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Philippine President Duterte threatens to end military deal with U.S.

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:51

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the United States on Thursday he would repeal an agreement on deployment of troops and equipment for exercises if Washington did not reinstate the visa of a political ally.


‘Fox & Friends’ Desperately Tries to End Unhinged Giuliani Interview, Repeatedly Fails

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:20

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani showed up on the president’s favorite morning program on Friday—and apparently didn’t want to leave.A day after Giuliani claimed on Twitter that he was about to go public with evidence that will reveal the “Biden Family Enterprise made millions by selling public office” when Joe Biden was vice president, the former New York City mayor sat down on Fox & Friends’ curvy couch for what can generously be described as an unhinged, rambling, off-the-rails performance.Giuliani, whose involvement in the Ukraine scandal is at the heart of the president’s impeachment, continually left the hosts of the Fox News slack-jawed as he prattled on and bulldozed right through their efforts to keep him from incriminating and implicating himself.For example, as he claimed he would provide “compelling” evidence later in the day on a podcast to support his wild assertions about the Bidens that seemingly ensnare the entire Obama administration AND Hillary Clinton, co-host Brian Kilmeade wanted to make sure “the State Department and the White House know everything you were doing."Elsewhere in the interview, which was aired in front of a live studio audience, the one-time America’s Mayor dismissed text messages and call logs with shady businessman Lev Parnas and other figures associated with Ukraine, oddly boasting, “How about all those phone records that show that I am a very hard-working lawyer?”Finally, after Giuliani once again repeated his Biden-related conspiracies, co-host Steve Doocy stepped in to wrap up the segment.“I know you could go clear through noon when your podcast starts. Give it up for Rudy Giuliani,” Doocy exclaimed to cheers from the audience. “We’re going to be watching.”The Trump lawyer, however, wasn’t budging, instead saying that he’d only shown the “tip of the iceberg” while rambling on some more.“Rudy, we’re done,” Doocy begged, prompting Kilmeade to add, “We have got to go. The president wants you to continue this investigation?”“Would you like me to give up?” Giuliani replied, before adding, “Would you like me to say OK, Biden can keep his 8 million that he got in bribes. He can keep all the bribes that they got.”Again, Doocy tried to give the signal that the interview was over, telling Giuliani that “we’re waiting for noon” for the podcast. Giuliani, meanwhile, ignored Doocy while asking Kilmeade if he should “give it up” while grabbing his head and awkwardly leaning off the couch.The ex-mayor would continue to steamroll over Doocy’s efforts to go to commercial break so he could get yet another last word in, finally giving it up after Doocy’s fifth attempt to end the interview.Stephen Colbert Grills CNN’s Chris Cuomo on His ‘Friend’ Kellyanne ConwayRead 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.


Robert Koehler: Serial ‘pillowcase rapist’ suspect was building a ‘dungeon’ before arrest

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:19

Prosecutors in Florida believe a 60-year-old man building a “dungeon” under his home is the so-called pillowcase rapist, who authorities say broke into women’s houses and concealed his face with pillows and towels in as many as 40 assaults in the state since the 1980s.Robert Koehler was arrested on 18 January after authorities say they tied his DNA to samples collected from a 1983 case. The sample also matched DNA collected from several other cases between 1981 and 1986, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


Experts fear China virus lockdown is too late

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 11:14

China's bid to contain a deadly new virus by placing cities of millions under quarantine is an unprecedented undertaking, but it is unlikely to stop the disease spreading, experts warn. The contagious virus has already reached elsewhere in China and abroad, and even an authoritarian government has only a small time frame in which trapped residents will submit to such a lockdown, they say.


Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:53

In the exchange, a father asked Warren if he is getting "screwed" because he saved money for his daughter's education.


Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:52

Iran’s brand is thinning among the Shi’a and Suleimani’s departure creates breathing room for the Shi’a in the region.


2 elephants escaped a circus in Russia and rolled around in the snow before being recaptured

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:20

Two elephants escaped a circus in Yekaterinburg, Russia. One of them rolled around in the snow. It took a dozen people to wrangle them.


Australia's Kangaroo Island is looking for volunteers to feed animals injured in bushfires

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:10

Nearly half of Kangaroo Island was burned by the bushfires this month alone. The RSPCA has posted an application form.


Bulgaria Takes Harder Line on Russia Before U.S. Energy Talks

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:04

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Bulgaria said it may expel two Russian diplomats it accuses of espionage, demonstrating an unusually tough stance toward the Kremlin in the run-up to talks with the U.S. over energy and security.A European Union and NATO member, the Balkan country is trying to balance the priorities of its Western allies with religious, historical and cultural ties to neighboring Russia, which is also its main energy supplier.Prosecutors said Friday that two Russian citizens spied on elections and the energy industry, but couldn’t be charged because of diplomatic immunity.The pair -- a first secretary in the Russian embassy’s consular department in Sofia and a diplomat in Russia’s commercial representation office -- will “most likely” be declared persona non grata, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told reporters.The Russian ambassador will also be summoned Friday, she said. The embassy in Sofia hasn’t received any official requests from prosecutors regarding the diplomats, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.The potential expulsions come a day after Bulgaria charged three Russians for the attempted murder of an arms dealer, his son and an employee of his company in 2015, a case that’s linked to the poisoning attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K.The motivation for this week’s moves is unclear. Bulgaria has made a point of not censuring Russia in the past, failing to join most EU states in expelling its diplomats in the aftermath of the Skripal case.But Bulgaria is facing U.S. pressure over a pipeline to help transfer Russian gas to central Europe. Energy Ministry officials are expected to hold direct talks on purchases of American liquefied natural gas this month as Bulgaria seeks to diversify its sources.\--With assistance from Stepan Kravchenko.To contact the reporter on this story: Slav Okov in Sofia at sokov@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Irina Vilcu at isavu@bloomberg.net, Andrew Langley, Andras GergelyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


China rushes to build new hospital for virus within 10 days

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:00

China is rushing to build a new hospital in a staggering 10 days to treat patients at the epicentre of a deadly virus outbreak that has stricken hundreds of people, state media reported Friday. The facility in the central city of Wuhan is expected to be in use by February 3 to serve a rising number of patients infected by a coronavirus that has left at least 26 people dead and millions on lockdown in an effort to curb its spread. The hospital will have a capacity of 1,000 beds spread over 25,000 square metres (270,000 square feet), the official Xinhua news agency said.


Biden Calls DACA Recipients ‘More American Than Most Americans’

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:29

Former vice president Joe Biden said at a campaign event in Iowa Thursday that most undocumented immigrants benfitting from the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “more American than most Americans.”“These kids have come, they’ve done well, most of these kids — there’s a lot of them . . . they in fact have done very, very well,” Biden said. “In many cases, they’re more American than most Americans are because they have done well in school. They believe the basic principles that we all share. I think they should, in fact, put on a path to citizenship.”Biden, who earlier this week said he would fire any ICE agent attempting to deport illegal immigrants who had not committed a felony, has been an outspoken defendant of former president Barack Obama’s immigration record.“We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those,” the former vice president said during the September Democratic debate. In November, the U.N. revealed that Obama held over 100,000 illegal immigrant children in detention in 2015.DACA is currently facing a Supreme Court decision on its survival, after the Trump administration decided to end it in 2017.A November report from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services showed that approximately one in 10 DACA recipients have an arrest record, after President Trump tweeted many had criminal backgrounds.“Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far from ‘angels.’ Some are very tough, hardened criminals,” Trump wrote on November 12.Trump has also stated he would be open to a “deal” with Democrats to allow DACA recipients to stay in the U.S.


In southern Poland, archaeologists discover WW2 plane wreck

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:26

Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a U.S.-made bomber flown by the Soviet Red Army in World War Two, along with the remains of four crewmen killed when it crashed in southern Poland, private broadcaster TVN reported. Marta Wrobel in the town of Bierun during the war and told TVN that the blast from the crash had been powerful enough to blow out windows and doors. The remains of the four Soviet crewmen who perished in the crash will be laid to rest at a nearby Red Army cemetery.


Fox News primetime is covering Trump's impeachment trial — but with no audio of evidence from Democrats

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:08

Fox News host Sean Hannity assured viewers the impeachment trial wasn't worth watching, and summed it up as "babble" and "talking points."


General Says U.S. Troops Deployed to Middle East by Trump Admin. May Be There for ‘Quite a While’

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:00

Marine General Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, warned troops deployed as part of a recent surge that he was “not sure how long you’re going to stay” in the region.“You’re here because I requested that you come,” McKenzie said to sailors and Marines aboard the USS Bataan amphibious assault ship, according to the Associated Press. “I’m not sure how long you’re going to stay in the theater. We’ll work that out as we go ahead. Could be quite a while, could be less than that, just don’t know right now.”McKenzie was addressing a small contingent of the 20,000 troops who have been deployed to the Middle East in the last eight months due to escalating tensions with Iran.The general told reporters that while Iran is “deterred right now, the nation “continues to pose a very real threat” to U.S. forces and interests. Iran said that they “did not intend to kill” American troops earlier this month, following a retaliatory rocket attack on U.S. military bases in Iraq.“Iran is very hard to read,” McKenzie said. “So I would say the fact that things are quiet for a while does not mean that necessarily things are getting better.”The U.S. caused waves on January 6 following the leak of a draft letter to Iraq’s Ministry of Defense that implied U.S.-led coalition forces were planning to withdraw from the country, only for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley to then say the letter was a “mistake.”The State Department then confirmed that U.S. forces would stay in Iraq after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw U.S. forces from the country.“America is a force for good in the Middle East,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. “Any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East.”


Belarus' leader blasts Russia for pushing merger of 2 states

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:44

The president of Belarus on Friday accused Moscow of pressuring his country to merge with Russia and vowed not to let it happen. The statement comes amid stalled talks on further strengthening economic ties between two countries, seen in Belarus as Moscow's plot to swallow its post-Soviet neighbor.


Austria’s Kurz Praises Green Pact as Blueprint for Germany

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:43

(Bloomberg) -- Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expects the German Christian Democrats to follow his lead and forge a coalition with the Greens in Europe’s largest nation.Kurz, a 33 year-old conservative who teamed up with the Greens in Austria three weeks ago, said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he hopes the era of “grand coalitions” between mainstream conservatives and Social Democrat parties was over in Europe. Instead he saw new constellations like the one in Austria emerging.“I’m almost ready to bet that there can be a similar government in Germany after the next election,” Kurz told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. “I’m skeptical of those ‘grand coalitions,’ which had their reason after World War II but just became a mutual blockade in recent years.”Four years after he leaped to prominence by embracing the backlash against immigration and two years after striking a now-failed deal to govern with nationalists, Kurz is now trying to set a very different precedent. While some conservatives complain about the rise of the Greens on the back of massive climate protests, the tie-up in Vienna could offer a template for other European nations struggling to forge governments in an increasingly splintered political spectrum.The Kurz administration promises climate-neutrality by 2040, while sticking to conservative budget policies, a restrictive line on immigration, and tough security rules. There is no reason to stop producing budget surpluses despite climate investments and a slowing economy, he said.“We tried very consciously not to bargain each other into the ground for a minimal compromise where nothing is left over, but we defined policy areas where the Greens are in the lead -- like the fight against climate change -- and areas where we’re setting the tone, like financial and tax policies, but also security and migration.”Austria is dependent on the auto industry adapting successfully to ever stricter environmental regulations, said Kurz. About a third of the country’s annual exports go to Germany, much of it supplies for the northern neighbor’s car manufacturers.“It’s our goal that European carmakers manage the transformation and are as successful with electric cars as they are with the combustion engine,” he said, acknowledging that he’s being driven around in a diesel-fueled BMW AG sedan. “I’m optimistic that this will succeed, and we’ll contribute to that. Many people are dependent on cars, the car won’t be replaceable.”(Updates with additional quotes.)To contact the reporters on this story: Chad Thomas in Davos, Switzerland at cthomas16@bloomberg.net;Boris Groendahl in Vienna at bgroendahl@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Raymond ColittFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Kamala Harris Is Said to Be Weighing an Endorsement of Joe Biden

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:22

Sen. Kamala Harris is weighing an endorsement of Joe Biden, according to multiple Democratic officials familiar with her deliberations. Such a move could lift Biden's campaign and perhaps do even more to enhance Harris' chances of becoming vice president, but it could also anger her liberal base in California.An endorsement by Harris, if she wades into the primary race at all, would be unlikely to happen until after the Senate impeachment trial, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.Yet she and Biden, the former vice president, have remained in contact since she exited the race and had a long conversation in the immediate aftermath of her departure."Senator Harris remains focused on the ongoing impeachment trial of President Trump," said Chris Harris, a spokesman for the senator. "No decisions have been made about whether she will endorse, which candidate, nor when an endorsement decision will be made."Democrats close to Harris said she wanted to carefully consider the potential impact of her endorsement; was mindful that two of her female colleagues, Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, were still in the race; and was uneasy about the prospect of backing a candidate only to see him or her lose in California.Biden has lavished praise on Harris since she departed the race, predicting she would have a wealth of political opportunities in the future. And when asked directly if he would consider her as his running mate, he said, "Of course I would."A Biden-Harris rapprochement would represent an extraordinary turnaround in their relationship after she so memorably confronted him on the debate stage last summer. Yet their would-be alliance is less surprising on closer inspection.At the outset of the Democratic contest, they were collegial with each other. That was in large part because Harris served as state attorney general in California at the same time that Biden's son Beau was attorney general of Delaware, and the two young, ambitious Democrats had bonded. (Beau Biden died in 2015.)But Harris' friendship with the former vice president became badly strained after the first primary debate, in June, when she criticized him for his past opposition to school busing.Harris was trying to loosen Biden's grip on African American primary voters, and her searing reference to her own childhood experience with integration might have been the high point of her campaign. But it came at the expense of an older, white candidate who was already fending off questions about his record on matters of race. And Biden was personally stung by her attack, his advisers said, because he considered her a friend.Yet Harris' surge in the polls did not last, and the two candidates never sparred again in the same way. By October, aides to both Democrats recall, they were getting along well when they ran into each other at the Des Moines, Iowa, airport before heading to Ohio for the debate there.More significant than their personal rapport, a Harris endorsement of Biden would be politically useful for both of them.A 55-year-old woman of African and Indian descent with law enforcement credentials, Harris was already likely to be on Biden's shortlist, should he emerge as the nominee. Yet she could bolster her chances to be his running mate if she backed his campaign at a critical time, particularly if he did not win in either Iowa or New Hampshire next month and needed a boost in Nevada and South Carolina. And even if she is not chosen for vice president, she would be a leading contender for a Cabinet post, such as attorney general.For Biden, who is working to consolidate support from Democratic leaders as Sen. Bernie Sanders' progressive candidacy gains strength, an endorsement from Harris would signal that party leaders were rallying behind his candidacy and offer him a well-known surrogate to stump on his behalf as the race goes on.The risk for Harris would be if she were to get behind Biden only to see him lose in California, which votes March 3 as part of Super Tuesday. A survey of the state's Democratic voters, conducted this month by the Public Policy Institute of California, found that Biden was in second place to Sanders, of Vermont. But the poll highlighted the strength of the progressive bloc in the state: Sanders and Warren combined were capturing 50% of the vote.Rose Kapolczynski, a longtime Democratic strategist in California, said Harris would not damage her prospects for reelection in 2022 by backing Biden. But if Democrats were to lose the presidency this fall, supporting him could shape how she was perceived by the left, were she to run again for president four years from now."It just depends on where she wants to go," Kapolczynski said. "Is she interested in vice president or a Cabinet position? Or is she looking ahead to another campaign and how she'll be positioned then?"Bill Carrick, another California consultant and an adviser to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also said it would be unlikely that voters in the state would "make a judgment about the Senate race next time out based on whom she endorsed in the presidential race." But Carrick added that Biden's multiracial coalition overlapped with Harris' own core base of support and that it would be logical for her to side with him."She's going to have a lot of people allied with her who will be for Joe," he said.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


Billionaire Draws Ire For Saying Africa Loves Donald Trump

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:11

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on TwitterSouth African billionaire Patrice Motsepe told President Donald Trump in Davos that Africa loves the U.S. president. Not everybody in his home country shares that sentiment.“Africa loves America,” Motsepe told Trump at a business dinner during the World Economic Forum this week. “Africa loves you. It’s very, very important, we want America to do well, we want you to do well.”The country’s only black billionaire, and a brother-in-law of President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the success of the U.S. is the success of rest of the world.His comments came just days after it emerged that Trump is considering a proposal to extend travel restrictions to four African nations, including Nigeria, and sparked outrage on local radio stations and social media. South African Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Twitter he doesn’t agree that Africa loves Trump.Others cut Motsepe slack for spending millions to treat South Africans to a football match between Mamelodi Sundowns, which he owns, and Spanish giants Barcelona, and for supporting a concert in Johannesburg where Beyonce and Ed Sheeran performed in 2018. Some comments on Twitter also highlighted the importance of U.S. aid to South Africa.“He was well within his rights to express his views,” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told reporters on Friday when asked what he thought of the comments by Motsepe, who was part of South Africa’s delegation in Davos. “He doesn’t have the kind of arrogance to speak on behalf of the South African government.”Motsepe capped off the week in which his holding firm announced a multi-million dollar deal to become the largest shareholder in South African retirement services provider Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. by being appointed to the WEF’s board of trustees.\--With assistance from Paul Richardson.To contact the reporter on this story: Prinesha Naidoo in Johannesburg at pnaidoo7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rene Vollgraaff at rvollgraaff@bloomberg.net, Mike CohenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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