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Updated: 9 hours 33 min ago

Bosnia: Citizens who fought for IS in Syria can return

November 11, 2019 - 8:53am

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnia on Monday said it will take back the country's citizens who have been captured while fighting for the Islamic State group and who will face legal proceedings upon return to the Balkan country. About 260 Bosnian citizens remain in the camps in Syria, including approximately 100 men and 160 women and children, said Security Minister Dragan Mektic. Mektic insisted that only confirmed Bosnian citizens will be taken in.


Shootings, blasts prompt Denmark to tighten border controls

November 11, 2019 - 8:50am

Denmark will temporarily reinstate border controls with Sweden and step up police work along the border after a series of violent crimes and explosions around Copenhagen that Danish authorities say were carried out by perpetrators from Sweden. The checks, which start Tuesday for six months, will take place at the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, and at ferry ports.


Tulsi Gabbard is demanding an apology from Hillary Clinton

November 11, 2019 - 7:58am

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is keeping up her feud with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Gabbard's 2020 campaign released a letter from its legal counsel Monday demanding Clinton apologize and retract comments she made about her in October, The Hill reports. Clinton in a podcast on Oct. 17 called Gabbard the "favorite of the Russians," also saying she's being groomed for a third-party bid. The latter remark was initially reported widely as referring to Russians grooming Gabbard, though Clinton's spokesperson later said she meant Gabbard is being groomed by Republicans. Clinton additionally referred to Jill Stein as "also a Russian asset" after talking about Gabbard, with the "also" seeming to suggest Clinton thinks Gabbard is one as well. Gabbard's legal counsel rejected Clinton's explanation for the "grooming" comment, in the Monday letter calling the idea that she meant Republicans "spin developed only after you realized the defamatory nature of your statement, and therefore your legal liability." Clinton's comments are "actionable as defamation," the letter also says, going on to demand she "immediately hold a press conference to verbally retract -- in full -- your comments." Beyond that, Gabbard's counsel demands Clinton release a retraction on her Twitter account and distribute it to major news outlets, with an exact wording even being provided; a statement has Clinton saying she made a "grave mistake," that she apologizes, and that "I support and admire" Gabbard's work.This is Gabbard's latest escalation of her war against Clinton after tearing into her immediately after the October comments in a stunning Twitter thread, calling her "the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long." 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?


Trump Jr booed off stage by supporters of his father amid apparent split in US far right

November 11, 2019 - 7:37am

Donald Trump Jr was booed off stage and forced to abandon a book tour appearance at the University of California’s Los Angeles campus – due to a protest by supporters of his father.The event, organised by conservative group Turning Point USA (TPUSA), was disrupted by chants of “Q and A! Q and A!” after the audience was told the president’s son would not take questions, video showed.


At an Iowa rally, progressive voters already talk about an Ocasio-Cortez presidency

November 11, 2019 - 7:18am

As she took the stage in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted it was her “first time” in the key presidential primary state. But many of the thousands of people who came to see her campaign for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were confident it wouldn’t be her last visit. 


Airlines are flying tons of unneeded fuel around the world to save as little as $52 by not filling up in countries with higher prices

November 11, 2019 - 7:18am

The practice, called fuel tankering, gives airlines an often tiny saving at the cost of much-larger carbon emissions, BBC's 'Panorama' said.


Giuliani Associate Says He Gave Demand for Biden Inquiry to Ukrainians

November 11, 2019 - 6:12am

Not long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of Rudy Giuliani's journeyed to Kyiv to deliver a warning to the country's new leadership, a lawyer for the associate said.The associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Trump's political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid, the lawyer said.The claim by Parnas, who is preparing to share his account with impeachment investigators, challenges the narrative of events from Trump and Ukrainian officials that is at the core of the congressional inquiry. It also directly links Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, to threats of repercussions made to the Ukrainians, something he has strenuously denied.But Parnas' account, while potentially significant, is being contradicted on several fronts. None of the people involved dispute that the meeting occurred, but Parnas stands alone in saying the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership.Another participant in the meeting, Parnas' business partner, Igor Fruman, said Parnas' claim was false; the men never raised the issues of aid or the vice president's attendance at the inauguration, lawyers for Fruman said.Giuliani denied Parnas' contention that he had delivered the warning at the direction of Giuliani. "Categorically, I did not tell him to say that," Giuliani said.The dispute represents the clearest indication yet that Parnas, who was indicted along with Fruman last month on campaign finance charges, has turned on Trump and Giuliani.Parnas and Fruman, both Soviet-born businessmen from Florida, worked with Giuliani for months in Ukraine outside normal diplomatic channels to further Trump's interests. The men have been subpoenaed to testify before Congress, and Parnas' lawyer has said his client will comply to the extent he can without incriminating himself. It is unclear if Parnas will ultimately be called to testify.Parnas' account of the meeting, if corroborated, would reveal the earliest known instance of U.S. aid being tied to demands for Ukraine to take actions that could benefit Trump's 2020 reelection campaign. It would also represent a more extensive threat -- to pull Pence from the inaugural delegation -- than was previously known.Trump froze nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine shortly before a July 25 call with the country's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump personally sought investigations into the Bidens and claims that Ukrainians had meddled in the 2016 election. In the call, Trump did not explicitly link the aid and the investigations.Trump has denied a quid pro quo involving aid, and Zelenskiy has said he never felt pressured to pursue an investigation.The meeting in Kyiv in May occurred after Giuliani, with Parnas' help, had planned a trip there to urge Zelenskiy to pursue the investigations. Giuliani canceled his trip at the last minute, claiming he was being "set up."Only three people were present at the meeting: Parnas, Fruman and Serhiy Shefir, a member of the inner circle of Zelenskiy, then the Ukrainian president-elect. The sit-down took place at an outdoor cafe in the days before Zelenskiy's May 20 inauguration, according to a person familiar with the events. The men sipped coffee and spoke in Russian, which is widely spoken in Ukraine, the person said.Parnas' lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, said the message to the Ukrainians was given at the direction of Giuliani, whom Parnas believed was acting under Trump's instruction. Giuliani said he "never authorized such a conversation."A lawyer for Fruman, John M. Dowd, said his client told him the men were seeking only a meeting with Zelenskiy, the new president. "There was no mention of any terms, military aid or whatever they are talking about it -- it's false," said Dowd, who represents Fruman along with the lawyer Todd Blanche.In a statement on Friday, Shefir acknowledged meeting with Parnas and Fruman. But he said they had not raised the issue of military aid. Shefir said he briefed the incoming president on the meeting. Shefir was a business partner and longtime friend whom Zelenskiy appointed as his chief adviser on the first day of his presidency."We did not treat Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman as official representatives, and therefore we did not consider that they could speak on behalf of the U.S. government," Shefir said. He added that Parnas and Fruman had requested that Zelenskiy meet with Giuliani.Shefir said in his statement that he had told Parnas and Fruman "that we could consider meeting with Mr. Giuliani, but only publicly and officially and only after the inauguration of the newly elected president."The statement from Shefir, issued in response to an inquiry from The New York Times, did not directly address Parnas' claims that he had delivered an ultimatum about U.S. aid in general and Pence's attendance at the inauguration. A representative for Zelenskiy did not respond to a request for further comment.Bondy, Parnas' lawyer, challenged Shefir's characterization. "It would simply defy reason," he said, "for Mr. Shefir to have attended a meeting with Mr. Parnas if he did not believe Mr. Parnas spoke for the president, and also for Mr. Parnas not to have conveyed the president's message at this meeting."Pence did not attend the inauguration. His office said in response to questions from The Times that it had told Ukrainian officials on May 13, a week before the swearing-in, that the vice president would not be there.Giuliani is under investigation by Manhattan prosecutors and the FBI over whether he illegally engaged in lobbying for foreign interests in connection with the Ukraine efforts. He has denied any wrongdoing, saying he was working for his client, Trump.That investigation grew out of one into Parnas and Fruman. An indictment unsealed on Oct. 10 accused the men of illegally routing a $325,000 contribution to a political action committee supporting Trump through a shell company and linked them to an effort to recall the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who was the subject of criticism from many of Trump's allies. The men were also charged with funneling campaign contributions from a Russian businessman to other U.S. politicians to influence them in support of a marijuana venture. The two men, and two co-defendants, have pleaded not guilty.The impeachment inquiry was started after a whistleblower complained about the July phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to look into Burisma, a Ukrainian company that gave Biden's son Hunter a seat on its board and paid him as much as $50,000 a month. Trump suggested to Zelenskiy that Ukraine should contact Giuliani and the United States attorney general, William P. Barr, about the Bidens.With Trump by his side at the United Nations General Assembly in September, Zelenskiy told reporters that his July call with the president had been "normal" and that "nobody pushed me," adding that he did not want to become entangled in U.S. elections.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


Kremlin eyes four-way Ukraine summit this year

November 11, 2019 - 6:00am

An international summit on solving the Ukrainian crisis is likely to take place this year, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on Monday. A breakthrough at talks between Moscow and Kiev on Oct. 1 appeared to open the way for the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France to hold the first four-way summit on the conflict in three years. "I think that the summit would take place... I think this year," Ushakov said.


EU agrees sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling, to add names later

November 11, 2019 - 5:45am

The decision, reflecting a broader deterioration in EU ties with Turkey, aims to punish Ankara for violating Cyprus' maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island. It follows a separate decision to stop new arms sales by EU governments to Turkey over Ankara's Oct. 9 incursion into Syria. Turkey, which is a formal candidate to join the EU, says it is operating in waters on its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.


Lebanon Offers Banks Dollars as ‘Haircut’ on Deposits Ruled Out

November 11, 2019 - 5:42am

(Bloomberg) -- Lebanon’s central bank has no plans to impose formal restrictions on the movement of money or force depositors to accept losses but will offer “unlimited” dollars for commercial lenders to finance trade and meet customer demands through weeks of protest.With demonstrators gathered outside the central bank’s Beirut headquarters, Governor Riad Salameh said lenders could borrow dollars at an interest rate of 20% to ensure that they were able to give depositors ready access to their money-- on condition that the funds are not transferred abroad. The central bank had also asked lenders to accept Lebanese pounds from clients repaying loans in dollars.The move comes in response to restrictions imposed by individual banks on the transfer and withdrawal of dollars in order to minimize capital flight after the protests forced them to close for a week. Since opening, some have also frozen credit facilities for importers, leaving some unable to settle payments for goods already in transit to Lebanon and causing a public outcry and fears of shortages.Lebanon Warned on Default and Recession as Its Reserves DeclineSalameh said he had asked lenders to meet with merchants immediately to find a way to finance imports.“There is a lot of talk about capital controls in the legal term and this is not on the table,” he said. “The central bank doesn’t have the power to do this and it does not want to. We are a country that lives off transfers and we can’t put Lebanese in a situation where they transfer their money into the country and cannot get it out.”Capital Controls?Calls have mounted for Lebanon to impose formal restrictions on the transfer of dollars abroad in order to defend its dollar peg as the country enters its third week without a prime minister. Saad Hariri resigned in the face of public protests last month but political bickering means no replacement has been named while the caretaker government is unable to take measures needed to pull the economy back from the brink.To keep its lenders stable and defend the dollar peg, Lebanon relies on inflows from the millions of Lebanese living abroad. However, capital inflows needed to finance the large current account and fiscal deficits have slowed as confidence has dwindled. Meanwhile, outflows have gathered pace.Salameh said that some $2 billion had been withdrawn from the banks during the crisis, mostly by panicky depositors storing emergency cash at home. A lack of access to dollars at the banks has forced importers and ordinary people to turn to exchange bureaus creating a parallel exchange rate and pressuring the peg.Defending the PegThe central bank has repeatedly said that Lebanon’s peg of 1,507.5 pounds to the dollar was a guarantor of social stability and would be not be compromised to ease the financial crisis. But on the street, it now costs at least 1,800 pounds to buy a single dollar, forcing up prices in a country that relies heavily on imports.Salameh said the rise of a parallel dollar exchange rate was a natural response to the crisis but the measures announced on Monday should help restore some balance.To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Swedish police set up task force to combat gang violence

November 11, 2019 - 5:12am

Swedish police said on Monday they would set up a special task force to deal with a wave of shootings and bombings linked to criminal gangs following the fatal shooting of a 15-year old in the city of Malmo at the weekend. Sweden has long held a reputation as being one of the safest countries in the world and while overall crime and murder rates remain low, gang wars in major cities have claimed an increasing number of victims in recent years. On Saturday, two 15-year-olds were shot outside a pizza restaurant in Malmo in what police said appeared to be a gang conflict over control of the drug trade in the area.


Is the Littoral Combat Ship One of the Worst Warships Ever?

November 11, 2019 - 5:00am

A terrible investment.


Police shoot protester, man set on fire in day of Hong Kong fury

November 11, 2019 - 4:47am

A police officer shot a masked protester in an incident shown live on Facebook and a man was set on fire Monday during one of the most violent days of clashes in Hong Kong since pro-democracy unrest erupted more than five months ago. A masked assailant also doused a man with a flammable liquid and set him ablaze during an argument, with the horrifying scene captured on mobile phones and also posted online. "Continuing this rampage is a lose-lose situation for Hong Kong," police spokesman John Tse said at a press conference in which he showed the video of the man being set alight, as well as a fire inside a train.


Saudi Arabia Gives First Permanent Residencies to Foreigners

November 11, 2019 - 4:17am

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia granted 73 foreigners “premium” residency under a new program to attract overseas investment by enabling selected people to buy property and do business without a Saudi sponsor.The kingdom received thousands of applications after offering permanent residency for 800,000 riyals ($213,000) or a one-year renewable permit for 100,000 riyals. The first batch of recipients come from 19 countries and include investors, doctors, engineers and financiers, according to a statement Monday from the government’s Premium Residency Center. It didn’t detail how many were granted permanent residency.The program, approved in May, is the latest sign of how the kingdom is rethinking the role for foreigners as it works to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil. It’s a landmark move in a region where many overseas workers are subject to some of the world’s most restrictive residency rules. The premium residencies also allow holders to switch jobs, exit the kingdom easily and sponsor visas for family members.The idea for a long-term Saudi residency was first floated in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. At the time, he estimated the program would generate about $10 billion in annual revenue by 2020.While Saudi Arabia is seeking to encourage the affluent to stay, monthly fees imposed on foreign workers and their families, along with sluggish economic growth, have prompted hundreds of thousands of other expats to leave. Those levies are designed to spur private businesses to hire Saudi nationals as citizen unemployment hovers above 12%.To contact the reporter on this story: Vivian Nereim in Riyadh at vnereim@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net, Mark Williams, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


As Trump fumes, public impeachment hearings set to grab spotlight

November 11, 2019 - 4:06am

This week will mark a new and unparalleled chapter in Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, as the Democratic-led impeachment probe goes public with televised hearings into allegations about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Beginning on Wednesday, three witnesses will publicly detail their concerns, previously expressed behind closed doors, that the Trump administration sought to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of the Republican president's potential Democratic rival for the presidency, Joe Biden. The testimony will be carried by major broadcast and cable networks and is expected to be viewed by millions, who will watch current and former officials from Trump's own administration begin to outline a case for his potential removal from office.


What slowdown? Chinese shoppers set new 'Singles' Day' spending record

November 11, 2019 - 3:54am

Chinese consumers spent a record amount on Alibaba platforms Monday during the annual "Singles' Day" buying spree, the world's biggest 24-hour shopping event, which kicked off this year with a glitzy show by US singer Taylor Swift. China's economy is in an extended slowdown exacerbated by the US trade war, and the Singles' Day fire sale is viewed as a snapshot of consumer sentiment in the world's second-biggest economy. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said his tariffs on Chinese goods have put the country's economy on the ropes, but the state-run tabloid Global Times said the shopping figures proved otherwise.


Vietnamese court finds Australian guilty of terrorism

November 11, 2019 - 2:53am

A Vietnamese court on Monday sentenced a 70-year-old Australian to 12 years in jail on terrorism charges, state media reported. The Tuoi Tre newspaper said Chau Van Kham, a Sydney resident of Vietnamese origin, was found guilty of "terrorism to oppose the people's administration" in a half-day trial at Ho Chi Minh City People's Court. It said two Vietnamese men, Nguyen Van Vien and Tran Van Quyen, were also sentenced to 11 and 10 years respectively on the same charge.


China accuses US of using UN to 'meddle' in Tibet

November 11, 2019 - 2:38am

China accused the US on Monday of using the United Nations to "meddle" in Tibet, as Washington intensifies its bid to prevent Beijing from handpicking the Dalai Lama's successor. Last week, Sam Brownback, the United States' ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said the US wanted the UN to take up the succession issue of the Tibetan spiritual leader. The choice of the Dalai Lama's successor "belongs to the Tibetan Buddhists and not the Chinese government", Brownback told AFP.


Kavanaugh Makes Rare Public Foray for Group Vetting Trump Judges

November 11, 2019 - 2:00am

(Bloomberg) -- Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has done his best to keep a low profile in the 13 months since one of the most polarizing Senate confirmation fights in U.S. history.From the bench, his questions have been evenhanded and his opinions have been measured. His public appearances have been rare.But Kavanaugh will be back in the spotlight when he gives the featured dinner speech on Thursday at the annual Washington convention of the Federalist Society, the powerful conservative legal group that helped put him on the court.The appearance, in front of an organization Kavanaugh joined in 1988 as a law student, will offer a reminder of his professional roots and help showcase the group’s success in helping load the federal courts with conservative judges -- one of President Donald Trump’s signature achievements.It will also provide a fresh indication of how the Supreme Court’s most controversial justice will navigate the raw feelings that remain after his nomination by Trump and narrow Senate confirmation in the face of sexual assault allegations.About 2,300 people are expected to attend the Antonin Scalia Memorial Dinner, a black-tie-optional event that brings legal luminaries to the cavernous Main Hall of Washington’s Union Station every year. The event will be open to the media, though broadcast coverage will be prohibited.When many Americans last saw Kavanaugh, he was at his Senate confirmation hearing angrily and tearfully denying that he had assaulted Christine Blasey Ford decades ago when both were teenagers.“This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election,” Kavanaugh said, with rage that would later be lampooned by actor Matt Damon on “Saturday Night Live.”He was confirmed on a 50-48 vote.‘Gracious’ JusticeThat Brett Kavanaugh bears little resemblance to the one who now sits at one end of the Supreme Court bench, seen only by the few hundred people who typically attend its camera-free argument sessions.Kavanaugh tends to politely challenge both sides during arguments, almost always without tipping his hand on his own views. He often chats amicably with Justice Elena Kagan, who sits to his right and seems to have far more to discuss with him than with Justice Samuel Alito on her other side.“He seems quite comfortable,” said Carter Phillips, a veteran Supreme Court lawyer at Sidley Austin. “He’s very gracious, extremely well-prepared. His questions are good.”Kavanaugh’s written opinions have generally been measured. Though he has almost always voted with his conservative colleagues when the court splits along ideological lines, he has eschewed the sweeping rhetoric of Trump’s other Supreme Court appointee, Neil Gorsuch. On occasion, Kavanaugh has written separate opinions to describe his position as a limited one.“He appears more cautious and pragmatic than Gorsuch, but it’s too early to tell too much,” said Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.Kavanaugh’s colleagues have publicly welcomed him and said they don’t harbor any ill feelings.“We are all human beings, we all have pasts,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told a judicial conference in September, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Now whether things occurred or didn’t occur, all of that is irrelevant.”Female ClerksJustice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised Kavanaugh for hiring four women to serve as his law clerks for his first term, something no justice had done in any term.That decision is as close as Kavanaugh has come to publicly addressing the confirmation controversy since he joined the court.“It was all women, and I think that was not coincidental,” said Melissa Murray, a New York University law professor who testified during the confirmation hearing that she was concerned Kavanaugh would vote to overturn abortion rights. “I think it was intended to be a rebuttal to those who believe those allegations, took those allegations seriously. I think he wanted to sort of counteract the perception that might have been left after the confirmation hearing.”For the public at large, Kavanaugh remains a polarizing figure -- far more so than his longer-serving colleagues. A Marquette Law School poll conducted in September found that 32% of respondents had an unfavorable view of Kavanaugh, with 26% holding a favorable view. No other justice had an unfavorable rating higher than 23%.Though he has met privately with smaller groups, the Federalist Society speech will mark only the second time Kavanaugh has spoken publicly outside the court since the White House ceremony that followed his October 2018 confirmation. Kavanaugh appeared in May with the man he succeeded, Justice Anthony Kennedy, before a conference of judges and lawyers.Standing OvationKavanaugh’s reception at the Federalist Society event is all but certain to be positive, probably overwhelmingly so, though it’s possible he’ll face protests.“I expect he’ll get a very warm reception,” said Adler, a Federalist Society member who plans to attend.Kavanaugh got a lengthy standing ovation when he arrived for last year’s dinner, which took place less than six weeks after the Senate vote. He opted not to give a talk at that event, instead agreeing to speak this year, according to two people familiar with the planning.The Federalist Society’s executive vice president, Leonard Leo, has served as a key adviser to Trump on judicial nominations. Leo declined to be interviewed about Kavanaugh’s work on the court, saying he generally doesn’t comment on individual justices.The dinner is part of a three-day program that features speeches by Gorsuch and Attorney General Bill Barr as well as panel discussions on a plethora of legal topics.“I think it is meaningful that he’s choosing to make a debut of sorts at this particular venue,” Murray said.Chances are Kavanaugh’s speech will steer clear of any discussion of the confirmation controversy. He probably will at least touch on the judicial philosophy that made him a Federalist Society favorite in the first place. He might show the side of himself that promised at his confirmation hearing to be part of a “team of nine” on the court.“I think it will be different than it was in his last public appearance,” said Phillips with a laugh. “He is by nature a gracious and even-tempered person. I expect that that’s the way he will come across.”To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Stohr in Washington at gstohr@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, John Harney, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


SpaceX launches another 60 solar-powered internet satellites

November 11, 2019 - 1:41am

Initial service is expected to begin next year with global connectivity expected in 2021


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