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Biden Aides Will Stiff Arm GOP’s Burisma Probe, Sources Say
Two key witnesses in Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) probe into corruption allegations involving presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter are unlikely to appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee before the 2020 presidential election even if subpoenaed, according to an individual familiar with the matter and another individual with knowledge of the probe. Johnson, the chair of the Senate committee, is leading two separate but related investigations, one into the origins of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and one into Joe Biden’s former dealings in Ukraine and Hunter Biden’s financial relationship with Burisma, a gas company in the country. Johnson told The Hill he plans to publish a report on the Biden probe in the coming weeks, possibly by mid-September.Staffers working on that investigation have interviewed numerous witnesses, including David Wade, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State John Kerry, and Liz Zentos, a foreign service officer working at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan. Zentos formerly served as the Eastern Europe director for the National Security Council, according to three people familiar with the matter. Johnson is expected to move to issue subpoenas for two other witnesses, former Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Amos Hochstein, a former energy adviser for then Vice President Biden. Per committee rules, Johnson would have to officially inform Democrats of his intention to issue the subpoenas. The ranking member, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), would have 72 hours to disapprove, which would trigger a committee vote. One individual familiar with the matter said Republicans on the committee, in anticipation of Peters’ disapproval, have in recent weeks honed in on securing the vote of Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). Johnson’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. If the subpoenas are issued, individuals familiar with the matter say Hochstein and Blinken are unlikely to appear for questioning before the November election, particularly given recent acknowledgment by Democrats and by senior officials in the Trump administration that the probe involves materials from a known disinformation peddler. Those individuals pointed to a recent statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that highlighted ongoing Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, specifically to “undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy.” The statement pointed to Andriy Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker with close ties to Russia who has previously met with President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.Rudy Giuliani—and Russia—Pay Close Attention to This Ukrainian Conspiracy-Peddler“Pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption—including through publicizing leaked phone calls—to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,” the statement said. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”For weeks now Democrats have accused Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is leading his own probe into the FBI investigation of Russia meddling in the 2016 election, of relying on information compiled by Derkach to help inform the probe. Johnson has consistently denied the allegations.On Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) published an op-ed in The Washington Post, claiming the Trump administration “is keeping the truth about a grave, looming threat to democracy hidden from the American people.” Blumenthal specifically referenced his attendance at classified briefings on attempts by foreign countries, including Russia, to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. “The facts are chilling,” he said, pointing to Johnson’s probe into the Bidens as a “forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Kremlin proxies.”On Monday, Johnson released an 11-page letter explaining the two probes and defending the investigation into the Bidens. Johnson called out Blumenthal for his Post op-ed, saying the Connecticut senator’s allegations about him receiving materials from Derkach are unfounded.“It is neither me, Chairman Grassley, nor our committees that are being used to disseminate Russian disinformation,” Johnson wrote. “Instead, it is Democrats and the media that have been doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work for him.” Johnson and Grassley said in a letter last week signaled that they have received information from Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat who has worked closely with Giuliani. Telizhenko was previously involved in the release of recordings and transcripts of Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Telizhenko told the Post in July there would be additional call leaks this summer.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Tue, 11 Aug 2020 03:28:52 GMT
Would a New Iran Deal Be Tougher Than the One Trump Left?
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Speaking at a fundraiser in New Jersey over the weekend, President Donald Trump predicted that he would have a new nuclear deal within four weeks if re-elected in November. In one sense, this is typical bluster from a president who has recently mused that his face should be carved on Mount Rushmore. At the same time, it highlights both a risk about a second Trump term and a truth about the Iranian regime his administration has pressured since taking office.First, consider the risk. Trump has always explained his maximum pressure campaign as an effort to coerce Tehran to submit to better terms. By itself, there is nothing wrong with that. The 2015 nuclear deal forged by Trump’s predecessor was weak. Key limitations on the technology and scale of Iran’s enrichment program expired over time.And Trump’s campaign has steadily increased pressure on the regime. The remaining loopholes in U.S. sanctions against Iran have been closed, and Iran’s most important general has been killed. Meanwhile, the U.S. is planning to introduce a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran set to expire in October.But Trump is also prone to flattery, and has expressed desperation for a diplomatic win. As former National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote in his memoir this year, the president was interested in “making a deal he could characterize as a huge success, even if it was badly flawed.”Now consider the truth about the Iranian regime. Veterans of former President Barack Obama’s administration and America’s European allies have been scathing about Trump’s maximum pressure policy. In part they defend the 2015 deal, but they also say Trump’s current policy is not the way to get a better deal with Iran.Nonetheless, this is exactly the approach that Obama took against Iran — although he did not call it a “maximum pressure” campaign. After discovering a hidden uranium enrichment facility in 2009, the administration and Congress increased sanctions over time in a gambit to bring the Iranians to negotiations. When the first preliminary deal was struck in 2013, only some of those sanctions were lifted. Economic warfare was waged to get a better deal.Presidential elections are, of course, a binary choice. If you are worried about what kind of deal Trump may negotiate with Iran, then you might also be concerned that former Vice President Joe Biden would simply re-enter the one that Trump exited.But Biden has been more cautious than one might expect. The Biden campaign has not pledged, for example, to re-enter the deal unconditionally. “If Iran moves back into compliance with its nuclear obligations,” Biden told the New York Times last spring, the U.S. would re-enter the 2015 agreement. He also added that this would be a “starting point to work alongside our allies in Europe and other world powers to extend the deal’s nuclear constraints.”For voters who have supported Trump’s tough line on Iran, this presents a dilemma. Who would make a better deal with Iran: a mercurial president who has shown little interest in details and policy, or a former vice president whose administration negotiated a weak one in the first place? Put another way: Do you go with the devil you know, or the devil you once knew?(Corrects the location of the fundraiser to New Jersey in the first paragraph.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Tue, 11 Aug 2020 02:53:54 GMT
Secret Service escorts Trump from press briefing after shooting outside White House
* Secret Service shot armed suspect outside White House fence * President was giving coronavirus briefingDonald Trump was abruptly escorted out of a press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday after an armed suspect was shot outside the White House.The president was just minutes into his coronavirus briefing when a Secret Service agent asked Trump to leave the podium and quickly exit the room along with other administration officials.Reporters were briefly placed into lockdown as members of the president’s security detail surrounded the West Wing. One Fox News correspondent said they’d heard two shots fired soon before Trump was hurried out.Trump returned to the stage around 10 minutes later to confirm someone had been taken to hospital following a shooting outside of the White House perimeter fence.“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said the shots were fired by law enforcement.The suspect was armed, Trump said, but he offered few additional details. “I do want to thank Secret Service. They are fantastic.”“It seems that the person was shot by the Secret Service so we’ll see what happens,” Trump said, calling the episode “unfortunate.”“It was outside of the White House,” he said. “It seems that the shooting was done by law enforcement at the suspect, it was the suspect who was shot,” he continued.Law enforcement officials were trying to determine the suspect’s motive. The Secret Service confirmed the shooting shortly afterwards, describing it as an “officer involved shooting at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave”.“A male subject and a USSS officer were both transported to a local hospital,” the agency tweeted. “At no time during this incident was the White House complex breached or were any protectees in danger.”Trump added that he had not been taken into the secure underground bunker but to an area near the Oval Office. He later told reporters that he did not fear for his safety.Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”After fielding questions about the incident outside the White House, Trump returned to his scripted remarks on the nation’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, promoted what he said were his administration’s achievements, and used the platform for political messaging – warning that if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the election in November, Iran, China and North Korea will “own this country”.Trump has faced widespread criticism for a lack of federal leadership during the pandemic. More than 163,000 people have died of Covid-19 related illnesses and more than 5m coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the US so far.During the briefing, the Guardian’s David Smith asked the president: “If 160,000 people had died on President Obama’s watch, do you think you would have called for his resignation?”Trump responded, “No I wouldn’t have done that. I think it’s been amazing what we’ve been able to do. If we didn’t close up our country, we’d have 1.5 to 2 million people already dead. We’ve called it right. Now we don’t have to close it … If I would’ve listened to a lot of people, we would’ve kept it open.”The president insisted the US had done an “extraordinary job”.However, the US government’s own public health expert has admitted that more lives would have been saved if the US had adopted social distancing restrictions earlier. Throughout the pandemic, Trump has strongly resisted efforts to put in place federal restrictions to slow the spread of the virus, has pushed states to reopen and has expressed sympathy to rightwing protests against lockdowns.Additionally, the US is the only affluent nation, to have suffered a sustained and severe outbreak for more than four months, as the New York Times recently noted.Sam Levin contributed to this report
Tue, 11 Aug 2020 01:09:15 GMT
Coronavirus and South Africa's toxic relationship with alcohol
A ban on drinking highlights a legacy of the country's racist past but threatens it economic future.
Tue, 11 Aug 2020 00:30:41 GMT
Trump equates mail-in voting to Russian election interference
The president rebuffed a reporter’s question on whether he had confronted Vladimir Putin about reports of meddling.
Tue, 11 Aug 2020 00:22:17 GMT
UN envoy says Guinea-Bissau in fragile state after elections
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 23:31:26 GMT
Iranian newspaper on temporary suspension after expert questions government’s official coronavirus numbers
An influential newspaper in Iran was shut down by government officials for publishing remarks by an expert who challenged the country’s official COVID-19 figures. The daily Jahane Sanat, which has been in business since 2004, was closed by authorities for an interview where epidemiologist Mohammad Reza Mahboobfar said he worked on the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign, and also revealed the true number of cases and deaths in Iran could be 20 times the number reported by the Health Ministry, the Associated Press reported. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief Mohammad Reza Sadi told the state-run IRNA news agency on Monday that the press supervisory board “issued a verdict for the temporary suspension of the newspaper following the publication of the interview.”
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 22:33:26 GMT
Trump abruptly escorted from briefing after shooting near WH
President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a U.S. Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon. “There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. Trump said he was escorted to the Oval Office by the agent.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 21:59:16 GMT
Iran nuclear deal at risk as U.N. council prepares to vote on arms embargo
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 21:01:14 GMT
No federal relief leaves states, cities facing big deficits
State and local government officials across the U.S. have been on edge for months about how to keep basic services running while covering rising costs related to the coronavirus outbreak as tax revenue plummeted. The negotiation meltdown raises the prospect of more layoffs and furloughs of government workers and cuts to health care, social services, infrastructure and other core programs. On Monday, governors, lawmakers, mayors, teachers and others said they were going to keep pushing members of Congress to revive talks on another rescue package.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 20:10:35 GMT
Nigerian singer sentenced to death for blasphemy in Kano state
Musician Yahaya Sharif-Aminu broadcast a song about Prophet Muhammad in March.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 19:38:52 GMT
Mauritius oil spill: Fears vessel may 'break in two' as cracks appear
The MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July, is now leaking oil off the island.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 19:37:35 GMT
Turkey's Halkbank urges dismissal of U.S. indictment in Iran sanctions case
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 19:12:47 GMT
French expert: Dangerous chemicals remain in Beirut port
Chemical experts and firefighters are working to secure at least 20 potentially dangerous chemical containers at the explosion-shattered port of Beirut, after finding one that was leaking, according to a member of a French cleanup team. French and Italian chemical experts working amid the remains of the port have so far identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals, Anthony said. The experts are working with Lebanese firefighters to secure all of the containers and analyze their contents, he said.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 19:07:24 GMT
Beirut Blast Hit 3 Disparate Neighborhoods. Now They're United in Rage.
BEIRUT -- For months, the restaurateurs poured their time and money into a gamble on a new joint called "The Barn."Conceived as a healthy eatery in the hip, historic Beirut neighborhood of Gemmayzeh, it was set to open Monday with organic produce and a curved marble bar. But the explosion that ripped through Beirut last week beat the opening by six days, blasting the restaurant's metal doors into the dining room and carving a path of destruction.Sitting in the remains, the founder, Rabih Mouawad, said the blast -- which officials said was caused by the detonation of chemicals stored for years at the city's port -- showed how gravely the country needed to change."If there is ever a turning point for Lebanon, this will be it," he said. "We just got hit by a nuclear bomb! If that doesn't change things, nothing will."In three ravaged neighborhoods -- one middle class, one poor and one upscale -- the catastrophe has united everyone in rage against a government seen as corrupt, dysfunctional and ineffectual. Dozens of conversations in these areas found residents of different classes who were already seething over the country's failures of leadership and are now demanding change even more forcefully than before.Lebanon had already been sinking into a bog of interlocking crises that will make recovery far more difficult. Even before the coronavirus pandemic triggered a global recession, Lebanon's economy was shrinking, its currency was crashing, and banks were refusing to give people their money. Power cuts left many in the dark, and protesters marched frequently against their leaders.Then a huge cache of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in fertilizer and explosives, detonated at the port Tuesday, killing more than 150 people, injuring some 6,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, according to officials.That lent a new sense of urgency to the campaign for a change in government.GemmayzehIf you ever received a postcard from Beirut, chances are good the photo on it was taken around Gemmayzeh. Just south of the port, the predominantly Christian, middle-class district is dotted with stone churches and historic homes with exposed rafters and arches facing the street.Picturesque stairwells covered in arty graffiti run between apartment buildings. The main drag is lined with bars and restaurants where patrons, in better times, overflowed into the street through the night.This was where Mouawad and his business partner, Chantal Salloum, tried their luck with The Barn, investing 0,000 to get it ready.But the blast heavily damaged the neighborhood, punching through apartments, killing residents in their homes and blocking roads with rubble and uprooted trees.Days later, scarcely a pane of glass remained. Holes in walls allowed glimpses into once-concealed bedrooms. Red roof tiles had been scraped from old houses, their walls leaning dangerously over the street."We don't want to give up, and we don't want to leave the country," Mouawad said.But questions abounded with few answers.How to rebuild? When would the banks reopen, and would they give out money? How would imported supplies enter the damaged port? How much would metal and glass cost now that demand was off the charts?Across the street, Angel Saadeh, 65, was cleaning out the destroyed apartment where she had raised six children since her marriage in 1971."Tell the world that we need aid -- not money, but nuclear bombs to drop on these politicians!" she screamed. She insulted them one by one until her granddaughter, Melissa Fakhri, 20, mentioned a Christian warlord turned party leader her grandmother liked.Saadeh said he was better than the others."Grandma, all of them means all of them!" Fakhri said, reciting a common protest chant.Later, volunteer cleaners on the street chanted the classic battle cry of the Arab Spring uprisings: "The people want to topple the regime!" Saadeh ran to the window, pumping her fists.The QuarantineThe neighborhood known as the Quarantine clings to Beirut like a forgotten annex. Named for its history as a holding area for potentially infectious travelers, it is poor, polluted and squeezed between the port, a major highway and a garbage processing facility, which sends a stench wafting through the cinder block apartments."The Quarantine has always been neglected," said Fakhrideen Shihadi, a Quarantine native who oversees its tin-roofed mosque.The cranes of Beirut's port loom over the neighborhood, but its proximity to one of the country's key economic arteries brought little money to the area. Plum jobs at the port, and the illicit income they generated, were divvied up between political parties to reward loyalists and fund operations."The port is all wasta," Shihadi said, using an Arabic word for the family, sectarian and political connections that Lebanese rely on for jobs and services.Lacking wasta, he got laid off from his job at a garbage company in 2017, he said, and has since worked weighing garbage at the processing facility. But as Lebanon's economy contracted, his employer stopped paying him three months ago, he said. He kept working anyway so he wouldn't lose the job.Then the explosion tore through the neighborhood, shaving walls from its tenements, killing four of Shihadi's neighbors and filling the streets with smoke and wounded people. He and his family escaped their building unscathed but found their neighborhood wrecked.The blast shook mortar from the ceiling of the stone church and punched in the roof of the mosque. Days later, a mournful recitation of the Quran emanated from its minaret, and residents prayed on carpets on the asphalt outside.Government assistance to residents here and in other hard-hit areas has been scant."Aid organizations could come, but we expect nothing from the state," Shihadi said. "Here, people help other people."And that's what happened.That morning, hundreds of volunteers from elsewhere in the city had showed up wielding brooms and shovels to help clean up. They scooped up shattered drywall in the hospital and swept glass from damaged apartments.In an empty lot by the church, volunteers distributed water, cookies and meals donated by companies. A man in a white truck handed out ice cream.The blast also tore through the local government hospital, known for treating children, the poor and crash victims from the highway, damaging the facility so badly that it shut down.Dr. Michel Matar, head of the hospital's board, wondered aloud how the hospital, and Lebanon as a whole, could move on."We are not moving forward. We are moving backward," he said. "We cannot continue like this."Yahia al-Osman, a laborer, sat outside his building as volunteers handed out sandwiches and cleared roads. Little remained of his fourth-floor apartment."We were dying here before the explosion," he said. "What will we do after it?"DowntownThe graffiti starts before you reach downtown, west of the port."The revolution of the people.""Bring down the rulers.""Danger: Corruption."After the country's devastating 15-year civil war ended in 1990, Beirut's downtown was rebuilt, with investments from the Persian Gulf and wealthy Lebanese, as a showcase meant to reclaim Lebanon's reputation as the "Switzerland of the Middle East."Cobblestone streets around a famous clock tower next to the Parliament echoed Paris, and the neighborhood filled up with banks, travel agencies and a glitzy pedestrian mall teeming with luxury brands.But the area never fully took off.Most Lebanese couldn't afford the apartments or restaurants, and political turbulence and fear of Iran-backed Hezbollah, the militant group and political party, scared off wealthy tourists, making parts of the area feel like a ghost town in recent years.Anti-government protests erupted last fall, with demonstrators demanding the ouster of the political elite they accuse of wrecking the country. Security forces responded by ringing the Parliament with barricades and concertina wire, keeping citizens out while legislators in armed convoys zoomed in for sessions that rarely addressed the country's mounting problems.As the Parliament has become more fortresslike, the surrounding streets have been covered with graffiti and damaged in clashes with the security forces.Then the explosion hit downtown, shattering the windows of the luxury shops and apartments and bringing angry protesters back to the streets. Over the weekend, the area became a battleground of tear gas, fires and flying rocks as angry protesters tried to shake a political order they felt had failed them.Days earlier, young people who saw the blast as the latest product of the state's many ills had gathered in nearby Martyrs' Square, under a giant raised fist reading "homeland."A makeshift shrine near a statue honored those who had died in the blast. Their photos showed men in military uniforms, a smiling woman by the seaside, a man in tuxedo and a fire crew with a woman paramedic.Hassan Hijazi, 19, a car mechanic, and Karim Shamiyeh, 19, a waiter, relaxed after helping blast victims clean their homes. They were mad that their money had lost its worth, that young men like them without political connections struggled to get good jobs and that government neglect had led to a tragic explosion."We can't continue unless we put our hands together and get rid of all the politicians," Hijazi said. "But I don't know how we are going to do it."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 18:59:06 GMT
UN food chief: Beirut could run out of bread in 2 1/2 weeks
The head of the U.N. food agency said Monday he’s “very, very concerned” Lebanon could run out of bread in about 2 ½ weeks because 85% of the country's grain comes through Beirut's devastated port — but he believes an area of the port can be made operational this month. David Beasley, who is in Beirut assessing damage and recovery prospects, told a virtual U.N. briefing on the humanitarian situation following last week’s explosion in the Lebanese capital that “at the devastated site, we found a footprint that we can operate on a temporary basis.” “Working with the Lebanese army, we believe that we can clear part of that site,” Beasley said.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 18:18:42 GMT
Brent Scowcroft Never Hated His Enemies
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As I was preparing to assume duties as supreme allied commander at NATO a decade ago, the two people I sought out for counsel were both generals: Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft.The advice from Powell, the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was essentially personal, and it boiled down to: “Don’t start to think you are Charlemagne over there, Stavridis.” Meaning, don’t let your ego get out in front of you, and listen to your mentors and the chain of command.Scowcroft, who had served as national security adviser for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, spent a couple of hours with me and laid out a detailed geopolitical picture. Reflecting on his time served in half a dozen presidential administrations, the general provided a balanced, sensible and practical approach to take with both the Russian Federation and our European allies. As we concluded our lengthy talk, he patted me on the shoulder and said: “You’ll do well over there, Jim. Don’t let the Russians get under your skin.”Scowcroft, who died on Thursday, was a slight, understated man — an outward appearance that belied his iron will and ability to stay calm in any situation. The book he and the first President Bush wrote about the end of the Cold War, “A World Transformed,” is the best volume about America’s role in the world in the 21st century. During my four years at NATO, and in the years afterward as dean at the Fletcher School at Tufts, I talked to him often. In thinking about his passing, it occurred to me that his life and career epitomized a certain kind of American public servant in three important ways — each with a lesson for U.S. foreign policy today.First and most importantly, the general was humble, self-effacing and kind. He knew each member of his team wherever he was stationed, and took the time to make each of them feel important and valued. There was never a shred of arrogance in Brent Scowcroft, despite all the accolades, degrees, heady positions, medals, and eventually a presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary British knighthood. He loved his country deeply, but saw America in its complexity and acknowledged its failed moments — including the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which he opposed.A second quality was his unemotional, analytic approach to the world, sometimes called realpolitik. Scowcroft earned his spurs around former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and took Kissinger’s place the first time he became national security adviser. When he told me not to let the Russians get under my skin, he meant to stay calm and be the adult in the room. As Don Corleone puts it in Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”: “Never hate your enemies — it affects your judgment.”This lesson in realism remains a striking and necessary lesson for the U.S. today, from dealing with the dangerous adventurism of Vladimir Putin to the irascible behavior of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.Finally, the general advocated an international outlook. He was a keen student of history, and in that 2009 talk he pointed out to me that a century earlier, the world was on the verge of two global conflicts in three decades. His prescription was simple: to best protect the nation and serve its interests, America had to remain engaged in the world — not as the world’s policeman, but as a source of leadership when it mattered.The isolationism that arose after World War I, including the rejection of the League of Nations and the trade wars of the late 1920s and 1930s, enabled the rise of fascism. As messy and complex as today’s world is, Scowcroft would remind us, we cannot simply turn our backs and withdraw from it.In the last few years, I saw the general from time to time — his office was near mine on Farragut Square in Washington. Although he was in his 90s, he took time to stop and chat about the world, and America’s place in it. I will miss him deeply, and I hope that the lessons of his extraordinary life will help America to stay calm, to re-engage with the world, and to shed the arrogance and bluster that is undermining its ability to lead in these challenging times.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 17:18:15 GMT
Trump says US 'will have a deal with Iran within four weeks' if he is re-elected
Donald Trump has promised a new nuclear deal with Iran “within four weeks” if he is re-elected in November, according to a video of his remarks from inside a New Jersey fundraiser.Footage from a campaign fundraiser on Sunday show the president addressing a crowd of packed-in supporters, none of whom appear to be wearing masks or socially distanced while at the home of a friend of the president who died from coronavirus.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:53:02 GMT
Health officials are quitting or getting fired amid outbreak
Vilified, threatened with violence and in some cases suffering from burnout, dozens of state and local public health leaders around the U.S. have resigned or have been fired amid the coronavirus outbreak, a testament to how politically combustible masks, lockdowns and infection data have become. One of the latest departures came Sunday, when California's public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell, was ousted following a technical glitch that caused a delay in reporting hundreds of thousands of virus test results — information used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools. Last week, New York City’s health commissioner was replaced after months of friction with the Police Department and City Hall.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:50:19 GMT
Powerful derecho leaves path of devastation across Midwest
A rare storm packing 100 mph winds and with power similar to an inland hurricane swept across the Midwest on Monday, blowing over trees, flipping vehicles, causing widespread property damage and leaving hundreds of thousands without power as it moved through Chicago and into Indiana and Michigan. The storm known as a derecho lasted several hours as it tore from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, had the wind speed of a major hurricane, and likely caused more widespread damage than a normal tornado, said Patrick Marsh, science support chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 16:33:47 GMT
Coronavirus: How fast is it spreading in Africa?
There are signs the rate of increase in cases is slowing, but do we know the true scale of the outbreak in Africa?
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 15:23:13 GMT
1 dead, 6 rescued after gas explosion levels Baltimore homes
A natural gas explosion destroyed three row houses in Baltimore on Monday morning, killing a woman and trapping other people in the debris. A fourth house in the row was ripped open, and windows were shattered in nearby homes, leaving the northwest Baltimore neighborhood of Reisterstown Station strewn with glass and other rubble. “We’re trying to make sure that we comb through every area to determine if there are any victims inside," Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Blair Adams said at an afternoon news conference.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 14:46:45 GMT
The arrest of 33 Russian mercenaries amid election chaos in Belarus is testing Putin's patience
"It's not a great situation in general but doubly dangerous because nobody can say for sure what Putin will do," a NATO official told Insider.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 14:21:35 GMT
Born with 1 hand, she's an inspiration in virus fight
Two years out of medical school, respiratory therapist Savannah Stuard is on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 in New Orleans, operating ventilator equipment or manually pumping air into patients’ lungs. It's even more complicated for Stuard, who was born without a left forearm. Stuard, who works at Ochsner Medical Center, keeps the tip of her left arm covered with a glove secured by tape.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 14:05:36 GMT
Kenya's Tsavo National Park: Fire put out after two days
The Kenya Wildlife Service blames the huge fire in the country's biggest park on arsonists.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 13:26:37 GMT
World leaders offer aid but demand reform as Lebanon protests continue
Lebanon was on edge Monday after enraged protesters and world leaders alike demanded political reform following last week’s deadly explosion and waited to see if they would get it. Protesters took to the streets of Beirut again Sunday with video showing what appeared to be tear gas canisters being fired at demonstrators who had congregated in a street near the parliament. The scenes of public fury came as world leaders pledged millions in emergency aid to the country's explosion-ravaged capital in a teleconference co-organized by France and the United Nations.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 11:46:00 GMT
Iran shutters newspaper after expert questions virus numbers
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 11:35:19 GMT
Denmark's fence to keep out wild boars seems to be working
The number of wild boars in Denmark has fallen since a 70-kilometer (43.4-mile) fence was erected along the German border to protect the valuable Danish pork industry. The fence was put up last year in an attempt to prevent wild swine crossing from Germany and breeding with farm pigs or possibly bringing in disease. Since then, the number of wild pigs in Denmark has fallen from 35-40 to fewer than 25, even though some piglets have been born in recent months, officials said Monday.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 11:02:59 GMT
Lebanese government resigns after Beirut blast, public anger
Lebanon’s prime minister stepped down from his job Monday in the wake of the catastrophic explosion in Beirut that has triggered public outrage, saying he has come to the conclusion that corruption in the country is “bigger than the state.” It follows a weekend of anti-government protests after the Aug. 4 explosion in Beirut’s port that decimated the facility and caused widespread destruction, killing at least 160 people and injuring about 6,000 others. In a brief televised speech after three of his ministers resigned, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he and his government were stepping down.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 10:10:37 GMT
Hundreds ransack downtown Chicago businesses after shooting
Hundreds of people descended on downtown Chicago early Monday following a police shooting on the city's South Side, with vandals smashing the windows of dozens of businesses and making off with merchandise, cash machines and anything else they could carry, police said. Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that the Sunday afternoon shooting of the man who had opened fire on officers apparently prompted a social media post that urged people to form a car caravan and converge on the business and shopping district. Over several hours, police made more than 100 arrests and 13 officers were injured, including one who was struck in the head with a bottle, Brown said.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 10:09:03 GMT
Belarus Offers Autocrats a How-Not-To-Do-It Lesson
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 10:00:38 GMT
German finance minister to lead center left into 2021 vote
Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party named Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Monday as its candidate to become chancellor in the country's national election next year. Scholz, 62, who is considered to be on the right of the Social Democrats, has won widespread praise for his handling of the financial turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic. After serving as the mayor of Hamburg during 2011-2018, Scholz joined Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet two years ago in a government that pairs the Social Democrats in a “grand coalition” with her center-right Union bloc.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 09:42:53 GMT
Lebanon's justice minister resigns in wake of explosion
Lebanon’s justice minister has resigned in protest, the third Cabinet member to do so following last week’s devastating explosion in Beirut, the state news agency reported Monday. If a total of seven ministers resign, the Cabinet would effectively become a caretaker government. The explosion, along with a severe economic crisis, has been widely blamed on decades of corruption and misrule by Lebanon’s entrenched political class.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 09:41:37 GMT
China sanctions 11 US politicians, heads of organizations
China on Monday announced unspecified sanctions against 11 U.S. politicians and heads of organizations promoting democratic causes, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who have already been singled out by Beijing. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday said the 11 had “performed badly” on issues concerning Hong Kong, where China has cracked down on opposition voices following its imposition of a national security law in the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city last month.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 09:37:26 GMT
Global Storage Tank Industry Forecasts 2020-2027 - .87 Billion Opportunity Assessment with a Discussion on COVID-19 Implications
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 08:43:00 GMT
Russian Media Warns Not to Sell Out the ‘Motherland’ to State Department for M
In Moscow, the State Department’s offer of million in exchange for evidence of Russian election interference rang hollow. The move was perceived not as a shark bite, but rather as a toothless scowl of the Trump administration—nothing more than an election-year propaganda stunt.“Desperate much?” crowed the Kremlin-funded media outlet RT. “The State Department website will now be overwhelmed by people ratting out their neighbors,” quipped Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. For the benefit of Western audiences, Russian officials and state-sponsored media outlets mocked the idea of such a “bounty” as a ridiculous proposition—but on a domestic front, the State Department’s initiative was met with an obvious pushback, to make sure that no one gets any ideas.‘America’s Dying’: Russian Media Is Giddy at Chaos in the USAState-controlled Russian media sprang into action, laboring to dissuade any potential takers of the tempting reward. Deputy of the Russian Duma Timofey Zhukov, who reported receiving a bounty text message mass-mailed by the State Department, appeared on Russia’s state TV news talk show 60 Minutes to deter Russian citizens from implicating the Kremlin. Zhukov exclaimed: “Russia is not for sale!”“Simply put, this is an offer to become a snitch, a rat,” noted Olga Skabeeva, 60 Minutes host. She asked: “Would you sell your Motherland for 10 million dollars?”For any Russian who might be nonetheless enticed by the promised payout, Skabeeva had another message: “Dear Russians, please, don’t write anything to anyone.” She proceeded to elaborate that since the United States never paid the promised million reward for the capture of Osama bin Laden, the State Department wouldn’t come through in this instance either. This talking point was echoed by multiple participants of 60 Minutes.Notably, the State Department’s report on Russian disinformation specifically referenced the program 60 Minutes. The inclusion had the host Skabeeva beaming with pride.“It would be useless to initiate contact with them and they probably won’t send any money. I think this is nothing more than an act of propaganda, aiming solely to demonstrate that the United States is standing up against Russian and Chinese pressure,” opined journalist Dmitry Galkin. When he dared to express his willingness to even think about divulging such information, Skabeeva promptly accused Galkin of treason. Military expert Igor Korotchenko exclaimed that Galkin should be escorted out in handcuffs.Alexei Naumov, an expert from the Russian International Affairs Council, asserted that by offering this bounty, the State Department is acting in the interests of the Russian Federation. Naumov suggested that the Kremlin could offer up a random individual who is not connected with the Russian government, prosecute that person for interfering in American elections, collect the reward and call it a day. Skabeeva disagreed that it would be possible to disassociate such a person from the Russian government and angrily described Naumov and Galkin as “potential traitors” in the studio. She proceeded to remind everyone of the protracted term of imprisonment that would await such a person.Ivan Konovalov, director of the Center for Strategic Trends Studies, argued that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should be sued and sanctioned: “This is an inducement to treason!” To emphasize the point, the text of Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Russia was shown on the screen, describing treason as "espionage, disclosure of state secrets, or any other assistance rendered to a foreign State, a foreign organization, or their representatives in hostile activities to the detriment of the external security of the Russian Federation.”Russian MFA’s Zakharova mocked the State Department’s proposition, but the wording of her written commentary carried ominous overtones. Zakharova pointed out that anyone divulging information would be giving it not to the Department of State, but to America’s intelligence agencies. She noted that Pompeo formerly served as the director of the CIA and warned that the United States is seeking to harvest personal data of the Russians.Zakharova disingenuously claimed that after the 2016 elections, “neither American prosecutors nor judges found the ‘Kremlin's hand’, no one found it.” In reality, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation determined that “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” establishing that “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts...”Russia’s preference for the Trump presidency hasn’t changed, which was reiterated in Friday’s statement from William Evanina, director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, who noted that “Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden” and “some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”Russian propagandists are disturbed by the potential impact of the State Department’s anti-meddling efforts on Biden’s candidacy—and Russia as a whole. “This is an attempt to destabilize our country,” stressed 60 Minutes host Skabeeva. Political commentator Sergey Strokan pointed out that complaints and reports that might be sent to the State Department could reveal information about democracy, human rights violations and other issues plaguing Putin’s Russia. Strokan described the potential stream of data as “Klondike gold for Biden,” who—unlike Trump—seeks to confront and pressure the Kremlin.The Kremlin, indeed, has much to hide—but some think that Russian interference in the U.S. elections is nothing to be ashamed of. During the 60 Minutes broadcast, Leonid Kalashnikov, senior lawmaker of the Russian State Duma, asserted that Russia should be loud and proud about its efforts: “Yes, we can do it. We have our intelligence services, we have our propaganda. We have smart people, journalists, who influence the minds and the people—and let’s not be shy about it and say that we aren’t influencing anybody. We are and we will continue influencing them.” Skabeeva loudly chimed in: “And we won’t sell the Motherland for 10 million dollars!” 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.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 08:40:49 GMT
Protester dies in clashes after disputed Belarus vote
A protester died amid clashes between police and thousands of people gathered for a second straight night Monday in Belarus after official results from weekend elections — dismissed by the opposition as a sham — gave an overwhelming victory to authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Interior Ministry spokesman Alexander Lastovsky said the victim was part of a crowd of people protesting results of Sunday’s presidential election. The death came amid demonstrations in at least four areas of Minsk that met a harsh response from police who tried to disperse protesters with flash-bang grenades and rubber bullets.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 07:19:13 GMT
55 years after riots, Watts section of LA still bears scars
There were no fires this time in Watts. There was no looting, no shooting and no National Guard troops patrolling. Protesters filled the streets around the country in late May and June following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, demanding an end to police brutality.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 07:01:07 GMT
Blast destroyed landmark 19th century palace in Beirut
The 160-year-old palace withstood two world wars, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the French mandate and Lebanese independence. After the country's 1975-1990 civil war, it took 20 years of careful restoration for the family to bring the palace back to its former glory. “In a split second, everything was destroyed again,” says Roderick Sursock, owner of Beirut's landmark Sursock Palace, one of the most storied buildings in the Lebanese capital.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 05:59:05 GMT
Schools mull outdoor classes amid virus, ventilation worries
It has been seven years since the central air conditioning system worked at the New York City middle school where Lisa Fitzgerald O’Connor teaches. There is no evidence that the disease can spread through ventilation systems from one classroom to the next, according to Dr. Edward Nardell, a Harvard Medical School professor who specializes in airborne diseases.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 05:08:46 GMT
Extreme poverty rises and a generation sees future slip away
As a domestic worker, Amsale Hailemariam knew from the inside out the luxury villas that had grown up around her simple shelter of raw metal and plastic sheeting. Decades of progress in one of modern history’s greatest achievements, the fight against extreme poverty, are in danger of slipping away because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world could see its first increase in extreme poverty in 22 years, further sharpening social inequities.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 05:02:14 GMT
Why choice of running mate matters more than usual this year
For all the secrecy and speculation that typically surrounds the search for a vice presidential candidate, the decision rarely sways an election. At a minimum, the decision will shift the force of the campaign — at least temporarily — away from Donald Trump's turbulent presidency onto Biden himself. More fundamentally, the choice offers Biden an unusual opportunity to unify a party still reeling from Trump's 2016 win and solidify its future.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 04:51:35 GMT
AP FACT CHECK: Trump's smoke and mirrors on executive orders
President Donald Trump isn't telling the full story when it comes to executive orders on coronavirus relief payments and health care. Over the weekend, the president suggested that his move to bypass Congress with executive action calling for up to 0 in weekly unemployment assistance would mean immediate cash in hand for laid-off Americans during the pandemic.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 04:24:38 GMT
Puerto Ricans, upset at botched primary, demand answers
The future of Puerto Rico's botched primaries rested in the hands of the island's Supreme Court as answers trickled out Monday on why voting centers lacked ballots and forced officials to reschedule part of the primaries in a blow to the U.S. territory’s democracy. A plan to hold another primary on Aug. 16 for centers that could not open on Sunday could change depending on the ruling of a lawsuit filed by Pedro Pierluisi, who is running against Gov. Wanda Vázquez to become the potential nominee of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 04:02:28 GMT
Azar visit to Taiwan is fresh thorn in prickly US-China ties
An ongoing visit by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to Taiwan will likely exacerbate mounting tensions between Washington and Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary. From the South China Sea to TikTok, Hong Kong and trade, China and the U.S. find themselves at loggerheads just three months ahead of the American presidential election.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 02:49:53 GMT
Brexit will give UK freedom to set new laws on illegal migrants, Downing Street says
Coronavirus latest news: PM urges authorities to keep schools open even if local lockdowns are imposed Tom Harris: Labour is in no position to give moral lectures after trying to foist Corbyn on the nation Portugal could come off the quarantine list - visitors to France may have to isolate Rise in UK Covid-19 cases: is better testing fuelling the increase? Nick Timothy: Britain has no way to protect itself from this new wave of immigration Subscribe to The Telegraph, free for one month Brexit will give the UK the opportunity to draw up new laws for dealing with migrants crossing the Channel illegally, Downing Street has said. More than 4,000 people are believed to have made the journey so far this year, some of them vulnerable individuals including young children, pregnant women and disabled people. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We are currently bound by the Dublin Regulations for returns and they are inflexible and rigid - for example, there is a time limit placed on returns, it's something which can be abused by both migrants and their lawyers to frustrate the returns of those who have no right to be here. "At the end of this year we will no longer be bound by the EU's laws so can negotiate our own returns agreement. "The Home Office continue to look at all available options to tackle this issue." Earlier today, Boris Johnson said the Government was "looking at the legal framework that we have", saying current laws meant "that when people do get here, it is very, very difficult to then send them away again even though blatantly they've come here illegally." Immigration minister Chris Philp is due to hold talks with French counterparts tomorrow, amid reports that the UK is planning to deploy the Navy. Read below for the latest updates.
Mon, 10 Aug 2020 01:38:31 GMT
Mauritius oil spill: Locals scramble to contain environmental damage
The MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef on 25 July, is now leaking oil off the island.
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 20:55:22 GMT
Niger attack: French aid workers among eight killed by gunmen
The attack happened in a region which draws visitors to the last giraffe herds in West Africa.
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 20:54:55 GMT
States on hook for billions under Trump's unemployment plan
Whether President Donald Trump has the constitutional authority to extend federal unemployment benefits by executive order remains unclear. Equally up in the air is whether states, which are necessary partners in Trump's plan to bypass Congress, will sign on. Trump announced an executive order Saturday that extends additional unemployment payments of up to 0 a week to help cushion the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 20:04:04 GMT
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien won’t say if Trump warned Putin to stop election meddling
Robert O’Brien said Sunday the Trump administration has “made it very clear” to Russia that it should stop meddling in the upcoming election. O’Brien downplayed intelligence reports last week that detailed Russia’s active and concrete campaign to help Trump, equating it with what intelligence officials call China’s vague “preference” for Democrat Joe Biden. “Whether it’s China, Russia or Iran, we’re not going to put up with it, and there will be severe consequences with any country that attempts to interfere with our free and fair election,” O’Brien said.
Sun, 09 Aug 2020 19:40:23 GMT
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