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Peter Boykin
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Scotland will prepare for a second independence vote regardless of UK: Sturgeon

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks in the Scottish Parliament during continued Brexit uncertainty in Edinburgh
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks in the Scottish Parliament during continued Brexit uncertainty in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

April 24, 2019

By Elisabeth O’Leary

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – Scotland will start preparing for an independence referendum before May 2021 without permission from London, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday.

Scotland, part of the United Kingdom for more than 300 years, rejected independence by 10 percentage points in a 2014 referendum. But differences over Brexit have strained relations with England and the British government in London.

“A choice between Brexit and a future for Scotland as an independent European nation should be offered in the lifetime of this parliament,” Sturgeon told Scotland’s devolved parliament.

She said a devolved parliament bill would be drawn up before the end of 2019, and that Scotland did not need permission at this stage from London.

London’s approval, however, would eventually be necessary “to put beyond doubt or challenge our ability to apply the bill to an independence referendum,” she said.

The United Kingdom voted 52-48 to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, but while Wales and England vote to leave, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay.

In the campaign for the 2014 independence referendum, unionists said that the only way for Scotland to stay in the EU was to remain within the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party (SNP), which controls the devolved parliament in Edinburgh, says that a second referendum is justified as Scotland is now being dragged out of the bloc against its will.

With most Scots unhappy at Brexit, Sturgeon is under pressure from independence supporters to offer a clear way forward in the quest to break from the United Kingdom.

Britain is mired in political chaos and it is still unclear whether, when or even if it will leave the European Union.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University and Britain’s leading polling expert, said Sturgeon was keeping her own troops happy while leaving her options open.

She probably has until October or November of 2020 to hold a new vote once Brexit happens, he said.

WINNING TIME

Since Scots rejected independence 55-45 percent in 2014, polls show that support has changed little. Grassroots supporters will launch a new campaign this week before the SNP spring conference this weekend.

“I think she was implicitly acknowledging that while it might be impossible (to get permission) out of the current (UK) parliament, it might be a lot easier if we get a general election between now and the end of the year, and the SNP may well find itself in the kingmaker role,” Curtice told Reuters.

Her address took a noticeably conciliatory tone.

“The question that confronts us now is this: if the status quo is not fit for purpose – and I know even some of the most committed believers in the union find it hard to argue that it is – how do we fix it?” she said.

Those who want to maintain the United Kingdom argue that Brexit has made no difference to how Scots feel, and the secession vote should not be repeated.

“Nicola Sturgeon continues to press for divisive constitutional change when it is clear that most people in Scotland do not want another independence referendum,” said David Mundell, Britain’s Scotland minister.

Sturgeon argued that leaving the world’s largest trading bloc endangers Britain and Scotland’s economic well-being.

“We face being forced to the margins, sidelined within a UK that is itself increasingly sidelined on the international stage. Independence by contrast would allow us to protect our place in Europe.”

(Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

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Ravens sign kicker Tucker to record extension

Baltimore's Tucker celebrates his winning field goal against Kansas City in a NFL football game in Kansas City, Missouri
FILE PHOTO: Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker celebrates his winning field goal during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in their AFC NFL football game in Kansas City, Missouri October 7, 2012. REUTERS/Dave Kaup

April 24, 2019

The Baltimore Ravens signed Justin Tucker to a four-year extension Wednesday that makes him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history.

The contract keeps Tucker in Baltimore through the 2023 season and is worth $23.05 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed in the first two years and an $8 million signing bonus, ESPN reported.

The total value of the extension, the guaranteed money and the bonus are all records for a kicker.

Tucker, 29, is a three-time first-team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Ravens.

He made 35 of 39 field-goal attempts and 36 of 37 extra points in 2018, with the missed PAT being the first of his career.

Tucker’s 90.1 percent success rate on field goals is the highest in NFL history entering the 2019 season.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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Peace, honesty and cheap gas: Ukraine’s new leader shoulders high expectations

FILE PHOTO: Candidate Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of an exit poll in a presidential election in Kiev
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of the first exit poll in a presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev, Ukraine April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

April 24, 2019

By Margaryta Chornokondratenko and Matthias Williams

KIEV (Reuters) – When the Ukrainian president played by actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy faces a corrupt parliament in his TV comedy, he fantasizes about blasting them all away with two submachine guns.

Now that Zelenskiy has been elected president in real life, Margarita Bulava, who voted for him, hopes he will have a similarly transformative effect on the country’s politics.

One of Zelenskiy’s biggest challenges will be meeting the expectations of voters like 28-year-old event hostess Bulava, who had never voted before last Sunday’s presidential election. Now she has an ambitious wish-list.

There should be no inflation. People like her mother, who works in a laundry in Poland, should stop needing to move abroad for better paid jobs. There should be peace with Russia. Wages should be higher, and pensioners should be able to afford their heating bills without having to sell flowers in the subway.

“It’s a huge plus that he has never been in politics because he is completely from another sphere. He sees the situation in the country through the eyes of the people,” said Bulava.

But what if the new president fails to deliver? “It’s very scary if really none of this succeeds because expectations are really very big and everyone believes that something really should happen,” she said after working out at her gym in Kiev.

A comedian and actor with no prior political experience, Zelenskiy, 41, beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a landslide, promising change to a country at war with Russian-backed forces and facing some of the worst poverty in Europe.

In a wildly successful election campaign, Zelenskiy remained vague on some key policy questions, trading on the image of the honest everyman he plays on TV: a schoolteacher who accidentally becomes president after a rant about corruption filmed by one of his students goes viral.

But his outsider status may hamper his ability to deliver on his promises, especially early in his presidency when he has no lawmakers representing his party in parliament.

And if he disappoints voters early on, that could make the problem worse, hurting his new party’s prospects going into October parliamentary elections that will determine the make-up of the cabinet with which he must share power.

POPULARITY FRAGILE

Zelenskiy’s vague positions on the campaign trail won him support from a wide array of voters who wanted to see new faces in politics. But that makes his popularity “fragile”, said Agnese Ortolani, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

His support “could dissipate quickly when it comes to making decisions that could alienate part of his constituency,” Ortolani said.

An April survey by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) highlighted two issues in particular that are high on voters’ wishlists. Thirty-nine percent of Ukrainians expect Zelenskiy to cut their heating bills in his first 100 days in charge, and 35 percent expect him to act on an election pledge to strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution.

On heating tariffs, Zelenskiy is likely to face the same painful choice as his predecessors. Raising them will antagonize voters but lowering them risks derailing Ukraine’s $3.9 billion aid program from the International Monetary Fund, which has demanded Kiev allow gas prices to rise to market levels.

For now, the question is mainly in the hands of the cabinet, picked by parliament, rather than Zelenskiy.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman see-sawed on the issue, first agreeing to raise tariffs early in his term in 2016 but then stalling on further increases. When the need for IMF loans became acute, he agreed to raise them last October.

Zelenskiy called on Wednesday for the government to lower gas prices within days. Bonds fell after Zelenskiy’s statement.

If his party wins the parliamentary election, and a Zelenskiy-picked government takes charge, the need for new IMF loans might box him into raising prices again.

As for stripping lawmakers of their immunity, it was the sort of proposal aimed at cleaning out politics that won over voters such as bar owner Oleksiy Kostenyuk.

“In my opinion, this will change our parliament radically. Those who break the law will go away, those who earn money illegally will go away, and we will get a new type of politician,” Kostenyuk said.

Zelenskiy promised to introduce the necessary legislation but parliament may not play ball. Volodymyr Ariev, a lawmaker in Poroshenko’s faction, the largest in the chamber, told Reuters he did not expect such a move to succeed because politicians fear being prosecuted in political vendettas.

Sooner or later, political reality will puncture the image of Zelenskiy’s straight-shooting TV persona, Ariev said.

“We will see the demolition of many dreams of the people who had voted for Zelenskiy, and the demolition of his image from the movie.”

(Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

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Trump says U.S.-China trade talks going well

U.S. President Trump makes brief remarks to the press on Special Counsel Mueller's investigation as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump makes brief remarks to the press as he arrives on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., after returning from a weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

April 24, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said ongoing trade talks between the United States and China were going well, as the world’s two largest economies continue to try to hammer out a final deal.

“We’re doing well on trade, we’re doing well with China,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he departed for an event in Florida.

The next round of talks are slated to begin April 30 in Beijing, followed by further discussions starting May 8 in Washington.

U.S. administration officials in recent weeks have said that negotiations are progressing but few details have emerged.

Trump had earlier set a March 1 deadline for an agreement, but later extended the timeline and said he would delay an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods, citing productive talks.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

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Macron to announce response to ‘yellow vests’ after months of protests

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech for the Parisian Firefighters' brigade and security forces who took part at the fire extinguishing operations during the Notre Dame of Paris Cathedral fire, at Elysee Palace
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech for the Parisian Firefighters' brigade and security forces who took part at the fire extinguishing operations during the Notre Dame of Paris Cathedral fire, at Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 18, 2019. Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via REUTERS

April 24, 2019

By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) – Shaken by five months of often-violent “yellow vest” protests, Emmanuel Macron will announce a package of measures that could include lower taxes and the abolition of France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration to quell the unrest.

The street rebellion erupted over planned diesel tax hikes but morphed into a broader backlash against inequality and a political elite perceived as having lost touch with the common person. Protesters clashed with police for a 23rd straight week on Saturday.

Macron’s policy response is the result of a three-month long national debate, during which he rolled up his sleeves on a weekly basis to discuss issues from high taxes to local democracy and decaying shopping streets with local mayors, working parents, students and workers.

For Macron, whose monarchical governing style early on prompted accusations of arrogance among voters and contributed to a sharp drop in his popularity, his first news conference at the Elysee palace will be crucial to regain lost ground with voters.

“He wants to break the image of someone who’s stubborn and who never listens to anybody,” Arnaud Mercier, an expert in political communication at the Institut Français de Presse at Assas University in Paris, told Reuters.

Macron is expected to relaunch a reform drive that started with a bang with an easing of labor regulation in the first months of his mandate but which was derailed by the protests.

The president wanted 2019 to see an overhaul of pensions – unifying into one myriads of different pension systems including deficit-ridden ones at state-owned companies – and unemployment insurance. But little progress has been made on these.

Instead, Macron had to pour 10 billion euros into raising benefits for the poorest workers and halting tax rises on fuel in the face of the yellow vest protests.

“It’s also a symbol that he wants to launch the start of Act Two of his mandate,” Mercier said.

NO WOW EFFECT

Macron was initially scheduled to announce the policy measures last Monday but was forced to postpone after a fire tore through the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, badly damaging a symbol of France’s national soul.

Most of the policies he was to lay out have been leaked.

They included, French media reported, a cut in income tax, re-linking the lowest pensions with inflation, halting the closure of hospitals and schools in rural areas, and abolishing the ENA civil service college that has for many become a symbol of a privileged elite.

The Elysee did not confirm or deny the policies.

While the leaks may have spoiled the “wow effect” Macron was hoping for, it may also have given the 41-year-old a chance to gauge public reaction.

In a sign Macron has not given up on his reform agenda, he is also expected to announce measures to make the French “work more”, French media reported, a potentially explosive move in a country where pension and labor reforms often push millions onto the streets.

Lawmakers in Macron’s party did not rule out possible changes to the 35-hour working week or the scrapping of a bank holiday to fund measures to help take care of older people.

“There should be no disavowal of the first part of the mandate, but there should be no stubbornness either,” Sibeth Ndiaye, the government’s spokeswoman, told reporters.

The leaked reforms were met with underwhelming reactions from prominent “yellow vest” figures and political opponents.

“We’ll surely have a lot of things to say after the predictable disappointment from Macron’s announcements, if the leaks in the media are any guide,” Sophie Tissier, a high profile “yellow vest” figure, told BFM TV.

(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Peter Graff)

Source: OANN

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Older workers helped fuel recent U.S. growth. Can it last?

Patrick McHugh lectures to an information technology class at the Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee
Patrick McHugh lectures to an information technology class at the Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Howard Schneider

April 24, 2019

By Howard Schneider

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Reuters) – As a record-breaking economic expansion nears the decade mark, people like Marty Groth may determine whether it is forced into a lower gear.

Not long ago, the 60-year-old Groth found himself out of a job and considered retiring on a pension built over a career of maintaining computer servers and printers.

Instead, he returned to school to update his computer skills and will soon join a Wisconsin labor force that is decidedly short of workers.

“I could retire now if I wanted,” Groth said. “But I am thinking, I like working.”

Over the last three years, around 3 million Americans over 55 joined or rejoined the workforce, federal data show. The addition of these older workers not only contributed to economic growth, experts say, but helped stop a national decline in the share of adults working or looking for work.

The trend may have run its course. After adding 5 million new and returning workers of all ages from 2016 to 2018, the U.S. labor force shrank during the first three months of this year. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2IpdXGq)

From healthcare to manufacturing, companies in places like Wisconsin are taking longer to hire as they struggle to find workers; some have delayed projects, others have become more willing to hire ex-convicts and less experienced workers bypassed when labor markets were looser, local officials say.

Blue-collar workers are putting in more hours, data show, while overall labor productivity is increasing. Nationally, wages are rising.

The upshot, according to policymakers, business executives and labor experts interviewed by Reuters, is that the labor market may be nearing its limits.

Over a long enough period, labor shortages can spark investment and raise productivity as companies retool. They can also improve opportunities for minorities with unemployment rates higher than those for whites.

But in the short run they pose a drag.

“Any employer, if they are willing to raise wages enough, at some point will get all the workers they need,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist at the Conference Board and author of a recent report on labor market constraints. “But it is coming at a higher cost… Projects that were profitable in a lower wage environment are not profitable anymore.”

DEALING WITH IT ‘DAY IN AND DAY OUT’

The corridor connecting Chicago to Milwaukee is a testament to the long-running economic expansion.

This is not the Wisconsin of pastures and dairy farms, but a landscape brimming with fulfillment centers and factories. A new interstate lane will allow autonomous trucks to deliver supplies for a high-tech plant being built by China’s Foxconn.

But the combination of low unemployment and an older population puts Wisconsin at the leading edge of where the country’s workforce as a whole is heading.

It is also a political battleground state, meaning the health of its economy will likely have consequences for the 2020 presidential election. Democrats will hold their convention in Milwaukee next summer.

Wages in Wisconsin rose 5 percent in 2018, compared to around 3 percent nationally, and the unemployment rate hit a record low 2.9 percent for several months in 2018 and again in February.

As chief economist at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Dennis Winters keeps close tabs on the state’s hiring. The labor shortage, he says, “is real, and people are trying to deal with it day in and day out.”

Sarah Condella, senior vice president for human resources at Exact Sciences Corp, is among them.

She joined the Madison-based company in 2012 when it employed 50 people and oversaw its growth to roughly 2,000 workers as doctors expanded use of its colorectal cancer test.

Along the way, Exact Sciences lifted starting pay to $15 an hour, roughly double the state’s minimum wage. It added perks like bus passes and flexible shifts and has plans for food service at its expanding campus.

Still, it has more than 400 vacancies, and the time to hire entry-level workers has grown from fewer than 30 days to around 45. Finding them requires radio ads, billboards and other tools not typical for a life sciences company.

It is a story repeated across Wisconsin.

Banking officials say deals are being delayed because supply chains are clogged and service companies booked, nipping the financial sector’s potential.

Half of respondents to a survey by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce trade group cited labor shortage as the top issue facing companies and the state, ahead of healthcare and regulation. A majority said they planned to increase wages at least 3 percent as they add headcount this year.

Coupled with productivity, the number of people working is the core reason economies expand, and the expected slow growth of the labor force a main reason why Federal Reserve officials and others expect the U.S. economy will cool.

SEEKING: EX-CONVICTS, RECOVERING ADDICTS

Scott Jansen, chief operating officer of Employ Milwaukee, said his work is an exercise in finding anyone available.

A semi-trailer packed with advanced machine tools now tours state prisons so inmates can be released with an in-demand skill. In Milwaukee, his agency works through churches and community groups to contact the homeless, the less educated, immigrants and others who might be reluctant to appear at a government office.

It is a reversal from the years following the economic crisis, when employers had their pick of applicants, and workers often took jobs for which they were overqualified. Millions were simply sidelined. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/2X9mu3q)

Today, Jansen said, employers are more willing to adapt job requirements to disabled workers, and more open to hiring those hardest hit during the financial crisis, like ex-convicts and those coping with addiction.

Throughout his 20s, Lee Baumann said he bounced between idleness and marginal jobs as he battled opioids. After training as a computer technician he was hired by Northwestern Mutual and is now a senior technical analyst.

“That life took me away. Three years of solid use,” Baumann said. A recent promotion raised his pay to $20 an hour, and he is saving to finish his associate degree.

Nationally, the labor force participation rate for prime-age workers like Baumann between the ages of 25 and 54 reversed a long decline around 2013. It is now near the peak hit in the 1990s.

It was largely people like Groth, the 60-year-old who is back in school, who padded the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that over-55 age group was the only one whose participation rate grew from 2006 to 2016.

A recent study by economist Jay Shambaugh and others for the Brookings Institution concluded the decision of so many older workers to remain in the workforce, or rejoin it, was the main reason the U.S. participation rate stabilized at around 63 percent.

But even that group cannot be relied upon: Some 226,000 over-55 workers left the labor market in March, the most in nearly three years.

Even if people like Groth are motivated to work a bit longer, they will eventually leave. Wisconsin will see that frontier first. The share of state population over 55 jumped from 26 percent to over 30 percent from 2010 to 2017; the share 65 and over, a traditional retirement plateau, jumped from 13.6 percent to 16.4 percent, according to census data.

“Adding more workers is a big part of getting GDP to grow,” Shambaugh said. With an aging population, choices by those like Groth are “a big part of your growth over the next decade.”

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Dan Burns and Paul Thomasch)

Source: OANN

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Disney’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ sets opening day record in China

Actors Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige place their handprints in cement at a ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood
Actors Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo show their hands after placing their handprints in cement at a ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles,California, U.S. April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

April 24, 2019

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Marvel superhero movie “Avengers: Endgame” set an opening-day record in China with an estimated $107.2 million in ticket sales, distributor Walt Disney Co said on Wednesday.

“Endgame” is the finale of a story told across 22 Marvel films featuring popular characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine)

Source: OANN

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Final round play of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club
Golf – Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 14, 2019. Xander Schauffele of the U.S. in action on the 12th hole during final round play. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

April 14, 2019

By Frank Pingue

AUGUSTA Ga. (Reuters) – Xander Schauffele, in only his second Masters, was alone atop the leaderboard for a brief moment during the late stages of the final round on Sunday but said falling short to Tiger Woods in a major was like a dream.

Schauffele, who was playing two groups ahead of Woods, ended up one shot back of the five-times champion and when asked about the experience at Augusta National was anything but bitter.

“Like a dream, honestly,” said the 25-year-old Schauffele.

“It’s what I watched as a kid. It’s what I watched growing up. Just everything about it, and for me to be a part of it and give it a good run … it was an incredible experience today.”

Schauffele, who began the day five shots back of overnight leader Francesco Molinari, rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-four 14th hole that put him into the lead for all but a couple minutes.

But despite being in contention at the year’s first major, the American was not at all surprised by the small turnout for his post-round news conference.

“Just what I witnessed, I know it’s what everyone is going to talk about; that’s why this room’s barely full. I know where everyone’s at,” said Schauffele.

“It’s hard to really feel bad about how I played, just because I just witnessed history. It was really cool coming down the stretch, all the historic holes, Amen Corner, 15, 16, Tiger making the roars.”

Schauffele’s four-under-par 68 was one shot shy of the day’s low round and earned him his fourth top-10 result in his eighth major championship start.

While Schauffele failed to secure his first major title, he left Augusta National confident he will be in the mix on the hallowed layout again and perhaps produce a result that will command more attention.

“I did have my 30 seconds in the sun with the lead and it was a really cool feeling,” said Schauffele. “And like I said, it just proves to my team and I that we can contend and that we can win on this property.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein called the pushback to Attorney General William Barr’s actions surrounding the Russia report “bizarre,” saying in a new interview that Barr is doing all he can to follow the law and make as much of the report public as possible.

“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein told The Wall Street Journal.

“It would be one thing if you put out a letter and said, ‘I’m not going to give you the report.’ What he said is, ‘Look, it’s going to take a while to process the report. In the meantime, people really want to know what’s in it. I’m going to give you the top-line conclusions.’ That’s all he was trying to do.”

Rosenstein was referring to Barr’s four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller concluded that neither President Donald Trump nor his campaign conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton. He could not say whether or not Trump obstructed justice, however, but Barr wrote in his summary he and Rosenstein decided there was not sufficient evidence to pursue an obstruction charge.

Democrats are demanding to see Mueller’s full report, but Barr said it must be redacted to conceal classified and privileged information.

Rosenstein told the Journal the American public should have “tremendous confidence” in Barr’s efforts on the report.

Source: NewsMax America

The Five” spent time on Wednesday discussing what to expect from Democrats and the news media as Attorney General William Barr releases a redacted version of the Mueller report — a happening set for Thursday.

We already know the top-line conclusion. There was no collusion, matter of fact there was no effort at collusion, and the Russians tried to collude and the Trump team said no,” co-host Dan Bongino said.

“My question going forward, what the heck was Bob Mueller doing for 675 days?”

TRUMP LEGAL TEAM PREPARES MUELLER COUNTER-REPORT ON OBSTRUCTION ALLEGATIONS

Co-host and liberal commentator Marie Harf believes President Trump is trying to get ahead of the report and speculated he may be “embarrassed” on Thursday.

“It seems a little bit like he’s trying to pre-empt what he knows will not be a uniformly good report for him. There will be things in this report that are embarrassing, that all of us sitting around this table would say I never would’ve done that if I worked on a presidential campaign. I think Trump knows that and is trying to get ahead of it,” Harf said.

Co-host Jesse Watters said negative information is expected when it comes to a comprehensive report.

“There’s going to be some derogatory information in there. Because this was a very brutally intrusive exam into the administration and the campaign. You’re going to find some flaws and this was undertaken by kind of ferocious and — not sinister but angry partisan Democrats with a lot of liberal pedigree. They are going to find some things, but overall no obstruction, no collusion,” Watters said.

WOW: CHELSEA HANDLER SAYS SHE HAS ‘FEELINGS’ FOR ROBERT MUELLER

Watters and co-host Greg Gutfeld specifically called out CNN and other key players in the mainstream media for their relentless focus on the Mueller report.

“I just don’t know how CNN is going to handle it because this last week they had the lowest-rated week of all of 2019,” Watters said. “They have a choice to make. Are they going to now report real news about Spygate, or are they going to continue to push fake news? They lost to the Food Network last week, which means people would rather watch a pot boil then watch CNN.”

“It’s really about the Russians and how they manipulated the media, not the voters. The collusion was Russia playing the media for suckers,” Gutfeld said.

Source: Fox News Politics

FILE PHOTO: A Barclays sign outside one of the bank's London branches
FILE PHOTO: A Barclays sign is outside a branch of the bank in London, Britain, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

April 15, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Activist Edward Bramson on Monday made a fresh plea for Barclays’ investors to give him a seat on the bank’s board, as the war of words between his fund and the lender’s management ratchets up.

Both camps have begun a back-and-forth courting of shareholders ahead of the bank’s May 2 annual general meeting as Bramson attempts to muscle in to decision-making at the company and push through his proposal for a strategic overhaul of Barclays investment bank.

After both issued statements last week laying out their case, New York-based Bramson again wrote to investors on Monday to say nothing Barclays had said had made him change his view about what needed to change at the bank.

“In our firm’s professional opinion, the stubbornly low valuation that the market accords to the shares of Barclays will continue until the board finally adopts a strategy that is more realistic and shareholder orientated,” Bramson said.

Barclays said last week that it plans to stick to its efforts to improve performance at the investment bank rather than scale it back in size.

Given that, Bramson reiterated his call to join the board.

“Our public investment record shows that we have consistently assisted boards, that were initially reluctant, to deliver major increases in value for all of the shareholders,” Bramson said.

“We believe that, given mutual goodwill, and some change in perspective, Barclays offers similar opportunities.”

(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

Source: OANN

An idea floated by President Donald 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.

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 the likelihood of an immigrant in sanctuary cities such as New York and Los Angeles are 20% less likely to be arrested out in the community than in places 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. But 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!”

Wilson Romero is an immigrant from Honduras who chose to settle in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Romero, 27, was separated from his daughter, now 7, by federal authorities at the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, last year and jailed for three months before being released and making his way to live with his mother in San Jose, California. There he was reunited with his daughter, who attends public kindergarten.

Romero says he goes about daily errands in public without worry of discrimination. His daughter has made friends and has playdates with the children of Mexican American families. It’s a far cry from his hometown in the violence-plagued outskirts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, that he fled after his brother-in-law was killed.

To him, the biggest problem with being in the Bay Area is the high cost of living. The former textile factory worker relies on his mother’s income from waitressing for food and clothing, and he’s started thinking about asking legal permission to move to North Carolina, where an uncle resides and says it’s cheaper to live and work.

“To tell the truth, it’s a little tight now, financially speaking,” said Romero, a former textile factory worker, who He doesn’t know of any charities that may be willing to help.

The plan discussed by Trump would also 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 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.

Source: NewsMax Politics



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