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Peter Boykin
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Canadian conservative stars cast shadow over Trudeau rival’s hopes

FILE PHOTO: Supporters react to polling results at the UCP election night headquarters in Calgary
FILE PHOTO: Supporters react to polling results at the United Conservative Party (UCP) provincial election night headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

April 22, 2019

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Right-leaning Canadian politicians have won important elections over the last year, but it may do Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau more good in October’s national vote than his little-known Conservative Party challenger.

Andrew Scheer, 39, has struggled to become a household name since taking over as leader of the federal Conservatives in 2017, a problem not shared by the telegenic Trudeau, whose father led the country for more than 15 years.

Last week, Alberta’s United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney, a former federal minister, won a landslide victory in the energy-rich province.

Kenney’s election follows that of Ontario populist firebrand Doug Ford, who ended 15 years of Liberal rule in the country’s most populous province in 2018.

While those victories signal that conservative momentum is building, the experienced and better-known Kenney and Ford could steal Scheer’s thunder as he tries to make himself more widely known ahead of the Oct. 21 election.

“Andrew Scheer is not the conservative leader. Andrew Scheer may be leader of the federal Conservative Party of Canada, (but) the conservative leaders are Jason Kenney and Doug Ford,” said Duane Bratt, a political science professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.

Though Scheer has experience in Ottawa, his role as speaker of the House of Commons from 2011 to 2015 was a back-room job which required him to be impartial and did not allow him to build up a public image. Kenney, on the other hand, was a high-profile Cabinet minister from 2008 to 2015.

Ford is the Canadian politician most-often compared to U.S. President Donald Trump, and he has not shied away from pushing controversial policies – like cutting spending on healthcare and education – that likely would not help Scheer in a national fight.

Damaged by a scandal over allegations of interference in a corporate corruption case, Trudeau, 47, is trailing Scheer in the polls and risks becoming the first prime minister since the 1930s to lose power after a single majority mandate.

Liberal insiders say Trudeau might prefer to turn the campaign into a fight against Ford and Kenney, which would shift attention away from Scheer while linking the Conservatives to right-wing policies associated with Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Canada.

“Conservative politicians like Doug Ford don’t seem to believe in investing for the future … sadly, Andrew Scheer takes his cues from the Ontario premier on a whole host of fronts,” Trudeau said at a Liberal rally last Friday.

“Trudeau can run against Trumpism with (Kenney and Ford) as the embodiment of Trumpism in Canada, and he can be the champion of Canadian values,” said Peter Donolo, who was a spokesman for former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

One well-placed Conservative said another challenge was that Scheer’s affable personality and ability to connect with people in a room did not always translate onto the big screen. Instead, he can sometimes come across as flustered.

Scheer’s chief spokesman Brock Harrison dismissed such concerns, saying he was happy with efforts to cut the recognition gap with Trudeau.

“The leader of the opposition is never going to be a household name until they become the prime minister of Canada,” Harrison said in a phone interview.

“We feel like we’ve done everything we need to do, or that we should be doing, to increase his profile.”

While Kenney and Ford would not formally be involved in campaign planning, they were likely to make appearances as part of a Conservative push against Trudeau’s plan to fight climate change by imposing a carbon tax, Harrison added.

Jonathan Malloy, a political science professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, said that while Kenney’s election last week showed conservative support was getting stronger, Scheer still does not grab the public imagination.

“There isn’t a huge groundswell of personal following for him,” Malloy said.

(Additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Steve Scherer and Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

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Eastern Libyan forces plan to intensify Tripoli offensive

A member of the Libyan internationally recognised government inspects a damaged military vehicle during the fighting with the Eastern forces in Ain Zara, in Tripoli
A member of the Libyan internationally recognised government inspects a damaged military vehicle during the fighting with the Eastern forces in Ain Zara, in Tripoli, Libya April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

April 22, 2019

By Ayman al-Warfalli and Ulf Laessing

BENGHAZI, Libya/TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Eastern Libyan forces said on Monday they would intensify an assault on Tripoli, the capital in the west of the country that is held by the internationally recognized government, as the death toll in a battle now in its third week rose to 254.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) force loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar allied to a parallel government in the east has launched an offensive but has been unable to breach the southern defenses of the city.

Forces loyal to Tripoli drove back the LNA in recent days the southern suburb of Ain Zara, the main scene of fighting, Reuters reporters visiting the area said, even though the LNA said it had launched air strikes on military sites in the capital.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari denied there had been a retreat but said an advance by his forces had slowed because of the dense population in the areas where fighting was taking place.

He told reporters the LNA was calling in reservists to open new fronts on Tripoli and said his army would use artillery and infantry in the next days. He gave no details.

Monday was quieter on the main frontline south of the capital with less shelling than in previous days, residents said. Bad weather made air strikes impossible, Mismari said.

Shelling could be still be heard even in central Tripoli 11 km (7 miles) from the frontline and smoke billowed from one spot in southern Tripoli, a Reuters reporter said.

The death toll since the start of fighting has reached 254, while 1,228 people have been wounded, the World Health Organization said. More than 32,000 people have been displaced, the U.N. humanitarian agency added.

The latest flare-up in Libya, which has been mired in chaos since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011, threatens to disrupt oil flows, foment migration across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe and allow jihadists to exploit the power vacuum.

If a ceasefire was called as demanded by the United Nations, the LNA would have gained a considerable amount of territory, as they still control much of the area south of Tripoli including a forward base in Gharyan, a mountainous town about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli.

Fighting over Tripoli has spiked since the White House said President Donald Trump spoke to Haftar on Monday.

The disclosure of the call and a U.S. statement that it “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources” has boosted the commander’s supporters and enraged his opponents.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source: OANN

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Brazil’s Petrobras revisits whistleblowers in wake of trading scandal

FILE PHOTO: A man walks in front of the Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company headquarters in Rio de Janeiro
FILE PHOTO: A man walks in front of the Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

April 22, 2019

By Gram Slattery

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA is re-examining its treatment of whistleblower complaints after the indictment of six of the state-run oil firm’s traders in December indicated that efforts to root out corruption had faltered, according to three people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, officials at Petrobras, as the firm is known, have summoned a number of current and former employees who had flagged instances of corruption at the company, particularly in relation to its trading operations, the sources said.

Company officials questioned the employees on how their complaints had been handled, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal matters. Some of the employees said they were unsatisfied with the company’s response and believed the wrongdoing was not addressed, sources said.

In a statement, Petrobras said it was not investigating its controls but rather carrying out a thorough internal probe relating to the December oil trading indictments, with some 27 professionals looking into the matter.

The firm said it could not go into detail regarding the internal probe, citing the need to protect employees and the integrity of the investigation.

The enquiry underlines how Petrobras is still working to improve compliance and root out the graft at the center of Brazil’s five-year “Car Wash” investigation, considered by U.S. law enforcement to be the largest corporate corruption case ever.

The scandal has spread across Latin America, toppling governments, destroying business empires and leading Peru’s former president Alan Garcia to kill himself last week to avoid arrest in a related investigation.

Petrobras has said that a robust compliance department and beefed up internal investigations team have helped it to correct course since the Car Wash probes came to light in 2014 with revelations about political bribes paid by contracting firms.

However, in December, Brazilian prosecutors blew the lid off another kickback scheme, this time in the oil trading division of Petrobras, which also implicated commodities trading giants Glencore PLC, Vitol SA and Trafigura AG.

In March, Reuters reported that Petrobras officials had known of problems in its oil trading operations for years, although the company failed to quickly identify suspects and sideline them from operations.

Of the six people indicted in December, one pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and is cooperating with U.S. authorities in a parallel investigation of the scheme, Reuters reported in February.

Those indictments were focused on the company’s Houston trading desk. Some of the employees interviewed by Petrobras in recent weeks had previously complained of irregularities at the Singapore desk, the sources said, raising the possibility that the probe could expand geographically.

Petrobras did not comment on those allegations.

According to documents sent to Brazilian federal police investigators and seen by Reuters, a Singaporean employee complained to Petrobras officials in December 2012 of irregular trading of bunker fuel, which is used by ships.

A subsequent internal investigation found that Petrobras had paid unusual premiums for a significant quantity of bunker fuel in 2012, according to the documents, which were dated late 2012 and early 2013. Internal investigators recommended a series of measures to improve transparency at the Singaporean trading unit. It is unclear if those measures were carried out.

The federal police did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Brad Haynes and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

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U.S. offers $10 million reward for information to disrupt Hezbollah finances

A man holds a Hezbollah flag at Meis al-Jabal village
FILE PHOTO: A man holds a Hezbollah flag at Meis al-Jabal village in south Lebanon, December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday offered a reward of up to $10 million for information that could help disrupt financing of Hezbollah, the armed Shi’ite group backed by Iran.

The announcement by the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program comes amid growing concerns by Washington about Hezbollah’s growing role in the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah’s regional clout has expanded as it sends fighters to Middle East conflicts, including the war in Syria, where it has fought in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

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Speaker Pelosi Warns Dems Against Impeachment ‘Prejudice’

Amid myriad calls for impeachment proceedings from Democrats and those resisting President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is urging Democrats to "show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice," according to The Hill.

"While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth," the Speaker wrote in a letter Monday to Democrats, seeking to curtail rabid partisanship in targeting the president.

"It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings."

After the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report last week, Democrats' interpreted Mueller's writings to be a "roadmap" for impeachment. Speaker Pelosi's letter stressed to stick to "presentation of fact" and avoid reacting with "passion or prejudice." 
"As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact," her letter concluded, per The Hill.

Source: NewsMax Politics

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Tesla shows off self-driving technology to investors

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen in Los Angeles, California U.S. January 12, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

April 22, 2019

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc broadcast a web presentation on Monday to update investors about its self-driving strategy as Chief Executive Elon Musk tries to show that the electric car maker’s massive investment in the sector will pay off.

Global carmakers, large technology companies and an array of startups are developing self-driving – including Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc – but experts say it will be years before the systems are ready for deployment.

Musk previously forecast that by 2018 cars would go “from your driveway to work without you touching anything.” Teslas still require human intervention and are not considered fully self-driving, according to industry standards.

Teslas have been involved in a handful of crashes, some of them fatal, involving the use of the company’s AutoPilot system. The system has automatic steering and cruise control but requires driver attention at the wheel. Tesla has been criticized by safety groups for being unclear about the need for “hands-on” driving.

The company also sells a “full self-driving option” for an additional $5,000, explained on Tesla’s website as “automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp,” automatic lane changes, the ability to autopark and to summon a parked car. Coming later in 2019 is the ability to recognize traffic lights and stop signs, and perform automatic driving on city streets, Tesla says.

But Tesla’s use of the term “full self-driving” still garners criticism, as the option is not yet “Level 4,” or fully autonomous by industry standards, in which the car can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.

Tesla says its cars have the necessary hardware for full self-driving in most circumstances, and Musk said in February he was certain that Tesla would be “feature complete” for full self-driving in 2019, although drivers would still need to pay attention until the system’s reliability improved.

Tesla reports first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. That is also the deadline by which Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are supposed to settle their dispute over Musk’s use of Twitter.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

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Trump Defies Mueller Report: ‘Nobody Disobeys My Orders’

President Donald Trump said Monday that “nobody disobeys my orders,” after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report detailed numerous examples of aides refusing to follow his commands.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked Trump if he was concerned that members of his staff may ignore his orders after the Mueller report was made public last week. Trump has derided the Mueller report as “crazy” while also claiming it totally exonerates him of any crime.
“Nobody disobeys my orders,” Trump responded while walking on the South Lawn during the White House’s annual Easter egg roll.

The report states that "The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

An unnamed senior administration official told CNN after the report’s release: "that the President makes absurd demands of his staff and administration officials -- who are alarmed by them and reluctant to follow them -- is not only unsurprising but has become the norm.”

In September of last year, an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration published an op-ed in The New York Times claiming to be a part of a “quiet resistance” made up of officials “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

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TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2019 list reveals exactly who is backing who in Washington, D.C., with former and current Democratic presidential candidates rallying behind Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, penned a short praise for Pelosi for winning back the House and standing up to President Trump.

“Too often it seems we have a surplus of bluster in our national politics and a deficit of action. But then there’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” Clinton wrote.

“There’s a saying that goes: ‘If you want something done, ask a busy woman to do it.’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi is living proof that when it comes to getting the job done, more often than not, it takes a woman,” she added, noting that under her leadership “Democrats passed the first major gun-safety bill in a generation.”

Warren takes cues from AOC

But while Clinton picked a safe establishment choice, 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren opted to embrace Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman Democrat from New York who has lately been the target of Pelosi’s scoffs over her presumed influence on Congressional Democrats.

“Her commitment to putting power in the hands of the people is forged in fire,” Warren wrote of the self-described Democratic Socialist. “Coming from a family in crisis and graduating from school with a mountain of debt, she fought back against a rigged system and emerged as a fearless leader in a movement committed to demonstrating what an economy, a planet and a government that works for everyone should look like.”

ELIZABETH WARREN DEFENDS CAPITALISM AS ‘FORCE FOR GOOD,’ SPLITTING WITH OCASIO-CORTEZ

“… she fought back against a rigged system and emerged as a fearless leader in a movement committed to demonstrating what an economy, a planet and a government that works for everyone should look like.”

— Elizabeth Warren

Warren added that nowadays “millions are taking cues from” Ocasio-Cortez while just a year ago she was “taking orders across a bar.”

“She reminds all of us that even while greed and corruption slow our progress, even while armies of lobbyists swarm Washington, in our democracy, true power still rests with the people. And she’s just getting started,” she wrote.

The senator has embraced Ocasio-Cortez since her arrival in Congress, although though she appears to take a completely opposite view on capitalism, calling it a “force for good” while the congresswoman calls it “irredeemable”.

Despite the disagreement, Warren co-sponsored the Green New Deal, a radical overhaul of the economy in a bid to cut emissions, which is estimated to cost up to $93 trillion or $600,000 per household, though she somewhat distanced herself from it following the official launch of the proposal, saying she supports only the “idea” of the proposal.

Christie rediscovers love for Trump

On the Republican side, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie offered his praise for President Trump, for his foreign policy achievements.

“Every modern U.S. President tries to influence the world. President Donald Trump has done this through opposing the NATO countries not paying their fair share, pushing China and our North American neighbors for fairer trade agreements and withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement,” Christie wrote.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during an opioid and drug abuse listening session.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during an opioid and drug abuse listening session. (Associated Press)

“His boldest move in this direction is likely his personal efforts on the issue of North Korea. President Trump has, in fact, used the past year to place his imprint on a problem spanning more than six decades,” he continued.

“President Trump deserves great credit for daring to try to personally persuade Chairman Kim to join the family of nations. This approach holds the possibility for history–making changes on the Korean Peninsula to make us all safer.”

 “President Trump deserves great credit for daring to try to personally persuade Chairman Kim to join the family of nations. This approach holds the possibility for history–making changes on the Korean Peninsula to make us all safer.”

— Chris Christie

CHRIS CHRISTIE TELLS COLBERT THAT HE WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN TRUMP

Christie’s latest praise cements his support for the president. Initially a vicious critic of Trump during the 2016 campaign –even calling him a potential “entertainer-in-chief” – he went on to become one of the leading surrogates for the president.

Yet he fell out with the administration during the transition process after the election and accused Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner of engineering his ouster. He later criticized the administration over its negotiation tactics and personnel.

Earlier this year he also said during an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show that would have been a better president than Trump.

Colbert asked Christie about his relationship with President Trump, saying “he’ll throw anybody under the bus,” to which the former governor responded: “You think I don’t know? I got fired from the transition.”

McConnell’s fiery praise for Kavanaugh

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote a fiery tribute to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation last year came after turbulent hearings and allegations of sexual misconduct, slamming “unhinged partisanship” for trying to block his nomination.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 10: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence pose for photographs before a meeting in McConnell's office in the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to succeed retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 10: (L-R) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Vice President Mike Pence pose for photographs before a meeting in McConnell’s office in the U.S. Capitol July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to succeed retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“When Brett Kavanaugh was named the President’s choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy, he was one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees in modern history. He had a sterling academic record, impeccable legal credentials and a prolific record of thoughtful and impartial jurisprudence over more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” wrote McConnell.

MCCONNELL UNLOADS ON SENATE DEMS AMID KAVANAUGH PROBE: ‘THEIR GOALPOSTS KEEP SHIFTING, BUT THEIR GOAL HASN’T MOVED AN INCH’

He added: “But when unhinged partisanship and special interests sought to distract the Senate from considering those qualifications, we saw other facets of Justice Kavanaugh’s character shine forth as well.

“But when unhinged partisanship and special interests sought to distract the Senate from considering those qualifications, we saw other facets of Justice Kavanaugh’s character shine forth as well.

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The country saw his resilience and commitment to public service. We saw his loyal devotion to family and friends. We saw his undeterred reverence for the law, for precedents and for our nation’s highest traditions.”

McConnell played an integral part to make the Supreme Court more conservative, standing behind Kavanaugh even as the allegations of impropriety were disclosed at the very last moments of the confirmation process.

Kamala Harris’ stand for Christine Blasey Ford

As a counterpoint, 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris paid a tribute to the first accuser to step forward with the allegations of misconduct against Kavanaugh.

“Her story, spoken while holding back tears, shook Washington and the country. Her courage, in the face of those who wished to silence her, galvanized Americans. And her unfathomable sacrifice, out of a sense of civic duty, shined a spotlight on the way we treat survivors of sexual violence,” Harris wrote.

KAVANAUGH ACCUSERS ROCKED CONFIRMATION PROCESS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

“Christine Blasey Ford’s ambition wasn’t to become a household name or make it onto this list. She had a good life and a successful career—and risked everything to send a warning in a moment of grave consequence.”

During the confirmation hearing of Kavanaugh, Harris praised Ford and said she believes her allegations that include Kavanaugh allegedly attacking her in the 1980s at a high school party.

“I want to thank you for your courage and I want to tell you I believe you,” the senator told her, “You have bravely come forward and I want to thank you. History will show you are a true profile in courage.”

The battle for Russia collusion

TIME’s list also features dueling tributes among current and former deputy Attorney Generals, with one praising Attorney General William Barr’s “principles” and the other touting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “apolitical” service.

“A brilliant and principled conservative lawyer, Barr brings unique experience to the challenge of working at the intersection of law and politics,” wrote Rod Rosenstein.

“He knows the history, he understands the issues, he respects the employees, and he will defend the principles. With Bill Barr at the helm, the rule of law is secure.”

“He knows the history, he understands the issues, he respects the employees, and he will defend the principles. With Bill Barr at the helm, the rule of law is secure.”

— Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

TRUMP LEGAL TEAM PREPARES MUELLER COUNTER-REPORT, FOCUSING ON OBSTRUCTION ALLEGATIONS

Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general who was fired by Trump after she refused to defend the administration’s immigration policies, said Mueller’s life was “governed not by a sense of entitlement but of duty.”

“Distinctly apolitical, he confounds those who can’t comprehend a person driven by his all too uncommon values: honor, integrity, humility, service. He is the inverse image of the man he would ultimately come to investigate,” Yates wrote.

“Distinctly apolitical, he confounds those who can’t comprehend a person driven by his all too uncommon values: honor, integrity, humility, service. He is the inverse image of the man he would ultimately come to investigate.”

— Ex-Deputy AG Sally Yates

“Soldier, prosecutor, FBI director, and when our country needed someone to untangle Russian election interference, he served again. Taking daily incoming fire, he neither flinched nor retaliated. He just did his job. For Mueller, it’s always about the work, and never about him.

“Abhorring self-promotion, while the country held its collective breath during his nearly two-year investigation, Mueller uttered not a single public word. And when he finished, he called it as he saw it. He did his duty.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Friday that the House may weight impeaching President Donald Trump, but they must first wait to get the full picture of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Cummings said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Trump’s conduct, according to the report, was “at least 100 times worse” than former President Bill Clinton’s behavior, which led to impeachment proceedings.

“We’ve got to go against this. We’ve got to expose it,” the congressman said. “A lot of people keep asking about the question of impeachment. We may very well come to that very soon, but right now let’s make sure we understand what Mueller was doing, understand what Barr was doing, and see the report in an unredacted form and all of the underlying documents.”

Cummings’ comment comes after House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said that “impeachment is not worthwhile at this point.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

A voter casts her vote at Mantsala town hall during the Finnish parliamentary elections, in Mantsala
A voter casts her vote at Mantsala town hall during the Finnish parliamentary elections, in Mantsala, Finland April 14, 2019. Lehtikuva/Emmi Korhonen via REUTERS

April 14, 2019

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s leftist Social Democrats won first place in advance voting ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election, with 18.9 percent of the votes, after 35.5 percent of ballots had been counted, justice ministry data showed.

The centre-right National Coalition of outgoing Finance Minister Petteri Orpo came in second, with 17.2 percent of the advance ballots. The Centre Party of outgoing Prime Minister Juha Sipila scored third, with 15.4 percent.

The nationalist True Finns party came in fourth, with 15.1 percent of the vote.

About 36 percent of voting-age Finns cast their votes in a seven-day advance voting period that ended on Tuesday. The results from these votes are often skewed due to differences in voter behavior in different regions.

(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Bank of England press conference
FILE PHOTO: Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority Andrew Bailey speaks at a press conference at the Bank of England in London, Britain February 25, 2019. Kirsty O’Connor/Pool via REUTERS

April 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s markets watchdog will review its rules as the country readies to leave the European Union, the source of its financial regulation for decades.

“Post-Brexit, we need to consider the future of regulation to ensure the regulatory landscape is fit for the challenge it faces,” the Financial Conduct Authority said in its new annual business plan published on Wednesday.

The watchdog’s chief executive, Andrew Bailey, said Brexit will be the most immediate challenge its faces.

“In order to ensure we are a regulator that continues to serve the public interest, we need to adapt to the ever-changing environment,” Bailey said.

The debate is likely to be heated.

Backers of Brexit say that leaving the EU gives Britain an opportunity to ease what they see as burdensome rules from the bloc, to maintain London as a competitive global financial center.

Others, however, want Britain to stay aligned to the bloc, the biggest customer of Britain’s financial sector.

Britain’s finance ministry and parliament’s Treasury Select Committee (TSC) have already announced plans to review financial regulation.

The FCA said the review would look at issues such a as the cost of rules, and equivalence, the EU’s system of granting market access to non-EU financial firms.

Equivalence largely rests on staying aligned to the bloc’s rules, but the FCA and the Bank of England have warned against Britain becoming a “rule taker” or having to continually copy EU rules.

Britain has cut and pasted the EU’s equivalence regime into national law.

TSC Chair Nicky Morgan has said that the debate over the future of regulation could take decades to decide given deep philosophical divisions.

The FCA also said it will provide guidance to the finance ministry on extending the watchdog’s enforcement powers in the cryptocurrency sector, including its oversight of security tokens which resemble shares or debt, and utility tokens, which allow access to products or services without giving holders any rights.

(Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The HNA Group logo is seen on the gate of HNA Plaza building in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: The HNA Group logo is seen on the gate of HNA Plaza building in Beijing, China July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Elias Glenn

April 16, 2019

By Kane Wu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – CWT International Ltd, a unit of indebted HNA Group Co Ltd, on Tuesday said it defaulted on a HK$1.4 billion ($179 million) loan, and that it has less than 24 hours to pay funds due or lose assets pledged as collateral.

CWT, in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, said it has not paid accrued interest and fees worth HK$63 million to lenders, who will take possession of the assets if the amount due is not paid by 9 AM (0100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Among assets pledged is wholly owned CWT Pte Ltd, a holding firm for HNA’s commodity marketing, engineering, finance and logistics services. Other assets pledged include properties in Britain and the United States and golf courses in China.

One property, 17 Columbus Courtyard in London’s Canary Wharf development – with tenants including Credit Suisse Group AG – was bought in July 2016 for 131 million pounds ($172 million). In 2018, it was on sale with a value of HK$1.3 billion ($166 million).

CWT International, which operates in 90 countries, also owns a portfolio of golf courses in the U.S. city of Seattle, stock exchange filings showed.

The Chinese aviation-to-financial services conglomerate bought the Singapore-based firm for $1 billion in December 2017 via wholly owned subsidiary HNA Belt and Road Investments Singapore. It then merged the firm with one of its Hong Kong-listed units and named the resulting entity CWT International.

Since late last year, HNA has been in talks with banks to find a buyer for CWT, as it divests assets to pay off debt.

HNA declined to comment on Tuesday.

CWT’s assets were worth HK$24.6 billion at the end of 2018, when it posted a loss of HK$557.3 million. Late last month, it said it would be unable to repay the borrowed HK$1.4 billion in full as scheduled in October unless it sells assets – which it said has been challenging – or refinances the loan.

Trading of CWT shares has been suspended since April 10.

(Reporting by Kane Wu; Additional reporting by Jennifer Hughes; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN



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