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Biden Advisers Say He’s ‘Anything But Doomed’ Ahead of Iowa Vote

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 10:59

(Bloomberg) -- Top advisers to Joe Biden sought to temper expectations for his performance in Monday’s Iowa caucuses, projecting a close result and insisting that any outcome won’t doom the former vice president’s campaign.“Joe Biden is anything but doomed,” former Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, a longtime Biden friend who has endorsed his former colleague, said Sunday at a Bloomberg News reporter roundtable in Des Moines.Biden’s team has long played down the importance of Iowa to its strategy, arguing that contests later in February in Nevada and South Carolina, followed quickly by Super Tuesday on March 3, are critical to demonstrate that a candidate is capable of defeating President Donald Trump.“We have been taking incoming since before Vice President Biden got into this race, since before April 25, people have been writing our campaign’s obituary. Tuesday morning will be no different,” Biden senior adviser Symone Sanders said at the roundtable.It’s in the states after Iowa that Biden’s advisers say he’ll be able to show his true electoral strength because of their higher concentrations of non-white voters and because their Democratic primary electorates are more moderate than Iowa’s.‘Not the End’“I think it’s important to know that we view Iowa as the beginning, not the end” of the nominating process, Sanders, the Biden adviser, said. “I think it will be a gross mistake on the part of reporters, voters or anyone else to view whatever happens on Monday – we think it’s going to be close – but view whatever happens as the end and not give credence and space for New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.”Senator Bernie Sanders leads Biden by 3.6 percentage points in the Real Clear Politics average of Iowa caucus polls, but one key data point that typically helps set expectations in the final 48 hours before Iowans go to their caucuses is missing: The Des Moines Register/CNN poll’s Saturday night release was canceled because of problems with its questioning, leaving journalists, analysts and voters grasping for data to anticipate Monday’s results.“I certainly will concede that the poll, the Register poll, could add or detract energy from a campaign,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who has endorsed Biden. “It’s important for the expectations-setting. But I sort of think Democrats don’t just go to someone because they’re ahead.”A central tenet of Biden’s Democratic primary argument is that he’s the candidate perceived as most electable, a contention opponents have argued would be diminished by a poor showing in Iowa. But Miller insisted that a disappointing finish for Biden in his state doesn’t change the overall picture for Biden.“When we say he’s electable in the general election, we’re not saying he’s going to win every state in the caucus and primary system. That only happens with an incumbent president running for re-election,” Miller said. “I think that’s a false standard that he should win every state.”(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Epstein in Des Moines, Iowa at jepstein32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Larry LiebertFor 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.


Bloomberg campaign calls Trump a ‘pathological liar’ with ‘fake hair’ and ‘spray-on tan’

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 10:23

President Trump seems to have former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his mind at the moment and has repeatedly attacked him leading up to the Super Bowl, where they’re both running ads.


Lamar Alexander: 'Mistake' for Trump to Peddle Russian Propaganda by Mentioning CrowdStrike

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 09:52

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said on Sunday that it bothered him that President Donald Trump pushed the Ukrainian president to investigate a long-debunked conspiracy theory surrounding the Democratic National Committee server hack in the 2016 election, calling it a “mistake.”Alexander, who voted against allowing additional witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial last week despite saying he believed the president’s behavior towards Ukraine was inappropriate, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to defend his decision. Reiterating his assertion that more witnesses and evidence weren’t necessary as the Democrats had already proven their case, the Tennessee Republican added that he was going to vote to acquit the president because he was “very concerned about any action that we could take that would establish a perpetual impeachment,” adding that when you “start out with a partisan impeachment, you're almost destined to have a partisan acquittal.”Having all but assured Trump's acquittal, Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his term, detailed where he thought the president's actions were wrong:“What I believe he did, one, was that he called the president of Ukraine and asked him to become involved in investigating Joe Biden,” Alexander told host Chuck Todd. “The second thing was, at least in part, he delayed the military and other assistance to Ukraine in order to encourage that investigation.”“Those are the two things he did,” he added. “I think he shouldn't have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I'd say -- improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is who decides what to do about that.”The conservative lawmaker, however, repeated his belief that this didn’t rise to the level of impeachment and that Trump’s fate should be left to the ballot box, saying “the people” should decide whether to punish the president for his actions.“You know, in the phone call, there's one thing on the phone call that I'm surprised, frankly, hasn't been brought up more by others,” the Meet the Press anchor noted at one point. “This -- the mere mention of the word ‘CrowdStrike,’ is a Russian intelligence sort of piece of propaganda that they've been circulating.”“Does it bother you that the President of the United States is reiterating Russian propaganda?” Todd asked, referencing the fringe-right theory that the DNC server is currently in Ukraine and wasn’t hacked by Russia.“Yes. I think that's a mistake,” Alexander responded. “I mean, if you see what's happening in the Baltic states, where Russians have a big warehouse in Saint Petersburg, in Russia, where they're devoted to destabilizing western democracies.”“I mean, for example, in one of the Baltic states, they accused a NATO officer of raping a local girl,” the senator continued. “Of course, didn't happen. But it threw the government into complete disarray for a week. So I think we need to be sensitive to the fact that the Russians are out to do no good, to destabilize western democracies, including us, and be very wary of theories that Russians come up with and peddle.”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.


Uber suspends 240 users accounts over possible virus contact

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 09:43

Uber has suspended the accounts of 240 users in Mexico who may have been in contact with drivers that ferried a person suspected of having the deadly coronavirus. More than 300 people have died from the novel coronavirus in mainland China and although more than 100 people have been infected outside the country, Mexico has not reported a confirmed case. The ride-hailing app said Mexico City health authorities requested information in January on a possible carrier of coronavirus, with Uber finding two drivers who transported the suspected individual before driving a further 240 people.


Sri Lanka to probe aircraft deal after Airbus settlement

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 08:21

Sri Lanka's president ordered a fresh investigation Sunday into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase involving the island's loss-making national carrier, days after Airbus settled corruption probes in Europe and the US. A French court on Friday approved a deal allowing Airbus to pay 3.6 billion euros ($4 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the US to settle corruption cases sparked by suspicious equipment sales. One of the allegations cited in a judgement and released by a London court Friday concerned the purchase of aircraft by SriLankan Airlines.


Russia Claims Its New S-500 System Can Shoot Down An F-35

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 08:00

The Syrian Civil War will give us an example.


U.S. universities set up front-line defenses to keep coronavirus at bay

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 07:16

The school, with one of the highest percentages of Chinese students among U.S. universities, has suspended academic programs in China for the spring semester and banned students from traveling to the country for academic-related matters. It has advised faculty and staff to follow federal travel advisories that, as of Friday, warned against going to China. "We want to take all of the precautions we can so, in the worst-case scenario, we keep our community healthy," said Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs at the University of Illinois, 135 miles (217 km) south of Chicago, where the first human-to-human transmission of the disease in the United States was confirmed last week.


South African Capital’s Mayor to Quit After Sex Tape Scandal

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 06:55

(Bloomberg) -- The mayor of South Africa’s Tshwane municipality, which includes the capital, Pretoria, said he will resign this month to end political wrangling over his continued presence in office.Stevens Mokgalapa has faced pressure to quit since a leaked audio tape indicated that he allegedly disparaged officials in a conversation with a mayoral council member and engaged in a sexual act with her in the municipality’s offices. The two say the tape was tampered with.Mokgalapa is a member of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, which wrested control of Tshwane from the ruling African National Congress in 2016 with the aid of the Economic Freedom Fighters, the third-largest party.The DA placed Mokgalapa on leave in December as it investigated his conduct, while the EFF called for his removal. The ANC meanwhile threatened to place the city under the control of the administration of the central Gauteng province, but backed down after the DA said it would challenge the move in court.“I wish to make clear that I have not broken any laws and am confident that I would emerge positively from any assessment of my conduct,” Mokgalapa said in an emailed statement. “But in the end, I have concluded that it is best for the city if I stand down as mayor.”The scandal has been yet another blow for the DA, which lost support in national elections last year, and has since seen its mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, and its leader, Mmusi Maimane, quit the party.The DA’s Gauteng leader John Moodley thanked Mokgalapa for his service and said the party would initiate the process of finding a replacement.(Updates with opposition comment in last paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Helen Nyambura, James AmottFor 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.


Women only report harassment ‘from ugly men’, Ecuador’s president says

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 06:07

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has been criticised for saying women only report harassment “when it comes from an ugly person”.Mr Moreno made the comment at an economics conference in the city of Guayaquil on Friday, where he also said that men are “permanently subject to the danger of being accused of harassment”.


Brexit Hangover Kicks In for EU Leaders Debating Budget Gap

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 04:44

(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Twelve hours after the U.K. formally left the European Union, the bloc’s poorer members gathered in an old Franciscan convent in southern Portugal to rally against a looming budgetary shortfall that’s partly due to the loss of British contributions.Brexit is deepening the rift between richer and poorer EU states as they clash on the bloc’s trillion-euro ($1.1 trillion) budget for the next seven years. Poorer members are fighting to keep the hole created by Britain’s departure from being filled by cuts to development funds.“This meeting is happening on a very special day as it’s the first day in which the EU has just 27 members,” Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said on Saturday in Beja. “It’s important to give the clear message that the union will remain cohesive.”Saturday’s meeting of the “Friends of Cohesion” group, which brought together 17 eastern and southern nations, will be followed by a Feb. 20 summit of all EU countries that will tackle stalled negotiations about the budget.Budget ShortfallThe seven-year budget is a cornerstone of EU policy that allots funding to help farmers compete against imports from the developing world and underpins projects that bind the union together. But agreeing on the amount of contributions and how to spend them is a regular source of tension between the net contributors, like the U.K. was, and those who get more than they put in.The poorer nations, which see the so-called cohesion policy as a key tool to help them catch up with wealthier countries, now want their richer peers to contribute more money to make up for the U.K.’s withdrawal.The Friends of Cohesion group reaffirmed on Saturday that the EU needs to keep cohesion policy funding at the current level, in real terms, according to a statement distributed by the Portuguese government.“The EU should have resources for new goals, but not at the cost of instruments that are the foundation of its actions and have for years been functioning well,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told PAP newswire in an interview on Sunday. “It can afford more.”Agreement on the size of contributions is needed before decisions can be taken on how they should be spent, and the conditions attached to the disbursements. EU spending amounts to about 1% of the bloc’s gross domestic product.In the discussion about the next budget, positions are very far apart, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told reporters on Saturday. “We need not just days but months to make an agreement that could be accepted by everybody.”(Adds comments from Polish prime minister in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Nikos Chrysoloras and Maciej Onoszko.To contact the reporter on this story: Joao Lima in Lisbon at jlima1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Richard Bravo, Jennifer RyanFor 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.


A man in the Philippines has become the first person to die of the Wuhan coronavirus outside of China

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 03:36

A 44-year-old man died on Saturday in Manila. He had travelled to the Philippines from Wuhan, where the coronavirus broke out in early December.


Did Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand Try to Double-Dip on Subsidies?

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 03:30

They want more for their state.


Coronavirus won't turn you into a 'zombie', says Malaysia

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 03:20

The deadly coronavirus will not cause victims to act like zombies, Malaysia's government said on social media, as officials act to correct the spread of misinformation surrounding the outbreak. As medical authorities seek to contain the virus, some social media users in Malaysia made a connection between the disease and the walking dead. A number of posts in Malaysia on social media have wrongly claimed the number of deaths or infected people in the country.


UN Agencies Criticized for Taiwan Exclusion Amid Virus

Top Stories - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 02:14

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. politicians, including Senators Mitt Romney and Cory Gardner, criticized international organizations for excluding Taiwan amid a global effort to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.China has placed pressure on the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization and International Criminal Police Organization to exclude Taiwan from discussions, Romney said, echoing calls for immediate inclusion of the island. The U.S. State Department also criticized ICAO for allegedly blocking users on Twitter who make reference to Taiwan’s non-participation.While the international community works contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, they are also trying to navigate a geopolitical minefield. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory despite the People’s Republic never having controlled the island, and treats any talk of formal independence as deeply hostile. China has increased pressure on international brands over the past few years to avoid calling Taiwan a country.The WHO declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern on Thursday, but didn’t permit Taiwan to attend emergency briefings, sparking criticism from the U.S. and Canada. There are 10 confirmed cases of the virus in Taiwan.While Taiwan’s government was a founding member of the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China took its seat in the body, and all subordinate organizations such as the WHO and ICAO, in 1971.“Taiwan has a relevant and credible voice on transnational health issues, and the United States has long supported its active engagement in international venues, including ICAO, where its expertise can be beneficial,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.“We call upon ICAO to immediately and permanently reverse its practice of blocking discussion of Taiwan on its Twitter properties and make clear publicly its understanding that freedom of expression must always supersede the political insecurities of member states,” she said.ICAO, the aviation agency of the United Nations, denied blocking Twitter users.Italy confirmed two coronavirus cases on Friday, and decided to suspend all flights from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macao until Apr. 28. Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu on Sunday asked Italy to drop its ban on flights from the island, saying the decision is based on information which includes Taiwan as part of China.The ban affects Taiwan-based carriers China Airlines and EVA Airways. Vietnam on Saturday had banned Taiwan flights as well, but withdrew the decision hours later after Taiwan negotiated with its government.Taiwan has slapped an entry ban to residents of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, as well as those from the southern Guangdong province. Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said in a briefing Saturday that the ministry won’t rule out extending the ban to more Chinese provinces if necessary.\--With assistance from Miaojung Lin.To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Stapczynski in Singapore at sstapczynsk1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Samson EllisFor 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 says Wuhan coronavirus victims who die should be quickly cremated without funerals as death toll rises

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 22:55

As the Wuhan virus continues to claim lives, Chinese authorities issued regulations banning funerals for victims and requiring immediate cremation.


Des Moines Register-CNN Poll Held Back After Buttigieg Complaint

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 22:55

(Bloomberg) -- The Des Moines Register and CNN canceled the release of their much-awaited final poll before the Iowa caucuses after Pete Buttigieg’s campaign raised concern about how it was conducted.The poll, long considered the gold standard in Iowa, was shelved just minutes before CNN was set to host a special hour of TV on Saturday night dedicated to the poll results and the state of the race in Iowa.An Iowa City man reported to Buttigieg’s team on Thursday that the poll-taker who called him didn’t name “Pete Buttigieg” in the list of candidates, and told him her computer was glitching. When she repeated the question on candidate preference, she mispronounced Buttigieg’s name, the voter said, according to a senior campaign official.The voter who experienced the issue declined to comment to Bloomberg News on Saturday night.“A respondent raised an issue with the way their interview was conducted, which could have compromised the results of the poll,” CNN said in a statement. “We were unable to ascertain what happened during this respondent’s interview, and cannot determine if this was a single isolated incident.”The survey was conducted by Selzer & Co., a respected Iowa pollster.“CNN, The Des Moines Register and Selzer & Company aim to uphold the highest standards of survey research, and therefore the partners decided not to proceed,” the statement said.Responding to the decision, Buttigieg campaign senior adviser Lis Smith said in a tweet, “We applaud CNN and the Des Moines Register for their integrity.”Bernie Sanders’ spokesman said on Twitter that the race remains very close.“Let me break the suspense: It’s a very tight race,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, wrote. “And any of a number of candidates could win. So let’s work hard to turn people out.”Closely WatchedThe final Iowa Poll, released just days before the caucuses, is closely watched because it can give a boost to the leading candidate or demoralize supporters of one who falls short. The problem with the poll was first reported by the New York Times.The Register/CNN poll has marked the changing fortunes of the top candidates over the past year: Joe Biden led in early 2019, Elizabeth Warren took the lead in September, Buttigieg led in November and Sanders was in the top spot in early January.In the final days before Monday night’s caucuses, candidates have crisscrossed the state, making their final pitches to voters. But until Saturday Buttigieg and Biden had had much of the state to themselves as Sanders, Warren and Amy Klobuchar were in Washington for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.Now, with the senators back on the trail, the race has kicked into its final stage. Sanders hosted a massive rally in Cedar Rapids with Vampire Weekend on Saturday night. Buttigieg flew around the state hosting rallies, and Biden has been on a week-long bus tour.For Buttigieg, Warren and Klobuchar, the Iowa caucus results could make or break their campaigns. Each of them are banking on strong performances in the state to catapult them forward through the primary season. Biden and Sanders, meanwhile, still far outpace their rivals in national polls.(DISCLAIMER: Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)(Updates with new details on incident starting in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Ryan Teague Beckwith.To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Jacobs in Des Moines at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net;Tyler Pager in Des Moines at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Magan Crane, Larry LiebertFor 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.


Mississippi inmate tries to hang self in cell, attorney says

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 20:48

An inmate tried to hang himself at a troubled Mississippi prison and was taken down by a state trooper, an attorney said in court papers filed Saturday. Casey L. Austin is one of the attorneys representing inmates in a federal lawsuit against Mississippi over conditions in the state's prisons. The lawsuit over prison conditions is funded by Team Roc, a philanthropic group connected to entertainment mogul Jay-Z's company, Roc Nation.


China seeks to boost economy as first virus death reported outside its borders

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 19:44

BEIJING/MANILA (Reuters) - The first death from the coronavirus outside of China was reported on Sunday and the Beijing government took steps to shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs because of the epidemic. A 44-year-old Chinese man from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, traveled to the Philippines and died there on Saturday, the Philippines' Department of Health said. The vice governor of China's Hubei province, Xiao Juhua, said the virus outbreak was still "severe and complicated".


China virus death toll rises to 304 with 45 new fatalities: govt

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 18:17

The number of confirmed deaths from China's coronavirus outbreak rose to 304, as authorities in hardest-hit Hubei province on Sunday reported 45 new fatalities. In its daily update, figures from the provincial health commission also showed a sharp increase in confirmed infections in Hubei, with 1,921 new cases. China found itself increasingly isolated over the weekend, with the United States and Australia leading a growing list of nations to impose extraordinary Chinese travel bans.


Michelle Phan says she's been targeted with racism amid Wuhan coronavirus scare: 'Why are some of you telling me to go back to eating bats? I'm American you ignorant f---s'

Top Stories - Sat, 02/01/2020 - 17:16

The beauty YouTuber tweeted her disbelief about the comments, noting she was actually born and raised in the US.


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