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EU unveils sanctions plan to hit Turkey over Cyprus drilling

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:28

The European Union on Monday unveiled a system for imposing sanctions on Turkey over its unauthorized gas drilling in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus but no Turkish companies or officials have yet been targeted. EU member countries can now come forward with names of those they think should be listed. Turkish warship-escorted drillships began exploratory drilling this summer in waters where EU-member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights, including areas where European energy companies are licensed to conduct a hydrocarbons search.

Jordan retakes lands leased by Israel in 1994 peace accord

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:15

Jordan's king announced Sunday that his country is retaking "full sovereignty" over two pieces of land leased by Israel, reflecting the cool relations between the neighboring countries as they mark the 25th anniversary of their landmark peace deal. King Abdullah II had said last year that he wouldn't renew the parts of the 1994 treaty that gave Israel a 25-year lease of the two small areas, Baqura and Ghamr. "Today, I announce the expiration of the Peace Treaty annexes on Ghamr and al-Baqura and the imposition of our full sovereignty over every inch of those lands," he said.

Mormon church leader denounces official's adoption scheme

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:10

A leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said he is "disgusted" by an Arizona elected official accused of running a multi-state adoption scheme, marking the first time a church official has commented on the case. "We're just as disgusted with it as anybody," Ronald Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told The Arizona Republic when asked about Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen. The church also plans to review Petersen's membership after his criminal case is resolved, he said.

Mini Mercury skips across sun's vast glare in rare transit

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 14:00

Stargazers used solar-filtered binoculars and telescopes to spot Mercury — a tiny black dot — as it passed directly between Earth and the sun on Monday. Mercury is the solar system's smallest, innermost planet. In Maryland, clouds prevented NASA solar astrophysicist Alex Young from getting a clear peek.

UPDATE 1-Putin, Merkel say Ukraine's Donbass should get special status - Kremlin

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 13:28

MOSCOW/BERLIN, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Monday that Ukraine should give its separatist-led Donbass region a special status set out in Ukrainian law, the Kremlin said. It gave no further details of the leaders' discussions on the future of Donbass during a phone call, but agreement on its status would be a step towards convening a four-nation summit on ending five years of conflict in the eastern region. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said last month that Kiev had agreed to grant Donbass special status and let local elections go ahead there.

No more fire in the kitchen: Cities are banning natural gas in homes to save the planet

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 13:21

Thirteen cities and one county in California have passed building codes encouraging — or requiring — all-electric appliances in new homes.

Briton who helped found Syria's White Helmets dies in Turkey

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 13:14

A former British army officer who helped found the White Helmets volunteer organization in Syria was found dead in Istanbul early Monday, Turkish officials and the group said. James Le Mesurier's body was found near his home in the Beyoglu district by worshippers on their way to a mosque, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The Istanbul governor's office said "comprehensive administrative and judicial investigations" had been initiated into Le Mesurier's death.

Bernie Sanders declares it's 'not antisemitic' to criticize Israel

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 13:07

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has his own plan for "how to fight antisemitism."In an op-ed published Monday on the progressive site Jewish Currents, Sanders reflects on something he usually doesn't "spend a lot of time talking about:" his experience as a "proud Jewish American." But it's been a year since "President Donald Trump's own words helped inspire the worst act of antisemitic violence in American history," Sanders said, so he's outlining policies and ideologies he feels are needed to "confront this hatred."Last October, 11 people were killed at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synogogue, with the shooter using Trump's term of "invasion" to justify his attack. That's an obvious example of how "antisemitism is rising in this country," with the FBI reporting "hate crimes against Jews rose by more than a third in 2017," Sanders wrote. And the only way to combat this is to "do exactly the opposite of what Trump is doing and embrace our differences to bring people together," Sanders continued.Sanders called out how false "accusations of antisemitism" are often lobbied at progressives, saying "it is not antisemitic to criticize the policies of the Israeli government," Sanders declared, though some of that criticism can "cross the line." "I will always call out antisemitism when I see it," Sanders said, also adding that he will also "rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council, which Trump withdrew from" and immediately appoint a "special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism." From there, Sanders will continue to call for independent Israeli and Palestinian states and push for "solidarity" among all people working for that same goal.Find all of Sanders' plan at Jewish Currents.More stories from The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weird?

World Bank Cuts Funding for Controversial Uighur Schools in China

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:55

The World Bank announced on Monday that it will cut off funding for vocational schools in the Xinjiang region of China following reports of government mistreatment of the minority Uighur population that resides in the area.The World Bank had issued a $50 million loan for the "Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project," overseen by China's Department of Education in the Xinjiang region. In August, Foreign Policy reported that the schools that received the loan used at least $30,000 to purchase barbed wire, tear gas, and body armor along with other security gear. It was not clear at the time if the purchase of security gear came directly from the bank's funds, but the revelation raised concerns of a funding overlap.On August 23, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent a letter to World Bank President David R. Malpass asking if the bank was funding "crimes against humanity" with its Xinjiang program.The World Bank said on Monday its own internal review of the matter "did not substantiate the allegations" its funds were being used for repressive purposes, but decided to end funding for schools in Xinjiang anyway."In light of the risks associated with the partner schools, which are widely dispersed and difficult to monitor, the scope and footprint of the project is being reduced," the bank said in a statement. "Specifically, the project component that involves the partner schools in Xinjiang is being closed."China is accused of forcing around one million Uighurs into detention camps, where detainees are indoctrinated in Chinese political ideology and are forced to abandon the practice of Islam, the Uighur religion. Reports from escaped prisoners detail mass torture and rape at the camps, as well as forced medical experiments on detainees.In the beginning of November, Radio Free Asia reported the Chinese government is assigning ethnic Han men to live and sleep with Uighur women whose husbands are detained in camps.

Poland Rebukes Netflix After ‘Terrible Mistake’ on Holocaust

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:49

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s prime minister wrote an official letter to Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings requesting that the media streaming company correct facts about the Holocaust in its “The Devil Next Door” documentary series.The European Union member lurched into the international spotlight last year after its nationalist ruling Law & Justice party outlawed the phrase “Polish death camps.” It also criminalized suggesting that the nation was complicit in the mass murder of Jews and other people by the Nazis during their occupation of the country in World War II.A Netflix spokesperson said the company is “aware of the concerns” about the show and is “urgently looking into the matter” after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote to Hastings.Morawiecki called out Netflix for what he called “a terrible mistake” in the five-part series. The show focuses on John Demjanjuk, a retired Ford Motor Co. auto mechanic who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and convicted by a German criminal court for aiding in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust.The series showed a map of death camps that said they were located in Poland, using the country’s current borders.The Polish government has repeatedly pushed for commentary on the death camps to label them as being operated by the Nazis in “German-occupied Poland,” because the eastern European nation had no government of its own on its home soil after the invasion of Adolf Hitler’s forces.“Not only is the map incorrect, but it deceives viewers into believing that Poland was responsible for establishing and maintaining these camps,” Morawiecki wrote, saying he believed it was an “unintentional” mistake. “Today, we still owe this truth to the victims of World War II.”Morawiecki enclosed a 1942 map in the letter, which was backed by a comment from the Auschwitz Memorial saying that “more accuracy” should have been expected from the production.(Updates with details of complaint in sixth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Martewicz in Warsaw at mmartewicz@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

Man charged in Caribbean hotel worker's death skips hearing

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 12:45

A Connecticut man charged in the death of a hotel worker he says attacked his family in Anguilla has declined to return to the British Caribbean territory for the latest pretrial hearing, a spokesman said Monday. Scott Hapgood, of Darien, is worried about his safety in light of death threats, and Anguilla officials have not provided assurances that he would be allowed to return home on bond after the hearing, family spokesman Jamie Diaferia said. Anguilla officials rejected an offer for Hapgood to appear by video link for Monday's hearing, Diaferia said.

Trump 'fighter' Jim Jordan likely won't get much airtime in impeachment hearings

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 11:49

For all the hype surrounding the move by House Republicans to place Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on the Intelligence Committee so he can be part of the public impeachment hearings, the conservative firebrand is not likely to have much of a role to play based on the rules governing the hearings.

Tinder date says accused ‘suffocated her during sex’

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 11:03

A woman who went on a Tinder date with the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane has said she feared for her life during their sexual encounter.

Scott Walker objects to 'holiday tree' and Twitter critics let him have it

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:58

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a holiday tree in the state Capitol last week, and his predecessor did not respond well. Scott Walker and other Republicans in the state used the “holiday tree” to revive the old "War on Christmas" talking points common in right-wing circles.

Aides reportedly anticipated fallout from Biden's son's work in Ukraine back in 2014 but were shut down because Biden was consumed by grief

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:57

When news broke in 2014 that Hunter Biden had joined the board of Burisma, he was struggling with addiction and Beau Biden had brain cancer.

Shootings, blasts prompt Denmark to tighten border controls

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:50

Denmark will temporarily reinstate border controls with Sweden and step up police work along the border after a series of violent crimes and explosions around Copenhagen that Danish authorities say were carried out by perpetrators from Sweden. The checks, which start Tuesday for six months, will take place at the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo, and at ferry ports.

Joe Biden aides reportedly worry their meetings are too congratulatory

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 10:22

Former Vice President Joe Biden seems to feel his 2020 run may be faltering. His campaign aides still reportedly don't want to tell him that.Biden's presidential campaign has all the trappings of a winning run: An experienced, beloved politician with a tragically heroic backstory, Edward-Isaac Dovere describes in The Atlantic. But polls and fundraising totals are showing Biden isn't thriving the way he'd hope, and his staffers are reportedly struggling to claim otherwise."Biden's campaign lives in a dual reality," in which he's simultaneously winning most polls and yet still "being written off as finished," Dovere writes. Biden aides chalk a lot of that rhetoric up to the media, making "vaguely Trumpian" complaints in which they claim reporters "cover only bad news about Biden and fail to understand what actual heartland voters want," Dovere continues.Yet behind the scenes, Biden is "aware that there are issues with the campaign, especially as it relates to money," one staffer said. His Iowa organization is smaller than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and even South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's, and fundraising shortfalls have turned into cutbacks on TV and online ads. That fact has led some aides to "feel like they're just spinning one another in staff meetings about how well things are going," some tell The Atlantic -- and even Biden himself is reportedly "realizing with dread that the race might be slipping away."When asked about his supposedly falling campaign, Biden unequivocally defended his fundraising and organizing. Read more at The Atlantic.More stories from The coming death of just about every rock legend The president has already confessed to his crimes Why are 2020 Democrats so weird?

Gabbard Lawyers Demand Clinton Retract ‘Defamatory’ Russian Asset Comments

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 09:48

Attorneys for Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) on Monday demanded Hillary Clinton retract "defamatory" comments she made linking Gabbard to Russia."Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately," the 2020 presidential candidate's lawyer wrote in in a letter obtained by The Hill, adding that Clinton should "immediately" renounce her remark.“I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said last month on the Campaign HQ podcast without referring to Gabbard directly. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill afterwards appeared to confirm she was referring to Gabbard, responding, "If the nesting doll fits," when asked whether Clinton had Gabbard in mind. After backlash, Merrill claimed that Clinton was referring to Republicans, not Russians, with the “grooming” comment."It appears you may now be claiming that this statement is about Republicans (not Russians) grooming Gabbard," wrote Gabbard's lawyer. "But this makes no sense in light of what you actually said. After you made the statement linking Congresswoman Gabbard to the Russians, you (through your spokesman) doubled down on it with the Russian nesting dolls remark."Gabbard scorched the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee in her response to the remarks, calling Clinton on Twitter, "the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that sickened the Democratic Party for so long.""From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you," Gabbard continued before challenging Clinton to "join the race directly."Gabbard has received bipartisan criticism over her anti-interventionist foreign policy, especially her view that Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad is "not an enemy" of the U.S.

At an Iowa rally, progressive voters already talk about an Ocasio-Cortez presidency

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 09:18

As she took the stage in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez noted it was her “first time” in the key presidential primary state. But many of the thousands of people who came to see her campaign for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were confident it wouldn’t be her last visit. 

Israeli troops kill West Bank Palestinian, U.N. demands probe

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 09:06

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian during confrontations with stone-throwing protesters in the occupied West Bank on Monday, Palestinian health officials said, drawing a U.N. demand for the incident to be investigated. It was not immediately clear if he had taken part in the protests marking the 15th anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops were sent into Al-Aroub in pursuit of local Palestinians who had thrown rocks at cars on a nearby road, and opened fire when confronted by "a large number of rioters", some of them with petrol bombs.