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U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into Region
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:18:59 -0400

U.S. ‘Withdraws’ as Kurds Strike Deal to Let Assad’s Forces Into RegionKhalil Ashawi/ReutersAmid a Turkish assault, the Kurds, or Syrian Democratic Forces, have struck a deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, that will bring forces loyal to Assad back into areas that have been under Kurdish control for years.“An agreement has been reached with the Syrian government—whose duty it is to protect the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty—for the Syrian Army to enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to help the SDF stop this aggression [by Turkey],” the Kurds said in a statement.Once the agreement was made Sunday night, Syrian Assad troops began moving into towns near the border with Turkey where Turkish forces have been encroaching since President Trump announced that he was withdrawing American forces from the region earlier this week.The agreement appears to undermine any expectation that United States might continue to assist the Kurds—Washington’s allies against ISIS—as they are attacked by Turkey. In the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, with a Turkish invasion carried out just days later, American forces were unable to carry out a move of about 60 “high value” ISIS detainees out of wartime prisons run by the Kurds, The New York Times reports. The chaos also made way for hundreds of ISIS prisoners on Sunday to escape from a low-security detention camp in the area.In the latest surge of anti-war rhetoric from the Trump administration, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday that the U.S. is launching a “deliberate withdrawal” of American forces from northern Syria but refused to say how long it will take.“We want to conduct it safely and quickly as possible,” Esper told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, adding, “I’m not prepared to put a timeline on it, but that’s our general game plan.” Two knowledgeable U.S. officials told The Daily Beast that the troops are just withdrawing further away from the advance of Turkish forces massacring the Syrian Kurds whom America relied upon to destroy the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate.There are currently 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria. A knowledgeable U.S. official said hundreds of those troops, without further specificity, will leave Syria for elsewhere in the Mideast. Following a pullout from two northern Syrian observation posts last week, the U.S. will now retreat farther away from the area Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invaded.Esper said Trump gave the withdrawal order because Turkish forces are pushing further south into Syria and Kurdish forces had been trying to cut a deal with Syria and Russia to counter-attack.“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said.But as Esper made clear, the order affects only the north and there will still be American forces in the rest of Syria even as Trump—who separately has ordered about 14,000 U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf region over the past six months—rails against the disastrous, bloody, and interminable U.S. misadventure in the Middle East over the past generation.A U.S. official told CNN that U.S. policy “has failed” and that the campaign in Syria to defeat ISIS is “over for now,” giving the terrorist group “a second lease on life with nearly 100,000 [people] who will re-join their jihad.” The mixed messaging by the Trump administration is making it difficult for even his most ardent supporters to help unravel his foreign policy on Syria as it spins out of control. Just days after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria where they have been providing weapons and cover to allied Kurdish fighters on the border between Turkey and Syria, Turkey began a military incursion that has sent the region into a level of chaos it has not seen in recent years.The Daily Beast first reported Friday that claims made by the Trump administration that U.S. troops had been withdrawn were false. “We are out of there. We’ve been out of there for a while,” Trump said Wednesday. “No soldiers whatsoever.” Two officials told The Daily Beast that in fact the U.S. military had only pulled back from—not completely out of—northern Syria. They had simply abandoned two small observation posts from which they supported Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS fighters. Trump Says U.S. Troops Have Quit Syria. It’s Not True.Trump then tweeted that he had been talking with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC), who had been highly critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops. “Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham warned Wednesday. “I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working.” Graham later tweeted that any sanctions had to be serious. “The conditional sanctions announced today will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more,” Graham tweeted Friday. “The Turkish government needs to know Congress will take a different path—passing crippling sanctions in a bipartisan fashion.”But in a Sunday morning tweet, the president wrote that he was working with Graham “and many members of Congress, including Democrats, about imposing powerful Sanctions on Turkey.”He then added: “Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!”Turkey has warned that any threats of sanctions would be met with the release of millions of refugees along the border between Turkey and Syria into Europe. Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week that such a possibility did not concern him. “Well they’re going to be escaping to Europe,” he said. “That’s where they want to go, they want to go back to their homes.”On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that up to 700 ISIS sympathizers did escape the Ain Eissa camp, which holds up 12,000 people caught up in years of unrest. Most of those who escaped are ISIS brides and children, but officials warn that they could be part of a resurgence of the so-called Islamic state. Several known ISIS fighters were also spotted fighting in the current conflict, according to CNN, which reported that at least five fighters had escaped the notorious Ghuwairan prison due to heavy shelling in the area. During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who has been one of the president’s most vocal defenders on the Syria decision—called it a “messy, complicated situation” while saying the president was right to move soldiers out of the way because “Turkey was coming in one way or another.” When moderator Chuck Todd noted that U.S. soldiers near the Turkish border were serving as a deterrent to an Erdogan invasion, Paul retorted “they were until they weren’t.”Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin repeated Paul’s line that this is a “complicated situation” when asked on ABC’s This Week why the administration hasn’t imposed sanctions on Turkey yet.“We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions,” Mnuchin said. “As I said, these sanctions could be starting small. They could be maximum pressure which would destroy the Turkish economy. The president is very focused on this. He’s offered to mediate the situation.”Mnunchin also pushed back on criticism from those within the president’s own party. In response to Graham and others saying sanctions would be a tepid reaction to Turkey, Mnuchin stated that this is a “multi-step process” and the administration needs to make sure “we have the proper authorizations.” The treasury chief, meanwhile, was asked what the president was talking about when he criticized the Kurds for not storming the beaches at Normandy alongside U.S. troops. Mnuchin asserted Trump’s analogy was that he was pushing back on everyone “saying the Kurds are these long-standing allies” and that our role in Syria “was not to defend the Kurds.”On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said that while he wished the president’s decision had “been different,” he feels that we tend to “oversimplify the complicated relationships” in the region. He went on to say this wasn’t a “binary choice” as both the Turks and Kurds are considered allies. As for whether the U.S. was retreating from the area and allowing the Turks to invade northern Syria, Cramer said “we can’t be in the middle of every skirmish in the neighborhood.”House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-NY), meanwhile, told Meet the Press that while he is working on a bipartisan bill that will slap sanctions on Turkey and condemn the president’s policy as it relates to the Kurds, he acknowledges that “it’s not going to stop” the Turks now. Asked whether it’s too late to do anything at this point, Engel seemed to resign himself to that notion.“We could mitigate the damage,” he told Todd. “Of course, it’s spiraling quickly. And what’s happened, of course, is a lot of ISIS prisoners, we’ve gotten reports that they have been released or they’ve escaped and so this is just the tip of the iceberg. And if we think this is terrible, I predict we will have many, many more days, weeks, and months of terrible things like this.”Elsewhere on Meet the Press, former secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ISIS could see a revival in the area, noting the Syrian Democratic Forces were the ones who largely fought the terror group in Syria. If we don’t keep pressure on, ISIS will resurge,” Mattis said. “It’s absolutely a given that they will come back.”During his State of the Union interview, South Bend Mayor and Afghanistan War veteran Pete Buttigieg insisted Trump was “systematically destroying American allies and American values.”“What’s even more disturbing to me as a veteran is hearing from soldiers who feel they have lost their honor over this, who feel they are unable to look in the eye [of] allies who put their lives on line to fight with us,” he added. “If you take away a soldier’s honor, you might as well go after their body armor next. That is what the commander-in-chief is doing right now.”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.

Latest: Southern California wildfire is now 33% contained
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 23:48:36 -0400

Latest: Southern California wildfire is now 33% containedThe Los Angeles County Fire Department says the wildfire in the San Fernando Valley is now 33% contained. The department says Saturday night that winds and temperatures have fallen to normal levels after the Santa Ana winds passed through the region. A man went into cardiac arrest and died at the scene of a wildfire that broke out late Thursday.

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senator
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 06:53:29 -0400

HK leader ditches meeting Ted Cruz, says the U.S. senatorHong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a scheduled meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday. Lam had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong. "She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates," said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas.

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wall
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:35:24 -0400

Girl scales replica of Trump’s 'un-climbable' border wallAn 18-foot replica of President Trump’s border wall has been climbed in a matter of seconds by an 8-year-old girl and a man who returned for another attempt while juggling with one hand.

Brexit Deal in Sight as Negotiators Wrestle With the Details
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:00:10 -0400

Brexit Deal in Sight as Negotiators Wrestle With the Details(Bloomberg) -- Follow @Brexit, sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, and tell us your Brexit story. The U.K. and European Union signaled a Brexit deal is in sight, with negotiators heading into intensive talks in Brussels as a potential compromise over the Irish border starts to emerge.With EU officials saying Boris Johnson had indicated a possible path to detailed talks, the U.K. prime minister planned to update his Cabinet on Sunday on progress toward a Brexit deal. Speculation that Britain will avoid dropping out of the EU without a divorce accord lifted the pound last week to its biggest two-day gain in a decade, though both sides cautioned that much work remains to be done for Britain to leave by Johnson’s Oct. 31 deadline.At issue are the prime minister’s plans to take Northern Ireland out of Europe’s customs union and give Stormont, its power-sharing assembly, a veto over the arrangement. The first would trigger the return of checks on goods crossing the frontier, something the Irish government and the EU oppose. The second would hand Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party an effective veto over the deal, something unacceptable south of the border.DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds rejected any weakening of Northern Ireland’s custom ties with the U.K. and said his party is awaiting the outcome of the talks in Brussels, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview.A possible compromise is a British idea for Northern Ireland to technically leave Europe’s customs union but for the province to adhere to EU customs rules and tariffs, according to two officials. This would have the twin benefit of preventing a border on the island of Ireland and enabling the U.K. to strike trade deals around the world.It’s similar to a “customs partnership” plan the EU rejected in 2018, and would leave Northern Ireland with a different customs regime to the rest of the U.K. British authorities would have to collect tariffs on behalf of the bloc on goods crossing the Irish Sea. EU officials said the proposal is extremely complicated and needs work before it could be considered to be a solution, but didn’t rule out that it could emerge as the compromise.“Getting Brexit done by 31 October is absolutely crucial, and we are continuing to work on an exit deal so we can move on to negotiating a future relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation with our European friends,” Johnson said in a statement.BackstopEU officials view the only sure-fire solution as an arrangement that keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union, the so-called backstop. While there’s no discussion yet of putting a time limit on that arrangement, something the EU has previously rejected, one EU official said that it could yet be considered.Any agreement would have to be backed by Parliament in London, where Johnson is reliant on the DUP. The party staunchly opposes subjecting Northern Ireland to different customs rules than the rest of the U.K.After EU officials said Johnson indicated he was prepared to make sufficient concessions to allow detailed talks to begin, teams from both sides started work Saturday to explore whether they can arrive at the basis of an accord ahead of a summit of EU leaders that begins Thursday.Can Johnson Get a Deal Through Parliament? Silence Is GoldenIn a meeting with envoys of the bloc’s remaining 27 countries on Friday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, suggested that Johnson is softening his stance on both customs and Stormont’s consent. In what would potentially be a significant climb-down, Johnson acknowledged there should be no customs border on the island of Ireland, two officials said. When asked in a pooled interview for British television, Johnson declined to say whether Northern Ireland will leave the EU’s customs union.“There is a joint feeling that there is a way forward, that we can see a pathway to a deal,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s work to be done.”Ship of StateIn an article for the Sunday Telegraph, Jacob Rees-Mogg -- whose hardcore anti-EU stance has peppered the airwaves since the 2016 referendum -- suggested that some Brexiteers will have to come around to accepting Johnson’s compromises.“As a Leaver, Boris can be trusted,” Rees-Mogg wrote. “If he thinks the ship of state is worth an extra ha’porth of tar, he deserves support.”While negotiations are heading into a new intensive phase, they aren’t headed into the full “tunnel,” the formal Brussels process by which the actual legal text of an agreement is thrashed out in secret.This suggests that the EU still has reservations about the chances of getting a deal done, and that member states are unwilling to outsource the process entirely to Barnier and his team.The European Commission will update the EU’s national envoys Sunday, with the aim of having something concrete for EU affairs ministers to look at when they meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday to prepare for the summit.sDUP Leader Arlene Foster fired a warning shot against trying to keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union, though she stopped short of explicitly withholding support from the prime minister.“Those who know anything about Northern Ireland will appreciate that these issues will only work with the support of the unionist as well as the nationalist community,” she said in a statement.For all the optimism, there’s still a long way to go.European Council President Donald Tusk said the U.K. hadn’t yet “come forward with a workable, realistic proposal.”But there are “promising signals,” he said.(Updates with DUP leader’s comments in fourth paragraph, Johnson comments in seventh)\--With assistance from Dara Doyle, Nikos Chrysoloras and Alexander Weber.To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens charged
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 17:46:28 -0400

Police: Woman killed by 6-foot log pushed off cliff in Ohio state park; 2 teens chargedOhio investigators say the six-foot log was pushed or thrown off the cliff in the Hocking Hills State Park. Two teens have been charged.

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 12:00:00 -0400

BEHOLD: Is China's DF-26 Missile a Real Threat to U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers?Will Beijing's strategy work?

At least 33 dead, over 170 injured after Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in Japan
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 18:40:23 -0400

At least 33 dead, over 170 injured after Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in JapanThe total death toll reflected across multiple Japanese news agencies is more than double the amount that the government officials has announced.As many as 33 people have died in the chaos that Hagibis brought and 19 remain missing as Japanese news sources have reported, according to The Associated Press. However, the Japanese government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced Sunday night that 14 people were dead, 11 missing and 187 were injured. The AP notes that the agency tends to be conservative in its counts.A 50-year-old man died when his car overturned in high winds in Chiba Prefecture east of Tokyo on Saturday, according to Reuters. Four others were injured in the prefecture when high winds ripped roofs off homes. Raging floodwaters and mudslides were among some of the causes of deaths. Surging waves hit against the breakwater and a lighthouse as Typhoon Hagibis approaches at a port in town of Kiho, Mie prefecture, central Japan Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Tokyo and surrounding areas braced for a powerful typhoon forecast as the worst in six decades, with streets and trains stations unusually quiet Saturday as rain poured over the city. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai) During one rescue operation in the city of Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, a woman in her 70s was accidentally dropped 131 feet in an effort to transport her into a rescue helicopter, the AP reported. In a news conference, department officials publicly apologized and acknowledged she had not been strapped in properly, the AP said.The NHK reported that as of 5 p.m. Sunday, 72,400 households in the Chiba Prefecture and 16,3000 households in the Kanagawa Prefecture were without power.More than 6 million people had been advised to evacuate ahead of Typhoon Hagibis, according to the Kyodo News. Typhoon Hagibis made landfall over Japan just before 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, moving ashore near Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture packing winds of the equivalent strength as a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean basins. (Image/NASA EOSDIS Worldview) As AccuWeather predicted, one of the biggest issues with Hagibis was flooding rainfall.At least ten levees have collapsed on nine rivers due to the heavy rain, according to NHK. The floodwaters inundated several neighboring cities and towns, forcing people from their homes.Around 8 a.m. on Sunday, emergency officials reported that a nursing home in the Saitama Prefecture had been flooded, NHK said. There are no reports of deaths, but about 220 elderly people and staff had evacuated to the second floor of the building. Water rescues have since been underway to rescue the people trapped.> 特別養護老人ホームで260人が孤立 埼玉 川越 nhk_video> > -- NHKニュース (@nhk_news) October 13, 2019The NHK reported that a record level of nearly 1,000 millimeters of rain, or close to 39 inches, from the storm had fallen over Hakone Town in the Kanagawa Prefecture over a time span of 48 hours.The Japan Meteorology Agency issued level 5 heavy rain emergencies - the highest level of warning in the JMA's five-level warning system - across at least seven prefectures by early Sunday morning."Reports of rainfall totals between 6 to 12 inches, or 152 to 304 millimeters, were common across Kansai, Chubu and Kanto, but locally higher amounts have been reported in higher elevations of the mountains," AccuWeather Meteorologist Maura Kelly said. "Chichibu reported 20.11 inches, or 511 millimeters, of rainfall through Saturday night."Observations from Tokyo on Saturday recorded 209 mm (8.23 inches) of rainfall and a max wind gusts of 150 km/h (93 mph).Early Sunday morning, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government decided to apply the Disaster Relief Law to the 25 wards and municipalities of Tokyo due to the damage caused by Hagibis, the news source said.This means that government and city aid will pay for the installation of evacuation shelters and emergency repairs for damaged homes. Surging waves hit against the breakwater and a lighthouse as Typhoon Hagibis approaches at a port in town of Kiho, Mie prefecture, central Japan Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Tokyo and surrounding areas braced for a powerful typhoon forecast as the worst in six decades, with streets and train stations unusually quiet Saturday as rain poured over the city. (AP Photo/Toru Hanai) While it had still been churning in the West Pacific, Hagibis had rapidly strengthened to become the third super typhoon of the season. The storm went from a tropical depression with sustained winds of 48 km/h (30 mph) to a super typhoon producing winds of 241 km/h (150 mph) only 48 hours later.At a peak strength of 257 km/h (160 mph), the typhoon tied with Wutip from February as the most powerful tropical cyclone in the West Pacific Basin this year.Although the Japan Meteorological Agency had downgraded the status of the storm to a "strong" typhoon before landfall in Japan, the agency had warned in a news conference during that Friday morning the storm could be as severe as the Kanogawa Typhoon, which had killed more than 1,200 people in 1958 and is one of the deadliest typhoons on record, the New York Times reported.Hagibis had made landfall in Japan just before 7 p.m. local time on Saturday, Oct. 12, moving ashore near Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture and packing winds of the equivalent strength as a Category 2 hurricane in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean basins.The storm gradually weakened as it tracked across the east coast of Japan. By 5 a.m. local time on Sunday, the JMA had downgraded the scale of Hagibis from a "large and strong" typhoon to a "large" typhoon with maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph and gusts of about 98 mph.As the storm moved away from Tokyo around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, transportation operations such as the Haneda Airport were beginning to resume once again. By 2 p.m. Sunday, the storm had moved off of the eastern coast of Japan and had been downgraded to a low pressure system."Another cold front is expected to move over Japan and bring occasional showers to the area during the beginning of this week," Kelly said. "By the middle of the week, dry conditions look to return to areas recovering from Hagibis. Dry weather may last through the end of the week before the next chance of rain arrives in southern Japan."

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign Office
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 10:54:00 -0400

Harry Dunn: US woman allegedly involved in crash does not have diplomatic immunity, says Foreign OfficeThe US diplomat’s wife allegedly involved in a crash which killed a teenager does not have diplomatic immunity, the Foreign Office has said.A letter, that appears to have been sent by foreign secretary Dominic Raab to Harry Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, says: “The question remains when such immunity comes to an end, regardless of any waiver.

Rudy Giuliani interview: 'I gave you my answers, do with them what you want'
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:13:47 -0400

Rudy Giuliani interview: 'I gave you my answers, do with them what you want'As a man at the very heart of Donald Trump’s impeachment crisis, it should be no surprise that Rudy Giuliani can be a little prickly. “I can talk about almost everything,” he cheerily begins his interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the first with a British outlet since the scandal erupted. By the end, his tone is curt. “I gave you my answers, do with them what you want,” he says as he puts down the phone after a testy exchange. The president’s personal lawyer is squarely in the spotlight after an allegation he spread about corruption involving the Democrat Joe Biden in Ukraine boomeranged into a full-blown impeachment inquiry. This week, things escalated further. On Tuesday, the White House said that it was ending all cooperation with the inquiry, an attempt to stem the political damage caused by a saga Mr Giuliani helped set in motion. On Wednesday, two associates who helped on his Ukrainian inquiries were arrested trying to flee the US and charged with campaign finance violations. By the end of the week, Mr Giuliani was fending off speculation that he was in prosecutors’ crosshairs, while Mr Trump distanced himself from the scandal. Donald Trump with Rudy Giuliani in new York in 2015 So it is a surprise when Mr Giuliani’s call comes through, even though it is pre-arranged. He gives one caveat to his willingness to be grilled, saying the two arrested men are largely off limits, given “attorney-client privilege”. Mr Giuliani, the former New York mayor turned arch Trump defender, begins by spelling out his familiar claims over Ukraine – the ones that ultimately, and inadvertently, led to impeachment. Since spring, he’s been the leading promoter of the theory that Mr Biden, as vice president, lobbied to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the company that employed his son. The drive, coming after years as a Trump acolyte, has seen Mr Giuliani’s public persona morph from “America’s Mayor”, when he steered New York through the aftermath of 9/11, into something much more partisan. But what of his motives. Surely it is not just a happy coincidence that Mr Biden is a leading candidate at the 2020 election? Is Mr Giuliani shouting about this now because it politically benefits the president? “No,” he says. “It’s totally false! I started doing this before Biden was a candidate.” He says it was only when some Ukrainians approached him with the information in November 2018 that he took it up. But that was only a year ago, when Biden was topping the polls and expected to run?  “The reality is that you don’t get shielded from being investigated because you’re thinking about being president of the United States,” Mr Giuliani says. “I mean, everybody … would say they’re thinking of being president of the United States and they couldn’t be investigated. It’s a point at which the thing becomes ridiculous.” So now they are after the legendary “crime buster” and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani. He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer. Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019 Throughout the interview, Mr Giuliani keeps returning to his Biden allegations. Drawing from the Trump playbook, he calls Mr Biden “dirty Joe” and claiming the “corrupt” media is showing double standards by not taking the claims more seriously. “If you change the names here to Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr, they would do our work for us,” he says of the press. The Bidens have vehemently denied wrongdoing. Keeping the former mayor within the confines of the question proves tricky. Asked again if he denies having a political motive, he starts talking about Mr Biden’s motives. It is unclear if he has misheard but attempts to butt in lead to a rebuke. “You’ve got to let me finish,” Mr Giuliani says. “You keep interrupting and I figure you want to cross-examine me rather than getting the truth. It seems to me like you’re having a hard time with the extremely incriminating facts regarding Joe Biden and trying to draw every inference against me.” It is not disputed that Mr Biden called for Ukraine’s prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, to be fired. It is also true that Mr Shokin was, at one time, investigating the Ukrainian gas company on which Hunter Biden, Mr Biden’s son, was a board member. But Mr Biden did so alongside other European countries who thought Mr Shokin was too lenient on corruption. Furthermore, the investigation into the company, Burisma, had been dropped before the demand was made. But Mr Giuliani questions that, insisting Mr Shokin told him he was investigating the Bidens at the time of dismissal and has given a written statement to that effect. He is unrepentant about publicly pushing the allegations, as is Mr Trump. At the heart of the impeachment inquiry is a claim that Mr Trump held back almost $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine in an attempt to secure a fresh investigation that focused on the Bidens. The money was indeed held up. But Mr Trump has argued there was no “quid pro quo” – in other words, no “investigations for aid” trade. That has become the Republican defence line. Did Mr Giuliani ever discuss holding back aid with Mr Trump? At first he says aid never came up in the call between Mr Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president. “You can search it 50 times.” A transcript of the July 25 call does indeed show no explicit mention of aid in exchange for an investigation – though Mr Trump does opine about how much America helps Ukraine, before asking for a “favour”. Pushed again, Mr Giuliani is categorical. “I never discussed military assistance with the president,” he says – a noteworthy comment given how much the Democrats are zoning in on who did what and when. On impeachment, Mr Giuliani is bullish. All signs are that the House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a majority, will impeach Mr Trump. But the Republican-held Senate would then need to vote by at least two-thirds to remove him. “I don’t think there’s any chance that it’s happening because he didn’t do anything wrong,” Mr Giuliani says of the prospect of the Senate backing removal. “They’re making it up.” How a UK investigation helped spark the impeachment of Donald Trump With time running out, there is no chance to ask if he will testify before the inquiry as requested or if he fears indictment from investigators reportedly looking into his affairs. But what about his two Soviet-born associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, arrested on Wednesday. They had one-way tickets for Vienna before their arrest. Reportedly, Mr Giuliani was due to fly there the next day. Does he regret their close relationship now? “I am very, very proud of the fact that I uncovered major corruption at the highest level of government and that I’m being attacked unfairly for that,” he says, sidestepping. But does he regret it? “I repeat my statement.” Announcing he has to go, there is a chance for one final question. Speculation is rife about whether Mr Giuliani will keep his current role. Critics say his pursuit of the Ukraine claims has not helped, but hindered his client, now the fourth US president in history to face impeachment. If he felt that he was harming the president’s cause, would he stop acting on his behalf? “That’s not a particularly useful question, not designed to get out the facts of the story that’s being suppressed,” he responds. “So thank you, I gave you my answers, do with them what you want.” And with that, the call is done. Minutes after, Mr Trump is posed a similar question as he leaves the White House. Is Mr Giuliani still your personal attorney, one reporter asks. The president does not say yes. The following day, Mr Trump clarifies. “He may seem a little rough around the edges…,” the president admits on Twitter, “but he is also a great guy and [a] wonderful lawyer.”  It seems the boss is on side, for now at least.

Hundreds of migrants corralled at detention center in Mexico
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 19:35:02 -0400

Hundreds of migrants corralled at detention center in MexicoHundreds of migrants from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America found themselves corralled in a migrant detention facility in southern Mexico on Sunday after a futile attempt to head north as part of a caravan aiming to reach the United States. The group set out before sunrise Saturday from the town of Tapachula, where many had been marooned for months unsuccessfully trying to get transit visas. Just before dusk, after having trudged more than 20 miles north, they were surrounded by hundreds of National Guard agents and police who persuaded the exhausted migrants to board vans back to Tapachula.

Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targeted
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 22:56:56 -0400

Hong Kong protesters and police clash, metro and shops targetedRallies in shopping malls on Hong Kong island and across the harbor in the Kowloon district began peacefully around midday with a few hundred people at each chanting "Free Hong Kong" and other slogans. Police said protesters threw bricks and petrol bombs at police, with one setting a police van alight in Kowloon's Sha Tin district. Police made several arrests and used tear gas to disperse protesters, saying they used "minimum force".

Police Respond to Reports of Mall Shooting in Florida, Confirm One Person Injured
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:06:02 -0400

Police Respond to Reports of Mall Shooting in Florida, Confirm One Person InjuredAuthorities have not yet identified the circumstances which led to the shooting

EU Seeks to Halt U.S. Tariffs Over Airbus Aid in Last-Gasp Plea
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 14:17:59 -0400

EU Seeks to Halt U.S. Tariffs Over Airbus Aid in Last-Gasp Plea(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The European Union made a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. to refrain from triggering retaliatory tariffs over illegal subsidies to Airbus SE, warning of economic harm to both sides and repeating a call for a negotiated solution.European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told her U.S. counterpart, Robert Lighthizer, that his plan to hit $7.5 billion of EU goods ranging from planes to whiskey with duties would compel the EU to apply countermeasures in a parallel lawsuit over market-distorting aid to Boeing Co. U.S. levies would make a negotiated settlement harder to reach, she said.“I strongly believe that imposing additional tariffs in the two aircraft cases is not a solution,” Malmstrom said in an Oct. 11 letter to Lighthizer seen by Bloomberg News. “It would only inflict damage on businesses and put at risk jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, harm global trade and the broader aviation industry at a sensitive time.”The World Trade Organization is due to give final approval for U.S. retaliation in the Airbus case on Monday, allowing tariffs to kick in as planned on Friday.The trans-Atlantic dispute over aircraft aid risks fraying a trade truce struck between the U.S. and EU in July 2018. At the time, both sides pledged to try to scale back commercial barriers and avoid a repeat of tit-for-tat tariffs that began with President Donald Trump’s duties on European steel and aluminum on U.S. national-security grounds.The WTO cases over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing are 15 years old. Because of the calendar, the U.S. is entitled to strike first and the EU would follow suit sometime in 2020.Malmstrom gave no sign in her letter to Lighthizer that an idea floated in some EU circles for quicker European retaliation is gaining ground. The idea weighed was to hit back by invoking an unrelated, older WTO case against a now-defunct U.S. tax break given to companies, including Boeing, via subsidiaries known as foreign sales corporations.Instead, Malmstrom said the EU’s planned countermeasures of $12 billion would be applied “when the time comes on the parallel Boeing case.”Aside from causing economic harm, hastier European retaliation could undermine the EU’s claim to be working to uphold the WTO system that Trump’s protectionism is shaking.“We are ready to negotiate a settlement for both the Airbus and the Boeing case addressing remaining compliance obligations on both sides, putting these cases behind us,” Malmstrom said.To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at, Tony Czuczka, Linus ChuaFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stops
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 14:31:10 -0400

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers demand refunds after ship skips several scheduled stopsNorwegian Cruise Line passengers voiced their anger after disembarking from the ship Friday after several port stops were canceled due to weather.

Russia's New Nuclear Weapon Is A Real Doomsday Device (And Aimed At America)
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 02:00:00 -0400

Russia's New Nuclear Weapon Is A Real Doomsday Device (And Aimed At America)If you can't beat them, destroy them.

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police say
Sun, 13 Oct 2019 11:40:37 -0400

Portland antifa activist killed in hit and run, police sayCity’s antifascist group says death of Sean D Kealiher, 23, was not ‘related to fascist activity’ and police did not specify a motiveThe Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/ReutersA Portland antifascist activist was killed in the early hours of Saturday in an apparent hit-and-run near Cider Riot, a cidery and taproom popular with the city’s anarchist left that has been the scene of conflict with rightwing groups. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the car involved was fired upon and crashed into a nearby building. Its occupants fled the scene. Police said in a statement that the 23-year-old victim, Sean D Kealiher, was taken to a local hospital by associates. The Multnomah county medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicide, caused by blunt force trauma. Police said homicide squad detectives would investigate and called on witnesses to come forward. Kealiher was a prominent participant in antifascist and anti-Trump protests in Portland, speaking and marching in opposition to events held by rightwing groups. His activities occasionally attracted the attention of rightwing bloggers and social media personalities. Rose City Antifa, the city’s longest-standing antifascist group, said in a tweet addressing Kealiher’s death that it “was not related to fascist activity”. Police did not specify a motive. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and the Oregon Democratic party, outside whose building the incident happened, expressed condolences on Twitter. Memorial tributes were laid at the site. Six men, including Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, are awaiting trial on charges arising from a violent incident at Cider Riot on 1 May. In an affidavit in support of Gibson’s arrest warrant, police officer Brad Kalbaugh described the group approaching Cider Riot “in an effort clearly designed to provoke a physical confrontation”. Multiple videos of that incident show punches, thrown drinks and pepper spray being exchanged. One of the men awaiting trial, Ian Kramer, is alleged to have struck a woman with a baton, fracturing her vertebra. More video appears to show members of the group planning violence ahead of the brawl. Gibson and the other men are charged with riot. Some face felony assault charges.Cider Riot’s owner, Abram Goldman-Armstrong, has commenced a $1m lawsuit against Gibson and several others. Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyer, Juan Chavez, says his client has been subject to “homophobic and antisemitic” harassment since the suit was filed.

Missing dog reunited with owner 12 years later
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 07:51:37 -0400

Missing dog reunited with owner 12 years later"I'm just so happy to have her back. I cried so many nights without her," Dutchess's owner, Katheryn Strang, said

Kurdish general to U.S.: Either protect us, or 'move aside so we can let in the Russians'
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 13:54:37 -0400

Kurdish general to U.S.: Either protect us, or 'move aside so we can let in the Russians'Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, did not mince words when meeting with William Roebuck, the Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on Thursday, CNN reports. "You have given up on us," Mazloum said, referring to President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, giving Turkey an opening to invade, which they have. "You are leaving are leaving us to be slaughtered."An internal U.S. government readout obtained by CNN also revealed that Mazloum told Roebuck he has considered gaining the support of another foreign power in place of the U.S. "I've been holding myself for two days from going to the press and saying that America abandoned us and that I would like you to get out of our areas now so that I can invite Russia and regime planes to take over this airspace," Mazloum said. "Either you stop this bombing on our people now or move aside so we can let in the Russians."Roebuck reportedly then suggested Mazloum not make any "immediate decisions," but instead give him time to relay the message to the State Department. Read more at CNN.

Xi becomes 1st Chinese president in 2 decades to visit Nepal
Sat, 12 Oct 2019 11:38:10 -0400

Xi becomes 1st Chinese president in 2 decades to visit NepalXi Jinping on Saturday became the first Chinese president in more than two decades to visit Nepal, where he is expected to sign agreements on several infrastructure projects. Xi arrived Saturday from India, where he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nepal is expected to tread cautiously while building relations with big neighbors India and China.