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Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks

Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the kingdom will not hesitate to confront threats to its security and joined the U.S. in accusing its bitter rival Iran of being behind the attacks on two vessels traveling near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital trade route for Arabian energy exports in Asia. The U.S. has blamed Iran for the suspected attacks on two oil tankers, denouncing what it called a campaign of "escalating tensions". The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to target the tankers, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese-operated tanker Kokuka Courageous.


Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks

Saudi crown prince accuses rival Iran of tanker attacks Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in remarks published Sunday that the kingdom will not hesitate to confront threats to its security and joined the U.S. in accusing its bitter rival Iran of being behind the attacks on two vessels traveling near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital trade route for Arabian energy exports in Asia. The U.S. has blamed Iran for the suspected attacks on two oil tankers, denouncing what it called a campaign of "escalating tensions". The U.S. alleges Iran used limpet mines to target the tankers, pointing to black-and-white footage it captured that American officials describe as Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese-operated tanker Kokuka Courageous.


Israel PM's wife convicted of misusing public funds

Israel PM's wife convicted of misusing public funds An Israeli court Sunday convicted the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of fraudulently using state funds for meals, under a plea bargain which saw her admit to lesser charges. While the ruling cut short a high-profile trial, the Netanyahu family's legal woes are far from over: the veteran premier himself faces possible indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the coming months. In a deal approved by judge Avital Chen at Jerusalem magistrates' court, Sara Netanyahu was found guilty of exploiting the mistake of another person.


China's FedEx probe should not be seen as retaliation - Xinhua

China's FedEx probe should not be seen as retaliation - Xinhua China's investigation into FedEx Corp over misdirected mail should not be regarded as retaliation against the U.S. company, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday, amid worsening relations between China and the United States. The inquiry was aimed at sending a message that any economic entity in China should abide by the country's laws and regulations, it said in a commentary. "China is willing to share the opportunities in its courier market with foreign investors.


China's FedEx probe should not be seen as retaliation - Xinhua

China's FedEx probe should not be seen as retaliation - Xinhua China's investigation into FedEx Corp over misdirected mail should not be regarded as retaliation against the U.S. company, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday, amid worsening relations between China and the United States. The inquiry was aimed at sending a message that any economic entity in China should abide by the country's laws and regulations, it said in a commentary. "China is willing to share the opportunities in its courier market with foreign investors.


U.S. Navy official sees more orders for Boeing P-8A in coming months

U.S. Navy official sees more orders for Boeing P-8A in coming months The U.S. Navy expects additional U.S. and international orders for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in coming months, which should extend production by two years to late 2025, a senior U.S. Navy official told Reuters. The P-8, based on Boeing's 737-800 airframe, conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction, and also carries electronic support measures, torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons. It is already operated by the U.S. Navy, Australia and India, and has been ordered by Britain, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.


U.S. Navy official sees more orders for Boeing P-8A in coming months

U.S. Navy official sees more orders for Boeing P-8A in coming months The U.S. Navy expects additional U.S. and international orders for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in coming months, which should extend production by two years to late 2025, a senior U.S. Navy official told Reuters. The P-8, based on Boeing's 737-800 airframe, conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and shipping interdiction, and also carries electronic support measures, torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other weapons. It is already operated by the U.S. Navy, Australia and India, and has been ordered by Britain, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea.


Thousands of protesters call for Carrie Lam to step down after suspension of Hong Kong extradition law

Thousands of protesters call for Carrie Lam to step down after suspension of Hong Kong extradition law Hundreds of thousands of people clogged the streets in central Hong Kong on Sunday dressed in black to demand the city's leader step down, a day after she suspended an extradition bill in a dramatic retreat following the most violent protests in decades. The massive rally saw some protesters carry white carnation flowers, while others held banners saying, “Do not shoot, we are HongKonger,” as they sought to avoid a repeat of the violence that rocked the financial centre on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. The protesters, including young families as well as the elderly, formed a sea of black along roads, walkways and train stations across Hong Kong's financial centre to vent their frustration and anger at Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam. Loud cheers rang out when activists called through loud hailers for Lam to step down and “step down” echoed through the streets. Protesters also chanted “pursue the black police”, angry at what they say was an overreaction by police that left more than 70 people injured in Wednesday's violent protest. Beijing-backed Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed the extradition bill that could send people to mainland China to face trial, expressing “deep sorrow and regret” although she stopped short of apologising. The about-face was one of the most significant political turnarounds by the Hong Kong government since Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, and it threw into question Lam's ability to continue to lead the city. “Carrie Lam refused to apologise yesterday. It's unacceptable,” said 16-year-old Catherine Cheung. “She's a terrible leader who is full of lies ... I think she's only delaying the bill now to trick us into calming down.” Her classmate, Cindy Yip, said: “That's why we're still demanding the bill be scrapped. We don't trust her anymore. She has to quit.” Carrie Lam reversed herself on Saturday after previously saying that she would press ahead with the bill Credit: Getty Images Critics say the planned extradition law could threaten Hong Kong's rule of law and its international reputation as an Asian financial hub. Some Hong Kong tycoons have already started moving personal wealth offshore. Activist investor David Webb, in a newsletter on Sunday, said if Lam was a stock he would recommend shorting her with a target price of zero. “Call it the Carrie trade. She has irrevocably lost the public's trust,” Webb said. “Her minders in Beijing, while expressing public support for now, have clearly lined her up for the chop by distancing themselves from the proposal in recent days.” China's Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said in a commentary on Sunday that central authorities expressed “firm support” for Lam. The protests have plunged Hong Kong into political crisis, just as months of pro-democracy “Occupy” demonstrations did in 2014, heaping pressure on Lam's administration and her official backers in Beijing. The turmoil comes at a difficult time for Beijing, which is already grappling with an escalating U.S. trade war, a faltering economy and tensions in the South China Sea. Chinese censors have been working hard to erase or block news of the Hong Kong protests, wary that any large public rallies could inspire protests in the mainland. The violent clashes near the heart of the financial centre on Wednesday grabbed global headlines and forced some shops and banks, including HSBC, to shut branches. Activists on Sunday pasted hundreds of fliers and notes to a wall near the protest site, with some reading, “Stop shooting innocent people”, and “Use your brain, violence is insane”. At the start of the march, protesters paused for a minute's silence to remember an activist who died from a fall on Saturday near the site of the recent demonstrations. In the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, about 5,000 people rallied outside the parliament building in Taipei with banners saying, “No China extradition law” and “Taiwan supports Hong Kong.” Some of the protesters in Hong Kong also waved Taiwan flags. The city's independent legal system was guaranteed under laws governing Hong Kong's return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago, and is seen by business and diplomatic communities as its strong remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing. Hong Kong has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula since its return to Beijing, allowing freedoms not enjoyed on mainland China but not a fully democratic vote. Many accuse Beijing of extensive meddling since then, including obstruction of democratic reforms, interference with elections and of being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialised in works critical of Chinese leaders. Some opponents of the extradition bill said a suspension was not enough and want it scrapped and Lam to go. “If she refuses to scrap this controversial bill altogether, it would mean we wouldn't retreat. She stays on, we stay on,” said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo. Asked repeatedly on Saturday if she would step down, Lam avoided answering directly and appealed to the public to “give us another chance.” Lam said she had been a civil servant for decades and still had work she wanted to do. Lam's reversal was hailed by business groups including the American Chamber of Commerce, which had spoken out strongly against the bill, and overseas governments. The UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter: “Well done HK Government for heeding concerns of the brave citizens who have stood up for their human rights”. China's top newspaper on Sunday condemned “anti-China lackeys” of foreign forces in Hong Kong. “Certain people in Hong Kong have been relying on foreigners or relying on young people to build themselves up, serving as the pawns and lackeys of foreign anti-China forces,” the ruling People's Daily said in a commentary. “This is resolutely opposed by the whole of the Chinese people including the vast majority of Hong Kong compatriots.” The Hong Kong protests have been the largest in the city since crowds came out against the bloody suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations centred around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Lam had said the extradition law was necessary to prevent criminals using Hong Kong as a place to hide and that human rights would be protected by the city's court which would decide on the extraditions on a case-by-case basis. Critics, including leading lawyers and rights groups, note China's justice system is controlled by the Communist Party, and say it is marked by torture and forced confessions, arbitrary detention and poor access to lawyers.


Huge Hong Kong rally kicks off as public anger boils

Huge Hong Kong rally kicks off as public anger boils Tens of thousands of people rallied in central Hong Kong on Sunday as public anger seethed following unprecedented clashes between protesters and police over an extradition law, despite a climbdown by the city's embattled leader. Protesters chanted "Scrap the evil law!" as they marched through the streets to pile more pressure on chief executive Carrie Lam, who paused work on the hugely divisive bill Saturday after days of mounting pressure, saying she had misjudged the public mood. Crowds of black-clad protesters were marching from a park on the main island to the city's parliament -- a repeat of a massive demonstration a week earlier that organisers said more than a million people attended.


The Latest: Yemen's Houthi rebels launch Saudi drone attack

The Latest: Yemen's Houthi rebels launch Saudi drone attack Yemen's Houthi rebels say they've launched a new drone attack against Saudi Arabia. The Houthi's Al-Masirah satellite news channel announced the attack late Saturday night. Yahia al-Sarie, a Houthi spokesman, said their drones targeted airports in Jizan and Abha in Saudi Arabia.


Pope Francis’ Arch Nemesis Comes Out of Hiding to Slam Him on Predator Priests

Pope Francis’ Arch Nemesis Comes Out of Hiding to Slam Him on Predator Priests Franco Origlia/GettyROME—There are few scandals in the sordid history of the American Catholic church more painful than the saga of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a high-ranking prince of the church who fell from grace amid a slew of lies and cover-ups. McCarrick was forced to resign and later defrocked after credible allegations that he sexually abused a boy from the age of 11 until the young man was 29, starting long before the Boston Spotlight probe and Pennsylvania Grand Jury report came to define priests behaving badly.It was well known in certain Catholic circles that the cardinal liked to entertain six or more seminarians in his five-bedroom New Jersey beach house with the assumption that the odd man out would share his bed. Unlike in Boston and Pennsylvania, where the local dioceses were easy to blame for bad management, McCarrick was a man of the popes, which makes him an easy target for those who oppose the direction of the church. Both John Paul II and Francis relied on him as a chief fundraiser and were, it seems, willing to look beyond the rumors. McCarrick’s fall from grace shook the very foundations of the Roman Curia. While McCarrick’s sins and crimes are by now established, there is still mystery surrounding what his bosses—both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis– knew and, perhaps more importantly, when they knew it. But there is even more mystery why those who are so ardently against Francis see him as their poster priest of bad behavior.Enter Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a traditional conservative Italian cleric supported by American Cardinal Raymond Burke and Francis-foe Steve Bannon—both of whom have been vocal critics of Francis’ policies on everything from immigration to gay Catholics and who have embraced the McCarrick fiasco as a way to pin all the church's problems on this pope.Bannon, whose own dreams to open an alt-right Catholic institution run by the Burke-sponsored Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Italy recently were thwarted, told The Daily Beast that Viganò was heroic and that Francis was the enemy. “Francis is a big problem for the church and his liberals will ultimately destroy it,” Bannon said. “His open border policy on immigration won’t help, either.”It is little wonder that Matteo Salvini, the hard-line far-right Bannon protégé is also a Pope Francis hater, even bragging last week that he has never asked for an audience with the pontiff. Viganò was the apostolic nuncio, or ambassador, to the United States from 2011 to 2016. He was a harsh foe of Francis long before he was elected as pope in 2013 and one of the first to speak out when he was coronated. He was the one who set up the ill-conceived handshake with same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis on Francis’s first visit to America. He was also the one who penned a lengthy testimonial last July in which he claimed that Francis knew all about McCarrick’s illegal behavior but covered it up. And for that, suggested Viganò, the pope ought to do the church a favor and resign. A month later, Viganò had gone into self-imposed exile.The Plot to Bring Down Pope FrancisThis week, he surfaced again, this time on the pages of The Washington Post whose reporters interviewed him from his still-undisclosed location through a series of emails. The fruit of that labor is an 8,000-word tome that doubles down on the allegations against the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. “The signs I see are truly ominous,” Viganò wrote. “Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers.”Viganò calls the pope’s February summit on abuse a farce, blaming the Vatican’s gay mafia for the real crimes of clerical sex abuse. “An especially serious problem is that the summit focused exclusively on the abuse of minors,” he wrote, acknowledging that yes, those crimes are truly horrific. “Indeed, if the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood were honestly acknowledged and properly addressed, the problem of sexual abuse would be far less severe.”McCarrick, he has long asserted, should have been made an example of years ago as an abuser who indiscriminately abused both young boys and adults. Viganò believes that Francis knew that and chose to elevate the American cardinal, who was a skilled diplomat who helped him broker a deal with China over its underground church. “McCarrick’s degradation from office was, as far as it goes, a just punishment, but there is no legitimate reason why it was not exacted more than five years earlier, and after a proper trial with a judicial procedure,” Viganò wrote in the Post. “Those with authority to act [i.e. Pope Francis] knew everything they needed to know by June of 2013.” Viganò’s return comes at a time when battle lines have never been so clear between the more liberal faction of the church that supports Francis and the traditional conservatives who support the likes of Burke and Viganò. Even the timing of the release of a harsh Vatican document against what it calls gender theory—“nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants”—is curious. A Vatican insider confided to The Daily Beast that the timing, during the height of Pride month, was meant to push the pope into a corner, either in defending the document or defending transgender people. In the end, he did neither. That Viganò finally gave permission to The Washington Post to publish its scoop after weeks of negotiations (Vigano's letters are dated May 2), is another example of the systematic criticism meant to embarrass the pontiff. “We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church: The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds!” Viganò claims. “But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl, who also “knew nothing” and had “a lapse of memory.”Wuerl, another American cardinal from Francis’ inner circle who, like McCarrick, brought millions in donations from wealthy American Catholics to Rome, is the disgraced head of the powerful Washington, D.C., diocese. Francis was forced under pressure to accept his resignation last October after Viganò claimed he knew and covered up for McCarrick with the help of both Francis and John Paul II of McCarrick’s crimes proved too credible to ignore. To those against the pope, Wuerl and McCarrick  are emblematic in what is fast becoming a troubling legacy for the popular pope many thought could do no wrong after he was elected. For those who support this pope, they are just ammunition used against the most liberal pope in modern history. Either Vigano is the pawn or the errant clerics are in what is fast becoming a schism that may soon be hard to close.“Pope Francis needs to reconcile himself with God, and the entire Church, since he covered up for McCarrick, refuses to admit it, and is now covering up for several other people,” charges Viganò. “I pray for his conversion every day. Nothing would make me happier than for Pope Francis to acknowledge and end the cover-ups, and to confirm his brothers in the faith.”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.


Pope Francis’ Arch Nemesis Comes Out of Hiding to Slam Him on Predator Priests

Pope Francis’ Arch Nemesis Comes Out of Hiding to Slam Him on Predator Priests Franco Origlia/GettyROME—There are few scandals in the sordid history of the American Catholic church more painful than the saga of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a high-ranking prince of the church who fell from grace amid a slew of lies and cover-ups. McCarrick was forced to resign and later defrocked after credible allegations that he sexually abused a boy from the age of 11 until the young man was 29, starting long before the Boston Spotlight probe and Pennsylvania Grand Jury report came to define priests behaving badly.It was well known in certain Catholic circles that the cardinal liked to entertain six or more seminarians in his five-bedroom New Jersey beach house with the assumption that the odd man out would share his bed. Unlike in Boston and Pennsylvania, where the local dioceses were easy to blame for bad management, McCarrick was a man of the popes, which makes him an easy target for those who oppose the direction of the church. Both John Paul II and Francis relied on him as a chief fundraiser and were, it seems, willing to look beyond the rumors. McCarrick’s fall from grace shook the very foundations of the Roman Curia. While McCarrick’s sins and crimes are by now established, there is still mystery surrounding what his bosses—both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis– knew and, perhaps more importantly, when they knew it. But there is even more mystery why those who are so ardently against Francis see him as their poster priest of bad behavior.Enter Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a traditional conservative Italian cleric supported by American Cardinal Raymond Burke and Francis-foe Steve Bannon—both of whom have been vocal critics of Francis’ policies on everything from immigration to gay Catholics and who have embraced the McCarrick fiasco as a way to pin all the church's problems on this pope.Bannon, whose own dreams to open an alt-right Catholic institution run by the Burke-sponsored Dignitatis Humanae Institute in Italy recently were thwarted, told The Daily Beast that Viganò was heroic and that Francis was the enemy. “Francis is a big problem for the church and his liberals will ultimately destroy it,” Bannon said. “His open border policy on immigration won’t help, either.”It is little wonder that Matteo Salvini, the hard-line far-right Bannon protégé is also a Pope Francis hater, even bragging last week that he has never asked for an audience with the pontiff. Viganò was the apostolic nuncio, or ambassador, to the United States from 2011 to 2016. He was a harsh foe of Francis long before he was elected as pope in 2013 and one of the first to speak out when he was coronated. He was the one who set up the ill-conceived handshake with same-sex marriage opponent Kim Davis on Francis’s first visit to America. He was also the one who penned a lengthy testimonial last July in which he claimed that Francis knew all about McCarrick’s illegal behavior but covered it up. And for that, suggested Viganò, the pope ought to do the church a favor and resign. A month later, Viganò had gone into self-imposed exile.The Plot to Bring Down Pope FrancisThis week, he surfaced again, this time on the pages of The Washington Post whose reporters interviewed him from his still-undisclosed location through a series of emails. The fruit of that labor is an 8,000-word tome that doubles down on the allegations against the leader of the Roman Catholic Church. “The signs I see are truly ominous,” Viganò wrote. “Not only is Pope Francis doing close to nothing to punish those who have committed abuse, he is doing absolutely nothing to expose and bring to justice those who have, for decades, facilitated and covered up the abusers.”Viganò calls the pope’s February summit on abuse a farce, blaming the Vatican’s gay mafia for the real crimes of clerical sex abuse. “An especially serious problem is that the summit focused exclusively on the abuse of minors,” he wrote, acknowledging that yes, those crimes are truly horrific. “Indeed, if the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood were honestly acknowledged and properly addressed, the problem of sexual abuse would be far less severe.”McCarrick, he has long asserted, should have been made an example of years ago as an abuser who indiscriminately abused both young boys and adults. Viganò believes that Francis knew that and chose to elevate the American cardinal, who was a skilled diplomat who helped him broker a deal with China over its underground church. “McCarrick’s degradation from office was, as far as it goes, a just punishment, but there is no legitimate reason why it was not exacted more than five years earlier, and after a proper trial with a judicial procedure,” Viganò wrote in the Post. “Those with authority to act [i.e. Pope Francis] knew everything they needed to know by June of 2013.” Viganò’s return comes at a time when battle lines have never been so clear between the more liberal faction of the church that supports Francis and the traditional conservatives who support the likes of Burke and Viganò. Even the timing of the release of a harsh Vatican document against what it calls gender theory—“nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants”—is curious. A Vatican insider confided to The Daily Beast that the timing, during the height of Pride month, was meant to push the pope into a corner, either in defending the document or defending transgender people. In the end, he did neither. That Viganò finally gave permission to The Washington Post to publish its scoop after weeks of negotiations (Vigano's letters are dated May 2), is another example of the systematic criticism meant to embarrass the pontiff. “We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church: The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds!” Viganò claims. “But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal [Donald] Wuerl, who also “knew nothing” and had “a lapse of memory.”Wuerl, another American cardinal from Francis’ inner circle who, like McCarrick, brought millions in donations from wealthy American Catholics to Rome, is the disgraced head of the powerful Washington, D.C., diocese. Francis was forced under pressure to accept his resignation last October after Viganò claimed he knew and covered up for McCarrick with the help of both Francis and John Paul II of McCarrick’s crimes proved too credible to ignore. To those against the pope, Wuerl and McCarrick  are emblematic in what is fast becoming a troubling legacy for the popular pope many thought could do no wrong after he was elected. For those who support this pope, they are just ammunition used against the most liberal pope in modern history. Either Vigano is the pawn or the errant clerics are in what is fast becoming a schism that may soon be hard to close.“Pope Francis needs to reconcile himself with God, and the entire Church, since he covered up for McCarrick, refuses to admit it, and is now covering up for several other people,” charges Viganò. “I pray for his conversion every day. Nothing would make me happier than for Pope Francis to acknowledge and end the cover-ups, and to confirm his brothers in the faith.”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.


A nationwide Target register outage is now over and closed stores have reopened

A nationwide Target register outage is now over and closed stores have reopened Target registers are now working after a nationwide outage Saturday caused long checkout lines and closed some stores.


A nationwide Target register outage is now over and closed stores have reopened

A nationwide Target register outage is now over and closed stores have reopened Target registers are now working after a nationwide outage Saturday caused long checkout lines and closed some stores.


United Airlines plane skids off runway after tyres burst on landing at New York airport

United Airlines plane skids off runway after tyres burst on landing at New York airport A United Airlines plane skidded off the runway after its tyres burst as it landed at an airport near New York.Some passengers suffered minor injuries when Flight 627 slid off the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Boeing 757-200’s left main landing gear was “stuck in a grassy area” following the incident at 1pm.“The aircraft will be towed off the airfield after passengers leave the aircraft via stairs,” it added in a statement.No injuries were reported to the FAA but United said some passengers had refused treatment for minor injuries. The airline did not say how many people were hurt.The pilot told those on board the plane had blown two tyres as it landed, according to passenger Caroline Craddock. She said at least one person hit their head and another suffered an elbow injury.Arrivals and departures were suspended at Newark following the incident. Flights resumed after passengers were “safely deplaned”, the airport tweeted.The FAA said it was sending officials to the airport to begin an investigation.


As US-Iran tensions increase, Tulsi Gabbard calls her 2020 candidacy a ‘threat to the foreign policy lies sold to the American people’

As US-Iran tensions increase, Tulsi Gabbard calls her 2020 candidacy a ‘threat to the foreign policy lies sold to the American people’ This past week, two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were crippled with explosions that have set the region on edge and sparked concerns that the United States and Iran could soon engage in a bloody war with massive international ramifications.With little information made public, the Trump administration has begun making the case for a potential conflict, blaming Iran and pointing to a grainy video as proof of its culpability. In response, Iran has pushed back, saying the American accusation that it is involved in the gulf incidents is “not only not funny ... but alarming and worrisome”. And, throughout it all, international leaders have been mobilised to try and quell the rising drumbeat of war.Meanwhile, worlds away from the Middle East, congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been framing her presidential candidacy on avoiding this type of sabre rattling. While some of her better-known Democratic rivals have focused on healthcare or climate change as the number one concern, the army veteran has instead cited nuclear war and US regime-change policy as the number one threat to the the country she hopes to lead.That position has pit the Hawaiian against a foreign policy orthodoxy that has reigned supreme in Washington for decades – and is not making her friends among an elite that benefits from an annual defence budget that tops over $700bn (£560bn).“I think you need to look at the foreign policy establishment in Washington who I am directly addressing, and speaking the truth about the kinds of policies they’ve been advocating for decades, influencing administrations from both parties,” Gabbard told The Independent in an interview.“So, by speaking the truth about these issues, I think they see it as a direct threat to the line that’s been sold to the American people for far too long.”If Gabbard has a chance at taking on that foreign policy establishment in any meaningful way, she has her work cut out.The congresswoman, who was once hailed as a rising star in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party – the same one who some viewed as perhaps the face of future Democratic politics just years ago when she became one of the first members of congress to endorse Vermont senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run – has seen something of a fall from grace in the eyes of many political observers.While she has qualified for the upcoming Democratic debates in Miami, she trails far behind the frontrunners in the race with less than a half a per cent of support in aggregates of national polls.And, since joining the race early this year, Gabbard has faced down a barrage of negative press on a variety of fronts, especially related to LGBT+ rights and foreign policy.Almost immediately after announcing her candidacy in January, Gabbard’s campaign was hit with stories attacking her for her past positions opposing gay marriage and in apparent support of “conversion therapy” – positions that run far afoul of mainstream Democratic politics du jour, and that yielded an expression of regret from the candidate. She also noted that she has pushed for LGBT+ protections while in congress.But some of her biggest obstacles have come with regard to foreign policy, and challenging the “line” on war she says has been sold to the American people by their government.For instance, she has been attacked for expressing scepticism about the American government’s claims that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons in April 2017, and has refused to label that world leader a war criminal. When it comes to Russia, she has been labelled a puppet of Vladimir Putin, with some pointing to her support from pro-Russian individuals as proof (a claim she has dismissed as baseless). And she has courted the support of Hindu nationalist groups that support India’s ruling class during her political career, sparking more media furore that has forced her to note that she doesn’t support every policy of theirs.In spite of those criticisms, she has stayed the course and maintained her position calling for an end to American “regime-change wars”.“I served in a war in Iraq – a war that was launched based on lies, and a war that was launched without evidence. And so the American people were duped,” Gabbard said earlier this year during a CNN town hall meeting, explaining why she hasn’t jumped to label Assad a war criminal. “So as a soldier, as an American, as a member of congress, it is my duty and my responsibility to exercise scepticism any time anyone tries to send our service members into harm’s way or use our military to go in and start a new war.”During a recent visit to New York City, Gabbard made the case for her candidacy to a crowded hall of supporters who had lined up early, forming a queue that stretched down a Manhattan block and around the corner.Many of those queueing said they are drawn to Gabbard for her foreign policy message, and said the other issues don’t concern them much. One supporter at the front of the line said she isn’t deterred by some of her previous controversial positions on things like gay marriage, and thinks her evolution shows she’s human.“I want a president whose life experience has shaped their beliefs,” said the supporter, 56-year-old Eileen Tepper of the Bronx.Once the doors opened, and before the marquee speaker commanded their attention, supporters found respite from the hot sun outside as campaign videos were projected onto white walls.In the clips, Gabbard described the myriad other policies fuelling her campaign. She promised healthcare reforms to make sure that every American is insured. She described water as a fundamental, if not elemental human right.And then, the videos focused on the meat of Gabbard’s pitch: the Trump administration’s positioning on Iran. She warned of outright war, and of the “new cold war”. The mere mention of national security adviser John Bolton – the George Bush-era war hawk who helped make the case for an Iraq war predicated on weapons of mass destruction that were never found – elicited raucous boos.Gabbard later emphasised to those supporters that she hopes to stop American regime-change wars because she had already served in one, and that it is US taxpayer money that pays for those “wasteful, counterproductive wars”.She described a dire international situation, in which she said military conflicts are bringing the world closer and closer to nuclear war. She said that the US needs a “wake-up call that drives us to action”.Gabbard then described the events of 13 January 2018, when millions of phones buzzed in Hawaii with the following message: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”The message sent the state into a panic, with residents scrambling for shelter. Students sprinted across college campuses looking for a place to hide from the incoming missile. A father lowered his daughter into a storm drain hoping that could save her.The alert was a false alarm, but Gabbard said it illustrated how fragile American safety can be. She said it also showed that American foreign policy leaders are working without regard to what would happen if foreign provocation – say, between the US and Iran over oil tankers, leading to the military involvement of nuclear powers like Russia – led to the bomb being dropped.“The situation we’re in exists because our leaders have failed us in the most offensive and dangerous way,” Gabbard said, noting the alert system exists, but not fallout shelters.And, she described doom: “There is no shelter to be found that would protect us not only from the immediate blast of a nuclear bomb, but the nuclear fallout that comes after that, and the nuclear winter that occurs as a result that kills all living things.”


Off-duty LAPD officer opened fire in deadly Corona Costco shooting, police say

Off-duty LAPD officer opened fire in deadly Corona Costco shooting, police say An off-duty Los Angeles police officer fired his gun during a deadly shooting at a Costco Wholesale store in Corona Friday night, police said Saturday.


New York-area airport briefly closed after plane lands on flat tires

New York-area airport briefly closed after plane lands on flat tires The busy Newark airport serving the New York area was briefly closed Saturday after a United Airlines flight experienced multiple flat tires upon landing and skidded partly off the runway, the airline and Federal Aviation Administration said. No major injuries were reported in the incident at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York. The FAA said United Airlines flight 627, arriving from Denver, landed at 1 pm (1700 GMT) before skidding off the left side of a runway, with its main landing gear getting stuck in a grassy area.


US seeks to 'build international consensus' blaming Iran for tanker attacks

US seeks to 'build international consensus' blaming Iran for tanker attacks Defense chief says attack was not just ‘US situation’, as UK joins Washington in accusing Iran and Saudi Arabia calls for ‘rapid’ response An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman this week. Photograph: Handout/Reuters The US is hoping to “build international consensus” around what officials claim is Iran’s responsibility for damaging two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, as UK officials joined the US in formally accusing Iran of carrying out the attacks. The efforts come after the US released grainy surveillance footage of an alleged Iran Revolutionary Guard patrol boat, with men who appear to remove a magnetic limpet mine from the hull of one of the ships. The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, said the US was looking to “build international consensus to this international problem” on Friday. The attack was not only a “US situation”, Shanahan said. He listed several other countries that operated vessels in the waters. “When you look at the situation, a Norwegian ship, Japanese ship, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE,” Shanahan said, referring to attacks a few weeks prior. Oil prices have risen 3.4% following the attack, which came near the Strait of Hormuz, a critical shipping channel for international oil supplies. Insurance for ship operators in the area jumped 10%. Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, also uses the Strait. On Saturday, the Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said “there must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat” to secure Gulf energy supplies and consumer confidence, according to a tweet from the ministry. The message was echoed by the Japanese industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, who said ministers agreed on the need to “work together to deal with the recent incidents from [an] energy security point of view”. The US military released a video on Thursday, saying it showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were behind the explosions that damaged the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. The UK officially joined the US in accusing Iran of perpetrating the attack on Friday night, in a statement from the Foreign Office saying: “It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible.” The statement continued: “There is recent precedent for attacks by Iran against oil tankers. The Emirati-led investigation of the 12 May attack on four oil tankers near the port of Fujairah [in the UAE] concluded that it was conducted by a sophisticated state actor. We are confident that Iran bears responsibility for that attack.” Although Donald Trump claimed the attacks had “Iran written all over” them, other heads of state have been more cautious in assigning blame. The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, called for an independent investigation. “It’s very important to know the truth and it’s very important that responsibilities are clarified. Obviously that can only be done if there is an independent entity that verifies those facts,” Guterres told reporters on Friday. The German foreign minister was also cautious, saying the video released by US Central Command was “not enough” to make an assessment, according to ABC News. Several world powers have meanwhile called for diplomatic efforts to lower tensions, including China and Russia, which have closer ties to Iran. The European Union called for “maximum restraint”. Iran, meanwhile, has denied responsibility for the attack. Iran’s ambassador to the UK, Hamid Baeidinejad, said the claims were like “false fabrications during world war I, the Vietnam war and Iraq war that were designed to instigate military interventions and armed conflicts in different parts of world”. The attack came as the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited Iran in an attempt to mediate new talks on a nuclear agreement. One of the ships attacked was a Japanese vessel called the Kokuka Courageous. Iran is holding the mostly Russian crew of one of the ships, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair. The Associated Press contributed to this report


Buttigieg: Justice Dept. should decide any Trump charges post-2020

Buttigieg: Justice Dept. should decide any Trump charges post-2020 Buttigieg did not want the White House dictating the terms of a DOJ investigation.


Buttigieg: Justice Dept. should decide any Trump charges post-2020

Buttigieg: Justice Dept. should decide any Trump charges post-2020 Buttigieg did not want the White House dictating the terms of a DOJ investigation.


Cycling-Froome ‘fully focused’ on return after horror crash

Cycling-Froome ‘fully focused’ on return after horror crash Chris Froome says he is "fully focused" on getting back to his best after speaking for the first time since a crash at the Criterium du Dauphine that ruled him out of the Tour de France. The four-times Tour champion sustained multiple fractures including broken femur, elbow and rib bones when he crashed at high speed while checking the course ahead of the individual time trial on Wednesday. "I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race," Froome said in a statement https://www.teamineos.com/article/froomes-thanks-for-overwhelming-support.


The Latest: Activists say shelving bill is not enough

The Latest: Activists say shelving bill is not enough China's Foreign Ministry spokesman has expressed support for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam after she shelved an unpopular bill backed by Beijing. As Hong Kong's highest-ranking local official, Lam suspended the legislation indefinitely after massive protests. Geng said Hong Kong residents still enjoyed "rights and freedoms" guaranteed when Beijing took control of the former British colony in 1997.


Saudi Arabia urges 'decisive' response to threats against energy supplies

Saudi Arabia urges 'decisive' response to threats against energy supplies Saudi Arabia's energy minister on Saturday called for a "swift and decisive" response to threats against energy supplies following twin attacks on tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel. "There must be a swift and decisive response to the threat against energy supplies... created by the recent terrorist acts in the Arabian Gulf," Khalid al-Falih was quoted as saying on the ministry's Twitter page. US President Donald Trump said the twin attack, which also targeted a tanker owned by Oslo-listed company Frontline, had Iran "written all over it".


Planned Parenthood builds Ala. clinic despite abortion law

Planned Parenthood builds Ala. clinic despite abortion law Planned Parenthood is building the stage for another possible fight over abortion in Alabama: a large women's clinic that's under construction despite the state's passage of a near-total ban on abortions. Located beside an interstate highway in downtown Birmingham, the 10,000-square-foot structure is now nothing but a steel frame and roof. Abortion critics vow to oppose the opening, but a spokeswoman for the women's health organization said neither the new law nor opponents were a factor in the project.


Planned Parenthood builds Ala. clinic despite abortion law

Planned Parenthood builds Ala. clinic despite abortion law Planned Parenthood is building the stage for another possible fight over abortion in Alabama: a large women's clinic that's under construction despite the state's passage of a near-total ban on abortions. Located beside an interstate highway in downtown Birmingham, the 10,000-square-foot structure is now nothing but a steel frame and roof. Abortion critics vow to oppose the opening, but a spokeswoman for the women's health organization said neither the new law nor opponents were a factor in the project.


For U.S.-bound Central American migrants, better to stay in Mexico than be sent home

For U.S.-bound Central American migrants, better to stay in Mexico than be sent home Many of the Central Americans who lined up for papers at an asylum office in southern Mexico said they could abandon plans to reach the United States and remain in Mexico if U.S. President Donald Trump clamps down further on migration. Mexico is ramping up security on its southern border with Guatemala as part of an agreement with Washington after Trump threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican goods if the government did not stem the flow of migrants reaching the United States. Under pressure from Washington, Mexico also agreed to expand a program started in January that forces migrants to wait in Mexico for the outcome of their U.S. asylum claims.


Donald Trump says he will not fire Kellyanne Conway over ‘repeated violations’ of ethics laws

Donald Trump says he will not fire Kellyanne Conway over ‘repeated violations’ of ethics laws Donald Trump has said he will not fire White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, despite a US government oversight agency saying she should be dismissed for engaging in banned political activity while in office.Ms Conway has violated the Hatch Act “on numerous occasions”, according to the independent Office of Special Counsel (OSC).The act bans federal employees from engaging in political activity in the course of their work. The OSC said failure to punish her violations will send a message to other federal employees they need not abide by the act’s rules and restrictions.The repeated violations cited by the OSC relate to several comments made by Ms Conway during the 2017 Alabama special Senate election. The US Office of Special Counsel said Ms Conway had violated the act by “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”In the election, Democratic candidate Doug Jones defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore by a 21,924 votes – a 1.7 per cent margin. Mr Jones is the first Democrat to win a US Senate seat in Alabama since 1992.Speaking to Fox News on Friday about the OSC’s recommendation Ms Conway should be fired, Mr Trump said: “Well I got briefed on it yesterday, and it looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech, and that’s just not fair.”He added: “No, I’m not going to fire her,” Ms Conway was "a terrific person" and "tremendous spokeswoman," he said. "She’s been loyal, she’s just a great person.”Mr Trump said Ms Conway’s remarks had merely been the result of her being asked questions by interviewers during the election.“You ask a person a question, and every time you’re supposed to say, ‘I can’t answer, I can’t answer?” Mr Trump said. “She’s got to have the right of responding to questions.”In the OSC’s statement about its judgement of Ms Conway’s behaviour, it said: “Her actions thus erode the principal foundation of our democratic system – the rule of law.”The agency also detailed an episode in which Ms Conway appeared to knowingly choose to disregard the restrictions of the Hatch Act.According to the OSC, she said: “If you’re trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it’s not going to work,” and “let me know when the jail sentence starts”.The president is the only figure with the power to heed the official advice and fire the White House counsellor.


Four Democratic 2020 candidates court South Carolina's black voters

Four Democratic 2020 candidates court South Carolina's black voters Four of the two dozen Democrats vying for their party's 2020 U.S. presidential nomination appeared at a Black Economic Alliance forum in Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday, with an eye on the key role black voters will play in the early-voting state. South Carolina will host the fourth nominating contest next year, after Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, and it is the first state where a significant proportion of the Democratic electorate - about 60 percent - is black. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke and U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren attended Saturday's forum, which was organized by the Black Economic Alliance.


How the AH-64 Apache Became the Ultimate Attack Helicopter

How the AH-64 Apache Became the Ultimate Attack Helicopter Early in the morning of January 17, 1991, eight sleek helicopters bristling with missiles swooped low over the sands of the An Nafud desert in as they soared towards the border separating Saudi Arabia from Iraq.At 2:30 a.m., the choppers fanned out and set to work in teams of two. Rocket motors flashed as Hellfire missiles streaked towards two Iraqi radars powerful enough to potentially pick up the faint signature of a stealth plane.Minutes after the radars had been reduced to rubble, Nighthawk stealth jets soared through the twenty-mile-wide radar gap, headed for Baghdad. But the Army’s Apache attack helicopter aviators they had struck first to “kick down the door” for the Nighthawks.Nearly three decades later, the Apache’s status as the world’s premier attack helicopter remains largely unchallenged, and the type continues to see extensive action in the Middle East and in demand in countries as diverse as the UK, Egypt, India and Taiwan. Undeniably, the threats faced by the $35 million armored attack helicopter, which can pack as many as sixteen tank-busting missiles under its stub wings.