 92-year-old former concentration camp guard with being an accessory to murder, in what will be one of the last ever cases against Nazi-era war crimes.

Hamburg prosecutors accused the man, identified only as Bruno D., of aiding and abetting 5,230 cases of murder during the almost nine months he spent on duty at a concentration camp watch-tower at the end of World War Two.

According to Die Welt newspaper, which first reported the charges, the man admitted to prosecutors during a voluntary interrogation last year that he had seen people being taken to gas chambers to be murdered.

“What good would it have done for me to leave? They’d just have found somebody else,” he told prosecutors, according to the newspaper.

“I felt bad for the people there. I didn’t know why they were there. I knew that they were Jews who had committed no crime.”

D., who was 17 when he began serving at Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk in present-day Poland, said he had only joined the SS, the paramilitary wing of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, because a heart weakness meant he was only suited for “garrison service”.

He said he had not been a Nazi sympathizer.

With only a handful of people involved in Nazi Germany’s genocidal crimes still alive, all in extreme old age, prosecutors are racing against time to ensure at least some justice is done by the victims, including the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

The case against another nonagenarian former guard at Stutthof, where more than 60,000 people died, was halted last year because the suspect was too infirm to stand trial.

Another, Oskar Groening, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” for his job counting cash stolen from people sent to the most notorious of all the regime’s death camps, died last year aged 96 as he waited to begin his sentence.

(The story is refiled to correct number of Jews killed in paragraph eight.)

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Source: OANN

One of the nation’s fiercest advocates for banning abortions at the first detectable heartbeat was missing when Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into Ohio law.

Legislative leaders, bill sponsors, pastors, pregnancy center operators and members of Ohio Right to Life — the state’s leading anti-abortion group — attended Thursday’s bill signing.

Absent was anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action, the group she used to originate and champion the heartbeat legislation for a decade.

“Being disinvited to the bill signing by the governor, it stung. But I’m keeping my eye on the big picture,” Porter said. “And the whole point of the last 10 years of my life was to bring the killing to an end.”

DeWine invited nearly 30 others into the room for the signing — and used and handed out nearly as many souvenir pens. At a distance from what should have been her crowning moment, Porter declared “VICTORY!” in one of her signature hyperbolic emails.

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney declined to directly address why Porter wasn’t there.

Some say the Faith2Action founder and president should not have been surprised.

For years, Porter has been a polarizing figure. She alienated plenty of ruling Republicans with her lobbying stunts, controversial positions and even a candidacy to unseat the Ohio Senate’s GOP president.

Porter crowded lawmaker’s offices with heart-shaped balloons and teddy bears, staged Statehouse demonstrations and flyovers and arranged “testimony” via ultrasound by an in utero fetus and appearances by grown “abortion survivors.” Porter also questions Barack Obama’s citizenship and more recently served as spokeswoman for Senate candidate Roy Moore as he faced pedophile allegations.

All that helps explain why DeWine and other more moderate Republicans would want to steer clear, said Case Western Reserve University law professor Jessie Hill.

“Maybe it’s an attempt to make this look like a mainstream piece of legislation,” Hill said. “But I don’t think they’re fooling anybody. It’s still pretty much the most extreme law anywhere on the books, or as extreme, as anywhere in the country.”

Mike Gonidakis is president of Ohio Right to Life, where Porter once served as a legislative director. He said his organization had always said the heartbeat bill was “the right bill at the wrong time.” And the time is now right.

Asked about Porter’s absence from the bill-signing, Gonidakis said the appropriate people were invited “bar none.”

“I would say that the right people were in the room,” he said. “It was to thank the governor and to celebrate a huge pro-life victory. It was a very diverse group, from pregnancy centers to local groups to pastors to legislative officials. I think it was a great cross-section of those who support life in the state of Ohio.”

The organization remained neutral on the heartbeat bill for the past 10 years, standing by former Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, as he vetoed it twice. Kasich argued it would prompt an expensive, and ultimately unwinnable, constitutional challenge to the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

The group changed its stance to support in a Dec. 27 statement, as Kasich was leaving office and Brett Kavanaugh was ascending to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Porter said Ohio Right to Life’s presence in the room was an affront, noting the group finally came out in support of the legislation only when it was clear it would pass.

Porter’s chief rival at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, executive director Kellie Copeland, asserted that Porter’s gender adds an ironic twist to being left off DeWine’s guest list.

“As a woman who espouses policy that says no woman should have bodily autonomy, when you get iced out by your old-white-man partners in that endeavor, if she was surprised by that treatment, she shouldn’t be,” Copeland said.

Non-whites, and women other than Porter, were present for the signing.

Porter said she can live with being shunned.

“I mean, we passed the strongest bill possible after 10 years of waiting and we’re going to protect babies whose heartbeats can be heard,” she said. “I couldn’t be more happy about that.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

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