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  • United Arab Emirates to launch spacecraft to moon in 2024


  • Global Needle-Free IV Connectors Industry


  • AP PHOTOS: Remnants of East Germany, 30 years after its end

    AP PHOTOS: Remnants of East Germany, 30 years after its endThirty years after Germany was reunited, many once-decrepit city centers in the formerly communist east have been painstakingly restored and new factories have sprung up. The mighty West German mark was introduced to East Germany on July 1, 1990 — a little over three months before reunification on Oct. 3 — and inefficient companies found themselves struggling to compete in a market economy, while demand for eastern products slumped and outdated facilities were shut down. Casualties of the transition included East Germany's clunky cars, the Trabant and the more upmarket — though still spartan by Western standards — Wartburg.




  • Merkel govt wants tighter rules for parties to suppress virus


  • Amnesty Int'l halts India operations, citing gov't reprisals

    Amnesty Int'l halts India operations, citing gov't reprisalsHuman rights watchdog Amnesty International said Tuesday that it was halting its operation in India, citing reprisals from the government and the freezing of its bank accounts by Indian authorities. Amnesty International India said in a statement that the organization had laid off its staff in India and paused its ongoing campaign and research work on human rights, alleging that Indian authorities froze its bank accounts on suspicions of violating rules on foreign funding.




  • WRAPUP 2-Global coronavirus deaths pass 'agonizing milestone' of 1 million


  • Brexit Calculus Is Changed Dramatically by Covid

    Brexit Calculus Is Changed Dramatically by Covid(Bloomberg Opinion) -- When Boris Johnson had his breakthrough meeting with then Irish leader Leo Varadkar outside Liverpool in 2019, he had a burning need to strike a Brexit deal and only one major obstacle standing in the way: the Irish border. Faced with either betraying Brexiters in his party, which would have been the end of his leadership, or plunging his country into the chaos of a no-deal exit, the U.K. prime minister met the European Union more than halfway and clinched a deal.At first look, the picture couldn’t be more different this year. As Britain and the EU enter their final round of post-Brexit trade talks before Johnson’s Oct. 15 deadline, there isn’t one sticking point but multiple ones — from access to U.K. fishing waters for European boats and Brussels demands for a level playing field on state aid to issues around police and judicial cooperation and even how the treaty will be administered and disputes settled.Negotiations rely on a degree of trust and chemistry to succeed. Johnson may have been regarded skeptically by Europe’s leaders when he replaced Theresa May as prime minister, but there was an effort to build a rapport and take him at his word. A year later, trust in the U.K. government from the EU side has been eroded. The bloc is threatening legal action over the Internal Market Bill, a bombshell piece of British legislation that breaches international law by overriding parts of the Brexit treaty pertaining to Northern Ireland. Johnson’s excuse for breaking the deal is that he signed the treaty in a hurry.Nor is the motivation quite the same this year. Crashing out of the bloc last year with no divorce deal in place would have brought an overnight jolt to just about everything: markets, supply chains, travel, jobs and food bills. The EU too was motivated. The costs for Ireland alone would have been massive.If it doesn’t work out this time, the consequences are more a tumble down the stairs than a fall off a cliff for the U.K. For Johnson, with an 80-seat parliamentary majority, his reputation may take a hit, but his leadership isn’t obviously on the line. While the EU would clearly prefer a deal, bandwidth in Brussels has been taken up with more pressing issues; a defense of the bloc’s rules and principles will take precedence. If it weren’t for Covid-19, you’d say the chances of a deal right now were slim to none. And yet, the pandemic really does change the political calculus. Johnson is already facing battles on several fronts: criticism over his handling of the new coronavirus as case numbers rise and the U.K.’s test-and-trace system has proved a shambles; a rebellion in Parliament over his Covid laws; and pushback from even Brexit-supporting loyalists over his plans to breach international law. Nobody thinks this winter will be anything but painful for the Brits. Job losses are coming, as the Treasury implicitly acknowledged when it rolled back support last week. While most people accept the renewal of virus lockdown measures, there is mounting frustration with many of the restrictions and Johnson rushing in new rules overnight with no notice. Police clashed with anti-lockdown protesters in London too this weekend. It will have unsettled Downing Street that Spain had to bring in the army to enforce restrictions in Madrid.With this going on, the threshold for Brexit pain is low. Even with a deal that eliminates tariffs and quotas, post-Brexit trade barriers are inevitable. Michael Gove, Johnson’s de facto deputy, admitted that may well mean a two-day pile-up of trucks on the border, as new customs procedures come into force. Without a deal, prices for important foods will rise at a time when people are losing their jobs and perhaps their homes. These are bad optics for a prime minister in need of wins.A failure to reach a trade agreement from the prime minister who made it all sound so easy would be yet another blow to Johnson’s credibility. It would hand Keir Starmer, the Labour Party leader and former prosecutor, a cudgel to use against the government.None of this guarantees a deal will happen. A year ago the legal text of the main agreement had been largely nailed down by the time Johnson and Varadkar met. This time the two sides are working from separate documents. Even for an army of overworked lawyers, crafting that much legalese is a lot of ground to cover in a very tight time frame.And much would depend on what compromises were struck. The EU, never forget, is the more powerful partner. It will compromise (as it already has on state aid), but it will demand bigger concessions in return. Johnson may have a large parliamentary majority, but he’ll still have to expend political capital selling any climb-down.Still, these are unique times, and the Conservative leader would be wise to reflect on them. There is no reason ultimately why he shouldn’t seek a deal just as avidly as he did last year. It would reduce uncertainty and allow his government to redouble its efforts on fighting Covid. It would also set a more positive tone for a U.K.-EU relationship, destined by history and geography to remain essential. In a dismal year for the prime minister, Johnson can either add to Britain’s burden or lighten it a little.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.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.




  • AP Analysis: Dark days ahead for Lebanon as crisis bites

    AP Analysis: Dark days ahead for Lebanon as crisis bitesThe past year has been nothing short of an earthquake for Lebanon, hit by an economic meltdown, mass protests, financial collapse, a virus outbreak and a cataclysmic explosion that virtually wiped out the country’s main port. The country’s foreign reserves are drying up, the local currency is expected to spiral further out of control, and incidents of armed clashes between rival groups are escalating. Bickering politicians have been unable to form a government, putting an international bailout out of reach.




  • Oman's new sultan quietly makes his mark as challenges loom

    Oman's new sultan quietly makes his mark as challenges loomWhen Oman's ruler of a half century died without an heir apparent, brief fears of turmoil ended with the quick announcement of a new sultan in this nation on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. “Haitham has a golden chance to become Oman’s second renaissance figure," said Bader al-Saif, an assistant professor of history at Kuwait University who studies Oman.




  • Dying winds give crews hope in Northern California fires

    Dying winds give crews hope in Northern California firesFirefighters say they hoped dying winds would enable them to bear down on a wildfire that exploded in the Northern California wine country, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations while a second blaze killed at least three people. The fire north of San Francisco was driving through brush that hadn't burned for a century, even though surrounding areas were incinerated in a series of blazes in recent years.




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  • South Korea says slain man tried to defect to North Korea

    South Korea says slain man tried to defect to North KoreaSouth Korea said Tuesday that a government official slain by North Korean sailors wanted to defect, concluding that the man, who had gambling debts, swam against unfavorable currents with the help of a life jacket and a floatation device and conveyed his intention of resettling in North Korea. Senior coast guard officer Yoon Seong-hyun said at a televised briefing that there was a “very low possibility” that the man could have fallen from a ship or tried to kill himself because he was putting on a life jacket when he was found in North Korean waters last week.




  • Analysis: In debate, a last chance for Trump to define Biden

    Analysis: In debate, a last chance for Trump to define BidenAs a presidential candidate in 2016, Donald Trump seized control of the White House race and never let go. The president’s attacks on Biden have been scattershot and inconsistent, frustrating some Republicans who believe he has squandered repeated opportunities to define his rival.




  • They wanted disruption in 2016. Now they're Trump defectors

    They wanted disruption in 2016. Now they're Trump defectorsShawna Jensen’s moment of reckoning came in March, as she sat in her suburban Fort Worth, Texas, living room next to her fireplace. Jensen’s heart raced. Jensen is among former Donald Trump supporters who are voting for Democrat Joe Biden this year, breaking ranks with family, friends and, in many cases, a lifelong political affiliation.




  • WRAPUP 1-Global coronavirus deaths pass 'agonizing milestone' of 1 million


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  • INSIGHT-Puzzled scientists seek reasons behind Africa's low fatality rates from pandemic


  • A viral march across the planet, tracked by a map in motion

    A viral march across the planet, tracked by a map in motionOn a Thursday night in early January, the disease that would become known as COVID-19 claimed its first victim, a 61-year-old man who succumbed to the newly identified coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, in the People’s Republic of China. The United States has shot ahead of the rest of the world and sits on the cusp of 100,000 dead — 99,166.




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  • Fox News Lobotomizes Its ‘Brain Room,’ Cuts Fact-Based Journalism

    Fox News Lobotomizes Its ‘Brain Room,’ Cuts Fact-Based JournalismThe recent mass layoffs at Fox News—an estimated body count of around 70, amounting to a little less than 3 percent of the cable channel’s workforce—signal what current and former employees describe as the purposeful devaluing of fact-based journalism in favor of right-wing opinion, race-baiting, and conspiracy-mongering at the top-rated, Donald Trump-friendly cable outlet.Fox News’ PR department used anodyne corporate-speak to characterize the job losses, namely “restructuring various divisions in order to position all of our businesses for ongoing success.” But the layoffs, outside of the hair and makeup department, cut most deeply into the channel’s straight-news operations at Fox News Digital and elsewhere, according to insiders, while protecting the ratings-heavy, revenue-generating domains of Fox & Friends in the morning, and of Trump cheerleaders Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham in primetime.The outlet’s so-called “Brain Room,” which the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes established as the 24-year-old channel’s fact-checking and research unit, has been especially hard-hit, losing around one-fourth of its 30-person staff along with two supervisors—a virtual frontal lobotomy, according to sources familiar with the cutbacks.In October 1996, when the late Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes launched the channel for Rupert Murdoch, Ailes’s idea was to create a right-leaning outlet that challenged the perceived liberal bias of the mainstream media—CNN was a juicy target—but also presented a robust straight-news operation to counter the opinion shows. “Fair and balanced,” was Ailes’s mantra—and, while Ailes was the supreme leader, he managed news and opinion programming separately under different executives. In recent years, however, especially after Ailes was forced out in July 2016 amid sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, that distinction has steadily eroded.Along with the painful layoffs, fired employees—worried about getting new jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic—are being forced to sign severance agreements that include draconian non-disclosure requirements that one current staffer described as shocking, in order to receive their severance packages.The non-disclosure section of the severance agreement requires laid-off employees to “assign to the Company any and all rights to publicity concerning any matter relating to the issues that resulted in your separation from the Company and/or this Agreement. You agree that you will not publish, contribute to or otherwise facilitate the creation of any story, book or other account relating to the Company or any Released Party. In the event you ever receive any compensation for any publicity, story, book or other disclosure relating in whole or part to those issues, all such compensation shall be immediately given over to the Company.”Manhattan attorney Michael Willemin, a partner at Wigdor, LLP, which has sued Fox News on behalf of alleged victims of workplace discrimination and sexual abuse, told The Daily Beast: “While it is not terribly uncommon for companies to require individuals to sign releases or NDAs in connection with a severance payment, that does not mean that the practice is morally defensible. These are individuals who have just been terminated in the midst of a global pandemic and one of the worst job markets in history. Many of these individuals need these severance payments simply to make ends meet.”Prominent labor lawyer Martin Hyman, who represented Gretchen Carlson and other Fox News women in lawsuits against the channel (including former Fox News Digital reporter Diana Falzone, a co-author of this story), told The Daily Beast: “The confidentiality clause is onerous, but I can’t say it’s unusual. It’s a largely boilerplate gag order designed to intimidate and compel women to remain silent about what they have experienced behind closed doors in major companies. It protects and enables predators. And it’s totally inconsistent with any claims by company executives and spokespersons that they are committed to cleaning up their act and protecting female employees from abuse, humiliation or worse.”Multiple sources said Dianne Brandi, Fox News’ former executive vice president of legal and business affairs, who took a leave of absence in October 2017 amid news reports detailing her intimate involvement in company payments to the female victims of Fox News founder Ailes and star anchor Bill O’Reilly, has quietly returned to the channel as an influential consultant to Lily Fu Claffee, who became Fox News’ general counsel in 2018, and to the network as a whole.A current Fox News employee—who, like others who spoke to The Daily Beast, asked not to be further identified for fear of retaliation—placed blame on Porter Berry, a former longtime Hannity producer who is Fox News Digital’s editor-in-chief, and Berry’s second-in-command Stefanie Wheeler Choi, a former communications director for hard-right Tennessee politician Marsha Blackburn, for much of the carnage that has concentrated on straight-news reporters and photojournalists. Berry and Choi had a large hand in recommending who would be laid off, this current Fox News staffer said.Separately, Brain Room staffers were let go, this person said, “because they help fuel journalism and fact-based reporting and Porter and Stefanie are not interested in facts. They are obsessed with pitching ‘on-brand’ stories that include Blue Lives Matter, anything antifa-related, anyone who has suffered during BLM protests that can put the protestors in a negative light, anything that threatens Christianity, and anyone who is a Trump supporter who has somehow been wronged.”The Daily Beast sent Fox News a detailed list of questions raised in this story and the company declined to provide an on-the-record comment.A second Fox News employee said it’s widely known among staffers at the channel that top executives have “long been unsupportive of real, unbiased reporting. They do not see themselves as a real news operation in the sense that people are doing original work, trying to break stories and get to the bottom of things, wherever the chips fall. They are first and foremost a collector of other outlets’ reports and rewriting, and writing stories about what guests say on their most highly rated shows.”Fox News Internal Document Bashes Pro-Trump Fox Regulars for Spreading ‘Disinformation’Fox News, the profitable cash cow of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, reported $12.3 billion in revenue for the year ending June 30 and is widely perceived as allowing Murdoch to prop up his massively money-losing newspaper holdings in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia.According to multiple Fox News insiders, the most recent cuts were ordered by Joe Dorrego, a former Fox Corp. executive who is both Fox News’s new chief financial officer and chief operating officer. In what is bound to be a bitter irony for laid-off Fox News employees, Dorrego claimed in a staff meeting this past Thursday, according to an insider, that the channel has so far experienced record revenue and profits in 2020.Meanwhile, multiple sources said the channel’s nominal CEO, Suzanne Scott—promoted by Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch as the first woman to hold the job, two years after they forced Ailes out amid anchor Gretchen Carlson’s July 2016 sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit, along with other sexual abuse allegations—is little more than a figurehead. (In Scott’s defense, the company recently issued a press release in which she announced that Fox News Media had received the “honor” of being designated a “a 2020 Great Place to Work-Certified™ Company,” based on the opinions, according to the release, of “nearly eight out of 10 employees.”)Likewise, Fox News President Jay Wallace also has suffered a reduction in power since his 2018 promotion, sources said, because, among other reasons, Fox News has increasingly become an operation in which Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham—the star anchors— run their own fiefdoms, unaccountable to anyone except the Murdochs.It’s a situation the obsessively hands-on Ailes, who died of a brain hemorrhage in May 2017 after a fall in his Palm Beach mansion, would never have permitted.“For all the complications surrounding Roger, he truly did want the channel to project a legitimate news side as well as a robust opinion lineup,” said a well-placed Fox News veteran. “As time passed and the strong hand of Ailes has faded, the opinion team appears to have won the internal battle.”Indeed, the virtual lobotomy of the Brain Room, a current employee said, came about largely because “the Brain Room, in their research, came up with facts that were not used in Fox reports or were in contradiction to what Fox aired. I have to imagine that kind of tension has always existed there, between the fact-checkers and what is often reported.”A third Fox News employee said the Brain Room layoffs send the message “that Fox doesn’t care for a unit who truly holds truth to power. The Brain Room is an essential part of the company. They help employees with some of the most important elements of our jobs and are always there for last minute, difficult requests. They hold a lot of knowledge. Fox has acted like state media for a long time. This is just one small element to it.”Another network staffer expressed a similar sentiment: “As an employee, I have had concerns about how close Fox has become with the White House and the administration. I don’t think I’m the only person there who has these concerns. With these layoffs in multiple news departments coming just a few weeks before the election, it looks like Fox is more like an extension of this administration, instead of a news network.”During the Trump presidency, the Brain Room has been frequently at odds with Fox News’ on-air content. As The Daily Beast reported this past February, senior Fox News political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy produced a 162-page document entitled “Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration” that warned colleagues against the falsehoods being dispensed by Fox News contributor John Solomon—a favorite Hannity guest—and other Fox News purveyors of Ukraine-focused disinformation such as Rudy Giuliani, Victoria Toensing, and her husband Joe diGenova.Murphy, however, was not among those laid off.Among other straight-news victims of the cuts were the former head of the Fox News assignment desk, John Stack, a 21-year veteran, and Martin Hinton, the executive producer of the Fox News investigative unit, who happens to be the son of longtime Murdoch confidant Les Hinton, Rupert’s top newspaper division exec who was forced to resign in 2011 during the British phone-hacking scandal.The Fox News severance agreement, parts of which were obtained by The Daily Beast, is breathtakingly comprehensive, releasing the cable channel from “any and all claims (e.g., for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation) related to actual or perceived race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, family status, caregiver status, sex (including pregnancy status, childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sexual and reproductive health choices, hair texture or hairstyles, military or veteran status, political affiliation, arrest or conviction record, union membership, unemployment status, credit history, status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual offenses, or any other legally protected characteristic, or for having engaged in any protected activity under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York State Fair Pay Act, the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York City Administrative Code, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and any applicable state mini-WARN Act, or any other law, regulation or ordinance that may have arisen before the effective date of this Agreement, including but not limited to those arising from your employment and separation from the Company.”Fox News Staff Erupts Over Network Racism: Bosses ‘Created a White Supremacist Cell’A current staffer told The Daily Beast: “The items that the employees will not be able to sue for sound like a tip o’ the hat of who has called Fox out in the past. For example it lists ‘hair or hair texture’ as a reason that you cannot sue the company. I believe a Black makeup artist sued Fox in the past on this.”The staffer added that laid-off employees who take severance are prohibited from suing for “reproductive-related reasons,” and then pretty much any other reason listed in the New York human rights law.“Then,” the staffer continued, “if you sign this form you are required to speak to a lawyer or be a witness without a subpoena. So let’s say an employee is suing the company for being discriminatory against gay people and one of those employees who signed this agreement heard firsthand that employee who was suing being discriminated against by a boss at Fox. The employee who signed this NDA would be able to speak to Fox’s lawyers without a subpoena, meaning Fox’s lawyers would not have to alert the person’s lawyers who is suing for discrimination about the questioning. Then, let’s say the person who signed the NDA was questioned and corroborated the discrimination. Fox’s lawyers could bury the evidence."A longtime Fox News staffer who was let go earlier this month said terminated employees feel forced to sign the agreement “to get their severance, and for me, I have to take care of my family. I just want my money and leave... We all served a purpose but it seems they don’t want to do any original content anymore, just TV straight to the web. Like state TV in North Korea.”Two decades after Ailes launched Fox News in 1996, he coined the slogan “We Report, You Decide.” A dozen years later, several current and former employees suggested, the cable channel’s new mantra might as well be “We’ve Decided, You Agree.”\--Diana Falzone was an on-camera reporter for Fox News from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender discrimination and disability lawsuit against the network and settled, and left the company in March 2018.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.




  • Worldwide grief: Death toll from coronavirus tops 1 million

    Worldwide grief: Death toll from coronavirus tops 1 millionJoginder Chaudhary was his parents’ greatest pride, raised with the little they earned farming a half-acre plot in central India to become the first doctor from their village. After the virus killed the 27-year-old Chaudhary in late July, his mother wept inconsolably. With her son gone, Premlata Chaudhary said, how could she go on living?




  • Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 million

    Worldwide death toll from coronavirus eclipses 1 millionThe worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 1 million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work. The bleak milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas.




  • Congo's sapeurs pass their style on to a new generation

    Congo's sapeurs pass their style on to a new generationA new book highlights the "sapeurs" in the twin Congolese capitals of Brazzaville and Kinshasa.




  • US official: 2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court order

    US official: 2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court orderU.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge's ruling last week allowing the head count of every U.S. resident to continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted by the Census Bureau on Monday. The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven't yet responded are targeted to end Oct. 5. The announcement came as a virtual hearing was being held in San Jose, California, as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's preliminary injunction.




  • Barrett tied to faith group ex-members say subjugates women

    Barrett tied to faith group ex-members say subjugates womenPresident Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court has close ties to a charismatic Christian religious group that holds men are divinely ordained as the "head” of the family and faith. Former members of the group, called People of Praise, say it teaches that wives must submit to the will of their husbands. Federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett has not commented publicly about her own or her family’s involvement, and a People of Praise spokesman declined to say whether she and her husband are current members.




  • Salty lake, ponds may be gurgling beneath South Pole on Mars

    Salty lake, ponds may be gurgling beneath South Pole on MarsA network of salty ponds may be gurgling beneath Mars’ South Pole alongside a large underground lake, raising the prospect of tiny, swimming Martian life. In the latest study appearing in the journal Nature Astronomy, the scientists provide further evidence of this salty underground lake, estimated to be 12 miles to 18 miles (20 kilometers to 30 kilometers) across and buried 1 mile (1.5 kilometers) beneath the icy surface. Roughly 4 billion years ago, Mars was warm and wet, like Earth.




  • Saudi Arabia arrests 10 with alleged ties to Iran's Guard


  • Iraqi PM rallies allies to stop US closing embassy after Pompeo threats

    Iraqi PM rallies allies to stop US closing embassy after Pompeo threatsUS warned Mustafa al-Kadhimi it will withdraw diplomats if Baghdad fails to prevent rocket attacksIraq’s prime minister has rallied allies to help stop the US from closing its embassy in the country after the Trump administration threatened to withdraw its diplomats if Baghdad fails to stop persistent rocket attacks.The ultimatum was delivered over the weekend by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and was followed by a small-scale evacuation from the fortified mission in what officials saw as a statement of intent.But it was unclear if the warning was a ploy to force a crackdown on Iraq’s powerful militias, or the first step in a sweeping strategic move to end a 17-year post-war US presence in Iraq.Kadhimi, a US ally who visited the White House last month, was caught unaware by Pompeo’s demands, which came amid an election campaign so far contested largely on domestic issues. Trump’s few forays into foreign policy have centred on bringing troops home from Iraq and elsewhere and demanding unfettered loyalty from allies, including Baghdad.Kadhimi is considered more US-leaning than his predecessors, but his authority has been tested in recent months by powerful Iran-backed militias who are believed responsible for an escalating string of rocket attacks on Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, where the seat of government and diplomatic missions are located.The barrages have increased throughout a year that started with a US drone strike in Baghdad, which killed the powerful Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of one of the militias, Kata’ib Hezbollah.Since then, Iranian-inspired attacks on US and other western interests have been constant – despite Kadhimi’s insistence that he would put an end to them. His relative powerlessness has led some members of Trump’s inner circle to lose faith in a man they had hoped could be prized from Iran’s orbit.Another section of the administration, however, insists that Iraq’s geography and post-war experiences have made dealing with Iran an inevitability, and that a naked “with us or against us” approach is doomed to fail.“The rocket attacks are a trigger for a longer standing and broader issue: the US administration feels that it has invested billions and many lives in Iraq and got little in return,” said former senior EU diplomat Clarisse Pasztory, who spent more than a decade in Iraq.“Instead, Iran benefited. Trump thinks transactionally and doesn’t swallow conventional wisdom. The argument of sunk costs doesn’t buy. He wants Iraq to either show that it is firmly with the US, and grateful at that, or else to end what Trump sees as a charade.“I’d guess that Trump thinks first – and maybe even solely – about elections. Leaving Iraq, let alone merely announcing it, is pretty cost free. No US president can afford to see US personnel killed a few weeks ahead of elections.”A senior regional source said many Iraqi officials had decided the US move was not a ploy, and that the president may in the coming weeks overturn a near-20 year policy which saw a security presence and diplomatic muscle as equally invaluable for a policy to counter Iranian influence.“I’m not sure it’s a bluff because it costs politically in DC to start an evacuation,” the regional source said. “But it might also be to demonstrate resolve and squeeze Kadhimi into a corner.”It is unclear if, following Suleimani’s death, Iran still enjoys complete control over Kata’ib Hezbollah and other militia groups, the regional official said.“Qassem was one of a kind. He invested time and resources into personal relationships which were reinforced over three decades. He could be cunning and compassionate, and threaten and reward Iraqi actors. He knew the game, and played it exceptionally well. Qassem exploited Americans’ limits in ways that helped him advance the Iranian cause.”The official argued that the assassination of Suleimani, one of the most powerful figures in the region, had neutered both the US and Iraq’s ability to deal with Iran.“The Americans used to use Iraqi presidents and officials capable of talking to both sides to deliver messages to Qassem. And he could get the job done. Who do they go to now? It’s a tragic state of affairs, with no hope in sight for the country.”The intelligence community has also been alarmed by Pompeo’s phone call and the challenge to Kadhimi it implies.“I am worried that Trump’s approach may in fact abandon what has been a huge investment in Iraq, blood and resources,” said Marc Polymeropoulos, who retired from the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service in 2019, and spent the majority of his career working on the near east including Iraq.“Iraq may call our bluff … Then what? Do we cede Iraq to Iran, which happens if we pack up and leave. That is not in the US’s interests and that is the danger of this approach. Without a big US footprint – which includes all elements of US power, military, intelligence, aid, diplomatic – Iran fills the vacuum immediately.“We cannot do this from an adjacent country. We must be inside of Iraq. I would imagine that we will come to a workable solution, where the Iraqis make security improvements so that we can stay.”




  • Trump, Biden prepare to debate at a time of mounting crises

    Trump, Biden prepare to debate at a time of mounting crisesIn an election year like no other, the first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, could be a pivotal moment in a race that has remained stubbornly unchanged in the face of historic tumult. The Tuesday night debate will offer a massive platform for Trump and Biden to outline their starkly different visions for a country facing multiple crises, including racial justice protests and a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and cost millions of jobs. The health emergency has upended the usual trappings of a presidential campaign, lending heightened importance to the debate.




  • Man gets 30 years in 2nd sentencing for beheading plot


  • Turkey Sends ISIS Warlord to Azerbaijan to Face-Off Against Putin’s Armenian Allies

    Turkey Sends ISIS Warlord to Azerbaijan to Face-Off Against Putin’s Armenian AlliesISTANBUL, Turkey—On Sunday afternoon, a video depicting a large convoy of Islamist Syrian rebel fighters yelling enthusiastically as they drove off to war circulated widely on Arabic social media. Fighters in the packed trucks, driving quickly past the group of children filming with their phones, could be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar!” and, “Our leader, 'til the end of time, is our master, Muhammad!”However, what shocked those watching the video weren’t the shouts of the Syrian fighters but rather those of the children filming, who yelled back at the soldiers in a language unfamiliar to most Syrians following their country’s nine-year war. “That’s not Kurdish, right?” said one user in an online group where the video emerged. “If they were Kurds, you think they’d be cheering them on?” responded another with a laugh out loud emoji.Over the next several hours, rumors swirled that the video was shot in Azerbaijan, a small Turkic-speaking nation lodged between Iran and Russia, and that the Syrian rebel fighters had been sent there to prop up the Azeri government in its war against neighboring Armenia that had begun that day. According to high-ranking Syrian rebel sources that spoke to The Daily Beast, these rumors are true. The fighters that appeared in the circulated video were part of a group of 1,000 Syrian rebel soldiers sent in two batches from Turkey on September 22 and 24.“500 Hamza Brigade fighters were flown last Tuesday from southern Turkey to the Azeri airbase at Sumqayit [30 kilometers north of the Azeri capital of Baku]”, according to a source within the Syrian National Army (SNA) rebel outfit who requested anonymity. “Two days later, on Thursday, another 500 fighters from the Sultan Murad brigades rebel faction were similarly flown out to Azerbaijan.”These claims were echoed by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a Syrian opposition body that monitors human rights violations in the country. SOHR sources suggest more batches of Syrian rebel fighters are preparing to be deployed to Azerbaijan.The Hamza and Sultan Murad brigades are known within Syrian rebel circles as factions that enjoy especially close relations with Turkey, the last remaining patron of the Syrian opposition. Sayf Balud, commander of the Hamza brigades, however, is also known for his checkered past, in particular, as a former commander within the radical jihadist group ISIS.An ethnic Syrian Turkman from the town of Biza’a in Aleppo city’s northern countryside, Balud originally joined the Abu Bakr Sadiq brigades, a moderate rebel faction near his hometown that received widespread support from Gulf states in the early years of the conflict. However, coming from a small, relatively unknown family, Balud failed to climb the ranks of Syria’s rebel movement as quickly as he would have liked, and as others from more prominent backgrounds regularly did. By early 2013, Balud had joined ISIS, whose ranks were staffed mostly by foreigners who couldn't have cared less about the social status of their Syrian recruits.In July 2013, Balud appeared in an ISIS propaganda video shot in the border town of Tal Abyad after the group successfully captured the city from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). In the video, Sayf appears next to an Egyptian foreign fighter addressing a room full of two dozen captured YPG soldiers, who were assembled before an ISIS camera crew to officially repent for having joined an armed faction that ISIS’ leadership described as being “at war with God.”Over the next several years, Balud’s star continued to rise, as the commander attained a level of status within ISIS that would have been unattainable in other rebel groups. Despite the large-scale defeat of ISIS across northern Syria at the hands of the YPG in 2016 and 2017, the cunning commander was able to leverage his history of fighting against Kurds to re-invent himself as a valuable client for another foreign patron: Turkey.By January 2018, when Turkish backed rebel forces launched “Operation Olive Branch” to take over the Kurdish canton of Afrin located in Syria’s uppermost northwest corner, Balud regularly appeared in the group’s propaganda videos as the official commander of the newly formed Hamza brigades. His status as an ethnic Turkman, a small minority within Syria whose likeness to their Turkish kinsmen across the border has pushed Ankara to grant many coveted privileges such as Turkish citizenship and sensitive leadership positions, further endeared Balud to his new patrons.According to SNA sources, Syrian rebel units now being sent to Azerbaijan by Turkey are almost exclusively led by ethnic Syrian Turkmen. “Sayf Balud is a Turkman. The Sultan Murad brigade’s commander, Fahim Aissa, is a Syrian Turkman, like Balud. Turkey only trusts factions led by Syrian Turkman to carry out these missions. These are sensitive for Turkey politically, and they don’t trust Syrian Arabs to lead them.”Turkey’s intervention in Azerbaijan is indeed sensitive. After a four-year lull in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, fighting between the two countries erupted anew on Sunday in fighting that killed two-dozen fighters.Historically the Nagorno-Karabakh region has been internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. But in 1991 Armenian factions within the region declared themselves independent. Three years of war over the disputed territory ended in 1994 with a Russian brokered ceasefire. The newly declared Nagorno-Karabakh republic was soon occupied by Armenia, which has since maintained de facto control of the area. With the exception of four days of fighting in April 2016, Sunday’s clashes were the first major instance of renewed combat between both countries over the status of the area. Both sides accuse the other of having initiated the fighting on Sunday.Clashes continue, with dozens more casualties reported. Fighting alongside the Azeri regular forces were 1,000 Syrian rebel fighters, among them former jihadists led by ex-ISIS commander Sayf Balud. All About the OilTurkey's move to send Syrian rebels to face-off against Armenia, a longtime rival of Turkey, is just the latest in a long string of neo-Ottoman foreign adventures undertaken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the last 6 months. Ankara has deployed both its armed forces and Syrian proxies to crack down on Kurdish PKK and YPG forces in northern Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan throughout 2020.Turkey has also intervened in western Libya and waters throughout the eastern Mediterranean where its navy has threatened NATO allies France and Greece in an attempt to strongarm both countries and lay claim to gas reserves located within Greece's maritime borders.In Azerbaijan, Turkey is looking to demonstrate loyalty and prop up an oil-rich regime with which it has maintained close military ties since the 1994 ceasefire. Since 2005, they have launched numerous lucrative oil and gas initiatives including a pipeline that exports 1.2 million barrels of Azeri oil per day to the European Union (EU), earning Turkey upwards of $200 million in annual transit fees. In 2006, this cooperation expanded following the launch of the South Caucasus natural gas pipeline that annually exports 8.8 billion cubic meters of much needed Azeri gas to the Turkish market, a net importer of energy.In 2011, Turkey began work on an expansive natural gas production network called the Trans Anatolian Pipeline, which is projected to export 31 billion cubic meters of Azeri gas to the EU by 2026. Turkish shareholders, who own a 30 percent stake in the project, stand to make huge profits.Turkey’s push to transform Azerbaijan into a lucrative oil and gas export hub is also motivated by Ankara’s desire to come out from under Russia’s shadow. Turkey depends on Russia for 40 percent of its fossil fuels, a reliance that has forced Ankara to treat Russia as a friendly nation despite the fact that the two countries share almost no common interests.The “Southern Gas Corridor,” a term referring to the various pipelines emerging out of Azerbaijan, has been heavily cheered on by the EU, which also wants to break its dependence on Russian gas. No surprise then that Russia is on the other side in the ongoing dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.Nagorno-Karabakh is now the third theater where Russia and Turkey find themselves supporting opposite sides in an active Middle East conflict zone. In Syria, Russian support for dictator Bashar al-Assad and Turkey’s support for the country’s rebels such as Sayf Bulad and others led to direct conflict between both countries’ armies earlier this year, resulting in the death of dozens of Turkish soldiers. In Libya, the situation is reversed, with Turkey supporting Libya’s government and Russia supporting Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general and rebel leader who has sought to seize control of Libya’s lucrative oil sector and capture the capital of Tripoli.In both conflicts, Sayf Bulad and the Hamza brigades have proven extremely useful to Turkey. Thousands of the group’s fighters, including Sayf Bulad, were deployed to Libya last summer to help repel a major assault launched by Russian-backed Khalifa Haftar and in the bargain reclaim territory previously captured by the general. The Turkish backed authority in Tripoli is now safely guarded against external threats, while Turkish companies are set to gain lucrative contracts in Libya’s oil and gas and reconstruction sectors.Within this context of great power struggles, Syria's rebels, once idealistic and seeking to liberate their country from dictator Bashar al-Assad, have found themselves reduced to pawns compelled to serve as mercenaries and shock troops used by Turkey to advance its foreign policy in a world where Ankara finds itself increasingly isolated. In doing so, they find themselves led by and mixed with fighters from the most vicious jihadist group the world has ever seen.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.




  • Judge: Man charged in 2006 Iraq slayings to remain jailed

    Judge: Man charged in 2006 Iraq slayings to remain jailedA judge in Arizona has ruled that an Iraqi immigrant arrested on charges of participating in the 2006 killings of two police officers in Iraq will remain jailed until his extradition case concludes. U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Morrissey concluded Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri is at risk of fleeing and poses a danger to the community, citing the serious nature of the charges, the life or death sentence Ahmed would face if convicted in Iraq, and his ties to people living in foreign countries. In the Sept. 21 decision, Morrissey also rejected arguments that Ahmed should be released because of his earlier work in the U.S. as a cultural adviser to the military and because his heart and lung ailments make him vulnerable to being infected with the coronavirus at the detention center in Florence, Arizona, where he is being held.




  • As COVID-19 Closes Schools, the World's Children Go to Work

    As COVID-19 Closes Schools, the World's Children Go to WorkTUMAKURU, India -- Every morning in front of the Devaraj Urs public housing apartment blocks on the outskirts of Tumakuru, a swarm of children pours into the street.They are not going to school. Instead of backpacks or books, each child carries a filthy plastic sack.These children, from 6 to 14 years old, have been sent by their parents to rummage through garbage dumps littered with broken glass and concrete shards in search of recyclable plastic. They earn a few cents per hour, and most wear no gloves or masks. Many cannot afford shoes and make their rounds barefoot, with bleeding feet."I hate it," said Rahul, an 11-year-old boy praised by his teacher as bright.But in March, India closed its schools because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Rahul had to go to work.In many parts of the developing world, school closures put children on the streets. Families are desperate for money. Children are an easy source of cheap labor. While the United States and other developed countries debate the effectiveness of online schooling, hundreds of millions of children in poorer countries lack computers or the internet and have no schooling at all.U.N. officials estimate that at least 24 million children will drop out and that millions could be sucked into work. Ten-year-olds are now mining sand in Kenya. Children the same age are chopping weeds on cocoa plantations in West Africa. In Indonesia, boys and girls as young as 8 are painted silver and pressed into service as living statues who beg for money.The surge in child labor could erode the progress achieved in recent years in school enrollment, literacy, social mobility and children's health."All the gains that have been made, all this work we have been doing, will be rolled back, especially in places like India," said Cornelius Williams, a high-ranking UNICEF official.Child labor is just one piece of a looming global disaster. Severe hunger is stalking children from Afghanistan to South Sudan. Forced marriages for girls are rising across Africa and Asia, according to U.N. officials, as is child trafficking. Data from Uganda showed teen pregnancies shooting up during pandemic-related school closures. Aid workers in Kenya said that many families were sending their teenage girls into sex work to feed the family.Other aspects of society have been allowed to reopen. Why is it, frustrated children's advocates ask, that bars, gyms, restaurants and subway systems are now operating but not schools?Williams said leaders who "really believe in education" should use those resources on schools, and he questioned why they were not."Is it because adults have agency and have the louder voice -- and the power to vote?" he asked.In Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, Surlina, 14, paints herself silver to resemble a statue and hangs around a gas station with an outstretched hand. Her mother is a maid, and her father sold small sculptures before the pandemic robbed him of a job. At the end of each day she gives her earnings to her mother, who supplies her and her two siblings, 11 and 8, with the paint."I have no choice," Surlina said. "This is my life. My family is poor. What else can I do?"She sometimes tries to study from a sixth-grade workbook -- she was going to school until it closed in March -- but finds reading difficult."It makes me dizzy, and no one helps me," Surlina said. "I just give up."In India, the government has also shut down early childhood development centers for the poor. In recent decades, India had built a nationwide network of more than 1 million anganwadis, which means courtyard shelter in Hindi, that provided millions of young children with food, immunizations, clothes and some schooling, and contraceptives for poor women. But most anganwadis remain closed.School-age children in India are now performing all kinds of work, from rolling cigarettes and stacking bricks to serving tea outside brothels, according to more than 50 interviews conducted with the children, their parents, teachers, labor contractors and child activists. Most of it is illegal. Much of it is hazardous.Saurabh Kumar, a sixth grader from a struggling family in Jharkhand state, works as a helper at a garage at the urging of his father. A few months ago, he tried to unfasten some sharp engine bolts and sliced his hand open."I could see down to the bone," he said.India already had a serious child labor problem because of high poverty levels, its population of 1.3 billion and its dependence on cheap labor. Shadowy fireworks and cigarette factories, textile sweatshops and loosely regulated construction sites often employ children. Authorities had been cracking down and enrolling children, especially girls, in school.But as Nahida Ismail, a teacher in Bihar state, said, "The whole ecosystem around kids is breaking down."On a construction site near Gaya, a town in Bihar, Mumtaz, 12, and his brother Shahnawaz, 10, struggled under heavy loads of gravel.With a grimace, Shahnawaz hoisted a bucket atop his head. His skinny legs nearly buckled. He squinched his eyes tight, looking like he was about to cry. Around him stood men three times his age, just watching."I get headaches," Shahnawaz said. "I can't sleep at night. My body tingles."His older brother seems to have glimpsed his new future."I fear that even if school reopens, I will have to keep doing this because of the family's debt," Mumtaz said."I wanted to join the army," he added, using the past tense.Many child experts said that once children drop out and start making money, it is very difficult to get them back in school. India has ordered elementary and middle schools to remain closed indefinitely, affecting more than 200 million children, although some government teachers are making house calls and teaching in small groups. The central government has allowed high school students to visit teachers on campus, but many states have said no to that as well.Government officials say the coronavirus leaves them little choice. New infections sometimes reach nearly 100,000 per day. Officials say children would have difficulty maintaining social distancing."They can end up becoming vectors of virus," said Rajesh Naithani, an adviser to the education ministry.Child rights activists say it is remarkable how little the school closures are being discussed. Speeches by India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, and top ministers usually focus on opening up the economy, not the schools.Many of the parents interviewed said they were under tremendous pressure to put their idle children to work. (The children in this article were interviewed with permission from a parent.)"We need their wages," said Mohammad Mustakim Ansari, an underemployed mason and the father of Mumtaz and Shahnawaz. "Without them, I wouldn't be able to cobble together two meals."Employers can smell the desperation. India's economy has contracted more than any other major economy. Wages are plummeting.Biplab Das, a labor contractor in West Bengal state, said that parents keep arriving on his doorstep with school-age children. One morning in mid-September, a man showed up with his son and daughter, 12 and 8.Das said the children stood quietly in the doorway and looked at their father "like they were being prepared to be thrown into a fire."Das said he does not find jobs for children because it is illegal. But in this case, fearing the family might starve, he guided them to a truck stop that was looking for a tea server. The 12-year-old boy now works there, making the equivalent of about 7 cents an hour.In India, children younger than 14 are not allowed to work unless it is a family enterprise, like a farm, or in a few other rare circumstances, such as child acting. They are barred from dangerous workplaces such as construction sites and cigarette factories. But because of the disruption caused by the pandemic, UNICEF officials said, there are fewer workplace inspections.Many children now dread getting up in the morning. It is like their childhood has suddenly ended.On a recent morning, Rahul, the 11-year-old resident of the Devaraj Urs housing blocks, stood in an empty street in Tumakuru, an industrial hub in southern India, the sun rising over his left shoulder. The vacant look in his dark brown eyes said: What am I doing here?His dad, Kempraju, a lifelong garbage scavenger from one of the lowest castes, towered over him, lean and glassy-eyed, arms covered in blue homemade tattoos."You ready?" Kempraju asked.Rahul slowly nodded."Where are your shoes?"Rahul looked down at his bare feet."I don't have any," he said.Kempraju said the work was "not respectable," but he wanted to keep Rahul out of trouble and needed the extra hands."He sifts well," he said as he watched Rahul scrounge a plastic bottle out of a refuse pit, flatten it and drop it into his sack.Later that day, Rahul extracted a pair of ratty slippers from a garbage pile and wore them. They almost fit.While Rahul was picking through another dump, a group of boys about his age passed by. They wore backpacks and crisply ironed shirts. They were off to see a private tutor.Rahul rested his bag of crushed bottles on the pavement and stared for a moment."This is the shame," said Rahul's teacher, N. Sundara Murthy. "Kids who weren't scavenging for garbage are doing it now. Schools need to be reopened.""Rahul's a good student," Murthy added. "His absorption power is very good. His vocabulary is very good. He has a high IQ. He says he wants to be a doctor, and he could do it, if he has the right facilities."After a morning of scavenging, Rahul paid a visit to his school in Tumakuru's busy center. The campus was windblown and deserted. The only person around was the caretaker, a middle-aged woman in a sari smoothly sweeping the courtyard.From a giant ring of keys, she pulled one out and unlocked the sixth-grade classroom. Rahul walked in. His eyes adjusted to the dark.Water was pooled on the floor. A map of India, the paint chipping off, clung to a wall. To another visitor, this school might have seemed shabby.But not to Rahul."I really miss this place," he said.He walked out, sack over his shoulder, too-big slippers scraping the ground, back into the noisy streets.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company




  • Scholars of Sustenance celebrates United Nations "International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste"

    Scholars of Sustenance celebrates United Nations "International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste"Scholars of Sustenance celebrates United Nations "International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste"PR NewswireCARY, N. and BANGKOK and PHUKET, Thailand and BALI, Indonesia, Sept.




  • UN: Africa lost $800B in illegal transfers in recent years


  • Coronavirus in Kenya: Pubs to reopen but schools stay shut

    Coronavirus in Kenya: Pubs to reopen but schools stay shutThe president says pupil safety has to be guaranteed before Covid-19 school restrictions can lift.




  • UN says Libyan rivals have restarted military talks in Egypt


  • Feds to ship millions of tests in bid to reopen K-12 schools

    Feds to ship millions of tests in bid to reopen K-12 schoolsPresident Donald Trump announced Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urged governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The move to vastly expand U.S. testing comes as confirmed new COVID-19 cases remain elevated at more than 40,000 per day and experts warn of a likely surge in infections during the colder months ahead. It also comes just five weeks before the November election, with Trump facing continued criticism for his handling of the crisis.




  • Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: 'Bomb on donkey' used to ambush Borno governor

    Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: 'Bomb on donkey' used to ambush Borno governorMilitants from an Islamic State-linked group strapped the animal with explosives in Borno state.




  • Iraqi military: 5 dead, 2 wounded in Baghdad rocket attack


  • EU concerned over resignation of Lebanon's PM-designate

    EU concerned over resignation of Lebanon's PM-designateThe European Union expressed “disappointment and concern” Monday about the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister-designate over the weekend and urged the country’s leaders to do their best to form a Cabinet that meets the demands of the people. Mustapha Adib’s resignation during a political impasse came amid Lebanon's worst economic and financial crisis in decades — made worse by a massive explosion in Beirut in early August that killed and wounded many and caused widespread damage. Adib, who handed in his resignation Saturday, nearly a month after winning majority support from the Parliament, left Beirut early Monday to return to his post as Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany.




  • What Trump's golf courses could reveal

    What Trump's golf courses could revealThe New York Times' report on President Trump's tax info shed a significant amount of new light on his businesses and personal wealth, but there are still several questions left unanswered. Journalist Adam Davidson, who has reported on Trump's business dealings for The New Yorker, suggests people look to Trump's golf courses to find out more.One of Davidson's big takeaways from the Times report is that Trump had a "new source of funds" beginning around 2011 after he had finished "blowing through" most of the money he received from his father, television producer Mark Burnett, and through loans. It's not clear who this alleged new source of money may be, but Davidson believes golf courses could be the key. In 2011, Davidson writes, Trump went into business with families from Azerbaijan, and was also "flirting" with Georgian and Kazakh businesses that have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Between 2011 and 2016, all of those groups were known to be laundering money through golf courses.Trump, of course, has his own courses across the U.S., as well as in other countries, and those properties have cost him a lot of money. Davidson singled out his Scottish golf resorts, which have prompted investigation requests in the past, because that is where he, perhaps confoundingly, spent the post-2011 money.> \- Golf courses are one of the best ways to launder large amounts of money. > > So, next step: look to Scotland. That is where he spent this money, where the businesses make the least sense. > > The math seems clear: *somebody* was giving him 100s of millions to spend. > > 4/> > — Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) September 28, 2020But speculation is just that, and Davidson argues that little more can be known about who Trump "owes and what they know about him" until the alleged funding source is uncovered.More stories from theweek.com Trump literally can't afford to lose the election Trump avoids tax return questions as he brings yet another truck to the White House The bigger truth revealed by Trump's taxes




  • At UN, nations urge overdue reckoning with colonial crimes

    At UN, nations urge overdue reckoning with colonial crimesLeaders of countries once subjugated to Western powers sent a pointed message at this year’s U.N. General Assembly: For those who think the word “colonialism” evokes a long-ago, no-longer-relevant era, think again. Several leaders raised this year’s global protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and renewed demands for reparations for the slave trade, calling them just one step in a still-unfinished reckoning with crimes of former empires. “The global movement for racial justice and equality is not a passing phenomenon,” said Paul Kagame of Rwanda, once colonized by Germany and Belgium.




  • US warns Iraq of Baghdad embassy closure if attacks continue

    US warns Iraq of Baghdad embassy closure if attacks continueThe Trump administration has warned Iraq that it will close its embassy in Baghdad if the government does not take swift and decisive action to end persistent rocket and other attacks by Iranian-backed militias and rogue armed elements on American and allied interests in the country, U.S., Iraqi and other officials said Monday. As news of the warning sent shockwaves across Baghdad, Iraq's military said a Katyusha rocket hit near Baghdad airport, killing five Iraqi civilians and severely wounding two others. A U.S. official said the administration’s warning was given to both Iraq’s president and prime minister but that it was not an imminent ultimatum.




  • Britain is part of "arc of instability" around the EU, chairman says


  • As suicides rise, Army brass reassessing outreach

    As suicides rise, Army brass reassessing outreachIf there were any signs that Staff Sgt. Jason Lowe was struggling, the soldiers he served alongside didn’t see them. The 27-year-old paratrooper was a top performer. “On the way there I think it set in that maybe there’s something a lot worse going on,” Graves said.




  • Mourning daughter, a Guatemalan couple find healing in dance

    Mourning daughter, a Guatemalan couple find healing in danceJenifer Vásquez was 32 when she died of renal insufficiency in June, leaving behind grief-stricken parents already struggling with the isolation of the coronavirus lockdown in Guatemala. Then Fabio Rodolfo Vásquez heard about a dance contest organized on social media, “Covi Dance 2020.” For a week he and María Moreno, his wife, mulled it over.




  • Erdogan Puts Himself in a Bind in Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict


  • US threatens to close Baghdad embassy unless Iraq halts militia attacks

    US threatens to close Baghdad embassy unless Iraq halts militia attacksFive Iraqi civilians were killed on Monday by rocket fire targeting Baghdad airport, where US troops are stationed, Iraqi officials said, days after the United States warned it would withdraw its diplomats Iraqi unless authorities rein in militia attacks. Three children and two women from the same family died and two other children were wounded when a Katyusha rocket fell on their home, the army said. The incident was the deadliest yet in a series of attacks targeting American interests in the country. On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in a phone call that the US would close its Baghdad embassy unless Iraq stopped Iran-backed militias from striking American installations, according to Iraqi officials. A "strong and violent" response would follow against the groups responsible for the attacks, the Iraqi officials reported Mr Pompeo as saying . Attacks on US targets in Iraq have increased since the United States killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in an audacious drone strike in Baghdad in January. The capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone has been targeted in at least 19 rocket and mortar attacks this month, while convoys serving the US-led international coalition against Islamic State have been attacked two dozen times, most recently on Sunday when an improvised explosive device hit vehicles transporting military equipment in southern Iraq. A roadside bomb targeted a British convoy in Baghdad this month, the first such attack against western diplomats in years, while a British soldier was killed alongside two Americans at camp Taiji north of Baghdad in March. Since taking office in May, Mr Kadhimi has vowed to rein in rogue militias. He assumed the premiership with US support but his western ally is dissatisfied with his cautious approach to militias, many of which are backed by Iran. As Mr Khadimi visited Washington last month, unknown gunmen carried out a string of attacks on Iraqi activists linked to the US consulate in Basra, which was widely interpreted as an attempt by militiamen to discredit the premier. The administration of US President Donald Trump has adopted a “maximum pressure” strategy towards Iran and with up to 5,000 US soldiers remaining in Iraq, there are fears withdrawing diplomats could prefigure US military strikes on Iranian interests. The Baghdad embassy is one of the largest American diplomatic missions worldwide and closing it would take months. The process could be halted if the US is satisfied with Iraq’s response. “For now, gauging credibility of US threat to close embassy can’t be distinguished from a real threat or a bluff,” wrote Ramzy Mardini, a researcher on Iraq at the University of Chicago.




  • Germany 'could face 19,200 infections a day', warns Merkel

    Germany 'could face 19,200 infections a day', warns MerkelAngela Merkel is reportedly worried Germany is not doing enough to contain the coronavirus and infections could spiral out of control. “If we don’t get on top of this, we could see 19,200 infections a day by Christmas”, she warned party allies privately on Monday, according to reports in German media. She expressed particular concern over rapidly rising infections in the German capital, saying: “Something has to be done about Berlin”. Mrs Merkel has yet to speak publicly of her concerns, which emerged in details of a private conference call leaked to the German press. But the leaked comments suggested she is set to press for new restrictions on daily life in Germany in coronavirus talks with regional leaders on Tuesday “We have to intervene swiftly and contain the infection process,” she reportedly said in the conference call with senior figures from her Christian Democrat party (CDU). “We have to establish priorities: keep the economy running, and keep schools and nurseries open. “Football is of only secondary concern,” she added, in reference to recent public debate over whether to readmit live crowds to Bundesliga matches.





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