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10 things you need to know today: November 11, 2019

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 5:07am

1.Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned Sunday after facing mass protests over his attempt to hold onto power by bending laws to run for a fourth term, then claiming victory in a vote marred by allegations of fraud. Morales came to power more than a decade ago in a surge by leftist leaders in Latin America. The South American nation's first indigenous president, he was once popular and led the country through a period of economic growth and falling inequality. His attempt to extend his presidency, however, triggered widespread protests and cost him the support of many allies and the military. Morales and Vice President Álvaro García Linera, who also stepped down, said they had been pushed out in what amounted to a "coup." [The New York Times] 2.Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley says in her new memoir, With All Due Respect, that two of President Trump's senior advisers undermined and worked around their boss, saying they were trying to "save the country." Haley wrote that the pair, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, tried to recruit her to help them, but she refused, The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing a copy of the book obtained before its Tuesday release. Tillerson did not respond to the Post's request for comment. Kelly said if providing Trump with "with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice from across the [government] so he could make an informed decision is 'working against Trump,' then guilty as charged." [The Washington Post] 3.The U.S. will leave up to 600 troops in northeastern Syria to continue fighting the Islamic State, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday. Milley did not provide a precise figure, but before President Trump ordered U.S. withdrawal last month ahead of Turkey's incursion, Milley said less than 1,000 U.S. troops would be left operating in the area along the Turkish border. Trump, under pressure from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other supporters, later said he would leave a few hundred soldiers in the region to "secure the oil" so Syria or militants wouldn't take it over. Milley, speaking on ABC News' This Week, did not mention the oil fields. "The footprint will be small, but the objective will remain the same — the enduring defeat of ISIS," Milley said. [The Washington Post] 4.Thousands of protesters clashed with Hong Kong police on Monday after police shot a pro-democracy protester. The shooting occurred as demonstrators attempted to block a busy street. The chaos began when a traffic officer started tussling with a protester. Another demonstrator then began to approach them, and the officer fired a live round into the person's stomach. Two more rounds were then fired at another protester. Tensions soared after the shooting, with protesters and officer workers jamming streets, some shouting, "Disband the police!" Later, a pro-Beijing supporter was doused with liquid and set on fire. [The Washington Post, BBC News] 5.Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialists won the country's Sunday national elections, but the far-right Vox party made big gains that threatened to worsen political deadlock. The Socialists took 120 seats, three fewer than they won in the last elections in April. That left them even further from the 176 seats necessary for the absolute majority they would need to govern without forming a coalition. Vox, led by 43-year-old Santiago Abascal, surged to 52 seats from 24 after breaking into Parliament for the first time in the spring. Abascal called the quick success of his party "the greatest political feat seen in Spain," and vowed to fight the "progressive dictatorship" as congratulations poured in from right-wing populist and anti-immigrant leaders across Europe. [The Associated Press] 6.Iran has found a new oil field with 53 billion barrels of crude, President Hassan Rouhani announced Sunday. If the discovery is proven, it could increase Iran's proven oil reserves by just over a third. Rouhani said the new field is located in the oil-rich southern Khuzestan province. The find comes as Iran is struggling to find ways to sell its crude internationally amid renewed sanctions by the U.S., which is withdrawing from the landmark nuclear deal that exchanged curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran currently has the world’s fourth largest proven oil reserves and the second biggest natural gas deposits. [The Associated Press] 7.Rep. Pete King, a moderate New York Republican now in his 14th congressional term, will not run for re-election in the fall, he announced Monday. King, while "in good health," decided with his wife that he'd like to spend more time with his children and grandchildren, he said in a statement. That makes King the 20th Republican in the House to say they won't run for re-election next year, as opposed to only eight Democrats who've declined to run. King won his district in 2018 with 53 percent of the vote, meaning it's possible a Democrat could take over the spot next year. 8.The semi-official Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said Monday that four protesters had been killed in the latest clashes between security forces and protesters in the southern city of Nasiriyah. Another 130 people were wounded, some seriously. The human rights organization called the Sunday incidents "regrettable." The violence came as security forces used tear gas to disrupt protesters trying to prevent employees from entering the education directorate. More than 320 protesters now have been killed by police and military personnel since protests broke out last month against corruption, unemployment, and inadequate public services despite the country's huge oil reserves. [The Associated Press] 9.Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba said Monday that sales reached $22.63 billion in the first nine hours of its annual Singles Day shopping event. That total marked a 25 percent increase over the same period last year. The event started in 2009 and has grown into the biggest online sales event in the world. The Singles Day total of $30 billion last year far surpassed Cyber Monday in the U.S., which had $7.9 billion in sales. Citic Securities said in a note over the weekend that it expected Alibaba's Singles Day sales to rise by up to 25 percent this year, held back from an even bigger jump by slowing overall online sales growth in China. [Reuters] 10.President Trump is scheduled to give a speech in Manhattan to kick off New York's Veterans Day parade. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both of whom have traded criticism with Trump recently, plan to join the march. De Blasio urged Trump not to politicize the event. "It should not be turned into a spectacle," he said. "If he's coming here to truly honor veterans, God bless him." Cities around the country will hold their own events to honor the nation's veterans. Businesses and restaurants are joining in by offering veterans and active-duty military personnel discounts, free meals, and other perks to show appreciation for their service. The National Parks Service is waiving entrance fees for the federal holiday. [The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News]More stories from The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weird?

UN, top Iraq cleric urge 'serious' reforms after protests

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 4:57am

The United Nations' top official in Iraq and the country's most senior cleric urged authorities on Monday to get "serious" about reforms after anti-government demonstrations that have left hundreds dead. Mass rallies calling for an overhaul of the ruling system have rocked the capital Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south since October 1 -- the largest and deadliest popular movement in Iraq in decades. The bloody unrest has sparked serious concern from the UN, human rights groups and the White House, which on Sunday called on Baghdad "to halt the violence against protesters" and pass electoral reform.

Bolivian President Evo Morales Resigns After Army Tells Him to Go

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 4:49am

(Bloomberg) -- Evo Morales, South America’s longest-serving president and a towering figure for the region’s left-wing movements, resigned after election irregularities triggered weeks of violent clashes and intervention from the armed forces.Morales said he was leaving office to avoid violence, adding that he wouldn’t flee the country since he hadn’t stolen anything. He pointed to the economic progress of the country and said in his resignation speech that he was the victim of a coup and called for the international community to intervene.Russia joined leftist governments in the region, including Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba, in denouncing what the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said on Monday appeared to have been “an orchestrated coup” against Morales. The U.S., which on Sunday criticized the “flawed” elections, kept a low profile over Morales’s departure. Bolivia plunged into deeper chaos late Sunday with reports of fires and looting, as well as confusion over the succession after the three officials who were next in line to replace Morales also stepped down.Arrest WarrantOn Sunday night, Morales said on Twitter that the Bolivian police had an arrest warrant against him, and also that violent groups had attacked his home.Morales’s resignation caps three weeks of political violence in the landlocked nation. While he presided over respectable economic growth under a socialist-light model, his desire to cling on to power after almost 14 years even after losing a referendum ultimately led to his downfall. His exit also coincides with a period of social unrest in recent weeks across South America, from Ecuador to Chile, amid austerity programs and cuts in social programs and subsidies.Bolivia’s top soldier General Williams Kaliman Romero earlier said Morales should step down to restore peace to the country. The governments of Mexico and Venezuela, as well as Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez, echoed Morales in denouncing the events as a coup.The move by the army came after some police on Saturday abandoned their posts, including those guarding the presidential palace in the capital of La Paz. In some cases, they even joined protesters, according to the Associated Press. Protest leader Luis Fernando Camacho had also called for Morales’s resignation.Morales resigned just hours after ceding to pressure to hold new elections. The embattled leader had agreed to the new vote after the Organization of American States published a report saying the Oct. 20 presidential election had been marred by serious irregularities.Read More: OAS Urges Bolivia to Hold New Elections as Unrest GrowsRussia hasn’t received a request for asylum from Morales, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday on a conference call. The crisis in Bolivia should be resolved without interference from other countries, he said.Russian President Vladimir Putin called Morales “our partner and friend” during the Bolivian’s visit to Moscow in July, saying relations with Bolivia were “genuinely strategic” with extensive investments by Russian state-owned energy companies including Gazprom and Rosatom.Political consultants linked to the Kremlin went to Bolivia to try to help Morales win October’s election, using online social media campaigns that targeted his opponents, the Proekt news website reported last month, citing three officials it didn’t identify. The goal was to secure the long-term presence of Russian companies working in Bolivia, it said.Morales took office in 2006, and was the lone survivor of the so-called pink tide of leftist leaders that reshaped the continent’s politics during the 2000s. Unlike his ally Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, he presided over strong economic growth, rising incomes and falling poverty. But his democratic credentials were questioned after he ignored the result of a 2016 referendum on presidential term limits.Before he quit, Morales didn’t set a date for new elections, and it’s unclear when these will be held.Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a tweet that his government rejects the “military operation” that removed Morales. He also said the Mexican government has received 20 Bolivian executive and legislative officials seeking asylum at the nation’s official residence in La Paz, and would offer the same to Morales.An Aymara Indian in a country historically ruled by a wealthier, white elite, Morales swept to power promising to “nationalize everything.” In practice, his Movement Toward Socialism party was much more pragmatic.Morales could have remained in power and held another election had he not lost the support of the army, said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a group representing U.S. businesses.“Even today in Latin America, the arbiter remains the security forces, and that was proven today in Bolivia,” said Farnsworth, who worked on Latin American issues at the White House during the Bill Clinton administration.Morales’s vice president also said he would quit, and the head of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra, resigned, meaning power may pass to the second vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Añez, according to Argentine newspaper Clarin.To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Bristow in Bogota at;Eric Martin in Mexico City at emartin21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at, Tony Halpin, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Iran underground lab boosts low-enriched uranium production

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 4:27am

Iran is producing even more low-enriched uranium daily than previously thought, after resuming enrichment at an underground laboratory built in a mountain, the head of the country's nuclear program told The Associated Press on Monday. Ali Akbar Salehi of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran attributed the rise to the work at Fordo, a long-secret facility the West feared could be used to divert and rapidly enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. Iran resumed uranium enrichment at Fordo as it also broke other limits imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal that began to unravel after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord over a year ago.

UPDATE 2-Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at World Court - justice minister

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 4:24am

Gambia said on Monday it had filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, drawing praise from human rights groups and Rohingya activists. More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar's military, which U.N. investigators say was carried out with "genocidal intent".

57 countries sue Myanmar over reported genocide of Rohingya in historic lawsuit

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:58am

Fifty-seven nations are suing Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, alleging in a historic lawsuit that the government has conducted genocide against its Rohingya minority. The suit comes just weeks after the United Nations warned that the violent campaign against the Rohingya is continuing in northwest Myanmar, and its special envoy called for the U.N. Security Council to refer Myanmar's senior officials to the International Criminal Court, a separate international body.

UPDATE 1-UK economy dodges recession, but annual growth slowest since 2010

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:50am

* UK Q3 annual GDP growth +1.0% vs Q2 +1.3%, lowest since 2010 * Weak world economy and Brexit uncertainties hurting demand * Economy expands 0.3% in Q3 alone after 0.2% fall in Q2 * Finance minister praises "solid" growth, economists doubtful * BoE may cut rates in 2020 if uncertainty persists (Adds reaction from economists and markets) By David Milliken and Andy Bruce LONDON, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Britain's economy grew at its slowest annual pace in nearly a decade during the three months to September as the global slowdown and Brexit worries hit manufacturing and business investment, official figures showed on Monday. Output fell in August and September - when Britain looked at risk of leaving the European Union without a transition deal. A month before an early election, finance minister Sajid Javid hailed what he called "solid" growth figures, a view challenged by the opposition Labour Party.

Egypt says it's unearthed large animal mummy, likely a lion

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:49am

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities says local archeologists have unearthed the mummy of an unusually large animal, most likely a lion or lioness. The ministry said on Monday the mummy was excavated in Saqqara, a town south of Cairo that was a vast necropolis in antiquity and is home to the famed Step Pyramid. Archeologists frequently find mummified cats but the recovery of a lion is rare.

Latin American Politics Still a Military Affair

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:48am

(Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.In the end it was the military that helped settle it.Having hung on for weeks in the face of protests and opposition claims he’d rigged an election, Bolivia’s socialist President Evo Morales was forced into a corner yesterday.First the Organization of American States said widespread irregularities meant it was statistically unlikely Morales obtained enough votes to avoid a runoff. Then the armed forces chief called for him to go. And even as he described it as a coup, South America’s longest-serving leader swiftly obliged.The military has a long history of mixing with politics, including dictatorships, and the sight of troops on the streets can spur painful memories. Although it treads carefully these days, it still holds sway in countries across the region.In Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro has hung on in the face of immense international pressure, with the army behind him. Witness the recent protests in Ecuador and Chile, where leaders have been quick to appear in public, flanked by senior officers.In Brazil, a right-wing former army officer is in the presidency, with other former officers in key roles.Argentina, with painful memories of the 1976-1983 dictatorship, is one outlier.Where Bolivia goes from here is unclear. There’s confusion over succession as the three officials who were next in line to replace Morales also stepped down. Either way, the military will have a keen interest.Global HeadlinesUnrest rages | Hong Kong saw one of its most violent days since protests began in June, with clashes between police and protesters leaving downtown areas paralyzed, transportation networks hobbled and two men clinging to life. The unrest raised more questions about police methods to dispel anti-government demonstrations. It also saw the biggest loss in Hong Kong stocks in about three months, underscoring fears about an economy already in recession.Yes men | Some of Donald Trump’s inner circle failed to check his effort to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden that set in motion the impeachment inquiry now engulfing his presidency. As Steven T. Dennis reports, transcripts released by House impeachment investigators offer no evidence that Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tried to restrain Trump, highlighting his preference for advisers who don't question him.The start of public impeachment hearings in the House this week will test whether Democratic efforts to investigate Trump risk hurting the party in the 2020 election. Democrats signaled their willingness to let some witnesses requested by Republicans testify at the hearings, but only people with knowledge of the president’s actions. And not Hunter Biden or the whistle-blower whose complaint sparked the inquiry.Political deadlock | Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will struggle more than ever to form a government after his Socialist party lost seats in yesterday’s election. His is still the biggest party, but he has nowhere near a majority, even with the backing of his natural allies. Weak minority governments have become the new normal in Spain, and even that looks some way off for Sanchez.A continent burns | Australia is bracing for another week of devastating bushfires, with swaths of the eastern seaboard and areas of greater Sydney facing a “catastrophic” threat that’s unprecedented at this time of year. The devastation comes as the federal government refuses to link the crisis with climate change, vowing instead to prosecute those protesting against companies with large carbon footprints.Space threats | The U.S. intelligence community is updating its assessment of the space-warfare capabilities of Russia and China over concerns about advances in their ability to jam, ram or destroy satellites in orbit. As Tony Capaccio writes, Air Force General John Hyten, now the U.S.’s No. 2 military officer, requested the National Intelligence Estimate before he left his prior command at the U.S. Strategic Command.What to WatchRomanian President Klaus Iohannis won a first round election to set up a runoff in two weeks against a former prime minister, Democrat leader Viorica Dancila. European Union foreign ministers meet in Brussels today and tomorrow to discuss Syria, Afghanistan and Iran. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Trump at the White House Wednesday amid lingering rifts over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile-defense system and a U.S. case against state-lender Halkbank on charges of evading sanctions on Iran. Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gather in Brasilia for a two-day summit Wednesday and Thursday where Brazil is expected to try to convince China and Russia to drop support for Maduro. A Malaysian judge today ordered ex-premier Najib Razak to defend himself against all charges in the trial involving a former unit of troubled state-owned fund 1MDB. He'll take the stand on Dec. 3 as the defense’s first witness.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Owais ur Rehman Maan, who was the first to name Emmanuel Macron as the person who described NATO as being in a state of “brain death.” Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at finally ... Britain is under increasing pressure to return its last African colony, the tropical Chagos Islands. In February, the International Court of Justice ruled the 1965 excision of the islands from Mauritius unlawful because it wasn’t based on the free will of the people. The UN endorsed the ruling and now the clock is ticking towards the Nov. 22 deadline. Yet the U.K. insists it is not ceding control any time soon. \--With assistance from Karen Leigh and Ben Sills.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Iraq's Sistani supports reform, concerned politicians not serious enough - UN rep

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:32am

The senior UN representative in Iraq, Jeaine Hennis-Plasschaert, said on Monday that the country's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had made it clear to her that he supports the enactment of serious reforms over a reasonable time period. Sistani, however, expressed concerns that Iraq's political elite were not serious enough about enacting reforms, Hennis-Plasschaert, who is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, said. Protesters on the street "could not go home without sufficient results", she said in a news conference after meeting the cleric in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

Imelda Marcos Is Here to Teach Us How Wannabe Autocrats Like Trump Really Think

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:16am

Artur Widak/NurPhoto via GettyLONDON—At the 80th birthday party of comedian Joey Adams in the ballroom of an upmarket hotel overlooking Central Park in 1991, Donald Trump and Imelda Marcos sat side by side; two vulgar icons of ’80s greed and ambition.Imelda and her husband Ferdinand Marcos had been ousted from power five years earlier by a popular uprising in the Philippines where people had grown sick of their corruption and brutality. Trump was a loud-mouthed but ultimately powerless New York real estate mogul.Fifteen years later, in 2016, Trump was elected President of the United States and Marcos’ political clout was restored after a Filipino presidential election in which her son stood to be vice president and Rodrigo Duterte became the hardline president.The Marcos family are believed to have stolen more than $10 billion from the Filipino people during their 21-year reign. Ferdinand died in 1989, but in recent years, the family secretly helped to fund the rise of Duterte, a notorious homophobe and rape apologist who has bragged of executing drug-dealers in thousands of extrajudicial street killings.Trump is one of the few world leaders to have spoken warmly of Duterte and reportedly congratulated him on his approach to the drug trade.The great claim to fame of vaudevillian Joey Adams’ may be his invention of the one-liner: “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”With friends like his, that’s no wonder.Imelda Marcos, who is now 90, is currently trying to help her son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., overturn defeat in the 2016 vice-presidential election (after three years, Duterte’s judges are still refusing to reject his appeal). He is likely to run to succeed Duterte when his one-term limit comes to an end in 2022.If Imelda lives to see her son’s election as president, it would be an extraordinary return to power for a woman who was forced into exile as one of the world’s most mocked and disdained leaders, famous for collecting more than a thousand pairs of designer shoes while the angry populace was restrained under martial law.Her second rise has been expertly charted in Kingmaker by documentarian Lauren Greenfield, whose previous work includes the Sundance-feted The Queen of Versailles. Her new film offers a glimpse of the distorted inner monologue of a politician driven by autocratic tendencies.‘The Kingmaker’: A Scathing Portrait of the Female Donald TrumpImelda describes herself as a “mother” to the Philippines and its clear that she genuinely believes her kleptocratic rule blessed the nation. On screen we see her tutting over buildings that have been left to decay in the subsequent decades, while she passes out cash to needy citizens who squabble over the handouts. “I do think she believes her story,” Greenfield told the Daily Beast in London. “And the people around her don’t disabuse her of that. In a way she’s got her own delusions.”Greenfield spent five years filming the documentary, a period that spanned Imelda’s rise from a period as a lowly congresswoman to the rebirth of her power. “As we worked over the five years it became clear that they were coming back to power. And that this wasn’t a story about the past; it was a story about the present,” she said.That transformation was made possible by a change in the perception of the Marcos family, who were chased out of the country in disgrace 30 years ago. An aggressive use of social media as well as campaigning to have schools change the way the history of their reign was taught have helped to reinvent their reputation.“Perceptions are real, the truth is not,” says Imelda in the film.“She’s aware of the power of the media,” explained Greenfield. “She says ‘The gun can kill you only till the grave, and the media can kill you to infinity and beyond.’ And they've been very adept at using social media to communicate their talking points about martial law and the Marcos era. That was a really big part of how they seeded a lot of the ideas. Bongbong really went after the younger generation which didn't really remember martial law.”Thus the Marcos family have succeeded in ingratiating themselves back into polite society and into the hearts of millions of voters.As the film begins, we are swept into Imelda’s attractive and rarefied world. “At first I found her kind and generous, and captivating and funny, and able to laugh at herself in a way that was kind of endearing. And then as I learned of the terrible and tragic consequences of the regime that she was complicit in, my view of her and also her version of history really changed,” Greenfield said.Kingmaker shows us both sides. The film’s brilliance lies in allowing us to see the autocrat’s delusion in still believing they speak for the common man. It’s a familiar theme.“Imelda talks about her friends who other people thought were monsters, but she thought were kind and generous like Saddam Hussein and Chairman Mao. It makes you think of Trump's bedfellows and who he's attracted to, like Putin and even Duterte,” said Greenfield.Imelda says Mao kissed her hand and congratulated her personally for ending the Cold War. She also claims to have given him the idea for the Cultural Revolution.By joining forces with Duterte, the Marcos family is emphasizing the continuity with a new generation of strongmen. “Duterte was really the expression of the terror of dictatorship coming back, they were leaning in to what happened and trying to get back there again,” said Greenfield.“It's a cautionary tale for us about what happens when you don't remember history; about the fragility of democracy and the return to authoritarian regimes,” the director said. “I didn't start the movie as just being about the Philippines and I am pleased that people are seeing it as a reflection also of what's going on in the U.S. and the rise of nationalism in Europe.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

Iran awards prestigious prize to 2 US-educated scientists

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 3:10am

Iran on Monday awarded a top prize in the study of science and technology to two U.S.-educated scientists. Vice President Sourena Sattari granted the Mustafa award to five scientists, three Iranians and two Turks, during a ceremony. Among the recipients was UCLA professor Ali Khademhosseini, for his work on the application of nanostructures in the treatment of disease.

The Latest: Official: Iran producing more enriched uranium

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 2:09am

The head of Iran's nuclear program has told The Associated Press that the country now is producing more low-enriched uranium daily, after restarting an underground lab. Tehran had been producing some 450 grams, or about 1 pound, of low-enriched uranium a day under the nuclear deal. It's since broken out of the accord's limits over a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord.

Trump’s Road to Impeachment Paved by All the President’s Yes Men

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 2:00am

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate a top Democratic rival went largely unchecked by some of his closest advisers -- setting in motion the impeachment inquiry now engulfing his presidency.Transcripts released by House impeachment investigators last week offer no evidence that Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tried to stop Trump from his bid earlier this year for a Ukrainian probe of former Vice President Joe Biden.The Ukraine episode, depicted in testimony from current and former U.S. officials, illustrates the peril that lies in Trump’s preference for advisers who let him follow his instincts in making policy. And it puts a new light on recent comments from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who said last month that he warned the president not to replace him with a yes man or he’d risk being impeached. Trump disputed Kelly’s statement.Events surrounding the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump requested an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter, will get a full public hearing as House Democrats accelerate their impeachment inquiry.Three State Department officials -- William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine; Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State responsible for Ukraine -- are set to testify in separate sessions on Wednesday and Friday. They may shed light not only on the president’s decisions, but the actions by his most senior advisers.Mulvaney and Pompeo last year replaced two men who were more likely to raise objections to Trump’s unconventional and transactional approach to governing: Kelly and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said the president “has assembled an incredible team at the White House and across the federal government to help him accomplish undeniable successes,” which included “restoring the nation’s standing in the world.”The State Department declined to comment.Trump has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong related to Ukraine and refers to the call with Zelenskiy as “perfect.”National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was forced out in September, was said to have cut short discussions about demanding investigations from Ukraine as the price of an Oval Office meeting with Trump and Zelenskiy. Bolton also raised concerns about Trump’s use of his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to play a role in directing the U.S. relationship with Ukraine.Bolton, whose lawyer says he won’t testify before the House unless a judge orders him to do so, told colleagues Giuliani is “a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up,” according to testimony by Fiona Hill, Trump’s former Russia adviser.It is not clear, however, what steps Bolton took to counter Giuliani’s efforts.According to transcripts of the closed-door testimony to the House, Mulvaney carried out Trump’s orders on Ukraine. He put a hold on nearly $400 million in aid critical to Ukraine’s defense against Russia. No evidence has emerged that he opposed Trump’s demands.National Security Council aide Alexander Vindman testified that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said in a July 10 call that Mulvaney insisted Ukraine would have to provide “deliverables” to get a meeting with Trump. Sondland, according to Vindman, said that meant conducting investigations sought by Trump.“He was talking about the 2016 elections and an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma,” Vindman said in testimony released Friday.Burisma Holdings is a Ukrainian energy firm. Hunter Biden sat on its board and received substantial compensation -- an arrangement that Trump claims is corrupt, though no evidence of wrongdoing has emerged.In testimony released last week, Pompeo was portrayed as a passive figure by several top State Department officials. Sondland, who was told by Trump to listen to Giuliani on Ukraine, testified that he discussed Giuliani’s role with Pompeo.“Pompeo rolled his eyes and said: Yes, it’s something we have to deal with,” Sondland said.Sondland also testified that although State Department officials were concerned about Giuliani’s activities, “my speculation is yes, that they hit a brick wall when it came to getting rid of Mr. Giuliani.”Pompeo’s approach contrasts with that of Tillerson. Two years earlier, Trump repeatedly sought to enlist Tillerson to intervene in a criminal case against a Turkish gold trader who was a client of Giuliani’s, Bloomberg News reported. The trader, Reza Zarrab, would later testify that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew of and approved of a plan to launder money for Iran to evade U.S. sanctions. Tillerson refused to intervene in the case and complained to Kelly.After the Ukraine episode become public, Kelly blamed a breakdown in White House staff leadership.Someone has to tell Trump “that you either have the authority or you don’t, or Mr. President, don’t do it,” Kelly said on Oct. 26 at an event hosted by the Washington Examiner. “Whatever you do, don’t hire a ‘yes man,’” Kelly said he warned Trump. “Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached.”In response, Trump said that if Kelly had said that, “I would have thrown him out of the office. He just wants to come back into the action like everybody else does.”Nikki Haley, Trump’s former U.N. ambassador, told CBS that Kelly and Tillerson undermined the president during their tenure.“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” she said in the interview that aired Sunday.Haley said they pitched her for more than an hour on resisting the president. But she told CBS their actions were dangerous, offensive and against the Constitution.As part of the impeachment inquiry, House Democrats also are examining potential obstruction of justice by Trump detailed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.In multiple cases, Mueller wrote in his report, Trump’s staff rejected the president’s orders. He said that former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who left the administration last year, refused Trump’s demand to have Mueller removed -- and then refused to write a memo saying Trump had never told him to do it.Tillerson has said that Trump often asked him to do things that were illegal.“I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President, I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law,’” Tillerson said at an event in Houston last December.Shortly afterward, Trump said of Tillerson on Twitter, “He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.”Pompeo has yet to give a detailed account of his role. He has publicly bristled at questions about the Ukraine matter, speaking in generalities about wanting to reduce corruption in Ukraine and only confirming well after the fact that he listened in on Trump’s July call with Zelenskiy.The House interview transcripts show Pompeo remaining neutral when Ukraine matters are discussed.Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo, testified that the secretary didn’t react when he resigned over the affair. Taylor testified Pompeo didn’t respond when he sent a cable warning against a quid pro quo tying military aid for Ukraine to investigations the ambassador saw as designed to aid Trump’s re-election campaign rather than national security.“Although I received no specific response, I heard that soon thereafter, the secretary carried the cable with him to a meeting at the White House focused on security assistance for Ukraine,” Taylor testified. It’s not clear what Pompeo did behind the scenes.Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican on Capitol Hill, has said he lobbied both Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper to release the Ukraine aid, and neither gave him a reason why it was being held up.Mulvaney, at a press conference on Oct. 17, confirmed that aid was held up in part to get Ukraine to launch investigations sought by Trump. After a backlash from the president’s allies and foes alike, Mulvaney backtracked, saying the media had misreported his comments.Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who is the longest-serving senator, said having a compliant staff doesn’t absolve Trump.“He can tell himself no,” Leahy said. “When I was a prosecutor somebody said about an armed robbery, ‘Well, it’s not my fault they never should have given me that gun.’ Come on, you’re the guy that held the gun, held up the store!”\--With assistance from Nick Wadhams, Jordan Fabian, Billy House and Justin Sink.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at, Justin Blum, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

UPDATE 2-Sistani backs UN ideas to ease Iraq crisis, concerned elites not serious -UN official

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 1:13am

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric is concerned the political elite is not serious about enacting promised reforms to defuse mass unrest and believes protesters will not go home without concrete steps to realize their demands, a senior U.N. official said. More than 280 people have been killed in protests that erupted in Baghdad on Oct. 1 and spread to the southern Shi'ite heartland, seeking an overhaul of a corruption-ridden sectarian political system, more jobs and functioning public services. Shi'ite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who only speaks on politics in times of crisis and wields enormous influence over public opinion in Shi'ite-majority Iraq, on Monday met Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the U.N. mission chief in the country.

Hong Kong police shoot protester as pro-democracy unrest spirals into rare working-hours violence

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 1:13am

A protester was shot and a man set on fire on Monday as protests in Hong Kong spilled into rare daytime hours, forcing public transport, offices and schools to shut down. A 21-year-old activist was in critical condition after being shot and wounded at around 7.20am as traffic police trying to stop protesters from blocking a road fired three live shots with no prior warning. Police later said all were meant to be warning shots, as the officers felt their lives were under threat. Video circulating online showed an officer holding a protester and pointing his gun at another, firing at close range. Another man was admitted to hospital for burns, after he was set on fire. Videos online show protesters arguing with a man in a green t-shirt, as he criticises Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists. A masked person in black then throws liquid over the man, and sets him on fire. The violence is pushing Hong Kong to the “brink of no return,” said Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam. She condemned the protesters’ “wishful thinking” that escalating violence would force the government to meet their demands.  Police fired tear gas in the Central business district Credit:  REUTERS/Thomas Peter “I’m making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen,” Ms Lam said. “Violence is not going to give us any solution.”  Chaos erupted as news of the use of live rounds spread, and as video circulated online of a police officer driving his motorcycle into protesters, further inflaming tensions. The police said the officer was suspended and under investigation. Police fired tear gas in several neighbourhoods, as clashes broke out throughout the day, including in the central business district. Subway stations were closed and bus routes halted as activists blocked roads and vandalised stations. Protesters also threw petrol bombs inside a rail car holding passengers, a subway spokesperson told local media.    Protests are now a near-daily occurrence, sometimes flaring up with little or no notice, engulfing city in the biggest political challenge ever against Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.  Skirmishes are increasingly violent, with protesters vandalising buildings and throwing petrol bombs and bricks at police, government offices, as well as people or businesses thought to be pro-Beijing or sympathetic to police.  Police have responded with greater force, using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, making more than 3,000 arrests since protests began early June. The first use of live rounds came in August, when two protesters, aged 14 and 18, were shot, both of whom survived. Some office workers took shelter from the tear gas inside a mall Credit: Nicole Tung/Bloomberg Activists increasingly resent the police for using what they call disproportionate force in handling the protests.  The live rounds on Monday “are clear evidence of reckless use of force,” said Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong. “These are not policing measures – these are officers out of control with a mindset of retaliation.” “These behaviours call their training in question and the commands they have been given – officers should be deployed to de-escalate difficult crowd control situations, not make them worse,” said Mr Tam. Underpinning the protests are widespread fears that Hong Kong’s unique freedoms are eroding under Beijing rule. Some protesters have also called for independence, something Chinese Communist Party leaders will never tolerate.  Beijing has decried the protests as the work of Western governments trying to foment unrest to destabilise China, without giving any evidence.

Brexit Bulletin: Farage Under Pressure

Yahoo World News Feed - November 11, 2019 - 12:27am

Days to Brexit deadline: 81(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to get the Brexit Bulletin in your inbox every weekday.Today in Brexit: No one is backing down in the tussle over whether to create a pre-election Leave alliance.Nigel Farage is coming under pressure to stand aside and let U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver Brexit after the general election on Dec. 12.Arron Banks, one of Farage's key backers in the 2016 referendum, used a column in the Mail on Sunday to urge his former ally to step aside. Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng echoed that call in an interview with Sky News’s Sophy Ridge. Former Theresa May aide Nick Timothy describes Farage today as a tragic figure, “the Frodo Baggins of Brexit.” But Farage, the original poster boy for Brexit, looks unlikely to give way gracefully. Leavers fear Farage could now split the pro-Brexit vote, help Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street, and scupper Britain’s departure from the European Union. As Banks put it: If Farage “insists on pursuing his impossible dream of a perfect Brexit, he will not get it.” Weekend polling put Farage’s Brexit Party on 6%-10%, in fourth place. Farage launches his Brexit Party’s election campaign today in Hartlepool, in the north of England. Follow our rolling election coverage for all the latest.For all the pressure, Farage shows little inclination to bow out. On Sunday, he gave Johnson another four days to reach a deal or face Brexit Party candidates running against Conservatives across the whole U.K. His demand: Johnson should abandon his deal and pursue what Farage calls a “clean Brexit.”Why would the prime minister agree? The Tories are certainly nervous about the Brexit Party. Johnson may be enjoying a double digit lead in the polls — but it could evaporate quickly. The Conservatives are also at greater risk of losing supporters to the Brexit party than Labour, polling guru John Curtice pointed out in the Sunday Telegraph. On Sunday, Johnson ruled out extending the transition period beyond 2020, something many have taken as an olive branch to Farage and his supporters.But it would be an almost unthinkable step for Johnson to abandon outright the compromise he spent months hammering out — and even more of one for Farage to walk away. Single-issue campaigners like him need a cause if they are to remain relevant: If Brexit is delivered, and the public moves on, how does he go on being just that?Today’s Must-ReadsBrexit is even hurting Tinder, according to Bloomberg’s Joe Easton and Ivan Edwards. Here’s what companies have been saying about Brexit.  Johnson’s Tories hit out at Labour, saying opposition spending plans would cost £1.2 trillion ($1.5 trillion) over five years. Labour’s finance spokesman, John McDonnell, branded the claim a “ludicrous piece of Tory fake news.” Does Boris Johnson understand his own deal? Recent comments by the prime minister have only sown confusion, according to Bloomberg’s Rob Hutton.Brexit in BriefNo Contraction | The U.K. almost certainly avoided a recession ahead of the now-postponed Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Official figures are due at 9:30 a.m. in London.More Chaos | The bid for a new Brexit referendum has been thrown into (even more) disarray, with the acting chief of the People’s Vote campaign stepping down amid allegations of harassment, according to the Guardian.Bercow’s Back | The former speaker of the House of Commons tells the Guardian he may be pompous, but says Brexiters and Theresa May are to blame for Britain’s delayed departure from the EU.Outlook Cut | The U.K.’s sovereign credit rating was put on negative outlook by Moody’s Investors Service, which said the country’s ability to set policy has weakened in the Brexit era along with its commitment to fiscal discipline.Time, Please | J D Wetherspoon Plc founder Tim Martin is coming under pressure to keep his pro-Brexit views to himself, according to the Guardian. Shareholder groups are increasingly unhappy with the publican’s habit of including his opinions on the controversial subject in his firm’s trading updates. The next is due on Wednesday.Nationalist Project | “Brexit seems to have knocked the British off their trolleys, depriving at least half of them any sense of proportion. How did they get to be like this?” Ferdinand Mount reviews Fintan O’Toole’s Postwar England and the Rise of Nationalism in the New York Times.Want to keep up with Brexit?You can follow us @Brexit on Twitter, and listen to Bloomberg Westminster every weekday. It’s live at midday on Bloomberg Radio and is available as a podcast too. Share the Brexit Bulletin: Colleagues, friends and family can sign up here. For full EU coverage, try the Brussels Edition.For even more: Subscribe to Bloomberg All Access for our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, The Bloomberg Open and The Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Edward Evans in London at eevans3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Adam Blenford at, Timothy Coulter "Tim"For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Italy: 5 Italian soldiers wounded by explosion in Iraq

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 9:14am

Italy's defense ministry says five Italian soldiers have been wounded by the explosion of a device in Iraq. The ministry said three of the wounded were in "grave condition" in the blast of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as they were passing by Sunday morning. The wounded soldiers were evacuated by U.S. military helicopters to hospital.

Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 9:11am

Jordan's king announced Sunday that his country is retaking "full sovereignty" over two pieces of land leased by Israel, reflecting the cool relations between the neighboring countries as they mark the 25th anniversary of their landmark peace deal. King Abdullah II had said last year that he wouldn't renew the parts of the 1994 treaty that gave Israel a 25-year lease of the two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr. "Today, I announce the expiration of the Peace Treaty annexes on Ghamr and al-Baqura and the imposition of our full sovereignty over every inch of those lands," he said.

Merkel Coalition Averts Crisis With Compromise on Basic Pension

Yahoo World News Feed - November 10, 2019 - 8:24am

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government struck a deal on a basic pension for long-term earners, a key issue for the Social Democrats that was threatening the stability of the ruling coalition.The agreement was reached after a meeting of senior officials from Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD at the chancellery in Berlin Sunday, according to a CDU spokesman. He didn’t immediately provide further details. Party chiefs are due to hold a news conference at 4:45 p.m. local time.Support for both of Germany’s traditional political heavyweights has dwindled since they agreed to end a stalemate after the 2017 election by forming another “grand coalition.”A proposal for a basic pension for those who have worked at least 35 years was included in their blueprint for government, but Merkel’s bloc balked at the SPD’s opposition to means testing and the medium-term cost estimated in local media at almost 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion).The next election isn’t scheduled until late 2021 and Merkel has said she won’t run for a fifth term. Her Christian Democrats, and their Bavarian sister-party, the CSU, have yet to choose a candidate to succeed her as chancellor, while Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is attempting to position himself as the SPD’s pick.To contact the reporters on this story: Iain Rogers in Berlin at;Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.