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VIDEO: Man rushes TSA agents at Phoenix airport

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 03:14

Phoenix airport surveillance video shows a 19-year-old man running past a security checkpoint and wrestling with TSA agents.


Georgia and Russia trade blame over unrest as crisis brews

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 03:11

TBILISI/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Georgia and Russia traded blame on Friday for an outbreak of unrest in Tbilisi sparked by the visit of a Russian lawmaker with the Kremlin announcing it would suspend passenger flights between the two countries to protect its citizens. Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili had earlier blamed Moscow for the unrest, suggesting a "fifth column" loyal to Moscow had stirred up trouble, an allegation Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed as a distortion of reality. Violence flared in the Georgian capital late on Thursday, where police used tear gas and rubber bullets to stop crowds furious about the visit of a Russian delegation from storming parliament.


China's Xi Tells North Korea's Kim World Wants More U.S. Talks

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 02:37

(Bloomberg) -- China’s Xi Jinping told Kim Jong Un that the world wanted him to make progress in nuclear talks with the U.S., underscoring Beijing’s key role in negotiations ahead of his own summit with President Donald Trump.The Chinese president said during a landmark visit to Pyongyang on Thursday that he was willing to play a “positive and constructive role” toward achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the official Xinhua News Agency said. “The international community hopes that talks between the DPRK and the United States will move forward and bear fruit,” Xi said, referring to North Korea’s formal name.Kim responded that North Korea had “taken many active measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but has not received positive responses from the party concerned,” according to Xinhua. North Korea’s own state media reports made no mention of the nuclear issue, saying only that the two leaders agreed to strengthen “strategic” communication” amid a “grave and complex” international situation.“This sends a signal to the U.S. that China’s influence on peninsula issues shall not be undervalued,” said Wang Sheng, professor of international politics at Jilin University who specializes in Northeast Asian affairs. “The U.S. should take this into account, that it needs China’s backing on improving its relations with North Korea and promoting denuclearization.”Why the Trump-Kim Nuclear Show Needs a Third Act: QuickTakeThe talks came amid a flurry of pageantry in the North Korean capital, in which Kim rolled out the red carpet for the first visit by a Chinese president in 14 years. Besides showcasing ties that stretch back to the 1950-53 Korean War, Xi and and Kim were expected to use the visit to stake out common ground in their current struggles with Trump. Xi left Pyongyang en route to Beijing, Chinese state media reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday North Korea time. The trip came just a week ahead of Xi’s planned meeting with Trump on the sidelines the Group of 20 summit in Japan, in what’s shaping up to be a possible turning point in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. China’s role as North Korea’s vital trading partner and sole security backer gives Xi leverage in his talks with Trump.Stalled TalksU.S. efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear arsenal have made little progress since Trump and Kim agreed in their Singapore summit last year to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” without saying what that meant. In February, Trump rejected Kim’s offer to close some nuclear facilities in exchange for the elimination of the most severe United Nations sanctions on North Korea.While Xi has stayed largely on the sidelines during talks between Trump and Kim, China’s approval for UN sanctions has been vital to the U.S. pressure campaign. Xi also hosted Kim in Beijing before both of the North Korean leader’s meetings with Trump.Preferred MediatorThae Yong Ho, a former North Korean ambassador to the U.K. who defected, told the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper on Thursday that the summit showed that Kim saw China rather than South Korea as his preferred mediating partner. “North Korea is drawing up a new plan for third summit with U.S.,” Thae told the paper. “And the starting point of that is Xi’s North Korea visit.”Kim’s position has changed little since warning the U.S. in April that he would wait only until the end of 2019 for the Trump administration to relax its demands -- raising the prospect for a renewal of tensions during a U.S. election year.In the meantime, Kim has demonstrated continued diplomatic support, including a first-ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in April, and resumed test launches of short-ranged ballistic missiles banned under UN sanctions.What You Need to Know About North Korea and Sanctions: QuickTakeKim’s warm welcome for Xi demonstrated how much the sometimes fraught ties between the two neighbors have improved since Kim made his first visit to Beijing last year. The Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were greeted by Kim at the airport and inspected an honor guard before driving past crowds holding banners that said friendship between the two countries “shall be eternal.”Later Thursday, Xi attended a performance of North Korea’s mass games, in which hundreds of performers engage in a display of mass choreography.Top OfficialsXi’s entourage included top diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, as well as He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission. Kim was joined by top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol and his sister Kim Yo Jong, according the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper.Xi said China would continue providing security assurances and development assistance “within its capacity,” in a possible reference to the international sanctions limiting such exchanges. China was ready to help North Korea “address its legitimate security and development concerns, strengthen coordination with it and other relevant parties, and play a positive and constructive role in realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and enduring regional peace and stability,” Xi said.The Global Times, a tabloid published by China’s People’s Daily newspaper, said in an editorial that it would be wrong to view Beijing’s relationship with Pyongyang as an attempt at “playing cards” in the trade war.“The traditional friendship between China and the DPRK concerns the long-term strategic interests of the two countries,” the editorial said. “It is not designed to solve a specific problem.”(Updates with Xi’s departure in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gregory Turk, Chris Kay and Linly Lin.To contact the reporters on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@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.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


US prepped for strikes on Iran before approval was withdrawn

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 01:39

The United States made preparations for a military strike against Iran on Thursday night in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go, a U.S. official said. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.


The Latest: Source: US prepared Iran attack, then withdrew

Fri, 06/21/2019 - 00:07

A U.S. official says the military made preparations Thursday night for limited strikes on Iran in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but approval was abruptly withdrawn before the attacks were launched. The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.


Trump courts the Hispanic vote: 'I love immigrants'

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 22:21

US President Donald Trump, who officially launched his campaign for re-election this week, pitched himself to Hispanic voters Thursday during an interview with the US Spanish-language network Telemundo. "I love immigrants," Trump said, when presenter Jose Diaz-Balart asked the president about his administration's policies on child separation, on the DACA program protecting people brought to the US illegally as children -- which the president ended -- and on his "zero-tolerance" border plans. "You mean illegal immigrants," Trump said.


The Latest: Georgia executes inmate for 1996 shotgun slaying

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 22:01

Georgia has executed an inmate convicted of the 1996 killing of a man who agreed to give him a ride outside a Walmart. Authorities say 42-year-old Marion Wilson Jr. was pronounced dead Thursday evening following an injection of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. Wilson and Robert Earl Butts Jr. were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the March 1996 slaying of 24-year-old Donovan Corey Parks.


Merkel cautions EU leaders over choice of EU Commission chief

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 20:28

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that EU leaders could provoke a crisis if they did not take into account the views of the European Parliament when choosing the next head of the EU executive. This wouldn't be good for the work of the Commission in the next five years," she told reporters after leaders failed to settle on a name during their summit. Merkel also said an agreement on top jobs should be reached before the new European Parliament meets for a first time on July 2.


Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher Is on Trial Over the Murder of an ISIS Fighter. Another Soldier Just Confessed to the Crime

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 18:59

Gallagher faces counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder, among other charges. If convicted, he could spent the rest of his life in prison


Trump Again Downplays Iranian Attack After Navy Drone Shot Down

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 18:09

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump downplayed Iran’s attack on a U.S. Navy drone in the Persian Gulf that escalated regional tensions and fueled a surge in oil prices, suggesting a “loose and stupid” individual may have been responsible for the strike.“I would imagine it was a general or somebody who made a mistake by shooting that drone down,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting Thursday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “I find it hard to believe it was intentional. It could have been somebody who was loose and stupid.”In a story published earlier Thursday by Iranian state-run media, an Iranian military officer said the drone was shot down in order to send a “clear message.”U.S. and Iranian officials continue to argue whether the high-altitude drone was over international or Iranian waters when it was shot down after weeks of rising tensions over a spate of attacks in the region. Trump said the drone was “clearly” in international waters, and went on to say that the U.S. “will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”Read More: Iran Tensions Prompt Lawmakers to Revisit Trump’s War PowersYet it was the second time in a week that Trump sought to minimize Iranian actions against U.S. interests, even as some of his advisers and closest congressional allies urged a forcible response. Earlier this week Trump called an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman a “minor issue.” During his comments Thursday, he called the drone attack “a new fly in the ointment.”While Trump has ratcheted up economic sanctions on Iran as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic, he has also said he doesn’t want a war with Tehran and he campaigned in 2016 on withdrawing the U.S. from intractable Middle East conflicts.Yet regional analysts and lawmakers from both parties warned that the likelihood of a bigger confrontation could be looming, whether intentional or not.“The president may not intend to go to war here but we’re worried that he and the administration may bumble into a war,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, told reporters Thursday after a briefing at the White House.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally and member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would “encourage the president to deliver an unequivocal message that there is a cost to doing this. So if they’re itching for a fight, they’re going to get one.”The U.S. said the Global Hawk drone was flying in international airspace about 34 kilometers (20 miles) away from Iranian territory when it was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz, an oil choke point.“This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.The episode stoked tensions throughout the Gulf, which supplies one-third of the world’s oil.“We will defend Iran’s airspace and maritime boundaries with all our might,” Ali Shamkhani, secretary for the Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying by state-run Iranian Students’ News Agency. “It doesn’t matter which country’s aircraft cross our airspace.”A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on both sides to “exercise maximum restraint and avoid any action that could inflame the situation.” Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that a war “would be a catastrophe for the region.”Trump was briefed on the drone incident Thursday in a meeting with National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. The region has been volatile since the U.S. tightened sanctions on Iranian oil sales in early May, sent military reinforcements to the region and redoubled efforts to prevent Iran and Europe from finding a way around trade penalties imposed after Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord.Frictions flared further last week after an attack on two oil tankers outside the entrance to the Gulf. Tehran denied involvement in the incidents.Adding to strains, Iran on Monday warned European nations that it would breach the multilateral nuclear accord, which had traded some sanctions relief for limits on Tehran’s nuclear program, as soon as June 27 unless they find a way to circumvent U.S. penalties.“We are seeing an escalation and the frequency of attacks is concerning even though they are still mostly minor,’’ said Renad Mansour, a research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House. “People across the region are starting to make preparation for the possibility of a trigger coming from somewhere.’’The tensions come with the Pentagon’s leadership in flux. Shanahan is scheduled to hand over responsibility for the Defense Department to Army Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday night. It’s not clear if Esper will be Trump’s choice to permanently lead the Pentagon, which is approaching its seventh month without a confirmed secretary in charge.On Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, said Trump’s Iran strategy is a “self-inflicted disaster” and blamed the stepped up hostilities on U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord.West Texas Intermediate oil surged as much as 6.1%, the most this year, and was trading $2.93 higher at $56.69 a barrel as of 1:01 p.m. EST.Attacks on regional oil infrastructure since mid-May have helped whipsaw oil prices. A measure of price volatility for the benchmark U.S. crude grade reached a five-month high on Monday, pulled between the threat of disrupted supply and mounting concern that trade wars will weaken demand.The drone downing also followed a missile strike by Iranian-backed Yemeni rebels overnight on Saudi Arabia. A news agency operated by Houthi rebels in Yemen said that they had hit a power station in Jazan, on the southwestern coast of Saudi Arabia, with a cruise missile. The official Saudi Press Agency later said a projectile fired from Yemen had fallen near a desalination plant, causing no damage or casualties.(Adds comments from lawmakers starting in seventh paragraph.)\--With assistance from Golnar Motevalli, Verity Ratcliffe, Anthony DiPaola, Alexei Anishchuk, Margaret Talev, Arsalan Shahla, David Wainer, David Marino and Daniel Flatley.To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Wingrove in Washington at jwingrove4@bloomberg.net;Zainab Fattah in Dubai at zfattah@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bill Faries at wfaries@bloomberg.net, ;Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Plot that wounded Ortiz unraveled because of many mistakes

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 17:53

Alberto Rodríguez Mota had one job: taking a photo of the man that his crew of hired killers was supposed to fatally shoot at an outdoor cafe, according to Dominican authorities. In the photo sent to the hit man, he looked like a dark, blurry figure in white pants, the Dominican police chief and attorney-general said. Hours later, on the evening of June 9, the hitman approached a hulking figure in a dark top and white pants and fired a single shot into his back.


Dad of Maleah Davis, slain 4-year-old, shares photos of her 'My Little Pony'-themed casket

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 17:22

The father of Maleah Davis, the 4-year-old whose remains were found in Arkansas earlier this month, posted photos of 'My Little Pony'-themed casket.


India warships sent to strategic Gulf waters: navy

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 17:13

India has sent warships and stepped up aerial surveillance in strategic Gulf waters, the Press Trust of India reported on Thursday, with global tensions rising in the region. "INS Chennai and INS Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations," the navy said, quoted by PTI. The aim is "to re-assure the Indian-flagged vessels operating/transiting through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, following the maritime security incidents in the region," the navy said.


The Weird and Wonderful Hats of Royal Ascot 2019

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 16:09

Toby Melville/ReutersWho's paying attention to horses with fabulous hats like these?A guest on day three, Ladies Day, of Royal Ascot at the Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2019 in Ascot, England. Royals and horse lovers alike gather for the annual horse racing event, donning the most fashionable—and bizarre—hats.Chris Jackson/GettyAction Images via ReutersBryn Lennon/GettyBryn Lennon/GettyChris Jackson/GettyAction Images via ReutersAction Images via ReutersJonathan Brady/ReutersReutersReutersReutersReutersAction Images via ReutersRead 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.


Roy Moore announces new Senate campaign

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 15:57

Roy Moore’s announcement that he would once again run for the U.S. Senate in Alabama sent a shudder through the Republican Party and raised a question: Could the GOP have avoided this scenario by uniting early around a credible consensus candidate?


NRA Suspends Two Leaders Amid Accusations of Coup Attempt

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 15:46

(Bloomberg) -- The National Rifle Association suspended its top lobbyist and one of his deputies, adding further turmoil to the gun-rights group’s leadership ranks as it wages legal battles on multiple fronts and prepares for a bruising 2020 election cycle.The NRA confirmed Thursday that it had suspended Chris Cox, the lobbying chief who was viewed widely as a future leader of the group, and his deputy chief of staff, Scott Christman.The moves came after Oliver North, the former NRA board president, was ousted from the organization in April after it accused him of leading an attempted coup against Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA who has long served as the organization’s leader. North alleged that LaPierre used the group to enrich himself. As part of the infighting, the NRA sued Ackerman McQueen Inc., its longtime advertising firm, and in turn Ackerman cut ties with the group.On Wednesday night, the NRA filed a lawsuit against North arguing that he didn’t have the right to legal fees from the NRA. The lawsuit says that Cox, described as a “likely successor” to lead the organization, participated in the failed bid to oust LaPierre.The leadership struggle came to a head on April 24, according to the lawsuit. That’s when North talked to a LaPierre aide by phone and threatened to reveal unflattering details about LaPierre’s travel and clothing expenses unless he resigned and supported “North’s continued tenure as president,” according to the complaint, which calls the exchange an extortion.North also promised to arrange an “excellent retirement” for LaPierre through Ackerman McQueen if he resigned, the NRA claims.The NRA filed its suit against Ackerman McQueen in mid-April, claiming it refused to turn over details about North’s contract with the advertising firm. Last month, the NRA sued again, claiming Ackerman McQueen engineered the failed coup attempt by leaking damaging information to undermine NRA leaders.The firm fired back with a breach-of-contract countersuit, claiming that the NRA was just trying to get out of its service agreement with the firm and that it had provided all the information sought by the gun group.North was aided in his efforts against LaPierre by NRA board member Dan Boren, a former congressman who’s now a top executive for Chickasaw Nation, a major Ackerman McQueen client, according to the NRA complaint filed on Wednesday. Boren “helped to choreograph the ultimatum they presented to Mr. LaPierre,” it said.In emails obtained by the NRA, Boren “admitted his knowledge that Ackerman may have been invoicing the NRA for full salaries of employees who were actually working on the Chickasaw Nation account.” Those emails also show that Cox was an “errant fiduciary” who “participated in the Ackerman/North/Boren conspiracy,” the NRA claims.The complaint asks a judge to declare that the NRA shouldn’t be required to cover North’s legal fees for subpoenas arising from its litigation with Ackerman McQueen and from a Senate Finance Committee request for information. North’s attorney had demanded that the NRA cover his legal fees for the congressional probe and for “any other inquiries” that he “may receive” in the future, it said.Cox’s suspension was reported earlier by the New York Times. Cox’s spokeswoman told the Times that he played no role in the coup attempt.The suspensions throw the group’s political operation into turmoil just days after President Donald Trump announced his re-election bid. The NRA spent heavily to support Trump during the 2016 race, and Cox has met with the president multiple times during his tenure. Speaking at the NRA’s annual meeting this year, Trump was introduced by Cox rather than LaPierre.A lawyer for North, Brendan Sullivan, declined to comment and said he would respond in a court filing.As the group’s chief lobbyist, Cox oversaw nine different divisions, including federal, state, and local government affairs. “Cox develops and executes independent political campaigns and legislative initiatives. He also serves as the Association’s principal contact with the United States Senate and House of Representatives, the White House and federal agencies,” the NRA Foundation wrote on its website in a profile of Cox.To contact the reporters on this story: Polly Mosendz in New York at pmosendz@bloomberg.net;Neil Weinberg in New York at nweinberg2@bloomberg.net;David Voreacos in New York at dvoreacos@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeffrey D Grocott at jgrocott2@bloomberg.net, David S. JoachimFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


2 killed when semitrailers explode on Wisconsin interstate

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 15:16

Two semitrailers exploded into flames Wednesday on an interstate in southeastern Wisconsin, killing both drivers and setting other vehicles on fire, authorities said.


Downed drone was some 34 km (21 miles) from Iran coast: US general

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 14:37

A US spy drone was some 34 kilometers (21 miles) from the nearest point in Iran when it was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile Thursday, a US general said. "This dangerous and escalatory attack was irresponsible and occurred in the vicinity of established air corridors between Dubai, UAE, and Oman, possibly endangering innocent civilians," said Lieutenant General Joseph Guastella, who commands US air forces in the region. The Pentagon released a graphic pinpointing the position of the drone on a map of the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic passage through which much of the world's oil passes.


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