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  • Iran Jails Eight Climate Activists for Cooperation With U.S.

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    (Bloomberg) -- Iran sentenced eight environmentalists to prison terms of between four and 10 years for spying for and collaborating with the U.S., the spokesman for the country’s judiciary said on Tuesday.The sentences are final, Gholam Hossein Esmaili told reporters at a televised news conference. They were arrested in January and February 2018 and several of the individuals are dual citizens of the U.S. and the U.K.\--With assistance from Golnar Motevalli.To contact the reporter on this story: Arsalan Shahla in Tehran at ashahla@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net, Abbas Al Lawati, Paul AbelskyFor 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.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 03:22:58 -0500
  • Angela Merkel’s Party Chief to Hold Critical Succession Talks

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    (Bloomberg) -- The battle over who succeeds Angela Merkel as the next German chancellor candidate is entering a crucial phase on Tuesday when the outgoing head of her Christian Democratic Union will hold talks with a leading CDU politician to take over as party chief.Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who blew open the race to replace Merkel last week by announcing that she will resign, will meet Friedrich Merz as she tries to engineer a smooth transition and avert damaging internal bickering, according to a party official who asked not to be identified by name.Merz, a former CDU caucus leader and long-term Merkel antagonist, is one of three leading candidates to replace the four-term chancellor, along with Health Minister Jens Spahn and Armin Laschet, the State Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia.Kramp-Karrenbauer, widely known by her initials AKK, is due to meet Spahn and Laschet later this week, as well as two other potential CDU candidates whose identities are not yet public, the party official said. She will then make a recommendation to CDU leaders Feb. 24 on how to proceed.Merz has an early edge in the race. This is potentially bad news for Merkel as her aim to serve out her term through 2021 could fail if Merz wins the party chairmanship. Spahn has also gone on the attack, with Merkel seen as weakened by the collapse of her plan for AKK to succeed her.Seven out of 10 CDU supporters see Merz as a good chancellor candidate, and across the political spectrum he’s ahead of his rivals with 40% approval, compared with Laschet’s 30% and Spahn’s 24%, according to an Infratest dimap poll for public broadcaster ARD.The CDU wants the three main candidates to come to an agreement on who will run, according to the party official. That would avoid the kind of infighting that is seen as one reason for the collapse in support for Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats.In a latest Insa poll for Bild newspaper published Tuesday, Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc was on 26.5% at a national level, followed by the Greens on 20.5%, the far-right Alternative for Germany on 15% and the SPD on 14.5%.To contact the reporters on this story: Arne Delfs in Berlin at adelfs@bloomberg.net;Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Daniel SchaeferFor 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.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 02:19:47 -0500
  • China arrests activist who criticised Xi over virus: rights group

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    Police in China have arrested a prominent activist who had been a fugitive for weeks and criticised President Xi Jinping's handling of the coronavirus epidemic while in hiding, a rights group said Tuesday. Anti-corruption activist Xu Zhiyong was arrested on Saturday after being on the run since December, according to Amnesty International. China's ruling Communist Party has severely curtailed civil liberties since Xi took power in 2012, rounding up rights lawyers, labour activists and even Marxist students.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 02:01:37 -0500
  • The EU Can’t Widen and Deepen at the Same Time

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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Many things divide the 27 member states of the European Union these days, but one controversy in particular sums up the bloc’s fundamental dilemma. It's over “enlargement,” and specifically whether to formally start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Seething below the surface is the question of whether the EU can, in Eurocrat jargon, keep “widening” and “deepening” at the same time.Put differently, if the EU keeps admitting new members, whether they’re ready or not, won’t it just become ungovernable and drift apart?As usual, it fell to French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s earned himself quite a reputation for being undiplomatically honest, to point out this tension. He shocked other EU leaders by blocking formal talks with North Macedonia and also, supported only by Denmark and the Netherlands, Albania. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, was irate; the Balkans were livid. The EU is now scrambling to get him to drop his veto before the European Summit in March.Two main arguments were hurled at Macron. First, that he was being unfair in failing to recognize how much the two countries have already done to become good candidates. Albania has cleaned up its judiciary and cracked down on organized crime. The other country even changed its name (adding “North”), just to appease EU member Greece, which has a region that argued it had dibs on “Macedonia.” The EU had promised that this would be enough to start negotiating.Second, Macron was accused of being strategically myopic, just when the EU needs to start thinking “geopolitically.” Russia and China are already extending their tentacles into south-eastern Europe, the latter by financing ports, bridges and rail lines as part of opaque political deals. If the Balkans feel spurned by the EU, they’ll run, rather than walk, into the arms of non-Western autocrats. All true. But there’s also a good reason for objecting to enlargement: It inevitably gums up integration between the EU’s existing members. Working together was hard enough among the six founding countries back in the 1950s. With each new entrant, it kept getting harder yet, as new languages, political cultures, historical grievances and national interests had to be accommodated. This was true after the U.K. joined in 1973 (and look where that led) and after the Mediterranean and Nordic expansions later.The dilemma became especially clear after the two eastward expansions in 2004 and 2007. The same arguments were being used then as now: Not admitting the post-communist nations would have been geopolitical folly, stranding them in the sphere of influence of their former Russian oppressors. And it would have been unfair to people who had long and valiantly struggled for their freedom and yearned to join “the West.”More than a decade on, however, and some of those eastern members have turned into spoilers of the European project, or worse. Hungary is a quasi-autocracy that proudly calls itself “illiberal.” Poland is actively undermining the independence of its judges and the rule of law, in open confrontation with the European Court in Luxembourg. Both are obstructing any progress in formulating a common European policy for dealing with migrants. In effect, they have rejected the EU’s founding idea of European solidarity in favor of an atavistic nationalism.Each previous round of enlargement thus introduced new fractures into the EU, some between north and south, others between east and west. Macron is hardly alone in observing that European integration stalled long ago, and that “widening” had something to do with that. In foreign and defense policy, any member state can veto any decision, thus assuring European irrelevance and impotence on the world stage. Bigger ideas like a European army are nothing more than pipe dreams. In the euro area, neither banking nor fiscal union has been completed, thus leaving the currency union prone to another crisis.All of this is part of thinking geopolitically. Without a euro to rival the dollar, without diplomats or soldiers that Turkey, Russia, China and others take seriously, what good will the EU be in the long run?On balance, it’s still better to open talks with Tirana and Skopje than to reject them. But the EU must simultaneously confront the bigger dilemma of stalled integration. For that, it has to broach a taboo and talk about a multi-speed Europe.The idea has been around for decades: Letting some groups of countries integrate faster than others in policy areas they choose. To a large extent that’s already a reality. Only 19 out of 27 EU countries share the euro; 26 members of the so-called Schengen area have completely open borders with one another, of which four (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) aren’t even in the EU. And so on.Why shouldn’t some members (Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, say) now advance to fiscal union, allowing others to join later? Ditto in foreign, defense and migration policy. If the EU as a whole can’t deepen, let parts of it do so.Some member states, like Poland, have always opposed such a tiered EU, afraid of becoming peripheral and second-class. And yet they claim to be equally worried about ceding more sovereignty to Brussels. But that is the choice inherent in belonging to the EU. So let’s make the club flexible, with different kinds of membership. Let’s not call them gold, sliver and bronze, but something like deep, medium and shallow. With different tiers come different degrees of integration, obligations and rights. You don’t want to take your share of refugees? Then you get less from the EU budget. You don’t believe in rule of law? Then you lose your votes in Brussels.In such a flexible EU, parts of Europe could coalesce into powers with geopolitical heft, while other parts retain more independence. This is the only way Europe can deepen and widen at the same time. Who knows? Maybe that’s the kind of EU even the Brits might want to join one day.To contact the author of this story: Andreas Kluth at akluth1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a member of Bloomberg's editorial board. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 01:00:12 -0500
  • The EU Can’t Widen and Deepen at the Same Time

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Many things divide the 27 member states of the European Union these days, but one controversy in particular sums up the bloc’s fundamental dilemma. It's over “enlargement,” and specifically whether to formally start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Seething below the surface is the question of whether the EU can, in Eurocrat jargon, keep “widening” and “deepening” at the same time.Put differently, if the EU keeps admitting new members, whether they’re ready or not, won’t it just become ungovernable and drift apart?As usual, it fell to French President Emmanuel Macron, who’s earned himself quite a reputation for being undiplomatically honest, to point out this tension. He shocked other EU leaders by blocking formal talks with North Macedonia and also, supported only by Denmark and the Netherlands, Albania. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others, was irate; the Balkans were livid. The EU is now scrambling to get him to drop his veto before the European Summit in March.Two main arguments were hurled at Macron. First, that he was being unfair in failing to recognize how much the two countries have already done to become good candidates. Albania has cleaned up its judiciary and cracked down on organized crime. The other country even changed its name (adding “North”), just to appease EU member Greece, which has a region that argued it had dibs on “Macedonia.” The EU had promised that this would be enough to start negotiating.Second, Macron was accused of being strategically myopic, just when the EU needs to start thinking “geopolitically.” Russia and China are already extending their tentacles into south-eastern Europe, the latter by financing ports, bridges and rail lines as part of opaque political deals. If the Balkans feel spurned by the EU, they’ll run, rather than walk, into the arms of non-Western autocrats. All true. But there’s also a good reason for objecting to enlargement: It inevitably gums up integration between the EU’s existing members. Working together was hard enough among the six founding countries back in the 1950s. With each new entrant, it kept getting harder yet, as new languages, political cultures, historical grievances and national interests had to be accommodated. This was true after the U.K. joined in 1973 (and look where that led) and after the Mediterranean and Nordic expansions later.The dilemma became especially clear after the two eastward expansions in 2004 and 2007. The same arguments were being used then as now: Not admitting the post-communist nations would have been geopolitical folly, stranding them in the sphere of influence of their former Russian oppressors. And it would have been unfair to people who had long and valiantly struggled for their freedom and yearned to join “the West.”More than a decade on, however, and some of those eastern members have turned into spoilers of the European project, or worse. Hungary is a quasi-autocracy that proudly calls itself “illiberal.” Poland is actively undermining the independence of its judges and the rule of law, in open confrontation with the European Court in Luxembourg. Both are obstructing any progress in formulating a common European policy for dealing with migrants. In effect, they have rejected the EU’s founding idea of European solidarity in favor of an atavistic nationalism.Each previous round of enlargement thus introduced new fractures into the EU, some between north and south, others between east and west. Macron is hardly alone in observing that European integration stalled long ago, and that “widening” had something to do with that. In foreign and defense policy, any member state can veto any decision, thus assuring European irrelevance and impotence on the world stage. Bigger ideas like a European army are nothing more than pipe dreams. In the euro area, neither banking nor fiscal union has been completed, thus leaving the currency union prone to another crisis.All of this is part of thinking geopolitically. Without a euro to rival the dollar, without diplomats or soldiers that Turkey, Russia, China and others take seriously, what good will the EU be in the long run?On balance, it’s still better to open talks with Tirana and Skopje than to reject them. But the EU must simultaneously confront the bigger dilemma of stalled integration. For that, it has to broach a taboo and talk about a multi-speed Europe.The idea has been around for decades: Letting some groups of countries integrate faster than others in policy areas they choose. To a large extent that’s already a reality. Only 19 out of 27 EU countries share the euro; 26 members of the so-called Schengen area have completely open borders with one another, of which four (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) aren’t even in the EU. And so on.Why shouldn’t some members (Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, say) now advance to fiscal union, allowing others to join later? Ditto in foreign, defense and migration policy. If the EU as a whole can’t deepen, let parts of it do so.Some member states, like Poland, have always opposed such a tiered EU, afraid of becoming peripheral and second-class. And yet they claim to be equally worried about ceding more sovereignty to Brussels. But that is the choice inherent in belonging to the EU. So let’s make the club flexible, with different kinds of membership. Let’s not call them gold, sliver and bronze, but something like deep, medium and shallow. With different tiers come different degrees of integration, obligations and rights. You don’t want to take your share of refugees? Then you get less from the EU budget. You don’t believe in rule of law? Then you lose your votes in Brussels.In such a flexible EU, parts of Europe could coalesce into powers with geopolitical heft, while other parts retain more independence. This is the only way Europe can deepen and widen at the same time. Who knows? Maybe that’s the kind of EU even the Brits might want to join one day.To contact the author of this story: Andreas Kluth at akluth1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at mpozsgay@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a member of Bloomberg's editorial board. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 01:00:12 -0500
  • Aging Shiite cleric a powerhouse in Iraq. What comes after?

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    When Iraq’s top Shiite cleric underwent surgery for a fractured bone last month, it sent shivers around the country and beyond. “May God heal Iraq,” read a photo of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani that circulated online. Anti-government protesters hung photos of the black-turbaned cleric with a long white beard and bushy eyebrows, declaring, “The hearts of the revolutionaries are with you.” Al-Sistani’s well-wishers included officials from both Iran and the United States, the bitter rivals for influence in Iraq.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:45:25 -0500
  • Boy Scouts file for bankruptcy due to sex-abuse lawsuits

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    Barraged by hundreds of sex-abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday in hopes of working out a potentially mammoth victim compensation plan that will allow the hallowed, 110-year-old organization to carry on. The Chapter 11 filing in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware, sets in motion what could be one of the biggest, most complex bankruptcies ever seen.

    Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:45:01 -0500
  • China reports 1,886 new virus cases, death toll up by 98

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    China reported 1,886 new virus cases and 98 more deaths in its update Tuesday on a disease outbreak that has caused mild illness in most people, an assessment that promoted guarded optimism from global health authorities. The update raised the number of deaths in mainland China to 1,868 and the total confirmed cases to 72,436. On Monday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study of earlier cases of the disease, finding that more than 80% of people infected had mild illness and the number of new infections seems to be falling since early this month.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 21:44:15 -0500
  • John Bolton breaks his silence after Trump impeachment: 'I knew what I was getting into'

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    Former national security adviser scant on details about Ukraine, but says he worries ‘effort to write history’ will be censoredJohn Bolton celebrated Presidents’ Day by breaking his silence for the first time since Donald Trump’s impeachment trial – speaking of his frustrations and teasing the content of his forthcoming book.But when it came to his former boss, the president’s former national security adviser was scant on details, hinting that he is restricted in what he can say.Bolton, who left the White House in September following foreign policy disagreements, was interviewed on stage on Monday night at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.It was his first public speech since Trump’s impeachment trial where – despite repeated appeals by Democrats for him to testify, and Bolton’s stated willingness to do so if subpoenaed – he did not speak.But following the leak of a draft of his unpublished forthcoming memoir, which reportedly described how Trump told him he wanted to delay US military aid to Ukraine until it agreed to investigate Democrats, including presidential hopeful Joe Biden, his shadow loomed large over proceedings – which ended in Trump’s acquittal.Duke did not allow audio recording or livestreaming at the main event. Interviewer Peter Feaver, a professor of political science and public policy at the university, is understood to have told the audience that the restrictions were due to Bolton’s contract.But journalists present at the event live tweeted Bolton’s comments as the pair spoke on stage.Asked about Trump’s tweets about him, Bolton is reported to have said he could not comment, pending a White House review of the manuscript for his forthcoming book. “He tweets, but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?” he said, according to one reporter present.When asked on Monday what it was like to staff Trump’s 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Bolton reportedly said: “To pursue the right policies for America, I was willing to put up with a lot.”“I’m not asking for martyrdom,” he added. “I knew, I think I knew, what I was getting into.”According to CNN, Bolton and his lawyers have been battling with the White House about the book, scheduled to be published under the title The Room Where it Happened next month.The Trump administration is reportedly concerned about the inclusion of classified information protected by executive privilege. CNN reports that the White House records management is reviewing the book.During Monday’s talk, he appeared to repeatedly trail the memoir.On the subject of Helsinki, he also replied – reportedly to audience groans: “I could read a chapter form my book here and give you the answer to that question.”After a question about whether he agreed with Trump that his 25 July call was “perfect”, he said: “You will love chapter 14”.He also reportedly referred to “censorship” of the manuscript. “This is an effort to write history … We’ll see what happens with the censorship,” he said.Outside the venue, dozens of protesters gathered for a “The People v John Bolton Rally”. A Facebook page promoting the event described Bolton as “architect of the Iraq war, Islamophobe and war criminal” and criticised Duke for hosting him as an “esteemed speaker”.His Duke visit is the first of two university appearances this week. On Wednesday he is due to speak with Barack Obama national security adviser Susan Rice at Vanderbilt University in Nashville on the subject of “defining US global leadership”.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 20:56:20 -0500
  • UN: Impact of long Libya war on civilians is `incalculable'

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    The U.N humanitarian coordinator for Libya said Monday the impact of the country’s nine-year war on civilians “is incalculable,” pointing to its intensity escalating “exponentially” since a rebel commander launched an offensive last April, casualties rising and almost 900,000 people now needing assistance. Yacoub El Hillo said a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya which was agreed to by 12 key leaders at a conference in Berlin on Jan. 19, endorsed last week by the U.N. Security Council, and reaffirmed at a meeting in Munich on Sunday has seen “serious violations” in the last 10 days, with new strikes in and around the capital Tripoli. The Berlin peace plan backed a cease-fire, called for compliance with a U.N. arms embargo, and said all countries must refrain from interfering in the conflict between the U.N.-recognized government and the rebel forces of self-styled Gen. Khalifa Hifter, and the country’s internal affairs.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 20:39:33 -0500
  • Bolton Warns of Possible ‘Censorship’ of His White House Memoir

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    (Bloomberg) -- Former National Security Advisor John Bolton raised alarm the Trump administration could block his memoir that describes his interaction with the president over Ukraine.“I hope it’s not suppressed,” Bolton said Monday in a talk at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. “This is an effort to write history, and I did it the best I can. We’ll have to see what comes out of the censorship.”Bolton added later: “I say things in the manuscript about what he said to me,” referring to Trump. “I hope they become public someday. He tweets but I can’t talk about it. How fair is that?”Bolton said he couldn’t answer a question related to North Korea because it’s also included in his book, which is undergoing pre-publication review by the government. The Trump administration already has raised concern about the manuscript divulging secret information.The event was Bolton’s first public appearance since Trump’s impeachment trial was roiled over a New York Times report that Bolton would publish a memoir alleging that the president explicitly said he wanted to condition security assistance to Ukraine on an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.The report raised pressure on Senate Republicans to call witnesses in the trial and undermined the White House’s claim that Trump never sought a quid pro quo for U.S. military aid to Ukraine. But Trump denied the allegations -- tweeting that the news emerged only because Bolton sought “to sell a book” -- and Senate Republicans ultimately voted against calling Bolton or other witnesses before voting to acquit the president.Chapter 14At the event on Monday, Bolton was asked whether he agreed with Trump’s characterization of his call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as “perfect.” Bolton responded: “You’ll love chapter 14.”But Bolton made clear his book covers more than Ukraine.“There are portions of the manuscript that deal with Ukraine,” he said. “I view that like the sprinkles on the ice cream sundae, meaning, in terms of what’s in the book.”Bolton’s manuscript also reportedly alleges that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo privately acknowledged there was little credence to Rudy Giuliani’s claims that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was corrupt. Bolton also reportedly wrote that he told Attorney General William Barr that the president had mentioned him on a call with the Ukrainian president. The Justice Department has denied that Barr knew Trump suggested the Ukrainians coordinate their investigations with the attorney general.Bolton also reportedly wrote that he told Barr he had concerns Trump had granted personal favors to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Xi Jinping of China.NSC ResponseBolton’s memoir, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled to be released on March 17. But in a letter to Bolton’s lawyer, the National Security Council said the manuscript “appears to contain significant amounts of classified information” and should not be published as written.Bolton said Monday his intention isn’t to reveal classified material. Instead, he said he sought to tell readers what unfolded and allow them to decide whether it was appropriate.On other topics, Bolton criticized the administration’s approach to handling nuclear proliferation in North Korea as “a big mistake” and said the U.S. pursuit of negotiations with leader Kim Jong Un is “doomed to failure.” He also said Trump’s approach toward Iran is too lenient and a failure.Bolton left Trump’s administration in September after repeated disagreements with the president. He had advised Trump against a plan to hold peace talks with the Taliban at Camp David immediately before he was ousted, and Trump complained Bolton was “holding me back” in a campaign to depose Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.One of Bolton’s deputies, Fiona Hill, testified in the House impeachment inquiry that Bolton had called Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up” for his conduct on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine.Bolton has publicly sparred with Trump since leaving the White House, disputing the president’s claims of success in nuclear negotiations with North Korea and defending former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly after the president attacked him in tweets.Bolton, ousted from the White House in September, is scheduled to speak again on Wednesday, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.(Updates with Trump comment in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Jacobs in Durham at jjacobs68@bloomberg.net;Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Justin Blum, Vince GolleFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 19:51:50 -0500
  • Pete Buttigieg's next test: Winning over minority voters

    Golocal247.com news

    Now the promise of his candidacy is colliding with the reality of the central question about his viability: Can he win among minority voters who form the critical foundation of the party’s base? Buttigieg's strategy is to earn a fresh look from black and brown voters by flashing his support in the first two contests, drawing on the validation of minority leaders who have endorsed him and leveraging the personal networks of his supporters. With the South Carolina primary rapidly approaching Feb. 29, he faces a steep climb.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 17:15:21 -0500
  • Apple Sales Will Miss; U.S. Cruisers Quarantined: Virus Update

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    (Bloomberg) -- A case study of a patient who died from the new coronavirus shows similarities with two prior deadly coronavirus outbreaks. Apple Inc. said it would miss its quarterly revenue target because of the virus.The U.S. evacuated citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise liner, including 14 who tested positive for the virus, and will quarantine more than 300 passengers. The U.S. is still figuring out what to do with American passengers on another cruise ship who disembarked in Cambodia, including one who tested positive.Beijing may delay a high-profile political meeting for the first time in decades because of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 71,000 and killed 1,775 globally. Key DevelopmentsChina death toll 1,770, up 105; mainland cases rise to 70,548Hubei adds 1,933 new cases, up from 1,843 a day earlierFour missed chances for China to contain outbreakFears of global contagion as 3,000 cruise passengers go homeClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.Apple to Miss Guidance Because of Virus (4:15 p.m. NY)Apple Inc. doesn’t expect to meet its revenue guidance for the quarter ending in March due to work slowdowns from the outbreak of coronavirus in China. The company said it anticipates global supply of the iPhone to be “temporarily constrained.”Read the full story here.Japan Cruisers Quarantined; Westerdam Passengers Loose (3:19 p.m. NY)More than 300 U.S. citizens evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have returned home to begin a 14-day quarantine on military bases and for treatment in hospitals.The repatriation ends a dramatic episode on the virus-struck ship, but came with a fresh complication: As the U.S. cruise passengers were on a bus heading for Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Japanese test results showed that 14 had the virus. And a positive test from another cruise ship that disembarked passengers in Cambodia has raised concerns about further spread of the virus around the globe.Of the Japan evacuees, 171 will be held at Travis Air Force Base between San Francisco and Sacramento, with six people sent to a local hospital for treatment, said William Walters, a senior official with the State Department‘s Bureau of Medical Services.A further 144 passengers evacuated on a separate flight will be housed at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. Seven people on that flight were flown on to Omaha for treatment at the University of Nebraska.The newly diagnoses cases involved people who did not show any symptoms of the coronavirus but were diagnosed by Japanese lab tests, Walters said.The fate of hundreds of Americans coming off another cruise ship now docked in Cambodia is less clear. One of the passengers, an 83-year-old woman, was diagnosed with the virus while passing through Malaysia, and is being held in isolation there. Roughly 300 U.S. citizens who were on the Westerdam have left Cambodia, according to the State Department. But 92 remain on the ship and a further 260 are staying in hotels in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.Walter said the U.S. government was tracking those citizens but had not yet made a decision on whether to send special flights to bring them home. Health officials across the world have said that catching and isolating cases of the virus before it spreads is crucial to stopping it.Damage Cause by Virus Resembles SARS, MERS (2 p.m. NY)Doctors studying a 50-year-old man who died in China last month from the new coronavirus found that the disease caused lung damage reminiscent of two prior coronavirus-related outbreaks, SARS and MERS.Read the full story here.Cruise Travel Risks Remain ‘Manageable’ Despite Virus, WHO Says: (12 p.m. NY)Cruise ship travel remains a “manageable risk” for now, and it doesn’t make sense to recommend a ban on it, the World Health Organization said, even as the return home of 3,000 travelers from two coronavirus-stricken cruise ships fuels fears of further contagion.“People say we should steer clear of cruise ships, or steer clear of airports or steer clear of certain ethnic groups,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press briefing Monday at the organization’s Geneva headquarters. “We have to be really careful” of such suggestions. “We need an approach to managing risk that allows us to continue to operate as a society.”Hong Kong Virus Stress Worsens With Maids, Nannies Stuck Abroad: (11:05 a.m. NY)The Philippine ban on travel to Hong Kong is taking its toll on migrant workers, mostly women, who are part of Hong Kong’s domestic labor force. In a survey of more than 900 Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong by placement agency HelperChoice, almost half said they were affected by the travel ban or knew someone who was.Virus Outbreak Boosts Tissue Paper Prospects in China (10:30 a.m. NY)As the outbreak ripples through China’s economy, one industry seems to be thriving. Shares of tissue paper maker Vinda International Holdings have surged 40% this year even as the main Hong Kong index is little changed. The rally may have legs. Top pulp exporter Suzano SA expects growth in China’s tissue market to accelerate amid shifts in hygiene habits.El Al CEO Sees Hard Days Ahead for Israeli Airline: (9 a.m. NY)El Al Israel Airlines is facing difficulties because of the spread of the coronavirus and may be forced to make some “painful decisions,” CEO Gonen Usishkin said in a letter to staff, without specifying what that may entail.A decision by Israel’s Health Ministry on Sunday to send travelers returning from Thailand into home quarantine for 14 days has cut demand for this destination, and the company is allowing customers to change or cancel tickets, the CEO said. Last week, the carrier suspended flights to Hong Kong until March 20 and flights to Beijing until April 24.Slump in Global Goods Trade Likely to Deepen: WTO (7:30 a.m. NY)The already slumping state of global goods trade may get even worse with coronavirus, the World Trade Organization warned.The Geneva-based body said its merchandise trade barometer fell to 95.5 from 96.6 in November. That’s before factoring in the effects of China’s health crisis on international commerce.“The slow start could be dampened further by global health threats and other recent developments in the first few months of the year,” the WTO said. In the months ahead, “every component of the Goods Trade Barometer will be influenced by the economic impact of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of efforts to treat and contain the disease.”China Sees Positive Trend in Coronavirus Epidemic: CCTV (7 a.m. NY)China’s anti-virus efforts have led to a positive trend for the epidemic nationwide, according to China Central Television, which cited Premier Li Keqiang’s comments at a meeting. The spread of coronavirus has weakened, and China has avoided a wider outbreak through all-out control, Li was quoted as saying.Top policymakers are seeking to balance the anti-virus fight with shoring up the economy, which has been running at just 40% to 50% capacity in the last week, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.Bundesbank Warns of Hit to German Exporters (6 a.m. NY)The central bank called the outbreak a “cyclical downside risk” and said a temporary decline in overall Chinese demand could damp German export activity. “Moreover, some global value chains could be impaired by security measures put in place,” the Bundesbank said in a report.Outside the European Union, China is second only to the U.S. in importance to German companies, with close to $108 billion of sales a year. The European Commission last week called the epidemic a “key downside risk” to its forecasts, while European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane said the region’s economy could experience a “pretty serious short-term hit.”China’s Economy Seen Growing Slowest Since 1990 (6:52 p.m. HK)The coronavirus outbreak and China’s efforts to stop the spread mean the economy will grow slower this quarter than first thought -- the median forecast now is for growth to be the slowest in 30 years.China’s gross domestic product will grow 4% in the first quarter, according to the median of 18 forecasts since Jan. 31. That’s down from 5.9% in the last survey on Jan. 22 and the lowest level since 1990.Chinese City to Start Subsidizing Car Purchases (5:57 p.m. HK)The southern Chinese city of Foshan will start providing rebates for car purchases starting March 1. Consumers who trade in old models will be entitled to 3,000 yuan ($430) of subsidies while buyers who opt for new cars are entitled to 2,000 yuan per vehicle.President Xi Jinping has urged local governments to help boost auto sales, according to a speech by him carried on Qiushi Journal, the Communist Party’s top publication on Saturday.Singapore Issues Stricter Rules for China Returnees (5:34 p.m. HK)Singapore residents or long-term pass holders returning from mainland China must stay in their homes at all times for 14 days and closely monitor their own health, under stricter guidelines issued today.Macau Casinos Allowed to Reopen (5:30 p.m. HK)Casinos in the world’s biggest gambling hub will be able to resume operations on Thursday, following an unprecedented closure for 15 days to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Lei Wai Nong, secretary for economy and finance in the Chinese territory of Macau, said casinos can reopen Feb. 20, though it will be conditional based on criteria that he didn’t specify.Macau closed casinos for a 15-day period that began Feb. 5, in the longest shutdown ever for the world’s biggest gambling hub. MGM said it’s losing $1.5 million a day in Macau, while Wynn Resorts Ltd. said it is losing about $2.5 million a day.Earlier, Sands China President Wilfred Wong told Cable TV he expects few customers when casinos first re-open, and believes it will take two-to-three months before business can return to normal.China May Delay Annual CPPCC Meeting: CCTV (5:09 p.m. HK)Beijing is studying a proposal to delay the annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the nation’s political advisory body, state-run China Central Television reported.This follows an official Xinhua report that said China is considering delaying the annual session of the National People’s Congress, its most high-profile annual political meeting, for the first time in decades. The two meetings were originally scheduled to start early March.Japan Says 99 New Infections From Cruise Ship (5:05 p.m. HK)Japan said 99 more people from the Diamond Princess cruise tested positive for the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 454.A pair of aircraft chartered by the U.S. State Department took off early Monday to bring home Americans from the ship. Australia and Hong Kong will also use chartered flights to evacuate citizens and permanent residents who have been stranded on the ship.Cathay Pacific Warns on Results (4:45 p.m. HK)First-half financial results will be “significantly down” from a year earlier, Cathay Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said in a statement. Cathay is particularly exposed to the virus because sales from Hong Kong and China account for about half of its total revenue.Separately, China’s three largest airlines reported declines in January passenger traffic because of the coronavirus outbreak, with the shortfalls likely to deepen this month as the epidemic continues to disrupt travel for millions of people. Airlines began suspending flights from about Jan. 23 after the government began locking down Wuhan and other Chinese cities.U.S. Factories in China Don’t Have Enough Staff (3:57 p.m. HK)Most U.S. factories in China’s manufacturing hub around Shanghai will be back at work this week, but the “severe” shortage of workers due to the coronavirus will hit production and global supply chains, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.While about 90% of the 109 U.S. manufacturers in the Yangtze River delta expect to resume production this week, 78% of them said they don’t have sufficient staff to run at full speed, according to a survey by AmCham.Beijing Auto Show Delayed (3:48 p.m. HK)China’s annual auto show, scheduled to be held in Beijing in April, will be pushed back because of the coronavirus outbreak. The new dates will be announced later, the organizer said in a statement on Monday.Taiwan Scours Taxi Driver’s Data to Trace Virus Path (12:44 p.m. HK)Health authorities in Taiwan are scouring travel histories, phone records and security camera footage in an effort to map out everyone who came into contact with a taxi driver who became Taiwan’s first confirmed death from the coronavirus.The victim, a man in his 60s from central Taiwan who died Saturday, had not recently traveled overseas and had no recorded contact with any of the 19 other people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Taiwan, according to a statement from Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.Singapore, Thailand Cuts Growth Outlooks (12:32 p.m. HK)Singapore and Thailand downgraded their forecasts for economic growth this year as the coronavirus outbreak hits tourism and trade.Singapore’s Ministry of Trade & Industry projected growth in a range of -0.5% to 1.5% in 2020, compared with a previous estimate of 0.5% to 2.5%. The city state, which has more than 70 cases of virus infections, is losing as many as 20,000 tourists a day amid travel curbs.Growth in Thailand is seen in a range of 1.5%-2.5% this year, down from a previous projection of 2.7%-3.7%, the National Economic and Social Development Council said.Bridgewater, Dalio Donate $10 Million for Virus Fight (12:27 p.m. HK)Billionaire Ray Dalio’s family charity and his hedge fund Bridgewater Associates LP are donating $10 million to help support China’s coronavirus relief efforts. The money will go to Peking University First Hospital, Union Hospital for Clinical Care and three medical teams led by academics in Wuhan, the world’s largest hedge fund said in an emailed statement Monday.Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages (12:21 p.m. HK)Nintendo Co. is likely to struggle to supply sufficient Switch consoles to its U.S. and European markets as soon as April due to a production bottleneck caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to people with knowledge of the company’s supply chain.China Stocks Rebound From Sell-off (10:13 a.m. HK)China’s stock benchmark recouped all its losses from a record $720 billion sell-off earlier this month, a sign that investor confidence is improving after policy makers acted to ease the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.China’s government has pumped cash into the financial system, trimmed money-market rates and offered targeted tax cuts. Beijing will also allow local governments to sell another 848 billion yuan ($121 billion) of debt before March, as authorities seek to offset the economic shock of the coronavirus.Coronavirus Cases Top 70,000 (9:13 a.m. HK)China reported 2,048 additional coronavirus cases by the end of Feb. 16, bringing the total case count to 70,548, according to a statement from National Health Commission.China’s Hubei province reported 1,933 additional confirmed cases. While that’s slightly higher than a day earlier, it’s in line with a lower trend over the past several days. The province announced a stunning 15,000 new cases on Thursday after revising its method for counting infections.The death toll in China increased by 105 to 1,770. More than 10,000 patients have been discharged so far. There are now five fatalities outside of mainland China, after France and Taiwan reported deaths over the weekend.\--With assistance from Abeer Abu Omar, Ryan Beene, Dong Lyu, Jing Jin, Cindy Wang, K. Oanh Ha, Isabel Reynolds, Tony Czuczka, April Ma, Takashi Mochizuki, Suttinee Yuvejwattana, Siraphob Thanthong-Knight, Natalie Lung, Jason Scott, Shawn Donnan and Vince Golle.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Steve Geimann in Washington at sgeimann@bloomberg.net;Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.net;Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, ;Adveith Nair at anair29@bloomberg.net, Jeff Sutherland, Anne PollakFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:28:22 -0500
  • Cameroon army blames accident for village 'massacre'

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    Yaoundé (AFP) - Cameroon's army on Monday denied opposition charges that it had massacred villagers in a troubled English-speaking region, blaming instead an "unfortunate accident" caused by an explosion of fuel during a firefight. Up to 22 civilians, 14 of them children, died in the incident on Friday, according to the United Nations -- deaths which opposition parties blamed on members of the armed forces. Five civilians -- a woman and four children -- died, and "seven terrorists" were "neutralised", Atonfack told AFP in Libreville by phone.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:04:03 -0500
  • Vandals cover Plymouth Rock in red graffiti

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 15:02:03 -0500
  • Britain will develop its own regime to control state aid - Frost

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 14:38:16 -0500
  • As Trump Gives Up on ‘Endless Wars,' Russia, China, and Iran Move In

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    JERUSALEM–Two decades of expanding operations against what United States Special Operations Command called a “global insurgency of state and non-state actors” has led to fatigue at home and questions abroad about U.S. strategy. Trump, Afghanistan, and ‘The Tweet of Damocles’The latest Trump administration deal with the Taliban, challenges to the U.S. role in Syria and Iraq, and a potential reduction of forces in Africa point to a global trend in how the U.S. will deal with counter-insurgency in the future. What we’re looking at is a global drawdown in U.S. forces committed to counter-terrorist operations at the same time President Donald Trump is demanding other countries, including NATO allies, do more. The idea is for the U.S. to focus on using technology, such as drones, while local forces do the fighting on the ground.This long-term shift has long-term consequences that mean countries such as Iran, China and Russia, which the U.S. sees as adversaries, will have a larger footprint in places where the U.S. is reducing its role. Outsourcing counter-terrorism to these countries may not have been the plan, but it is likely one outcome.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began a tour of Africa on Feb. 16 in Senegal where the Flintlock 2020 exercise is underway with neighboring Mauritania. Some 1,600 soldiers from 30 African states and western allies are participating in the annual drill from February 17-28. The U.S. says it is the year’s “premier special operations” exercise that strengthens security across a swath of countries through what’s called the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership. The concept, pushed in 2018 via an act of Congress, was to improve the capabilities of countries to fight terror.But the picture is bleaker than past U.S. statements have indicated. Funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to fight terror spread across Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria and a dozen states from Senegal to Somalia hasn’t reduced terror and has resulted in Washington’s decision to reconsider what comes next. The U.S. pulled forces out of Libya in 2019 and three Americans were killed in an attack on a base in Kenya by Somalia’s Al-Shabab in January.The Other Attack on Americans That Has U.S. Forces Unnerved: KenyaAlthough Pompeo says that “we’ll get it right” in terms of U.S. commitment to a swath of African states, reports indicate the U.S. is reducing the footprint on the ground. Washington has “downgraded” efforts against extremists, the New York Times reported in mid-February. France, which sent hundreds more troops to the Sahel region recently, has warned this is a bad idea. The overall numbers could mean cutting in half the U.S. presence of 5,000 troops in a dozen locations.Changes in Africa strategy are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger policy shift. On the one hand the U.S. National Defense Strategy wants to move away from counter-insurgency to competing against large states like Iran, China and Russia. The Pentagon believes that “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Since U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) expanded from 47,000 in 2007 to 80,000 today, it might be argued that the U.S. has reached peak strength in fighting terror and now can move on successfully. The problem is that from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Niger there has not been a major success.In Afghanistan, where the U.S. has been fighting the Taliban for almost 20 years, some sort of peace deal is in the works. President Donald Trump has sought to end such “endless wars,” and Democrats running to replace him also want to end this one. In Iraq and Syria the U.S. appears to be reducing its role as well. Trump twice announced a withdrawal from Syria only to relent and keep troops to protect “oil” while slowly walking away from America’s anti-ISIS partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces.Plans to use bases in neighboring Iraq to “watch Iran” have not panned out and the U.S. finds itself pressured to leave most of Iraq after tensions with Iran boiled over in January following U.S. decision to blow away near Baghdad airport Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.Meanwhile, rocket fire has targeted U.S. bases and forces near the U.S. embassy almost every week since October 2019.The long-term result in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and across Africa can be seen symbolically in what is already happening in the Philippines. For two decades Washington and Manila worked closely against extremist groups. Now Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement amid increasingly friendly relations with China.For a more isolationist-inclined American public that may not matter, but it does mean China and other countries will aid the Philippines in the fight against Islamist insurgents. That has implications across Asia and the Pacific. In Africa, Russian President Vladimir Putin has set his eyes on a larger role that includes priority access to vital mineral resources. He held a summit in October with African diplomats. Russia’s Wagner group and other contractors play an increasing role in Sudan, the Central African Republic, Libya and Mozambique.In each place where the U.S. seeks a smaller footprint there will be a competition to fill the vacuum.France will try to fill it in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso, the G5 countries it works with in the Sahel. But in many cases there won’t be NATO powers that share U.S. values doing the heavy lifting. Instead it will be Russia, Iran, China, Turkey, and even Saudi Arabia or India playing a bigger role. That means counter-insurgency that looks more like Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen, Russia’s in Syria and Chechnya, China’s in Xinjiang, Turkey’s in Afrin, or India’s in Kashmir. While that may fit the bill of a Trump administration that wants to spend less American treasure abroad and wants others to do more of the work, in the long term it means a fundamental change in the international role of the United States. It also means that in an attempt to shift resources to confronting major states, the U.S. will provide a vacuum for some of those states—China, Russia and Iran—to play a greater role in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 13:08:06 -0500
  • China’s 'War on Terror' uproots families, leaked data shows

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    For decades, the Uighur imam was a bedrock of his farming community in China’s far west. The database obtained by The Associated Press profiles the internment of 311 individuals with relatives abroad and lists information on more than 2,000 of their relatives, neighbors and friends.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:10:58 -0500
  • U.K.’s Johnson Won’t Condemn Aide’s Claims on Black Inferiority

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:02:03 -0500
  • EU States to Deploy Ships Off Libya in Sign of Military Muscle

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:00:25 -0500
  • Investors urge Japan to strengthen climate targets ahead of U.N. summit

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 10:02:05 -0500
  • Suicide bomber in SW Pakistan kills 8 at Islamist rally

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    A powerful suicide bombing killed eight people and wounded 16 others in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province on Monday, local police said, when it struck an Islamist rally in the regional capital. Police said the blast went off near Quetta's press club, where dozens of supporters for a Sunni militant group had gathered outside. City police chief Abur Razza Cheema said dozens of followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat party were rallying to pay tribute to Islam’s first caliph when the bomber blew himself up there.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 09:20:24 -0500
  • Women in politics: Theresa May recounts 'sticky tape' moment

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    Former British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday that early on in her political career, she vowed never to think that being a woman held her back. “Don't think that you don't get something because you're a woman,” she told an audience of mostly women at the Global Women's Forum Dubai. “A chap comes along with sticky tape and a sheet, and he stuck it up behind the pilots and says: ‘There you go, you can change behind that’,” she said, to laughter and applause from the audience.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:37:40 -0500
  • Hundreds still flooded from homes in Mississippi capital

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    The swollen Pearl River appeared to have crested Monday in Mississippi’s capital, but authorities warned the hundreds of evacuees in the Jackson area not to rush back home until they got the all clear, and a forecast of more rain put counties further south at risk of flooding. No injuries were reported from the major flooding in central Mississippi and southern Tennessee. In Savannah, Tennessee, two houses slid down a muddy bluff into the Tennessee River, although its residents had fled earlier.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:32:52 -0500
  • 10 things you need to know today: February 17, 2020

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 07:08:00 -0500
  • Rare Release of Xi’s Speech on Virus Puzzles Top China Watchers

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 07:00:34 -0500
  • Trump Goes Orthodox With His Trade Re-Election Pitch

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 07:00:12 -0500
  • When Waving a Stick at Friends Backfires

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    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Trade and politics (especially geopolitics) have always gone hand in hand, though generally with the understanding that using trade as a weapon should be kept to a minimum. This past weekend shows us again how much that has changed.At the Munich Security Conference, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had some relatively polite words in public to say about the transatlantic alliance, including the security umbrella provided by NATO. Behind the scenes, though, the waters are getting ever more muddied.Tensions are running high over Europe’s refusal to accede to U.S. demands for a full ban on China’s telecom giant Huawei in 5G networks. That’s as Washington continues to warn of the potential for tariffs against Europe on key products like cars and wine.Defense Secretary Mark Esper has now thrown NATO further into the fray. Speaking in Munich, he warned that unless Europe better appreciates the threat from China “it could compromise what is the most successful military alliance in history.”Any rift in NATO may have a major impact on security not just in Europe but also in the Middle East and North Africa. Witness the recent assertiveness of Turkey and Russia.Even so, you can expect Europe to keep pushing back as the U.S. continues to throw politics and trade into the same mixing bowl. America under Donald Trump is perhaps finding out that waving a big stick against longstanding friends without any carrot can backfire.Global HeadlinesContagion threat | More than 3,000 travelers on two coronavirus-stricken Carnival cruise ships are returning home, fanning out to more than 40 countries, fueling fears of further contagion. The startling number of cases on the Diamond Princess, which accounts for the biggest cluster outside of China, and the newly detected case from the Westerdam raise concerns about the effectiveness of containing the virus on cruise ships.China is considering delaying its most high-profile annual political meeting for the first time in decades. Health authorities in Taiwan are scouring travel histories, phone records and security footage to map out everyone who came into contact with a taxi driver who became its first confirmed virus death.Drawing criticism | Rival Democrats battling for the Nevada caucuses later this week have seized on Michael Bloomberg’s Republican past and comments about policing, women and race to argue he has no place in the crowded presidential primary field. Also facing more scrutiny: Amy Klobuchar, who finished third in New Hampshire.(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.) Joe Biden, meanwhile, brushed off weak showings in the first two 2020 Democratic nominating contests and vowed to be the party’s presumptive front-runner by the end of March.Trade sparring | The chief U.K. Brexit negotiator, David Frost, is due to set out Britain’s goals for talks over its future relationship with the European Union in a speech in Brussels today as the two sides prepare to reach an agreement before the end of the year. The U.K. wants a deal similar to those the EU agreed to with other countries, while French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian yesterday pointed to “serious issues,” including fishing.Bleak prospects | Top government officials meeting in Munich made little progress in securing an end to the Libyan civil war, with a senior United Nations official calling an agreed-to arms embargo on the oil-rich North African nation “a joke.” It was part of an effort to end a 10-month conflict between Fayez al-Sarraj, Libya’s UN-backed prime minister, and his rival General Khalifa Haftar. A joint military committee aiming to lock in a permanent cease-fire will start work tomorrow in Geneva.Escalating tensions | Turkey is sending a delegation of military, intelligence and diplomatic officials to Moscow today to seek a way out of the crisis in northwestern Syria that’s straining ties between Ankara and Moscow. Turkey is trying to end an offensive by Russian-backed Syrian forces on the country’s last rebel stronghold of Idlib, while Russia accuses Turkey of failing to abide by agreements to ease hostilities by deploying its forces to the area.What to WatchDemocratic presidential candidates debate Wednesday in Las Vegas ahead of the Feb. 22 Nevada caucuses. Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for witness tampering and lying to Congress, a case that has sparked a crisis at the Justice Department. Group of 20 finance ministers meet in Saudi Arabia Feb 22-23 where the economic cost of the coronavirus is likely to take center stage. Pompeo began a three-nation visit to Africa yesterday that includes stops in Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia. Iran’s parliamentary elections on Friday are expected to mark the beginning of the end of President Hassan Rouhani’s brand of moderate policies, with hard-liners and ultra-conservatives tipped to win a majority. President Emmanuel Macron’s party chose his health minister to run for mayor of Paris next month after the release of sex videos led its initial pick to withdraw — the latest setback for the French leader.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Jack Silvers, who was the first to correctly name Rafael Correa of Ecuador as the former Latin American president who went on trial last week on charges of campaign finance fraud and accepting bribes. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally ... We’ve had “Howdy Modi.” Now it’s “Namaste Trump.” That’s how the western Indian city of Ahmedabad is advertising the event where the U.S. president and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to share the stage at a cricket stadium on Feb. 24. It follows Modi’s trip to the U.S. in September where he walked hand-in-hand with Trump at a rock concert-like event at a Houston football arena. The Hindi “Namaste” means “hello” in English. \--With assistance from Muneeza Naqvi.To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Karl Maier at kmaier2@bloomberg.net, Ruth PollardFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 05:45:45 -0500
  • U.K. Brexit Negotiator to Set Out Goals After French Warning

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    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world threatened by trade wars. Sign up here. David Frost, the U.K.’s chief Brexit negotiator, will set out Britain’s goals for talks over its future relationship with the European Union in a speech in Brussels on Monday as the two sides prepare to thrash out an agreement before the end of the year.Amid warnings from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of a fierce clash over future trade terms, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said the U.K. isn’t seeking special treatment, but wants a deal similar to those agreed by the EU with other countries.After an analysis of the demands in the bloc’s draft negotiation mandate, Johnson’s team said it’s unreasonable the U.K. is currently being offered more stringent terms on state aid, tax and standards than the EU has agreed in deals with Korea, Japan and Canada.In those three cases, the EU lifted almost all tariffs, but didn’t force any of them to abide by its state-aid regulations or to follow any future changes to its rule-book. France is pushing strongly for the EU to make the latter demand, known as dynamic alignment, part of any deal with its neighbor.“We are going to rip each other apart,” Le Drian said at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. “But that is part of negotiations, everyone will defend their own interests.”Le Drian said that while he wants the talks completed as soon as possible, there are “some serious issues,” including fishing, where the two sides are at odds.Environment Secretary George Eustice, whose remit covers fishing, said on Monday that while Le Drian had used “colorful language,” he’s confident the U.K. can strike a deal with the EU.“We’re very clear that we will choose autonomy over regulatory alignment, that we won’t be in the single market, that we won’t be in the customs union,” Eustice told Sky News. “There’s clarity about our objectives now, clarity about the type of relationship we want and there’s no reason at all why we can’t put together a sensible agreement with the EU.”Eustice also said that the U.K. is “striving” to get a partnership agreement on fishing in place by July, “But if it’s not in place, we will be an independent coastal state negotiating in the normal way, just like Norway does at the end of the year.”The U.K.’s negotiating “Task Force,” led by Frost, held meetings last week to finalize its position and is preparing to argue that Britain already has higher standards than the EU on workers’ rights, environmental protection and subsidies, so the alignment demanded by the bloc doesn’t make sense, the prime minister’s office said.Frost’s lecture will be the first of a series of public interventions on the U.K.’s position because he sees secrecy as a key factor in Theresa May’s failure to reach an acceptable agreement with Brussels, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.After leaving the EU on Jan. 31, Britain entered an 11-month transition period, during which time the country will still be subject to the bloc’s rules, even if it has no say in setting them. Johnson has until the end of this year to reach a comprehensive trade agreement with the bloc. If he fails, Britain will crash out and default to trading on World Trade Organization rules.(Updates with dynamic alignment in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Iain Rogers and Alex Morales.To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Steve GeimannFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 05:34:11 -0500
  • U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal to be Signed End of Feb., Militant Group Says

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    (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and Taliban will sign a peace deal at the end of February, more than a year after negotiations started, paving the way for broader talks between the Afghan government and the militant group on the country’s post-war future.The peace agreement will be signed during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban has a political office, according to the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed, as well as deputy head of its political office Abdul Salam Hanafi. Mujahed was reached via Whatsapp on Monday.The treaty to end America’s longest war follows an agreement with the Taliban on Friday for them to reduce hostilities for a seven-day period. One of the conditions for a broader peace deal, that would allow the U.S. to start withdrawing troops, has been for the partial cease-fire to hold.“Afghanistan’s neighbors, members of the U.N.’s Security Council, Islamic nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other nations involved in Afghan peace issue will be invited to participate as witnesses,” Hanafi said in an interview with the Nunn.Asia website. “Recently, we had very good meetings with the Americans.For now our negotiations have ended,” he added. Nunn.Asia is a pro-Taliban Pashto-language news website.President Ashraf Ghani’s administration and the U.S. will release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghans imprisoned by the militant group, Hanafi said.Intra-Afghan talks will take place only after the peace deal is in place and the release of the Taliban prisoners, he added.The militants had ruled Afghanistan until a U.S.-led coalition ousted the group in 2001. Despite the Americans spending an estimated $900 billion on the Afghan conflict since then, the Taliban are now at their strongest since being ousted from power. The group controls or contests about half the country and regularly stages attacks in Kabul.A U.S. delegation led by envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with the Taliban since late 2018. In September, U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off the talks in response to a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier.To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul at enajafizada1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Muneeza NaqviFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 05:13:56 -0500
  • Arab World’s First Nuclear Reactor Cleared for Startup

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:50:51 -0500
  • Gunmen kill 24 in attack near church in Burkina Faso

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:47:33 -0500
  • China Moves to Delay Parliament for First Time in Decades

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.China is considering delaying its most high-profile annual political meeting for the first time in decades, as the government attempts to contain an outbreak of a deadly new strain of coronavirus.The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will meet Feb. 24 to consider a delay of the annual meeting of the full parliament planned to convene March 5, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday. The Standing Committee will also consider measures to curb practices that may have contributed to the deadly strain of virus jump to humans, including a ban on the wildlife trade and the consumption of wild game.Some 3,000 members of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, were expected to convene in Beijing for about two weeks of meetings attended by President Xi Jinping and other top leaders. The annual political pageant also includes meetings by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body made up of around 2,000 representatives from companies, ethnic minorities, cultural organizations and other groups.While the decision was widely expected, it represented an acknowledgment by the Communist Party that the health crisis that began in the central province of Hubei had disrupted basic mechanisms of government. China has held its so-called Two Sessions in March every year since 1985, when then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping formalized the legislative calendar as part of his reforms after Mao Zedong’s turbulent rule.Zang Tiewei, spokesperson for the NPC’s legislative affairs commission, was cited as saying the body’s deputies were needed back home, among which a third are local officials. “In order to ensure that people’s attention is focused on the prevention and control of the epidemic and that people’s lives and health are given top priority, the chairman’s council, after careful assessment, considered it necessary to postpone,” Zang said, according to Xinhua.High RiskChina unveils its annual economic targets, defense spending projections and other key policy decisions during the NPC meetings. The party has also used the occasion to announce major policy changes and personnel reshuffles, like Xi’s 2018 decision to scrap term limits, which paved the way for him to rule indefinitely.This year the NPC had been expected to deliberate on a draft Civil Code, consisting of sections on property, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance and torts. Xinhua also said the Standing Committee would continue to deliberate proposals for appointments and removals, without elaborating -- hinting that further personnel reshuffles could be underway despite the cancellation.Officials faced the risk that some attendees could unintentionally transmit a virus that has already sickened more than 70,000 and killed almost 1,800 in China. And gathering political leaders at great expense in the capital while many Chinese remain cooped at home could also prompt public criticism.What You Need to Know About the Spreading Coronavirus: QuickTakeThe municipal government of Beijing has instituted rules requiring 14-day self-quarantines for new arrivals in the capital, meaning deputies would’ve had to arrive by this week to attend the meeting without a special exception.Xi has ordered “all-out” efforts to contain the crisis, which has already proved more deadly than the SARS epidemic that killed almost 800 people across Asia 17 years ago and led to widespread criticism of China’s response. Beijing has taken unprecedented steps to slow the latest outbreak, including banning travel from the hardest-hit areas in central China.On Feb. 13, China abruptly replaced the top leaders of Hubei and its capital Wuhan. Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong was named to replace Jiang Chaoliang as provincial party secretary, in a rare political shakeup.A flurry of municipal legislatures across China had delayed their annual meetings in recent weeks, including the cities of Jinan, Qingdao, Wenzhou and Zhengzhou. The provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan also postponed their legislative meetings.“Though it’s a rare move, in reality the possible delay of the legislature meeting wouldn’t have much tangible impact on legislative work,” said Yang Dong, a law professor at Renmin University in Beijing. “The main focus of this year’s NPC meeting is to vote on the long-expected Civil Code. But other than that, there are no other urgent issues like major personnel reshuffles that need to be addressed.”(Updates with NPC comment in fifth paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the time in March that the NPC has been regularly held.)\--With assistance from Peter Martin and Jon Herskovitz.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Yinan Zhao in Beijing at yzhao300@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor 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.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:19:18 -0500
  • Priests of disgraced Legion face trial for obstruction claim

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    The Vatican effort to reform the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order is coming under new scrutiny, with four Legion priests and a Legion lawyer due to stand trial on charges they tried to obstruct justice and extort the family of a sex abuse victim. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 12 in Milan. The case is significant because it calls into question the effectiveness of the Vatican reform since the alleged crimes occurred at the end of the Holy See’s four-year effort to turn the Legion around.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:18:02 -0500
  • After gains in northern Syria, Assad predicts total victory

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    “This liberation does not mean the end of the war, and does not mean the end of the schemes nor the end of terrorism or the surrender of enemies,” Assad said, seated behind an empty wooden desk and wearing glasses. The address came amid an ongoing military advance in northwestern Syria that has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe which the U.N.'s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned “has reached a horrifying level.” In a statement, he said the U.N. believes 900,000 people have been displaced since Dec. 1, most of them women and children.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 04:11:57 -0500
  • American cruise passengers quarantined at US military bases

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    More than 300 American cruise ship passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, were being quarantined at military bases in California and Texas on Monday after arriving from Japan on charter flights overnight. One plane carrying cruise passengers touched down at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California just before midnight Sunday, while another arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas early Monday. The passengers will remain at the bases for two weeks.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 03:03:58 -0500
  • Virus Puts Damper on Kim Jong Un’s Celebrations of Late Father

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    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 02:00:06 -0500
  • Afghan refugees tell UN: 'We need peace, land to go home'

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    Hukam Khan isn’t sure how old he is, but his beard is long and white, and when he came to Pakistan 40 years ago fleeing an earlier war in Afghanistan, his children were small, stuffed onto the backs of donkeys and dragged across rugged mountains to the safety of northwestern Pakistan. Back then the war was against the former Soviet Union and Khan was among more than 5 million Afghans forced to become refugees in Pakistan, driven from their homes by a bombing campaign so brutal it was referred to as a “scorched earth” policy. After four decades of war and conflict, more than 1.5 million Afghans still live as refugees in Pakistan, feeling abandoned by their own government, increasingly unwelcome in their reluctant host country and ignored by the United Nations.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 01:14:42 -0500
  • One thing unites establishment Democrats: Fear of Sanders

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    A growing number of Democratic lawmakers, union officials, state leaders and party strategists agree that Bernie Sanders is a risky nominee to put up against President Donald Trump. None of the viable centrists in the race is eager to exit the campaign to clear a path for a candidate to become a clear counter to Sanders. With fear and frustration rising in the party's establishment wing, a high-stakes math problem is emerging.

    Mon, 17 Feb 2020 00:40:50 -0500
  • Rail Blockades Force Trudeau to Scrap UN Lobbying Push

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 22:40:32 -0500
  • China reports 1,886 new virus cases, death toll up by 98

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    Mainland China reported 1,886 new virus cases and 98 more deaths for a total of 1,868 in its update Tuesday, following a report that 80% of cases have been mild, prompting guarded optimism from health officials. The latest figures come after health officials in China published the first details on nearly 45,000 cases of infection with the coronavirus that originated there, saying more than 80% have been mild and new ones seem to be falling since early this month. A total of 72,436 cases have been reported in mainland China as of Tuesday, although a spike in recent cases was due to a broader definition in the hardest-hit region based on doctors' diagnoses before laboratory tests were completed.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 20:24:42 -0500
  • German conservatives fire starting gun in race to succeed Merkel

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    The search for German Chancellor Angela Merkel's eventual successor begins in earnest this week, as her centre-right CDU party opens the race to elect a new leader after her heir apparent stepped down. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Merkel's preferred successor, was toppled after just 14 months as CDU leader following a row over apparent cooperation with the far-right AfD party in a regional parliament. The 57-year-old will hold talks this week with the three favourites to succeed her: long-time Merkel rival Friedrich Merz, Health Minister Jens Spahn and Armin Laschet, the premier of Germany's largest federal state North-Rhine Westphalia.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 19:55:11 -0500
  • U.K. to Spend $1.6 Billion on World’s Best Climate Supercomputer

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 19:01:00 -0500
  • Bangers & Mash in Danger for EU Under Johnson’s Brexit Plan

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 19:01:00 -0500
  • Bloomberg takes veiled swipe at rival's aggressive loyalists

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    With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning were fixated on a rival who wasn't contesting the state. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg all went after billionaire Mike Bloomberg and made clear they were eager to take him on in a debate. “He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders told a Carson City rally Sunday.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 18:23:08 -0500
  • What Exactly Is in the Details of the Taliban Truce?

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 17:00:12 -0500
  • In sign of thaw, Israeli PM says flight crosses Sudan skies

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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that an Israeli aircraft made a historic first flight over Sudan just two weeks after he met with the Arab state's leader in Uganda. The Israeli premier met with the head of Sudan's transitional government, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, in a major step toward improving ties with an Arab state that has long been hostile to Israel.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:30:18 -0500
  • California to apologize for internment of Japanese Americans

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    Les Ouchida was born an American just outside California's capital city, but his citizenship mattered little after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war. Based solely on their Japanese ancestry, the 5-year-old and his family were taken from their home in 1942 and imprisoned far away in Arkansas. On Thursday, California's Legislature is expected to approve a resolution offering an apology to Ouchida and other internment victims for the state's role in aiding the U.S. government's policy and condemning actions that helped fan anti-Japanese discrimination.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:28:20 -0500
  • Searchers recover bodies of 2 killed in Colorado avalanche

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    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 14:17:07 -0500
  • Democratic hopefuls now test strength among minority voters

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    For I.S. Leevy Johnson, the Democrats’ search for a challenger to take on President Donald Trump is personal. “There is what I call an ‘ABT mood’ in the black community: Anybody but Trump,” said the 77-year-old who was the first black graduate of the University of South Carolina’s law school. Now, as the election calendar turns to Nevada and South Carolina, states with substantial minority populations, that "anybody” moves closer to being identified.

    Sun, 16 Feb 2020 13:05:30 -0500
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