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Updated: 17 hours 11 min ago

The China-Russia Relationship Is More About Survival Than Friendship

November 11, 2019 - 1:00am

Fears are overblown. Mistrust remains.

Syria's Assad: anybody will be able to run at 2021 election

November 11, 2019 - 12:25am

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the Syrian presidential election in 2021 would be open to anybody who wants to run and that there would be numerous challengers for the presidency. Assad, who made the comment in an interview broadcast on Monday on Russian state-funded television channel RT, faced two challengers at the 2014 election which he won by a landslide, but which his opponents dismissed as a charade. There are going to be numerous nominees," Assad said.

Bolivia in power void as Morales, would-be successors resign

November 10, 2019 - 11:04pm

Bolivia entered a sudden era of political uncertainty on Monday as President Evo Morales, pushed by the military and weeks of massive protests, resigned after nearly 14 years in power and seemingly every person constitutionally in line for the job quit as well. Crowds of jubilant foes of the socialist leader celebrated in the streets with honking horns and fireworks after Morales's announcement Sunday, treating as a triumph of democracy the ouster of a man who pushed aside presidential term limits and claimed victory in a widely questioned October election. "We are celebrating that Bolivia is free," said one demonstrator near the presidential palace.

Kenya’s Salve for Ethnic Animosity Is at Risk of Backfiring

November 10, 2019 - 9:00pm

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterA plan championed by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga to end ethnic animosity may end up widening fault lines that have triggered sporadic violence in the East African nation.The two men commissioned a study on how to promote reconciliation in the wake of a disputed election in 2017 that threatened to reignite a conflict in which more than 1,100 people died a decade earlier. Their so-called Building Bridges Initiative envisions an end to a winner-take-all electoral system, watering down the executive’s powers and an enhanced role for parliament, according to a draft seen by Bloomberg. The document was verified by people with knowledge of the report, who asked not to be identified because the information is still private and could be amended.While most politicians initially welcomed the rapprochement between the one-time foes and their attempts at nation-building, it’s caused ructions in the ruling Jubilee Party because it could pave the way for Odinga to become president in 2022 and leave Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto, out in the cold.“Ruto is deeply suspicious of BBI because he sees it as a vehicle to create a coalition that excludes him,” said Nic Cheeseman, a professor of democracy at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. “The threat is that this then raises the political temperatures, and each side starts to prepare for the worst.”Ethnic-Based CoalitionsKenyan politics have long been a minefield, with largely ethnic-based coalitions determining who wields power. The five biggest groups are Kenyatta’s Kikuyu, Ruto’s Kalenjin, Odinga’s Luo, the Luhya and the Kamba, and whoever secures backing from at least three of them is almost assured of winning the presidency.Allegiances are consistently shifting. Ethnic violence, mainly between Kenyatta and Ruto supporters, flared up after a disputed 2007 vote and both men were indicted by the International Criminal Court for their alleged roles in the bloodshed until the cases were thrown out for lack of evidence.The two then joined forces to win elections in 2013 and 2017. While Ruto backed Kenyatta for the presidency on the understanding that he’d be next in line for the job in 2022, their relationship has soured since Odinga entered the fray.“The intention from the word go is to give Raila a safe route to power,” said Herman Manyora, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Nairobi. “For as long as it destroys Ruto’s presidential dream, he won’t support it.”Monumental ReportOdinga, 74, who leads the Orange Democratic Movement and has unsuccessfully run for office four times, has also had a fractious relationship with Kenyatta and accused him of stealing the last two elections. They reconciled in March 2018, but the terms of the deal they reached were never publicly revealed.Odinga last year said he’d continue to push for a raft of reforms including the reintroduction of the role of a prime minister -- a post he held under a power-sharing accord that helped halt the 2007-8 violence.A final version of the Building Bridges Initiative report will be presented to Kenyatta and Odinga this week, according to Martin Kimani, the secretary of a panel that’s drafting the plan. He described its contents as “monumental,” but declined to reveal details.Besides proposing changes to the way the government is structured, the panel will also make recommendations on how to tackle corruption and share out the nation’s prosperity, according to its nine-point brief. The initiative will be subjected to a national debate and possibly a referendum before being formally adopted.Burning BridgesIf a referendum does happen, it will likely be a dress rehearsal of the 2022 vote that will pit Odinga against Ruto, according to Manyora.Ruto will back the new plan if it benefits the Kenyan people, but will oppose it if it only creates positions for a few, his spokesman David Mugonyi said by phone.Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango said he couldn’t talk about the BBI report because he hasn’t seen it, while Kenyatta’s publicist Kanze Dena declined to comment.It’s unclear whether the new initiative will have the desired effect, said Bobby Mkangi, a lawyer who helped draft Kenya’s current constitution.“In a sense, it could either be burning bridges or building bridges,” he said. “We may have to engage in a trial-and-error journey in the quest of nation-building and trying to find what works best for us and mitigate exclusion.”\--With assistance from Mike Cohen.To contact the reporter on this story: David Herbling in Nairobi at dherbling@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at, David Malingha, Mike CohenFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Trump impeachment committee ‘has evidence of extortion scheme involving president’ and Ukraine

November 10, 2019 - 3:50pm

Politicians have evidence of an “extortion scheme” by Donald Trump to try to pressure a foreign government to investigate his opponents, a member of the House intelligence committee has said ahead of public impeachment hearings beginning this week.Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday that there was already ample evidence that the president had abused his office.

Romania presidential vote seen heading to Nov. 24 runoff

November 10, 2019 - 3:38pm

Exit polls from Sunday's balloting showed a runoff will be needed Nov. 24 to decide Romania's presidential contest. Official results are not expected before Monday, though two exit polls found center-right President Klaus Iohannis collecting nearly 40% of the votes, followed by Viorica Dancila, the recently ousted prime minister, with around 22%. "Exit polls show that millions of Romanians in the country and abroad voted for our project, for a normal Romania," said Iohannis, who is seeking a second five-year term.

Roommate, boyfriend arrested in death of Atlanta college student Alexis Crawford

November 10, 2019 - 2:29pm

Alexis Crawford was reported missing Nov. 1, five days after she filed a report accusing her roommate's boyfriend of "unwanted kissing and touching."

Thousands join French march against Islamophobia

November 10, 2019 - 1:22pm

Over 10,000 people turned out north of Paris on Sunday for a march against Islamophobia that drew criticism from both the government and the far right. The march was called by a number of individuals and organisations, including the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF). It also came as the debate over the veil has been revived in France and against a background of several jihadist attacks in France in recent years.

Buffalo Wild Wings death: What is sodium hypochlorite and how can 'Super 8' be deadly?

November 10, 2019 - 1:17pm

One person died and 10 others were hospitalized at a Buffalo Wild Wings after being exposed to the cleaning solution.

Members of community attacked in Mexico doubt they'll return

November 10, 2019 - 12:33pm

A Utah man who helped get his mother and other family members safely out of northern Mexico after nine people were killed in an apparent ambush said Sunday that most fled to Arizona with whatever they could fit in their cars and trucks and they'll likely never return. More than 100 people left their rural community in northern Mexico on Saturday in an 18-vehicle caravan after the attack Monday in which nine women and children were killed by what authorities say were hit men from drug cartels. "I went down there to get my mother and get my family out, my brothers and sisters and lots of kids," Mike Hafen said Sunday in telephone interview from his sister's home in Phoenix.

Poll: Bloomberg's potential run is a flop with Democrats

November 10, 2019 - 12:15pm

A new poll shows Michael Bloomberg at 4 percent nationally as he considers a presidential bid, showing that he's well-known — but widely disliked — by the Democratic electorate, according to a new poll.

Rand Paul brushes aside GOP governor’s apparent defeat in Kentucky

November 10, 2019 - 11:44am

Sen. Rand Paul downplayed the implications of his home state of Kentucky apparently electing a Democratic governor earlier this week, declining to attribute Gov. Matt Bevin’s loss to his attempts to nationalize the race. The closely watched race between Bevin, the extremely unpopular Republican incumbent, and Andy Beshear, the state’s Democratic attorney general, was seen by many in the pundit class as the first major test of how the politics of impeachment would fare in a deep-red state and a potential bellwether for next year's elections. The handful of local elections that took place on Tuesday painted a dark picture for Republicans, as the party continues to suffer losses in suburbs around the country.

Lindsey Graham is 'confident' the whistleblower is 'from the deep state'

November 10, 2019 - 11:33am

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) likely didn't appreciate House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-Calif.) denial of a House GOP request to have Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower testify in the congressional impeachment inquiry's upcoming public hearings.In a Fox News interview Sunday, Graham said he believes it would be beneficial to have Biden testify, but was even more adamant about the whistleblower, whose complaint about President Trump's phone call in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred the impeachment inquiry. Graham claimed if the House continues to keep the whistleblower's identity under wraps, there's no chance the Senate will find Trump guilty. He said it's "impossible" to bring the case forward fairly, otherwise.> LINDSEY GRAHAM: "I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn't allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid ... if they don't call the whistleblower in the house, this thing is dead on arrival on the senate."> > -- JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) November 10, 2019That said, Graham says he's close to certain about the whistleblower's occupation, if not their identity. "When you find out who the whistleblower is, I'm confident you're gonna find out it's somebody from the deep state," he said during the interview. "You're gonna find out that they had interactions with Schiff. This thing's gonna stink to high heaven, and the only reason we don't know who the whistleblower is, is that it hurts their cause." Read more at The Washington Examiner.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?

Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

November 10, 2019 - 10:13am

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.

Police Employees Charged in 911 Medical Fraud Ring

November 10, 2019 - 10:05am

NEW YORK -- For years, Angela Meyers, a 911 operator with the New York Police Department, fielded emergency calls, then filed reports about the calls within the department.But according to court documents, when someone called 911 after a car accident, Meyers did something else: She also passed victims' information to an insurance fraud ring in Queens.Meyers was one of six current and former New York Police Department employees charged in federal court Thursday with conspiracy and bribery. They are accused of being part of a citywide medical insurance fraud ring that sent thousands of car accident victims to specific health clinics, doctors and lawyers in exchange for kickbacks.Law enforcement officials arrested 27 people in connection with the scheme -- 23 of those were expected to appear in Manhattan federal court Thursday.A key component to the scheme were the five 911 operators and an active police officer, Yanaris Deleon, who provided victims' confidential contact information to the scheme's ringleaders, prosecutors said. Four of the five 911 operators were active employees; one had previously resigned, police said."There is no place for corruption within the NYPD," James P. O'Neill, the police commissioner, said in a statement. "By tarnishing the shield, as well as their sacred oaths, these employees will be held to the highest account the law provides."According to court documents, the 911 operators and Deleon provided victims' contact information to the scheme's fraudulent "call center."The call center would then contact those victims and coax them to visit prearranged medical clinics and lawyers, court documents say. Those call center offices would then pay the ringleader of the scheme, Anthony Rose, 51, in exchange for that information, according to authorities.Prosecutors said the department employees received thousands of dollars for their part in the scheme."These actions have undermined the integrity of our emergency and medical first responders," said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. "This office is committed to rooting out corruption wherever it is found and will not rest until those who seek to profit by corrupting our public institutions are brought to justice."The fraud ring employed a network of people within hospitals, medical service providers and law enforcement. Rose, who is from Queens, ran the scheme from at least 2014 to November 2019, prosecutors said.As recently as June, Deleon texted Rose on encrypted messaging app WhatsApp and provided a list of "nearly two dozen names and telephone numbers" of accident victims, court documents said.Prosecutors estimate that as many as 60,000 car accident victims may have had their confidential information improperly disclosed.Rose ordered his co-conspirators to target car accident victims from low-income neighborhoods because they were more vulnerable, according to court documents. He told his fraudulent call center not to target victims in Manhattan, court documents said, because "those people got attorneys.""We need all the 'hood cases," Rose told the call center people, according to the documents. "We want all the bad neighborhoods."In addition to the Police Department sources, Rose also bribed employees at hospitals and medical centers to violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, and disclose confidential patient information for car accident victims, the documents say.The investigation is continuing, prosecutors said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

Jeep Brings Back Wrangler Freedom Edition, an Armed Forces Tribute

November 10, 2019 - 9:59am

Just in time for Veterans Day, the tried and true military-appreciation version of the classic Jeep is back.

Top House Armed Services Republican: Trump's Ukraine call was 'inappropriate' but not impeachable

November 10, 2019 - 9:57am

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said President Trump's call with Ukraine's president was "inappropriate" — but it did not warrant his impeachment.

Missing airman identified as recovery efforts continue

November 10, 2019 - 9:09am

An airman who is presumed dead after an unplanned parachute jump from a C-130 aircraft off Florida's Panhandle has been identified. According to a military news release, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cole Condiff, 29, was a special tactics combat controller with 24th Special Operations Wing, part of the Air Force Special Operations Command. Condiff is survived by his wife and their two daughters, as well as by his parents, sister and two brothers.

Greta Thunberg politely shuts down heckler during during speech in US: ‘Maybe you can do it later’

November 10, 2019 - 8:41am

Greta Thunberg politely dealt with a heckler after being interrupted during speech in the US.The activist was giving a speech at a climate change rally in North Carolina when someone started shouting over the crowd’s cheers in what seemed to be the teenager's native language, Swedish.