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Israel kills Islamic Jihad leader, setting off fierce clash

November 12, 2019 - 9:32am

Israel launched airstrikes Tuesday against two senior Islamic Jihad commanders, killing one in Gaza but missing another in Syria in a sharp escalation of Israel's regional conflict with Iran, which backs the Palestinian militant group. In eastern Gaza, the Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife.


The Latest: Jordan condemns Israeli targeted killing in Gaza

November 12, 2019 - 9:21am

Jordan's foreign ministry is condemning an Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip that killed a top militant commander. The Israeli strike triggered a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and set off the fiercest fighting between Israel and Gaza militants in months. In a statement Tuesday, Daifallah al-Fayez, a spokesman for the Jordanian foreign ministry, blamed Israel for the ensuing escalation in violence.


AP Explains: A look at the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza

November 12, 2019 - 9:10am

An Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip has killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta, a senior official with the Islamic Jihad militant group, setting off the worst bout of fighting in recent months. Islamic Jihad is one of several groups fighting Israel, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.


Nikki Haley defends Trump, calling him 'truthful'

November 12, 2019 - 9:06am

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley vigorously defended Donald Trump on Tuesday, pushing back against concerns about his mental acuity and fitness to serve and describing the president as “truthful” during her time in his administration. "I talked to him multiple times, and when I had issues, he always heard me out,” Haley said Tuesday on NBC's Today Show. “What about his truthfulness?” host Savannah Guthrie pressed, repeating her question.


Iraqi protesters rally as UN steps up mediation efforts

November 12, 2019 - 8:43am

Iraqi protesters shut down state institutions Tuesday as the United Nations stepped up pressure on the government to enact a raft of reforms in response to anti-government rallies. It comes just days after Iraq's influential neighbour to the east Iran brokered an agreement among Iraq's main political forces to close ranks around the government. As night fell on Tuesday in Baghdad, security forces fired live rounds, tear gas canisters and stun grenades from behind concrete barriers to disperse demonstrators near their main gathering place in Tahrir Square.


Nikki Haley Offers Weak Defense Of Trump's Ukraine Call In Tense Live Interview

November 12, 2019 - 8:31am

NBC's Savannah Guthrie grilled the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations about the impeachment inquiry into the president.


Danish court jails repatriated Islamic State fighter

November 12, 2019 - 8:24am

A foreign fighter from Denmark has been jailed in pre-trial custody for 27 days, a day after the man was deported from Turkey, which has begun to send home people who fought for the Islamic State group. Prosecutor Sidsel Klixbull told the Copenhagen City Court on Tuesday that it was "a very serious case." Ahmad Salem el-Haj was held on preliminary charges of violating Danish terror laws. Copenhagen police say Denmark in 2017 had asked Turkey for his extradition but in vain.


Turkey tries to shed light on White Helmets founder's death

November 12, 2019 - 8:10am

Turkish officials were performing an autopsy and other procedures Tuesday as they tried to understand how a former British officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer aid group in Syria died. James Le Mesurier's body was found near his home in Istanbul early Monday by worshippers on their way to morning prayers. Turkish police believe he fell to his death from his home and are investigating the circumstances.


U.S. to Expand Mueller Election-Fraud Case Against 13 Russians

November 12, 2019 - 8:04am

(Bloomberg) -- American prosecutors plan to expand their long-running fraud case against 13 Russians, including an oligarch known as “Putin’s chef,” accused of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, court records show.The government said Tuesday in court documents that it will file a superseding indictment to add the additional charge of conspiring to interfere with a campaign finance rule banning certain expenditures by foreign nationals.The case, begun by then-Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018, described a concerted effort by the Russians to pose as American citizens actively engaged in social media during the campaign, posting inflammatory messages designed to sow discord among voters.A company owned by Yevgeniy Prighozin, a restaurateur nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because he catered the Russian resident’s functions, opted to fight the case and hired Washington lawyer Eric Dubelier. Dubelier has repeatedly attacked the government’s decision to charge his client with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and related charges, demanding the prosecutors show how his client knowingly violated any statute.The government said the superseding indictment will not add any new defendants and that it should not affect a scheduled trial date of April 6, 2020.The case is USA v. Internet Research Agency, 18-cr-00032, in U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Farrell in New York at gregfarrell@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Smith at hsmith26@bloomberg.net, Steve StrothFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Japan, US say 3-way ties with S. Korea are key to security

November 12, 2019 - 7:59am

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, agreed with Japanese officials Tuesday that three-way cooperation with South Korea is key to regional security and that an intelligence sharing pact between Tokyo and Seoul should not be scrapped. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he told Milley that discord among the three countries would only destabilize the region and benefit North Korea, China and Russia. "We shared a view that Japan-U.S.-South Korea cooperation is more important now than ever, as we discussed the latest situation related to North Korea, including the North's latest launch of ballistic missiles," Motegi said.


European Democracy Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

November 12, 2019 - 7:54am

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What do Spain, Israel, Austria, Belgium and the German state of Thuringia and perhaps, soon, the U.K., have in common? Elections whose outcomes make reasonable, cohesive parliamentary governing coalitions next to impossible. This isn’t just political fragmentation, which is becoming the norm in Europe and beyond. It’s compromise-defying deadlock. Breaking it may require substantial change to political traditions and parliamentary procedures.Spain has just held the fourth inconclusive election in as many years and the second this year. The problem for the plurality winner, caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, is that he’s already tried and failed to make deals with political parties on the leftist flank and in the political center. Policy differences with the remaining parties would probably paralyze a coalition government that included them. Such a scenario is unfolding in Germany now under a reluctant, uneasy coalition of the center-right and the center-left.In Austria, where the election took place on Sept. 29, more than a month of indecision ensued because the plurality winner, center-right leader Sebastian Kurz, had no willing coalition partners except on the far-right. Kurz had already tried governing in that combination and failed at it. On Monday, the Greens announced they’d talk to Kurz, and he launched negotiations with them despite what now appear to be irreconcilable differences on climate-change policies and migration. The talks probably will last well into next year. It’s impossible to predict how long Belgium will go without a government after the May election. Negotiators appointed by the king to explore coalition possibilities resigned last week without getting anywhere because the strongest parties — the Flemish nationalists and the Francophone socialists — have no discernible common interests.In Thuringia, there’s no majority coalition in sight following the state’s October election. The far left, led by incumbent Minister-President Bodo Ramelow, won a plurality, but parties that agree to work with his political force don’t have a combined majority. Nor can his opponents work together without breaking clear promises to their voters.Unless Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in the U.K. can win an outright majority next month, the country will find itself in a similar situation, with any workable coalition difficult to imagine on ideological grounds.In all these places, caretaker cabinets without full parliamentary support are perfectly capable of running the nations’ day-to-day business, keeping government offices open and public employees paid. But politics are as fragmented as they are today because many voters want change, and that’s not possible without powerful governments pushing it. Meanwhile, it’s getting harder to overcome ideological differences simply for the sake of stability and responsibility, since voters tend to dismiss such attempts as self-seeking and ineffective.At least in Israel, which has held two inconclusive elections this year, the biggest parties are willing to try something new to break the deadlock, like a prime ministerial rotation with the current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, remaining in office for a year and then handing things over to his rival and possible coalition partner Benny Gantz. The Europeans should get more creative, too. Government formation talks are getting more protracted everywhere and junior coalition partners are getting harder to recruit because of mounting statistical evidence that playing the role usually leads to dramatic election losses. Leader rotations are an ingenious solution, but they hardly spell stability. It might be less damaging to move toward the minority government-friendly Scandinavian model. In Norway, appointing a prime minister doesn’t require a confirmation vote by the majority of parliament as in Spain or Germany. The ruling party is usually just the plurality winner in the election, while smaller parties often display a coalition aversion: They can achieve more in opposition, helping form ad-hoc majorities only on measures they can support instead of working inside governments. In Sweden, there is a confirmatory vote, but only to make sure an absolute majority of the parliament doesn’t oppose a new prime minister. In other words, legislators are only required to tolerate rather than actively support a government.A minority-government tradition hands a lot of power to plurality winners in elections, but at the same time, they must work more actively with the opposition than parties ruling in majority coalitions. The advantage is that all the parties can maintain their political identities and only make compromises that they can accept sincerely.Decision-making without stable majorities could be even more efficient with broader use of ranked-choice voting, in which legislators could rank various versions of a bill in order of preference to break deadlocks like the Brexit stalemate that afflicts the U.K. Parliament. The power of this procedure would allow a minority government to push through important legislation, but it wouldn’t completely eliminate the need for compromises. Part of the opposition, no matter how fragmented, could unite against competing measures and assemble a bigger plurality than the government’s.Breaking with political traditions and reforming voting rules is hard: Political systems are stabilized by inertia. But politicians should be able to see that democracy works differently now than it did in previous decades. Unless they make changes today, while responsible, traditional parties are still winning pluralities, voter disappointment with ineffective, constantly bickering governments or months-long cabinet formation processes can lead to outright victories by so-called anti-elite forces, often on the far right. Then, it’ll be too late for reasonable forces to unite against them. To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


European Democracy Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

November 12, 2019 - 7:54am

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- What do Spain, Israel, Austria, Belgium and the German state of Thuringia and perhaps, soon, the U.K., have in common? Elections whose outcomes make reasonable, cohesive parliamentary governing coalitions next to impossible. This isn’t just political fragmentation, which is becoming the norm in Europe and beyond. It’s compromise-defying deadlock. Breaking it may require substantial change to political traditions and parliamentary procedures.Spain has just held the fourth inconclusive election in as many years and the second this year. The problem for the plurality winner, caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, is that he’s already tried and failed to make deals with political parties on the leftist flank and in the political center. Policy differences with the remaining parties would probably paralyze a coalition government that included them. Such a scenario is unfolding in Germany now under a reluctant, uneasy coalition of the center-right and the center-left.In Austria, where the election took place on Sept. 29, more than a month of indecision ensued because the plurality winner, center-right leader Sebastian Kurz, had no willing coalition partners except on the far-right. Kurz had already tried governing in that combination and failed at it. On Monday, the Greens announced they’d talk to Kurz, and he launched negotiations with them despite what now appear to be irreconcilable differences on climate-change policies and migration. The talks probably will last well into next year. It’s impossible to predict how long Belgium will go without a government after the May election. Negotiators appointed by the king to explore coalition possibilities resigned last week without getting anywhere because the strongest parties — the Flemish nationalists and the Francophone socialists — have no discernible common interests.In Thuringia, there’s no majority coalition in sight following the state’s October election. The far left, led by incumbent Minister-President Bodo Ramelow, won a plurality, but parties that agree to work with his political force don’t have a combined majority. Nor can his opponents work together without breaking clear promises to their voters.Unless Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in the U.K. can win an outright majority next month, the country will find itself in a similar situation, with any workable coalition difficult to imagine on ideological grounds.In all these places, caretaker cabinets without full parliamentary support are perfectly capable of running the nations’ day-to-day business, keeping government offices open and public employees paid. But politics are as fragmented as they are today because many voters want change, and that’s not possible without powerful governments pushing it. Meanwhile, it’s getting harder to overcome ideological differences simply for the sake of stability and responsibility, since voters tend to dismiss such attempts as self-seeking and ineffective.At least in Israel, which has held two inconclusive elections this year, the biggest parties are willing to try something new to break the deadlock, like a prime ministerial rotation with the current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, remaining in office for a year and then handing things over to his rival and possible coalition partner Benny Gantz. The Europeans should get more creative, too. Government formation talks are getting more protracted everywhere and junior coalition partners are getting harder to recruit because of mounting statistical evidence that playing the role usually leads to dramatic election losses. Leader rotations are an ingenious solution, but they hardly spell stability. It might be less damaging to move toward the minority government-friendly Scandinavian model. In Norway, appointing a prime minister doesn’t require a confirmation vote by the majority of parliament as in Spain or Germany. The ruling party is usually just the plurality winner in the election, while smaller parties often display a coalition aversion: They can achieve more in opposition, helping form ad-hoc majorities only on measures they can support instead of working inside governments. In Sweden, there is a confirmatory vote, but only to make sure an absolute majority of the parliament doesn’t oppose a new prime minister. In other words, legislators are only required to tolerate rather than actively support a government.A minority-government tradition hands a lot of power to plurality winners in elections, but at the same time, they must work more actively with the opposition than parties ruling in majority coalitions. The advantage is that all the parties can maintain their political identities and only make compromises that they can accept sincerely.Decision-making without stable majorities could be even more efficient with broader use of ranked-choice voting, in which legislators could rank various versions of a bill in order of preference to break deadlocks like the Brexit stalemate that afflicts the U.K. Parliament. The power of this procedure would allow a minority government to push through important legislation, but it wouldn’t completely eliminate the need for compromises. Part of the opposition, no matter how fragmented, could unite against competing measures and assemble a bigger plurality than the government’s.Breaking with political traditions and reforming voting rules is hard: Political systems are stabilized by inertia. But politicians should be able to see that democracy works differently now than it did in previous decades. Unless they make changes today, while responsible, traditional parties are still winning pluralities, voter disappointment with ineffective, constantly bickering governments or months-long cabinet formation processes can lead to outright victories by so-called anti-elite forces, often on the far right. Then, it’ll be too late for reasonable forces to unite against them. To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at jlandman4@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


The U.S. detained more child migrants than ever before in 2019 and more than anywhere else in the world

November 12, 2019 - 6:47am

The Trump administration held a record 69,550 migrant children in U.S. government custody in fiscal 2019, up 42 percent from the previous year, and it detained the children for longer periods of time, The Associated Press and PBS Frontline reported Tuesday. The number of migrant children detained away from their parents also outpaced any other nation in the world, according to United Nations researchers. Canada, for instance, detained 155 separated children in 2018, and Britain sheltered 42 migrant children in 2017; Australia detained 2,000 children during a maritime surge in 2013.The U.S. government has acknowledged that detaining children can lead to long-term physical and emotional trauma. "Some of these migrant children who were in government custody this year have already been deported," AP reports. "Some have reunited with family in the U.S., where they're trying to go to school and piece back together their lives. About 4,000 are still in government custody, some in large, impersonal shelters.""Early experiences are literally built into our brains and bodies," says Dr. Jack Shonkoff at Harvard's Center on the Developing Child. He warned Congress earlier this year that detaining kids away from their parents or primary caregivers rewires their brains. The American Academy of Pediatrics said in the September issue of journal Pediatrics that migrant children who are detained "face almost universal traumatic histories." The longer the detention and the younger the detainees, the greater chance of serious trauma.When President Trump took office, the Department of Health and Human Services was caring for about 2,700 children, most of whom were reunited with parents or relatives in about a month, AP reports. In June, HHS had more than 13,000 children in custody and they stayed in detention for about two months. On Nov. 5, a federal judge ordered the government to immediately provide mental health treatment and screening to detained migrant families, ruling that there is sufficient evidence government policy "caused severe mental trauma to parents and their children" and U.S. government officials were "aware of the risks associated with family separation when they implemented it."More stories from theweek.com The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weird?


Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries

November 12, 2019 - 6:40am

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's chief of staff and former national security adviser clashed in court Monday. Two new books describe how top aides to the president secretly plotted to circumvent him. And nearly every day brings more testimony about the deep internal schism over the president's effort to pressure Ukraine for domestic political help.In the three years since his election, Trump has never been accused of running a cohesive, unified team. But the revelations of recent days have put on display perhaps more starkly than ever the fissures tearing at his administration. In the emerging picture, the Trump White House is a toxic stew of personality disputes, policy differences, political rivalries, ethical debates and a fundamental rift over the president himself.The fault lines were most clearly evident Monday when Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, abruptly withdrew his effort to join a lawsuit over impeachment testimony after a sharp collision with his onetime colleague John Bolton, the former national security adviser. Mulvaney retreated only hours after a lawyer for Bolton and his former deputy, Charles Kupperman, went to court arguing that his clients wanted nothing to do with the staff chief because they had vastly different interests.In withdrawing his motion, Mulvaney indicated that he would now press his own lawsuit to determine whether to comply with a subpoena to testify in the House impeachment inquiry. But it left him at odds with the president, who has ordered his team not to cooperate with the House, an order Mulvaney essentially has refused to accept as other administration officials have until he receives separate guidance from a judge.Mulvaney's lawyers emphasized that he was not trying to oppose Trump, maintaining that he was actually trying to sue House Democrats, and an administration official who insisted on anonymity said there was "no distance" between the president and his chief of staff. Still, Mulvaney hired his own lawyer instead of relying on the White House counsel, and he consciously made clear that he was open to testifying if left to his own devices.The situation underscored long-standing enmity between Mulvaney and the counsel, Pat Cipollone, who have repeatedly been at odds throughout the impeachment inquiry, according to four administration officials briefed on the events.Mulvaney, who has been left with an "acting" title for more than 10 months and therefore insecure in his position, is said to see Cipollone as angling for his job as chief of staff. People close to Cipollone deny that and say he is not interested, although they acknowledged that there were previous discussions with Trump about such a shift.Hoping to bolster his own place in the White House, Mulvaney has recommended to Trump that he hire Mark Paoletta, the general counsel at the Office of Management and Budget, where Mulvaney is still technically the director, according to people familiar with the maneuvering. Paoletta would not displace Cipollone but would give Mulvaney an ally on the legal team as the impeachment battle plays out.Another person familiar with the latest moves said that Paoletta was considered but that West Wing officials decided they were pleased with the hiring of Pam Bondi, a former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a Republican strategist, both of whom began full time this week.The latest personnel struggle echoed an attempt by Mulvaney several weeks ago to hire former Rep. Trey Gowdy, a fellow South Carolina Republican, to join the president's legal team. Cipollone and others were said to take issue with the idea, concerned it was an effort by Mulvaney to run his own legal team. Cipollone told allies he had no such concerns, but eventually, Gowdy bowed out, facing an issue with a ban on former House members lobbying Congress.Despite his own tenuous job status, Mulvaney has privately told associates in recent days that there is no easy way for Trump to fire him in the midst of the impeachment fight, the implication being that he knows too much about the president's pressure campaign to force Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats.The court fight between Mulvaney and Bolton on Monday brought their long-running feud into the open. Mulvaney was among those facilitating the Ukraine effort while Bolton was among those objecting to it. At one point, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry, Bolton declared that he wanted no part of the "drug deal" Mulvaney was cooking up, as the then national security adviser characterized the pressure campaign.Their clash was just one of many inside Trump's circle spilling out into public in recent days. The legal conflict Monday came just a day before Nikki Haley, the president's former ambassador to the United Nations, plans to publish a memoir accusing Trump's former secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and former chief of staff, John Kelly, of conspiring behind his back while in office. Her account in effect is a mirror image of another book coming out this month by an anonymous senior administration official describing how concerned aides mounted their own internal resistance to Trump.Kelly disputed Haley in a statement Sunday and Tillerson added his own refutation Monday. "During my service to our country as the secretary of state, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the president," Tillerson said in a statement.While he offered Trump frank advice, he said, once the president made a decision, he did his best to carry it out. "Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the president," Tillerson added.Tillerson was never enamored of Haley when they were both in office, seeing her as a rival trying to upstage him and run foreign policy from her perch at the United Nations. Haley's portrayal of herself fighting off Trump's internal enemies was met Monday with scoffs from several administration officials, who said they were aware of little evidence to back up her self-description. But a former senior administration official who witnessed some of the interactions Haley had with the president described her as heavily involved with policy.The books are being published at the same time new transcripts are released by the House documenting how Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a coterie of allies, including Mulvaney, sought to sideline career diplomats and other foreign policy officials who warned against enlisting Ukraine to help the president's personal political interests.The dispute pitted one part of Trump's administration against another in a struggle over foreign policy that now has the president on the precipice of being impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.The lawsuit that Mulvaney sought to join was filed by Kupperman, a longtime associate of Bolton, and asked a court to decide whether Kupperman should obey the president's dictate to stay silent or a House subpoena to testify.While not technically a party to the lawsuit, Bolton, who left his post in September after clashing with Trump, is represented by the same lawyer, Charles Cooper, and is taking the same position as Kupperman in waiting for the court to decide whether he should testify or not.Mulvaney's effort to join the lawsuit late Friday night stunned many involved in the impeachment debate because he still works for the president. Mulvaney did not ask Bolton or Kupperman for permission to join the lawsuit nor did he give them a heads up. Bolton and his team considered it an outrageous move since they were on opposite sides of the Ukraine fight and did not want their lawsuit polluted with Mulvaney.Not only did the motion filed Monday by Bolton's camp seek to keep Mulvaney out of the lawsuit, it even advanced an argument that the acting chief of staff may have to testify before House impeachment investigators. The motion noted that in a briefing with reporters last month, Mulvaney appeared "to admit that there was a quid pro quo" before later trying to take back the admission, meaning that he might not have the right to defy a House subpoena since he had already discussed the matter in public."Accordingly, there is a serious question as to whether Mulvaney waived the absolute testimonial immunity claimed by the president," the motion said.Mulvaney's lawyers rejected that. "The idea that Mr. Mulvaney has somehow waived broad immunity by speaking about this" at a briefing "doesn't have any legs," Christopher Muha, one of the lawyers, told the judge in the case Monday afternoon, according to a transcript of a conference call released by the court.Nonetheless, Judge Richard Leon, of the U.S. District for the District of Columbia, indicated at the end of the call that he was inclined to reject Mulvaney's request to join the suit. Mulvaney then withdrew it and said he would file his own separate action.The motion filed by Bolton's camp noted that Kupperman does not take a position on who is right, the president or Congress, and "will remain neutral on the merits of the constitutional issue," while Mulvaney "has made it clear that he supports the executive" branch interpretation.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Nikki Haley's new book says Trump was 'surprised' when she was the first to confront him over his head-scratching Helsinki summit with Putin

November 12, 2019 - 6:36am

Nikki Haley says she told President Donald Trump she was uncomfortable with the Vladimir Putin meeting when he played down Russian election meddling.


Germany: 3 Islamists detained over suspected attack plot

November 12, 2019 - 6:08am

Authorities in Germany detained three alleged supporters of the Islamic State group Tuesday on suspicion of preparing a deadly attack against non-Muslims. Frankfurt prosecutors said some 170 police officers searched three apartments in the nearby city of Offenbach and detained the men, who were already known to authorities. "The intervention occurred in time to prevent a concrete threat," chief prosecutor Nadja Niesen told reporters in Frankfurt.


Europe Expands Defense Projects Amid Macron Warnings on NATO

November 12, 2019 - 6:00am

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.European Union governments approved a new set of defense-cooperation projects that would bolster Europe’s military clout as French President Emmanuel Macron warned that global institutions, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, needed urgent overhauls.EU defense ministers endorsed 13 more initiatives under the Permanent Structured Cooperation -- or PESCO -- program, bringing the total to 47.The latest projects, which were given the go-ahead on Tuesday in Brussels, range from a French-Italian goal to design a new class of military ship called “European Patrol Corvette” to a planned cyber coordination center by Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands and Spain.The PESCO program and a planned 13 billion-euro ($14.3 billion) European Defense Fund mark the cornerstones of the EU’s efforts to do more for its own security, which has depended for decades largely on the U.S.-dominated NATO.‘Unprecedented Crisis’The European move comes as Macron reiterated his warning about the threats to global institutions, telling leaders at a conference in Paris that there is an “unprecedented crisis” of the international social and economic order due to inequality, unilateralism, migration, climate change and doubts about democracy. Last week, the French president warned of “brain death” at NATO.“I’ve perhaps offended a few people here in recent days or weeks. I think we need truth: Prudishness and hypocrisy don’t work these days,” Macron said on Tuesday. “Laziness -- intellectually or in action -- is not a solution.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Macron’s comments about NATO “drastic” and said the 29-nation alliance was “irreplaceable.”While U.S. President Donald Trump has been outspoken in pressing European countries to foot more of the transatlantic security bill, his administration has warned them against shutting American companies out of joint defense projects.The EU has approved in principle rules for the participation of foreign businesses in the planned European Defense Fund. But the bloc’s national governments are still split over any involvement by non-EU companies in the PESCO program, with France leading a group keen to restrict access.To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net;William Horobin in Paris at whorobin@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Flavia Krause-JacksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Nikki Haley’s Damning Defense of Trump

November 12, 2019 - 6:00am

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has made news twice during her book tour. She has said that Trump should not be impeached “for asking for a favor that didn’t happen” and for holding up aid that was eventually delivered to Ukraine. And she has said that former administration officials Rex Tillerson and John Kelly asked her to join them in resisting the president from within. She says she rejected the idea because it would have meant subverting the Constitution.In both cases, Haley disappointed opponents of Trump who had hoped, or imagined, that she was one of them. Her remarks show that she has thrown in her lot with the president. But there is a tension between her comments, and it mirrors the tension of working in this administration.On the one hand, Haley insists that it’s a constitutional duty for the president’s will to be followed. On the other hand, it’s a constitutional excuse for him that his will wasn’t followed. When Kelly, who served as chief of staff, and Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, second-guess the president, they are usurping power our Constitution gave him. But when the president issues a command, sometimes it’s really more of a suggestion.Trump’s underlings have certainly been willing to treat his wishes as idle talk before, and sometimes even to defy him. Their insubordination has kept Trump out of trouble before, too. As the report from special prosecutor Robert Mueller detailed, former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller when Trump directed him to do so. If McGahn had obeyed, Trump would likely have faced an earlier and more bipartisan impeachment.Was McGahn, by Haley’s standards, serving Trump or undermining him? What about the reports that Trump has sometimes urged aides to break laws and promised to pardon them afterward? The aides decided to treat those remarks as a “joke.” Assuming Haley believes these reports, were these aides, too, acting illegitimately?One way of trying to get around this dilemma would be to assume that some presidential directives are serious and others are just venting or jesting. Haley has gestured toward this possibility, telling the Washington Post that “there was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen” when Trump asked for a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As far as we can tell from what Haley has told us, though, Kelly and Tillerson may have had the same idea. Maybe they just wanted officials to err on the side of construing Trump’s orders as “light” demands.Haley is right to be uncomfortable about presidential aides seeing themselves as checks on their boss. She’s right, too, that defiance raises a constitutional concern. Article II vests executive power in the president, not in his aides. The aides, who were not elected, have to be accountable to the president who was. It can’t be the other way around.But this president has chosen, or defaulted to, a different mode of governance. He either tolerates a high degree of insubordination or has not figured out a way of squelching it. When his appointees anger him, he often vents about it on Twitter instead of firing them.No wonder Haley’s remarks sound so dissonant. The president has created a working environment in which either following his orders or not following them is a threat to the proper functioning of the government. Even the most highly accomplished diplomat could not resolve this tension, which may help explain why Haley, like Tillerson and Kelly, is no longer in the Trump administration.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at rponnuru@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Nikki Haley’s Damning Defense of Trump

November 12, 2019 - 6:00am

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has made news twice during her book tour. She has said that Trump should not be impeached “for asking for a favor that didn’t happen” and for holding up aid that was eventually delivered to Ukraine. And she has said that former administration officials Rex Tillerson and John Kelly asked her to join them in resisting the president from within. She says she rejected the idea because it would have meant subverting the Constitution.In both cases, Haley disappointed opponents of Trump who had hoped, or imagined, that she was one of them. Her remarks show that she has thrown in her lot with the president. But there is a tension between her comments, and it mirrors the tension of working in this administration.On the one hand, Haley insists that it’s a constitutional duty for the president’s will to be followed. On the other hand, it’s a constitutional excuse for him that his will wasn’t followed. When Kelly, who served as chief of staff, and Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, second-guess the president, they are usurping power our Constitution gave him. But when the president issues a command, sometimes it’s really more of a suggestion.Trump’s underlings have certainly been willing to treat his wishes as idle talk before, and sometimes even to defy him. Their insubordination has kept Trump out of trouble before, too. As the report from special prosecutor Robert Mueller detailed, former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller when Trump directed him to do so. If McGahn had obeyed, Trump would likely have faced an earlier and more bipartisan impeachment.Was McGahn, by Haley’s standards, serving Trump or undermining him? What about the reports that Trump has sometimes urged aides to break laws and promised to pardon them afterward? The aides decided to treat those remarks as a “joke.” Assuming Haley believes these reports, were these aides, too, acting illegitimately?One way of trying to get around this dilemma would be to assume that some presidential directives are serious and others are just venting or jesting. Haley has gestured toward this possibility, telling the Washington Post that “there was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen” when Trump asked for a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As far as we can tell from what Haley has told us, though, Kelly and Tillerson may have had the same idea. Maybe they just wanted officials to err on the side of construing Trump’s orders as “light” demands.Haley is right to be uncomfortable about presidential aides seeing themselves as checks on their boss. She’s right, too, that defiance raises a constitutional concern. Article II vests executive power in the president, not in his aides. The aides, who were not elected, have to be accountable to the president who was. It can’t be the other way around.But this president has chosen, or defaulted to, a different mode of governance. He either tolerates a high degree of insubordination or has not figured out a way of squelching it. When his appointees anger him, he often vents about it on Twitter instead of firing them.No wonder Haley’s remarks sound so dissonant. The president has created a working environment in which either following his orders or not following them is a threat to the proper functioning of the government. Even the most highly accomplished diplomat could not resolve this tension, which may help explain why Haley, like Tillerson and Kelly, is no longer in the Trump administration.To contact the author of this story: Ramesh Ponnuru at rponnuru@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a senior editor at National Review, visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributor to CBS News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


WFP chief vows more 'aggressive' action on sexual harassment

November 12, 2019 - 5:58am

In the wake of an internal survey that detailed multiple allegations of rape and sexual harassment of its female staffers, the leader of the World Food Program is vowing to go after abusers. David Beasley, the U.N. agency's executive director, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he is "making hard choices to bring change" to the WFP. "If we have a claim of rape by anyone in the WFP, if we can substantiate, I can't begin to tell you how aggressive" actions will be, he told the AP in a phone interview from the agency's Rome headquarters.


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