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Napoleon professor confesses to chopping up lover in Russia after woman's arms found in backpack

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 8:20am

A prominent Saint Petersburg-based Napoleon expert has confessed to murdering his young lover and former student and dismembering her body in a grisly crime that sent shock waves across Russia. Oleg Sokolov, a 63-year-old history lecturer who received France's Legion d'Honneur in 2003, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of murder after he was hauled out of the icy Moika River with a backpack containing a woman's arms. "He has admitted his guilt," Sokolov's lawyer Alexander Pochuev told AFP, adding he regretted what he had done and was now cooperating. Sokolov was reportedly drunk and fell in as he tried to dispose of body parts. After disposing of the corpse he reportedly planned to commit suicide at the Peter and Paul Fortress, one of the former imperial capital's most famous landmarks, dressed as Napoleon. Sokolov teaches history at Saint Petersburg State University, President Vladimir Putin's alma mater, and was close to the Russian authorities. Russian historian Oleg Sokolov has been arrested in St Petersburg Credit: REX He told investigators that he shot and killed his lover during an argument and then sawed off her head, arms and legs, local media reported. Pochuev suggested Sokolov may have been under stress or emotionally disturbed. "He is an elderly person," he said, adding he was being treated for hypothermia in a hospital. Police discovered the decapitated body of Anastasia Yeshchenko, 24, with whom Sokolov had co-authored a number of works, and a blood-stained saw at his home. The historian, who also taught at Sorbonne University, is the author of books on French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. He acted as a historical consultant on several films and took part in historical re-enactments of Napoleonic wars. Both he and his lover studied French history and liked to wear period costumes, with Sokolov dressing up as Napoleon. Students described Sokolov as both a talented lecturer who could impersonate the French emperor and his generals and a "freak" who called his lover "Josephine" and liked to be addressed as "Sire". "What happened is simply monstrous," a Saint Petersburg State University lecturer told AFP. Russian police block a bridge over the Moika River  Credit: AFP Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said Sokolov was dedicated to his work but was also emotionally unstable and abused alcohol. His former student, Fyodor Danilov, said Sokolov was regarded as one of the university's best lecturers but an eccentric man who at times yelled in French. His relationship with Yeshchenko was an open secret, he said. "But everyone was fine with that, it was her own business," he told AFP. Many expressed dismay, saying Sokolov had long been known for his hostile behaviour but officials had ignored complaints. Vasily Kunin, who studied with the victim, blamed the university management. "They did not pay attention to certain things," he told AFP. "There was a certain policy of hushing things up." Media reports said that Sokolov also beat up and threatened to kill another woman in 2008 but was never charged. On Twitter, screenwriter Andrew Ryvkin said Sokolov was one of his lecturers, describing the Saint Petersburg-based university as a place where "alcoholics" and "anti-Semites" felt at ease. Sokolov was a senior member of the Russian Military-Historical Society headed by Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. The organisation immediately sought to distance itself from the controversy. In 2003, Red Star, the official newspaper of the defence ministry, gushingly described Sokolov as a "serious historian" whose works were published in France. Sokolov was also a member of Lyon-based Institute of Social Science, Economics and Politics (ISSEP). On Saturday the society announced that he had been stripped of his position on its scientific committee. "We learn with horror about the atrocious crime of which Oleg Sokolov is allegedly guilty," it said in a statement. ISSEP was founded by Marion Marechal, the niece of Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party. One-legged skeleton found under Russian dance floor is Napoleon's 'lost general', DNA tests confirm

Turkey says at least 8 killed by car bomb in northeast Syria

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 7:41am

A car bomb in northern Syria killed at least eight civilians and wounded 20 others Sunday in a town near the border with Turkey, Turkey's Defense Ministry said. The explosion struck a town south of the city of Tal Abyad, the ministry said. The city was captured last month by Turkish troops and Turkey-backed opposition forces from Kurdish-led fighters.

10 things you need to know today: November 10, 2019

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 7:15am

1.House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Saturday denied House Republicans' request to bring Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower, whose complaint about President Trump's phone call in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred the House impeachment inquiry, to the witness stand in the inquiry's upcoming public hearings. Schiff said the committee will neither "facilitate efforts" to "threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower," nor serve as "a vehicle to undertake the sham investigations into the Bidens." Schiff did say, however, that the committee is reviewing the other possible witnesses proposed by Rep. Devin Nunes (D-Calif.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, in a letter sent Saturday to Schiff. [Axios, Fox News] 2.President Trump told reporters Saturday he is planning to release the transcript of a second phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, likely on Tuesday. "We have another transcript coming out that is very important," Trump said. "They ask for it, and I gladly give it." The call took place in April just after Zelensky won the Ukrainian presidential election and it was reportedly mainly a congratulatory call, though little is known about its contents. Of course, the phone call between the two leaders that took place in July was the catalyst for the impeachment inquiry Trump now faces. [The Guardian, Politico] 3.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) directly challenged billionaire Michael Bloomberg during a Democratic presidential campaign speech Saturday in Iowa. "Our campaign is going to end the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which exists in America today," Sanders said. "So tonight we say to Michael Bloomberg and other billionaires: Sorry, you ain't going to buy this election." Bloomberg is contemplating a run at the Democratic nomination and filed for the Alabama primary Friday. Sanders also criticized Bloomberg's plan, if he runs, to bypass early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire in favor of focusing on Super Tuesday states. [The New York Times, The Washington Post] 4.Pro-democracy, anti-government protests continued in Hong Kong on Sunday, one day after thousands gathered for a peaceful vigil mourning Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old university student who fell to his death this week after police were attempting to disperse a rally. The Sunday crowds continued to honor the student, but the day has reportedly been more active than Saturday with messages circulating online calling for people to occupy shopping malls. There have also been calls for a general strike and class boycott Monday with plans to disrupt train service in the city in the early morning. In related news, seven pro-democracy lawmakers were detained or faced arrest Saturday. They could spend up to a year in jail if convicted for allegedly "assaulting, obstructing, or molesting" three pro-Beijing lawmakers. [The South China Morning Post, Deutsche Welle] 5.Saudi Aramco published a 658-page prospectus for its initial public offering Saturday. The document revealed that retail investors will be offered up to 0.5 percent of the offering, but it did not unveil what percentage will be sold to institutions. Investors were ultimately left to guess the number of shares on offer, the price range, and when the listing will officially go forward, though The Wall Street Journal notes that it isn't uncommon for an IPO when demand for the offering is unclear. The prospectus also highlighted the risks in investing in the state-owned oil giant, which include the involvement of the Saudi royal family, climate change, and antitrust suits in the United States connected to Saudi Arabia's OPEC membership. [The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times] 6.Voters are heading to the polls Sunday for the fourth time since 2015 in Spain where they will decide the outcome of the country's general election. Surveys are predicting the vote will result in a fractured parliament without an absolute majority in a continuation of the norm since 2017 as the Spanish government has struggled to broker deals. The Socialist Party is expected to remain the largest vote-getter, but only at around 27 percent, which will make it unlikely to form a majority government. Meanwhile, the country's far right party, Vox, is also likely to continue to make gains thanks to a rise in support from conservatives angered by the ongoing secession crisis in Catalonia, and the Socialist Party's decision to allow the exhumation of former dictator General Francisco Franco. [El Pais, Al Jazeera] 7.Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sunday he plans to call for new elections after weeks of protests in the country calling for his resignation. Morales' announcement came shortly after the Organization for American States recommended new elections and the annulment of the previous results from Oct. 20, which were considered fraudulent by Morales' opposition. As Bolivians marched in protest throughout the weekend, there were reports that some members of the police joined the demonstrators with some reportedly refusing to guard the square where the presidential palace is located. Members of an elite tactical operations unit were reportedly among those who withdrew in solidarity with the protests. [France 24, Reuters] 8.A cold front emerging from Siberia is expected to reach the United States next week, with temperatures possibly dipping to record lows for November from New England to Texas. The cold front is expected to hit the northern Plains and Upper Midwest on Sunday before heading south, potentially bringing below freezing temperatures even to the Gulf Coast. The expected temperatures are reportedly closer to those that normally occur in January and could wind up being 30 degrees below what is usually expected for this time of year. Some snowfall is anticipated earlier in the week, but will likely taper off even as temperatures remain frigid. [CBS News, The Washington Post] 9.Leaders from Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic attended a ceremony Saturday in Berlin honoring the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is viewed as one of the pivotal moments in the final stages of the Cold War. The leaders placed roses in the remnants of the barrier that once divided the city. "The Berlin Wall, ladies and gentleman, is history," German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced. "It teaches us: No wall that keeps people out and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it can't be broken down." President Trump congratulated Germany on the anniversary, saluting the "courageous men and women from both East and West Germany" who united to "tear down a wall that stood as a symbol of oppression." [The Associated Press, The Week] 10.In one of the most anticipated matchups of the college football season, No. 2 Louisiana State University defeated the third-ranked University of Alabama, in a 46-41 barn burner on Alabama's home turf. The two teams were unbeaten going into the game, and while they both remain in contention for the College Football Playoff, it wound up being a statement win for LSU, who had gone eight straight tries without beating Alabama. The Tigers were led by quarterback and leading Heisman candidate Joe Burrow who threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Alabama was down 33-13 at halftime and rallied back, but LSU answered the challenge and survived. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, one of the nation's top draft prospects, threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns, but was hampered by an interception and a fumble. [ESPN]More stories from Schiff rejects GOP requests for Hunter Biden, whistleblower to testify The return of honor politics Someone made a font out of gerrymandered congressional districts

Huthi rebels will have role in Yemen's future: UAE

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 7:07am

Yemen's rebels will have a role in their country's future, a UAE minister said Sunday, voicing optimism that a recent peace deal between the government and southern separatists could lead to a wider solution. The comments were the latest conciliatory move in the long-running Yemen conflict, after the Iran-backed Huthis offered in September to halt attacks on Saudi Arabia. Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs in the United Arab Emirates -- a key member in the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government against the Huthis -- urged all sides to maintain momentum for a political solution.

Iran begins pouring concrete for 2nd nuclear power reactor

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 6:03am

Iran began pouring concrete Sunday for a second nuclear reactor at its Bushehr power plant, a facility Tehran points to as its reason to break the enrichment limit set by its unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. While celebrating the start of construction, the politics of the moment weren't lost on Iranian officials as a U.S. pressure campaign of sanctions blocks Tehran from selling its crude oil abroad. "It was not us who started breaking commitments, it was them who did not keep to their commitments and cannot accept the nuclear deal as a one-way roadmap," said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Tories Say ‘Reckless’ Labour Spending Plans Total $1.5 Trillion

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 5:47am

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party plans to spend 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) over five years, expenditure that would plunge the U.K. into an economic crisis, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said on Sunday.Javid’s Conservatives released a 36-page document analyzing the main opposition party’s policies. More than 50% of the costings came from Labour’s own figures, Javid said in a BBC TV interview, with the Tories calculating other expenditure in a “reasonable way.” Labour’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, dismissed the analysis as a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news.”“These are eye-watering levels of spending,” Javid told the BBC. The alleged total “is absolutely reckless and will leave this country with an economic crisis within months. Not years, within months.”After a series of missteps last week, during which a cabinet minister quit and another made insensitive remarks about the victims of a high-rise fire, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are trying to get their election campaign back on to safer ground by attacking Labour’s credibility on the economy. While they still enjoy a double-digit lead in most polls ahead of the Dec. 12 general election, Labour has gained some ground.Labour’s electoral manifesto from 2017 would cost the country 611 billion pounds over five years, and the party has made an additional 587 billion of promises since then, according to the Tory analysis. It said Labour would increase government spending by 30%, or an extra 650 million pounds a day.‘Fake News’“This ludicrous piece of Tory fake news is an incompetent mishmash of debunked estimates and bad maths,” McDonnell said in a statement. “Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, health care and support for our children.”McDonnell told the Independent on Sunday that a Labour government would test out the idea of a universal basic income in a pilot program, and suggested that expansion of Heathrow would be blocked.The Tory analysis includes the cost of abolishing private schools -- which Labour has indicated won’t be in its manifesto -- and suggests the party would implement all of its policies from day one.Labour plans to nationalize water and energy utilities, the railways and Royal Mail. It’s also proposed a four-day working week and setting up a National Investment Bank. McDonnell promised that Labour would publish a fully costed manifesto later in the campaign. It’s something his party did in the 2017 general election – and the Tories didn’t.Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng earlier declined in a Sky News interview to provide an equivalent figure for Conservative spending plans. Javid declined to say what taxation policies his party would pursue, promising to outline them later in the campaign. “I believe in low taxes; I believe people should keep more of their own money,” he said.Electoral BlowsPressed to reveal the cost to the economy of Johnson’s Brexit deal, the chancellor declined to provide a figure, but also rejected year-old government forecasts that a similar plan would add 72 billion pounds to government borrowing. “That’s not right,” he said. He pointed to Bank of England analysis last week that showed “growth every year” based on Johnson’s deal being enacted.In the past week, both the Conservative and Labour campaigns have suffered blows. Corbyn was deemed “not fit to run the country” by Ian Austin, a former Labour Party member of parliament who urged voters to support Johnson. Another blow came from the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, which ran a front page article describing Corbyn as an anti-Semite.PollingOver the weekend, at least three polls gave the Tories a double-digit lead over Labour, while a fourth put the lead at just 8 points. That’s unlikely to trouble Corbyn, who at the outset of the 2017 campaign also lagged the Tories by a double-digit margin before recovering to deprive them of their majority.The Green Party’s only MP, Caroline Lucas, said the country “may well be heading again for a hung parliament” in which a “handful” of seats can make a difference. Her party has reached an electoral pact with two other pro-EU groups, the Liberal Democrats and the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party, which has seen two of the parties stand aside in 60 seats nationwide.On the other side of the European debate, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage challenged Johnson again to form an alliance of their own. Johnson has already rejected overtures from Farage who had set as a condition of any pact that the prime minister should abandon his Brexit deal. But on Sunday, Farage gave Johnson another four days to reach agreement, or he’ll stand Brexit Party candidates in every seat in Great Britain. Tory Brexiteers have expressed concerns that this will split the pro-Brexit vote and allow Labour and other parties to win more seats.“This is the chance for a Leave alliance to deliver Brexit and finish off Labour for a generation,” Farage told the Sunday Express. “The clock is ticking. Nominations for candidates close this week. After that, the die will be cast.”To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at;Jill Ward in London at jward98@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, Sara Marley, Marion DakersFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Inside China's 're-education' camps

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 5:00am

Excerpted from an article that originally appeared in Haaretz Magazine. Used with permission. Twenty prisoners live in one small room. They are handcuffed, their heads are shaved, every move is monitored by ceiling cameras. A bucket in the corner of the room is their toilet. The daily routine begins at 6 a.m. They are learning Chinese, memorizing propaganda songs, and confessing to invented sins. They range in age from teenagers to elderly. Their meals are meager: cloudy soup and a slice of bread.Torture -- metal nails, fingernails pulled out, electric shocks -- takes place in the "black room." Pun­ish­ment is a constant. The prisoners are forced to take pills and get injections. It's for disease prevention, the staff tells them, but in reality they are the human subjects of medical experiments. Many of the inmates suffer from cognitive decline. Some of the men become sterile. Women are routinely raped.This is life in China's re-education camps, as reported in rare testimony provided by Sayragul Sauytbay (pronounced Say-ra-gul Saut-bay, as in "bye"), a teacher who escaped from China and was granted asylum in Sweden. Few prisoners have succeeded in getting out of the camps and telling their story. Sauytbay's testimony is even more extraordinary, because during her incarceration she was compelled to be a teacher in the camp. China wants to sell its camps to the world as places of educational programs and vocational retraining, but Sauytbay is one of the few people who can offer credible, firsthand testimony about what really goes on in the camps.I met with Sauytbay three times, once in a meeting arranged by a Swedish Uighur association and twice, after she agreed to tell her story to Haaretz, in personal interviews that took place in Stockholm and lasted several hours, all together. Sauytbay spoke only Kazakh, and so we communicated via a translator. During most of the time we spoke, she was composed, but at the height of her recounting of the horror, tears welled up in her eyes.She is 43, a Muslim of Kazakh descent, who grew up in Mongolkure County, near the Chinese-Kazakh border. Like hundreds of thousands of others, most of them Uighurs, a minority ethnic Turkic group, she fell victim to China's suppression of every sign of an isolationist thrust in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. A large number of camps have been established in that region over the past two years, as part of the regime's struggle against what it terms the Three Evils: terrorism, separatism, and extremism. According to Western estimates, between one million and two million of the province's residents have been incarcerated in camps during Beijing's campaign of oppression.As a young woman, Sauytbay completed medical studies and worked in a hospital. Subsequently, she turned to education and was employed in the service of the state, in charge of five preschools. Even though she was in a settled situation, she and her husband had planned for years to leave China with their two children and move to neighboring Kazakhstan. But the plan encountered delays, and in 2014 the authorities began collecting the passports of civil servants, Sauytbay's among them. Two years later, just before passports from the entire population were confiscated, her husband was able to leave the country with the children. Sauytbay hoped to join them in Kazakhstan as soon as she received an exit visa, but one never arrived."At the end of 2016, the police began arresting people at night, secretly," Sauytbay related. "It was a socially and politically uncertain period. Cameras appeared in every public space; the security forces stepped up their presence. At one stage, DNA samples were taken from all members of minorities in the region and our telephone SIM cards were taken from us.""In January 2017, they started to take people who had relatives abroad," Sauytbay says. "They came to my house at night, put a black sack on my head, and brought me to a place that looked like a jail. I was interrogated by police officers, who wanted to know where my husband and children were, and why they had gone to Kazakhstan. At the end of the interrogation I was ordered to tell my husband to come home, and I was forbidden to talk about the ­interrogation."Sauytbay had heard that in similar cases people who returned to China had been arrested immediately and sent to a camp. With that in mind, she broke off contact with her husband and children after her release. She was repeatedly taken in for nocturnal interrogations and falsely accused of various offenses. "I had to be strong," she says. "Every day when I woke up, I thanked God that I was still alive."In November 2017, I was ordered to report to an address in the city's suburbs, to leave a message at a phone number I had been given, and to wait for the police." After Sauytbay arrived at the designated place and left the message, four armed men in uniform arrived, again covered her head, and bundled her into a vehicle. Following an hour's journey, she arrived in an unfamiliar place that she soon learned was a "re-education" camp, which would become her prison in the months that followed. She was told she had been brought there in order to teach Chinese and was immediately made to sign a document that set forth her duties and the camp's rules."I was very much afraid to sign," Sauytbay recalls. "It said there that if I did not fulfill my task, or if I did not obey the rules, I would get the death penalty. The document stated that it was forbidden to speak with the prisoners, forbidden to laugh, forbidden to cry, and forbidden to answer questions from anyone. I signed because I had no choice, and then I received a uniform and was taken to a tiny bedroom with a concrete bed and a thin, plastic mattress. There were five cameras on the ceiling -- one in each corner and another one in the middle."The other inmates, those who weren't burdened with teaching duties, endured more stringent conditions. "There were almost 20 people in a room of 16 square meters [172 square feet]," she says. "There were cameras in their rooms too, and also in the corridor. Each room had a plastic bucket for a toilet. Every prisoner was given two minutes a day to use the toilet, and the bucket was emptied only once a day. The prisoners wore uniforms and their heads were shaved. Their hands and feet were shackled all day, except when they had to write. Even in sleep they were shackled, and they were required to sleep on their right side -- ­anyone who turned over was punished."Sauytbay had to teach the prisoners -- who were Uighur or Kazakh speakers -- Chinese and Communist Party propaganda songs. There were specified hours for learning propaganda songs and reciting slogans from posters: "I love China," "Thank you to the Communist Party," "I am Chinese," and "I love Xi Jinping" -- China's president. Sauytbay estimates that there were about 2,500 inmates in the camp. The oldest person she met was a woman of 84; the youngest, a boy of 13. "There were schoolchildren and workers, businessmen and writers, nurses and doctors, artists and simple peasants who had never been to the city."The camp's commanders set aside a room for torture, Sauytbay relates, which the inmates dubbed the black room because it was forbidden to talk about it explicitly. "There were all kinds of tortures there. Some prisoners were hung on the wall and beaten with electrified truncheons. There were prisoners who were made to sit on a chair of nails. I saw people return from that room covered in blood. Some came back without fingernails."On one occasion, Sauytbay herself was punished. "One night, about 70 new prisoners were brought to the camp," she recalls. "One of them was an elderly Kazakh woman who hadn't even had time to take off her shoes. She spotted me as being Kazakh and asked for my help. She begged me to get her out of there, and she embraced me. I did not reciprocate her embrace, but I was punished anyway. I was beaten and deprived of food for two days."Sauytbay says she witnessed medical procedures being carried out on inmates with no justification. She thinks they were done as part of human experiments that were carried out in the camp systematically. "The inmates would be given pills or injections. They were told it was to prevent diseases, but the nurses told me secretly that the pills were dangerous and that I should not take them.""The pills had different kinds of effects. Some prisoners were cognitively weakened. Women stopped getting their period and men became sterile." (That, at least, was a widely circulated rumor.)The fate of the women in the camp was particularly harsh, Sauytbay notes: "On an everyday basis the policemen took the pretty girls with them, and they didn't come back to the rooms all night. The police had unlimited power. They could take whomever they wanted. There were also cases of gang rape. In one of the classes I taught, one of those victims entered half an hour after the start of the lesson. The police ordered her to sit down, but she just couldn't do it, so they took her to the black room for punishment."Tears stream down Sauytbay's face when she tells the grimmest story from her time in the camp. "One day, the police told us they were going to check to see whether our re-education was succeeding, whether we were developing properly. They took 200 inmates outside, men and women, and told one of the women to confess her sins. She stood before us and declared that she had been a bad person, but now that she had learned Chinese she had become a better person. When she was done speaking, the policemen ordered her to disrobe and simply raped her one after the other, in front of everyone. While they were raping her, they checked to see how we were reacting. People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again. It was awful. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to help her. After that happened, it was hard for me to sleep at night."Sayragul Sauytbay's story took a surprising turn in March 2018, when with no prior announcement she was informed that she was being released. Again her head was covered with a black sack, again she was bundled into a vehicle, but this time she was taken home. At first the orders were clear: She was to resume her former position as director of five preschools in her home region of Aksu, and she was instructed not to say a word about what she had been through. On her third day back on the job, however, she was fired and again brought in for interrogation. She was accused of treason and of maintaining ties with people abroad. The punishment for people like her, she was told, was re-education, only this time she would be a regular inmate in a camp and remain there for a period of one to three years."I was told that before being sent to the camp, I should return home so as to show my successor the ropes," she says. "At this stage I hadn't seen my children for 2½ years, and I missed them very much. Having already been in a camp, I knew I would die there, and I could not accept that."Sauytbay decided that she was not going back to a camp. "I said to myself that if I was already fated to die, at least I was going to try to escape. It was worth my while to take the risk because of the chance that I would be able to see my children. There were police stationed outside my apartment, and I didn't have a passport, but even so, I tried. I got out through a window and fled to the neighbors' house. From there I took a taxi to the border with Kazakhstan, and I managed to sneak across. In Kazakhstan I found my family. My dream came true. I could not have received a greater gift."But the saga did not end there: Immediately after her emotional reunion with her family, she was arrested by Kazakhstan's secret service and incarcerated for nine months for having crossed the border illegally. Three times she submitted a request for asylum, and three times she was turned down; she faced the danger of being extradited to China. But after relatives contacted several media outlets, international organizations intervened, and in the end she was granted asylum in Sweden."I will never forget the camp," Sauytbay says. "I cannot forget the eyes of the prisoners, expecting me to do something for them. They are innocent. I have to tell their story, to tell about the darkness they are in, about their suffering."More stories from Schiff rejects GOP requests for Hunter Biden, whistleblower to testify The return of honor politics Someone made a font out of gerrymandered congressional districts

Tories Say Labour Spending Plans Total $1.5 Trillion: U.K. Votes

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 3:57am

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.Boris Johnson’s Conservatives sought to undermine the Labour Party’s credibility on the economy, saying the opposition’s spending plans would cost 1.2 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) over five years. The analysis by the governing party -- branded a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news” by Labour’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell -- was carried on the front covers of the Sunday Times, the Sunday Telegraph and the Mail on Sunday.Key Developments:Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tells Sunday Times that Labour’s plans would leave U.K. on “the brink of bankruptcy”McDonnell promises Labour’s manifesto will be fully costedYouGov poll in Sunday Times puts Tories 13 points ahead of Labour; Opinium poll gives them a 12-point leadJavid Promises ‘Controlled’ Spending (10:10 a.m.)A Conservative government would ensure spending levels are “controlled,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said, contrasting it with what he termed “reckless” expenditure by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.“We’re going to be very clear about how we spend and borrow and it’s always going to be controlled,” Javid said on Sunday in a BBC News interview. He declined to say what taxation policies his party would pursue, saying he would outline it later in the campaign. “I believe in low taxes; I believe people should keep more of their own money.”Javid said his party’s calculation that Labour’s plans would cost the country 1.2 trillion pounds was based mainly on Labour’s own numbers, with other sums carried out in a “reasonable” way. Like Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng earlier (see 8:40 a.m.), Javid declined to provide an equivalent figure for his own Conservative Party.Pressed to reveal the cost of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on the British economy, he declined to provide a figure, but also rejected year-old government forecasts that a similar plan would add 72 billion pounds to government borrowing. “That’s not right,” he said.Greens Say Electoral Pact Could Make Difference (9:50 a.m.)The Green Party’s only Member of Parliament, Caroline Lucas, said the electoral pact her party has reached with the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru could be influential in the next Parliament. She said the deal, which saw candidates from two of the pro-European parties stand aside in 60 seats nationwide, was necessary because of the U.K.’s “undemocratic” first-past-the-post electoral system.“The evidence suggests that we may well be heading again for a hung parliament, in which case even just a handful of seats can make a difference,” she said. “We have a horrible undemocratic unfair electoral system that means we have to try to game the system in that way.”Labour Manifesto Costs Not Finalized (9:30 a.m.)Labour hasn’t yet totaled up the final cost of its policy program, the opposition party’s campaign chief, Andrew Gwynne, told the BBC on Sunday. But he pushed back against Tory calculations that Labour policies will cost 1.2 trillion pounds, calling it “an absolute work of fiction.”Gwynne and Labour’s Defence Spokeswoman Nia Griffith, who spoke to Sky News, both repeated McDonnell’s pledge that the manifesto when published will be fully costed. It’ll be finalized next Saturday, Gwynne said. “There will be open transparency from the Labour Party.”It’s something Labour also did in the 2017 general election – and the Tories didn’t.Labour Committed to Keeping Nuclear Deterrent (9:10 a.m.)Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith told Sky News that the Labour Party is “absolutely committed” to keeping the U.K.’s nuclear deterrent. “It’s a very, very important part of our defense, particularly when we’re seeing a resurgent Russia, and we’re seeing the U.S. perhaps being a little bit lukewarm about NATO,” Griffith said. She didn’t comment on when exactly Labour would use it, though emphasized that Corbyn “fully understands what deterrents mean.”Earlier, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggested that Labour’s support for nuclear weapons could be a factor in any negotiations for the SNP to prop up a Labour government in the event of a hung parliament, though he declined to give a yes or no answer on whether it was a red line.“To waste up to 200 billion pounds on these weapons of mass destruction that can never be used is a fallacy,” Blackford told Sky News. “These nuclear weapons are not the answer to the needs of defense and security of the United Kingdom.”Business Minister Slams Labour’s Spending Plans (8:40 a.m.)Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng slammed the Labour Party’s spending plans, accusing it of “promising the earth.” He confirmed that Tory analysis of the main opposition’s policies -- including a four-day working week and nationalization of energy infrastructure and water utilities -- show they’ll add up to 1.2 trillion pounds.“All those things are going to have to be paid for, and Labour’s policies don’t add up,” Kwarteng said in a Sky News interview. “We’ve shown that they are reckless in their spending. It’s a huge amount of money that we can’t afford.”Challenged repeatedly on what the equivalent total is for the Conservative Party, he was unable to say. He said that the government gave details in its budget, and that Tory spending plans “are not nearly as astronomical” as Labour ones.Kwarteng also urged Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage to “step aside” now that Boris Johnson has negotiated a deal to take the U.K. out of the European Union.Labour to ‘Bankrupt U.K.,’ Javid Tells Papers (Earlier)Labour spending plans will cost the country 1.2 trillion pounds over the next five years, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing a 36-page dossier prepared by the Conservative Party. The story was also carried in the Sunday Times, which cited Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid as saying the plans are a “truly terrifying spending splurge” which would leave the U.K. “on the brink of bankruptcy.”McDonnell, for his part, issued a statement dismissing the dossier as “Tory fake news,” and promising his party’s manifesto would be “fully costed.”“This ludicrous piece of Tory fake news is an incompetent mishmash of debunked estimates and bad maths cooked up because they know Labour’s plans for real change are popular,” McDonnell said. “Labour will tax the rich to pay for things everyone needs and deserves, like decent housing, health care and support for our children. We will also use the power of the state to invest to grow our economy, create good jobs in every region and nation and tackle the climate emergency.”Polls Give Conservatives Double-Digit Lead (Earlier)Three polls give Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a double-digit lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times puts the Tories on 39%, unchanged from its previous survey, with Labour down a point on 26%. The Liberal Democrats are up a point on 17% and the Brexit Party are up 3 points on 10%.Late Saturday, Opinium released the results of its latest poll, giving the Tories a 12-point lead. That margin was down four points from its previous survey last week. Opinium put the Conservatives on 41%, Labour on 29%, the Lib Dems on 15% and the Brexit Party on 6%. A survey by Deltapoll for the Mail on Sunday had the same numbers for the Tories and Labour, with the Liberal Democrats at 16%. The Brexit Party lost 5 percentage points from the previous poll to 6%.One poll, however, gave a smaller lead for the Tories. The BMG survey for the Independent on Sunday put the Tories on 37%, with Labour on 29%, the Liberal Democrats on 16% and the Brexit Party on 9%.Secret Report Named Russian Tory Donors: Times (Earlier)Nine Russian donors to the Conservative Party are identified in a report from Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee that the government last week refused to release, the Sunday Times reported.Bloomberg last week revealed that the report raised concerns over the threat of Russian interference in British elections but found no “smoking gun” evidence of Kremlin-sponsored meddling.A row over the government’s refusal to publish the report dominated Parliament’s final day before the body was dissolved for the Dec. 12 election. The government insists that it needs more time to ensure that secret sources of information aren’t inadvertently revealed. People familiar with the report are equally insistent this work has already been done.Earlier:Johnson Sows Confusion Over Northern Irish Trade After BrexitWhich Political Party Has the Best Track Record for U.K. Stocks?Tories Get Nervous as Chaos Hits Johnson’s U.K. Election TrainBritain’s Election Gamble -- What You Need to Know: QuickTakeTo contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in London at;Jill Ward in London at jward98@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at, James Amott, Marion DakersFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Iran calls ex-FBI agent's case a 'missing person' file

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 3:46am

Iran on Sunday said an open Revolutionary Court case involving an ex-FBI agent who disappeared there in 2007 on an unauthorized CIA mission "was a missing person" filing, not a sign that the man was being prosecuted. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi's comments come as a new Iranian acknowledgement of the case involving Robert Levinson renewed questions about his disappearance. The U.S. is offering $25 million for information about what happened to Levinson, who disappeared from Iran's Kish Island on March 9, 2007.

Opioids emerge as key sticking point for US-China trade deal

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 3:00am

A joint operation that led to the conviction of three Chinese nationals for smuggling fentanyl is a hopeful sign for Trump as he faces election yearDonald Trump has personally pressed his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to do something to stem the flow of opioids from China. ‘You’ve got to help us with this,’ read one note. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/ReutersThe seemingly never-ending trade dispute between China and the US often seems like a game of snakes and ladders. Last week China signaled a breakthrough on a quarrel that has roiled economies around the world – only for the Trump administration to issue a denial. The sticking point, for some, appears to be the US opioid crisis.America is in the grip of its worst drugs crisis in a generation. About 130 people die each day in the US from opioid-related overdoses and many – including Donald Trump – blame imports of cheap drugs from China. Beijing’s acknowledgment of the issue’s importance to the US came on Thursday when China’s National Narcotics Control Commission held a press conference about a fentanyl smuggling case cracked in a joint operation between US and Chinese authorities.The trial, which culminated in three Chinese nationals being sentenced to maximum punishments for smuggling fentanyl to the US and six others sentenced for up to two years, is one of China’s highest-profile cases aimed at curbing the illicit flow of opioids.Chinese-produced fentanyl or Chinese-produced ingredients for the drug have been repeatedly blamed by Trump for the soaring number of US opioid-related deaths.According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 28,000 synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths were recorded in 2017 alone, and fentanyl-laced pills have been blamed for several high-profile deaths, including the musicians Prince and Tom Petty.The emergence of fentanyl as an underlying reason for trade tensions is not new, say observers of the on-again, off-again negotiations, but it has gained importance as a political issue as Trump heads into an election year.“Fentanyl matters a lot in US politics, because it could be politically devastating among suburban housewives in swing states if fentanyl-related deaths are blamed on Trump’s political inaction on the issue,” said Derek Scissors, a scholar with the pro-market American Enterprise Institute.Fentanyl was implicated in the death of the musician Tom Petty. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock“The administration knows they have to neutralize fentanyl as a political issue to make a deal with China, and the Chinese have figured out they have to cooperate on this if they want a deal with the US,” Scissors said. “There has to be progress or a deal can’t hold together.”US pressure on China to crack down on fentanyl first emerged in trade negotiations in November 2017 when Trump warned the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, on a trip to Beijing, that he would make stopping the “flood of cheap and deadly” fentanyl “manufactured in China” a “top priority”.“A special emphasis will be placed on the new phenomenon – fentanyl – destroying lives by the millions. We’re going to be focusing on it very strongly, the president and myself,” Trump said at the time.But it was not until the G20 summit of world leaders in Buenos Aires last year, where Trump pressed Xi on the issue at a steak dinner that capped the conference, that China agreed to list fentanyl and its derivatives as a controlled substance, according to CNN.That move came after the White House reportedly sent a copy to Xi of a Los Angeles Times article headlined “Fentanyl smuggled from China is killing thousands of Americans” with “you have to help us with this” scribbled on it.In August, Trump again accused Xi of failing to crack down on the flow of Chinese-produced fentanyl.According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, China is responsible for the precursor chemicals for fentanyl, while most of the production is now through Mexico, a marked shift from recent years when shipments went largely unchecked from China to the US.In congressional testimony last year, the DEA deputy chief, Paul Knierim, described China as “one of the world’s top producers of the precursor chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine and fentanyl, as well as the chemicals used to process heroin and cocaine.“Combating illicit fentanyl is a top priority of this administration,” Knierim said, welcoming “positive actions being taken by the Chinese government over the last year. Their actions are steps in the right direction, but more can be done.”While US opioid-related deaths, estimated at 400,000 since 2000, appear to have peaked, China’s agreement to put controls on all fentanyl substances came only after years of bilateral dialog, according to the DEA.“It is a very significant step for them and we appreciate China’s efforts,” a DEA spokeswoman, Katherine Pfaff, told the Guardian. But the effectiveness of China’s crackdown is unclear.“Based on past actions, whenever China has put controls into place we have seen a difference in what is coming into the US from China, or sourced from China,” Pfaff added.While the smuggling trial, which was broadcast on television, is widely held to be a signal that China is prepared to go some way to meet Trump’s demands, Beijing maintains it is not responsible for the fentanyl aspect of the US opioid epidemic.In the past, Beijing has described the US holding China responsible for fentanyl production as political “fantasy”.That position was repeated on Thursday when Yu Haibing, deputy secretary general of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, said: “China’s control of fentanyl has become more strict, but the number of deaths in the US from fentanyl have risen. This shows that China is not the source of the problem,“ said Yu, reported Bloomberg.Still, the trial was heralded as an important step by US authorities.“As the success of the joint investigation demonstrates, Chinese and American investigators have the capacity to collaborate across international borders,” said Austin Moore, an attache with the Department of Homeland Security in Beijing, said at a briefing.The issue of China and fentanyl is likely to remain tense for the administration. “Trump already said China is going to help us with this. If they don’t, Trump is stuck,” said Scissors. “The trial was a gesture of good faith. Now it’s up to the US to reciprocate.”

Is North Korea’s Year-End Countdown for Real?

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 3:00am

What happens if North Korea tests another ICBM? With Trump dealing with impeachment back home, it seems trouble is brewing on the Korean Peninsula. Is Moon Jae-in the only person who can save the day?

What the Hell Happened to Hugh Hewitt?

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 2:54am

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyWhen Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 wanted to reach conservative voters, they decided there was only one person in right-leaning media who’d give them a fair shake: Hugh Hewitt. According to multiple sources, the Clinton campaign considered playing ball with Hewitt’s radio program because advisers viewed him to be an even-keeled, serious-minded conservative pundit who could have a civilized, intellectual, and issues-focused discussion with the former secretary of state. She eventually appeared on the show in 2017. Nearly three years later, however, the likelihood that any top 2020 Democratic presidential candidate would even consider an appearance on Hewitt’s show is closer to zero. Since President Donald Trump took office, it seems, Hewitt has undergone a dramatic political shift mirroring the path of the Republican Party—one that has become increasingly about fealty to the president, above all other values—leaving some of the radio host’s friends dumbfounded.“He’s lost his fucking mind,” said one senior colleague at MSNBC, where Hewitt was once a host and is currently an on-air contributor. “He’s put himself in the same position as Lou Dobbs.”Once an aide to Ronald Reagan and early supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions, Hewitt has fallen in line with the rest of the conservative media ecosystem as a reliably Trumpian defender of the president’s bizarre and potentially criminal behavior—his popular radio show now fervently bashing Democrats and providing cover for Trump’s many ongoing scandals in a way that seemingly morphs Hewitt into an intellectualized version of Fox News stars like Sean Hannity or Dobbs.He’s become one of the leading GOP media voices attempting to push a legal framework justifying Trump’s infamous July 2019 phone call in which he committed a quid pro quo by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.After a complaint by a whistleblower at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was publicly released, for example, Hewitt was dismissive—and in an unusually conspiratorial manner. “Hot take from a smart guy: ‘Just read whistleblowers complaint. Theory, this is a cover up, not just of Biden, but the whole Clintons Obama Biden collusion debacle riff with illegality. The complaint is someone in that mix trying to cover their ass,’” he tweeted.MSNBC Host Hugh Hewitt Personally Lobbied Pruitt to Clean Up Toxic Waste Near His HomeAnd when a memo of Trump’s call with Ukraine was released, Hewitt was equally unimpressed, writing a Washington Post column labeling the phone chat a “nothingburger” à la “Al Capone’s vault.” He also excused and applauded Trump’s behavior exhibited on the call.“True, a more circumspect president might have steered clear, in the call with Zelensky, of discussing Ukraine’s history of corruption,” Hewitt wrote. “And another president might have considered it bad form to bring up former vice president Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and his involvement with a Ukrainian energy company. But Trump isn’t circumspect. If something is on his mind, that’s what he says, and he speaks directly, not with diplomatic evasions.”Far from his days as a cool-headed MSNBC daytime host, Hewitt has recently begun to align himself with some of the more fringe characters in the right-wing fever swamp.He appeared on bombastic ex-Trump aide Sebastian Gorka’s radio show in late September, defending his assertion that, instead of the whistleblower’s revelations being negative for Trump, actually, “the whistleblower took a shot at Trump and instead hit the Bidens.”And Hewitt has frequently turned over his airwaves to Kurt Schlichter, a middling right-wing blowhard who provided Trump with one of the more bonkers talking points regarding Syria—that the Kurds are undeserving of U.S. help because they did not assist the World War II D-Day landings—and has fantasized in graphic detail about killing Democrats in a modern civil war.As such, Hewitt has begun to echo the musings of such far-right defenders of the president. On his radio show, he has called the impeachment inquiry a “lynch mob” and a “soft coup, dressed in constitutional clothing.” He uncharacteristically added: “Quote it again. You think I'm embarrassed by that? I’m not. That’s exactly what’s happening.”And, of course, Hewitt’s public attempts to cover for the president have not gone unnoticed by Trump. “Thank you Hugh!” the president tweeted after the radio host wrote that Americans should support the Trump administration’s attempts to get foreign leaders to probe Democratic rivals over the 2016 election. It was a far cry from the pre-election times Trump publicly bashed Hewitt as a “3rd rate” host.The stalwart conservative legal pundit’s recent transformation has raised eyebrows among friends who long viewed him as a moderate and reasonable voice in a right-wing media increasingly dominated by pandering to the lowest common denominator.Conservative radio host and prominent Trump critic Charlie Sykes told The Daily Beast that while his shift reflects the GOP’s overall descent into Trumpism, it is still striking to see Hewitt—who is regularly featured on Beltway talk shows like Meet the Press, where he’ll appear this Sunday—give into such instincts. “What's really surprising isn't just that Hewitt has become a reflexive Trump defender, it is his willingness to torch his reputation by indulging in such rank hackery,” Sykes said. “I mean, it's just embarrassing stuff.”Hewitt had long been positioned by Beltway political journalists as a genial and calmer alternative to the more stereotypically incendiary right-wing talk radio personalities. USA Today described him in 2015 as “the radio voice of the establishment GOP aired without rancor,” saying Hewitt was a principled conservative who still refused to “play to the base.” The Guardian went further in a profile that same year, calling him “the thinking candidate’s Rush Limbaugh,” while the Washington Post said his “reputation for facilitating rich and respectful on-air conversations with guests whose own political loyalties lie far afield from his own” made it so “Hewitt haters like Trump can be hard to find.”Hewitt himself used to play into the media framing of him as a compassionate conservative. In the past, he’s described his own show as akin to an NPR for conservatives. And like many other mainstream Republicans, during the 2016 campaign, Hewitt expressed many reservations about the former reality television star: He railed against the nominee over the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about nonconsensually groping women; and, at one point, the conservative radio host was applauded for exposing Trump’s lack of knowledge in basic elements of foreign policy, drawing the future president’s signature ire.“Very low ratings radio host Hugh Hewitt asked me about Suleiman, Abu Bake al-Baghdad, Hassan Nasrallah and more - typical ‘gotcha’ questions,” the future president whined on Twitter, minutes later adding: “Why would a very low ratings radio talk show host like Hugh Hewitt be doing the next debate on @CNN. He is just a 3rd rate ‘gotcha’ guy!”Since Trump took office, Hewitt has obviously changed his tune on the president—largely citing his desire to see a more conservative Supreme Court. But such a drastic conversion has resulted in Hewitt contradicting many of his own previous positions that were of deep concern to him during the Obama administration. During a May 2013 show, for instance, Hewitt was adamantly opposed to whistleblower intimidation, and was aghast at House Democrats who he believed tried to silence a Benghazi whistleblower. “If you can imagine the number, the principal aide to the Secretary of State berating the chief of mission, and a survivor of a terrorist attack, and demanding a report on the visit and upset that her lawyer was excluded from a meeting, it’s a clear intimidation of a whistleblower,” he said then.Also directly contradicting his excuses for the Trump administration: Hewitt was a leading voice of concern about Obama using his office to target political opponents. On numerous occasions, the radio host lamented the allegations that Obama’s SEC targeted Romney supporters and that the IRS targeted conservative tea party activists. “The IRS got away with murder, and with targeting tea party groups,” Hewitt said at the time. “There has been no justice.”During the IRS investigation, Hewitt even boosted a column bemoaning that Republicans simply asked questions while Democrats attacked House Oversight Committee then-Chairman Darrell Issa—a nearly mirror image of Republicans’ Trump-era attacks on Rep. Adam Schiff, a top House Democrat chairing the intelligence committee.And despite the fact that perhaps Hewitt’s most famous moment of the 2016 cycle was his schooling of Trump on the future president’s confusion of the Kurds and Quds Force, the Orange County-based radio host now seems wholly impressed with Trump’s approach to abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria.“Turkey can’t want a war with Kurds but if it does we can’t be killing Turks with Americans throughout Turkey, our base there,” he recently tweeted. “Some will cast any deal w/ Turkey as @realDonaldTrump getting close w/ a dictator. It’s not. It’s dealing with the realities that we can’t stay forever.”Indeed, the fact that Hewitt now often seemingly twists himself into pretzels to defend Trump has baffled and frustrated many of his Beltway fans—including elected lawmakers. “[M]y friend Hugh (who I like) makes the case that trading foreign aid for political help is the modern equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) recently remarked on Twitter. “Bold.”Even NBC anchor Chuck Todd, one of Hewitt’s biggest friends at MSNBC, seemed confused when Hewitt said in September that Hunter Biden should have been under FBI surveillance since at least 2014.“I don’t—Hugh, I have no—,” the anchor stammered.“Read the column,” Hewitt replied.“I have no idea how that is even remotely relatable,” an exasperated Todd said, adding: “But I will read your column.”MSNBC Host Blows Up at Hugh Hewitt Over Iran: ‘Just Stop for Heaven’s Sake!’Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Iraqis struggle to keep up sit-ins after deadly crackdown

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 2:42am

Iraqi protesters struggled to keep up their anti-government sit-ins Sunday following a deadly crackdown by security forces that Amnesty International warned could turn into a "bloodbath". Seven protesters died on Saturday in Baghdad and the southern city of Basra in the latest violence to hit the wave of popular protests that have shaken the country since early October. The United Nations warned of a spreading "climate of fear" and its top official in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said it was receiving "daily reports of killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, beatings and intimidation of protesters".

Amnesty calls for urgent end to 'bloodbath' in Iraq

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 2:12am

Iraqi security forces put up concrete barriers in central Baghdad Sunday, trying to hamper and block protesters' movements a day after forcefully clearing three flashpoint bridges in a security operation that killed six anti-government protesters and left more than 100 wounded. Since the unrest began last month, more than 260 protesters have been killed by security forces who have used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas in an effort to quell the protests. Amnesty International called it a "bloodbath" and said Iraqi authorities should immediately rein in security forces.

Nikki Haley: I was asked by Cabinet members to take sides against the president

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 1:45am

The former U.N. Ambassador - a Trump loyalist dismissive of the Ukraine scandal being investigated by Congress - also says she doesn't feel comfortable pursuing impeachment in an election year

U.K. Conservatives Still Ahead of Labour in Opinion Polls

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 1:44am

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.The U.K.’s Conservative Party was ahead of the opposition Labour Party as the campaign for the Dec. 12 general election picked up steam , according to several polls published over the weekend.The ruling Conservatives had 41% support compared with 29% for Labour, according to Opinium’s poll issued Saturday for the Observer newspaper. The Tories were at 42% last week and Labour at 26%.The Liberal Democrats were third, with 15%, followed by the Brexit Party at 6% and the Scottish National Party at 5%. The online survey of 2,001 U.K. adults was carried out from Nov. 6 to 8.There’s a 9-in-10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by the poll, and a 2-in-3 chance that they are within 2 points, according to Opinium.The YouGov poll for The Sunday Times also showed Conservatives at 39%, which was unchanged from the prior week.Labour was at 26%, Liberal Democrats at 17% and the Brexit Party at 10%. The poll surveyed 1,598 adults from Nov. 7-8 and the margin of error was not specified.The Conservatives maintained a 12 percentage points lead over the Labour Party from last week, according to Deltapoll’s national opinion survey for the Mail on Sunday newspaper.Voting intentions for the Conservatives and Labour rose by 1 percentage point to 41% and 29% while support for Liberal Democrats increased 2 percentage points to 16%.The Brexit Party saw a decline of 5 percentage points to 6%, according to Deltapoll that surveyed 1,518 people online between Nov. 6 and 9.The BMG survey for the Independent on Sunday put the Tories on 37%, with Labour on 29%, the Liberal Democrats on 16% and the Brexit Party on 9%.An earlier version of this story corrected the Tory support in YouGov poll to 39%(Adds Independent poll in final bullet point.)To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Park in San Francisco at mpark197@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sebastian Tong at, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

UPDATE 2-United States "very actively" asking N.Korea to return to talks - S.Korea

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 1:13am

The United States is "very actively" trying to persuade North Korea to come back to negotiations, South Korea's national security adviser said on Sunday, as a year-end North Korean deadline for U.S. flexibility approaches. South Korea was taking North Korea's deadline "very seriously", the adviser, Chung Eui-yong, told reporters, at a time when efforts to improve inter-Korean relations have stalled.

As Putin’s Embrace Tightens, Belarus Strongman Reaches Out to EU

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 1:00am

(Bloomberg) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is set to make his first bilateral visit to the European Union since it dropped sanctions against him in 2016, as he strives to balance growing pressure from Moscow for integration with Russia.Lukashenko, once dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” by the U.S., is due to meet Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna on Nov. 12, his first state visit to the country that hosts United Nations agencies and likes to act as hub of West-East diplomacy. The trip was flagged when then Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met Lukashenko in Minsk in March.Belarusian officials “are really trying” to boost ties with the West, mainly for economic reasons, said Igar Gubarevich, senior analyst at the Ostrogorski Centre, a London research group. Still, “they are willing to improve relations insofar as they don’t require reforms which may threaten Lukashenko’s power.”The visit comes a week before the Russian and Belarusian prime ministers hold talks in Moscow on integration “roadmaps” intended to bind the two countries’ economies more tightly together. The program is due to be presented for approval by Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in December.The EU has been trying to pry the former Soviet republic out of the shadow of the Kremlin by removing sanctions that included Lukashenko personally, when he freed political prisoners and helped mediate in the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists.The U.S. has also thawed relations, announcing in September that its returning its ambassador to Belarus for the first time since 2008. That came shortly after the then National Security Adviser John Bolton met Lukashenko in Minsk to “emphasize U.S. support for Belarus’s sovereignty and independence,” according to the U.S. embassy.‘Build Bridges’Lukashenko’s Austria visit shows that ”gates that were closed before are opening now for Belarus,” said Konstantin Zatulin, first deputy head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s committee on CIS affairs. “Belarus is trying to build bridges with the West and the West is interested in encouraging Belarus.”While Russia and Belarus signed a 1999 accord to form a so-called Union State, Lukashenko has rebuffed demands for a monetary union, single legal system and common foreign and security policy. As recently as April, three people close to the Kremlin said Russia may press for a unified state with Belarus as a way to sidestep a constitutional ban on Putin extending his presidency when his current term ends in 2024.Putin has denied any such plans. Lukashenko ruled out unification in July, saying he’d agreed with Putin that “absorbing Russia into Belarus or Belarus into Russia” shouldn’t even be discussed, the Belta news service reported.Still, with Belarus largely dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies, Lukashenko felt the pressure when Moscow introduced new tax rules this year that he said may lead to nearly $11 billion in losses for his country by 2024 through increased crude costs.Topics to be discussed in Vienna include the EU’s Eastern Partnership program and the maintenance of a memorial site in Maly Trostinets near Minsk, where the Nazis killed many Austrian Jews in World War II. The Austrian presidency said there will be a “critical dialogue on human right problems” and a meeting of business leaders.While Lukashenko “can make all the gestures he wants” to demonstrate his independence, “there is one objective thing - Belarus is deeply economically dependent on Russia,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, who heads the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a research group that advises the Kremlin. The Union State plans “suggest that Belarus has no room for maneuver,” he said.\--With assistance from Aliaksandr Kudrytski.To contact the reporters on this story: Boris Groendahl in Vienna at;Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at, Tony Halpin, Gregory L. WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Pressure Grows on Britain to Return Its Last African Colony

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 1:00am

(Bloomberg) -- From a one-story house with mustard-colored walls off a bustling road in Mauritius, Olivier Bancoult is defying the U.K. by plotting a return to the tiny tropical island where he was born.A 55-year-old native of the remote Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, Bancoult heads a group of mostly elderly women who, like him, were expelled shortly after Britain bought the archipelago from its then-colony Mauritius in 1965. His campaign has taken him to London and the United Nations and secured him a meeting with Pope Francis.As a young boy, Bancoult and the other roughly 2,000 inhabitants of Chagos were deported to the U.K., Mauritius and Seychelles. The new owners then gassed the residents’ pets, closed the coconut plantations and allowed the U.S. to build a military base on the biggest island of Diego Garcia. With the exception of the air force base seen as crucial for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the U.K. has kept the islands free of inhabitants by declaring an area the size of France a protected marine reserve in 2010. Only a few people are allowed to visit briefly each year, and they can’t stay overnight.“My mother died here, without ever having been back to her home,” Bancoult said in an interview. “I won’t let that happen to me.”At a time when politicians in Britain are evoking its imperial past as the U.K. prepares to quit the European Union, the country is under international pressure to give up its last African colony, a sign of its diminished global importance when only 80 years ago it held sway over almost a quarter of the world’s population.“What Britain is facing today is having to confront its colonial past, whether it’s Chagos or Northern Ireland,” said Philippe Sands, a London-based lawyer who serves as Counsel for Mauritius. “It’s the story of its empire coming back to haunt it.”In February, the International Court of Justice ruled the 1965 excision of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius unlawful because it wasn’t based on the free will of the people concerned. In an advisory opinion, the court stated that the U.K. has an obligation to end its administration of the archipelago “as rapidly as possible.”Then, in May, the UN General Assembly affirmed the ruling by an overwhelming majority, with 116 member states voting in favor of a resolution setting a six-month deadline for the U.K. to withdraw. Only six members rejected the proposal -- the U.S., Hungary, Israel and Australia among them. The deadline expires on Nov. 22.“A UN General Assembly resolution doesn’t mean you have to comply, but obviously it’s very embarrassing for them,” said David Brewster, a senior research fellow at the National Security College in Canberra, Australia. “That’s what happens when you alienate your allies.”At the end of his September visit to Mauritius, Pope Francis chided the U.K., saying it needs to respect the wishes of international institutions.But things are unlikely to change overnight.The U.K. argues it can’t give up the Chagos Islands for security reasons. It doesn’t recognize Mauritius’s claim over what it calls the British Indian Ocean Island Territory, or BIOT, a spokesperson for the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in an email.“The joint U.K.–U.S. defense facility on the British Indian Ocean Territory helps to keep people in Britain and around the world safe from terrorism, organized crime and piracy,” the spokesperson said. “The status of BIOT as a U.K. territory is essential to the value of the joint facility and our shared interests -– an arrangement that cannot be replicated.”Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly said the U.K. should respect the international court’s opinion, cooperate with Mauritius and ensure the people of Chagos can return home.Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, who won an election last week, has vowed to pursue the decolonization process with “unflinching determination.” But he’s also tried to allay concerns about the future of Diego Garcia, saying he has no objections to the base and is ready to enter into a long-term arrangement with the U.S.Today, the Mauritius government is redrawing its national maps and has set money aside to help the Chagossians prepare for an eventual return. The post office even issued special stamps to celebrate the court ruling.Still, organizing and funding the relocation of as many as 9,000 people to an archipelago that’s more than 1,100 miles away and has no schools, hospitals or any other public services will cost significantly more than the $1.4 million the government has set aside.That’s why there are “extra-parliamentarian groups in Mauritius that question the government’s ability to administer the Chagos Archipelago,” political analyst Catherine Boudet said by phone from the capital, Port Louis.Bancoult is confident the returning residents can make a decent living, mainly from tourism and fishing. And he’s planning to charter a boat for their return when the day comes.“There are already people living there who weren’t born there,” he said, referring to the foreign employees at the military base. “We’ll bring our birth certificate to show that we have a right to live there too.”To contact the reporter on this story: Pauline Bax in Johannesburg at pbax@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

UK to quadruple quota for migrant farm workers -Sunday Telegraph

Yahoo World News Feed - November 9, 2019 - 2:50pm

Britain's government will quadruple the annual immigration quota for seasonal farm workers to 10,000 from next year to tackle labour shortages in the sector after Brexit, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. Currently Britain allows 2,500 people from outside the European Union to work temporarily on British farms each year, a number that the sector says is too low. Many other farm workers come from poorer parts of the EU, and do not yet face a quota.