Race

FILE PHOTO: EU summit following the EU elections in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Council President Donald Tusk holds a news conference after a European Union leaders summit following the EU elections, in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

June 19, 2019

By Philip Blenkinsop and Belén Carreño

BRUSSELS/MADRID (Reuters) – European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” that EU leaders would agree names to hold the bloc’s top jobs when they meet in Brussels on Thursday.

Multiple diplomats and officials have told Reuters it may be too soon for a deal at the summit, which will be chaired by Tusk, citing disagreement between Berlin and Paris over a German candidate Manfred Weber’s bid to take over at the helm of the bloc’s executive Commission later this year.

“There are different views, different interests, but also a common will to finalize this process before the first session of the European Parliament,” Tusk said in an invitation letter to the 28 national leaders.

“I remain cautiously optimistic, as those I have spoken to have expressed determination to decide swiftly. I hope we can make it on Thursday.”

The new leaders will help set the EU’s course for the next five years as the bloc struggles with weak economies and a wave of euroskeptic sentiment at home, as well as facing external challenges from the United States to Russia to China.

Following an EU-wide election last month, the new European assembly is due to gather for the first time on July 2 and should then elect its new president for 2019-24.

That job is part of a package of the EU’s most senior leadership positions that come vacant soon.

They include replacements for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the bloc’s chief diplomat Federica Mogherini, the head of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt Mario Draghi, and Tusk himself.

“I think that there is a chance of reaching an agreement at the summit,” said a senior EU diplomatic source. “At least, we are going to know which candidacies can fly and which couldn’t.”

Others have pointed out, however, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel could not drop Weber – who is a deputy head of her Bavarian sister party CSU – just yet.

Weber’s bid to lead the European Commission is firmly opposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as the socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who is seeking to raise Madrid’s sway in the bloc.

WEBER’S LAST DANCE?

Should a deal prove elusive this week, Brussels sources said another leaders’ summit could take place on June 30 or July 1, or even in late August.

“There’s a strong desire to get things done quickly. I don’t see things going on beyond the summer,” another senior EU diplomat said on Wednesday.

The EU needs to balance out political affiliations, regional distribution and the candidate’s own profiles. The bloc is also seeking to let more women into its male-dominated leadership, with expectation that senior Commission roles would go to candidates such as Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calvino.

Beyond a firm majority – or, preferably, unanimity – among the 28 national leaders, any candidate to run the next European Commission must also be approved by the new European Parliament.

Despite voting to quit the bloc in 2016, Britain remains one of the 28 members and has members of the European Parliament until it finally leaves.

Political factions in the parliament are still discussing a coalition agreement and a pro-EU majority is in the works between the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), the socialists, the liberals and the greens.

The EPP, the parliament’s largest multi-country grouping, has so far stuck firmly with Weber. The socialists promote Dutchman Frans Timmermans, who currently is a deputy head at the Commission responsible for the rule of law.

The bloc’s current top competition official in Brussels, Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager, runs for the liberals. The group, which includes Macron’s allies, on Wednesday elected a former Romanian prime minister, Dacian Ciolos, as their new leader.

Brussels sources said Merkel’s condition for eventually dropping Weber could be demanding that no other candidate proposed by the European Parliament – Timmermans or Vestager – get to lead the Commission either. Other names in the running include the bloc’s Brexit negotiator and center-right Frenchman Michel Barnier, Belgium’s liberal caretaker Prime Minister Charles Michel, Bulgaria’s World Bank head, Kristalina Georgieva, or Lithuania’s outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaite.

GRAPHIC – EU top jobs race – https://tmsnrt.rs/2WSEMJU

(Additional reporting by Robin Emmott, Peter Maushagen and Sabine Siebold in Brussels, Giselda Vagnoni in Rome, Gederts Gelzis in Riga, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Outgoing White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is “extremely serious” about a campaign for governor of Arkansas, including being in contact, along with allies, with donors and state Republican operatives, according to sources who have spoken with her recently.

“She would be formidable if she were to get into the race,” Roby Brock, a longtime Arkansas political reporter, told Politico about Sanders, whose father, Mike Huckabee, was the governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007. “She’s got the Huckabee political machine, the (Sen. John) Boozman political machine, and the (President Donald) Trump political machine.”

Sanders did not comment for the article, and some of her allies said she’s just making contact with longtime friends, and that she’d be calling them whether or not she’s planning a race for governor.

Trump has encouraged Sanders to run, including during his campaign rollout Tuesday night when he introduced her on stage by saying he had “a feeling” she’d be running “for a certain gubernatorial position.”

Republican operatives in Arkansas also pointed out that Sanders could bring in more money than other expected candidates from backers both in the state and nationally, as Trump remains popular in the state.

“Arkansans believe she has done a superb job as press secretary for the president,” said Doyle Webb, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party. “I wouldn’t want to speculate about what her political future is. I’m fairly certain that [Trump’s] support and any support she’s built on her own would be a considerable [asset].”

Sanders started working in politics for her father’s campaigns, including as national political director for his presidential campaign in 2008 and as campaign manager when he ran in 2016, before joining the Trump campaign as a senior adviser.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Women's World Cup - Group C - Jamaica v Australia
Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group C – Jamaica v Australia – Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France – June 18, 2019 Jamaica players applaud fans after the match REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

June 19, 2019

(Reuters) – Tributes rained down on Sam Kerr in Australia on Wednesday after the striker-captain became the nation’s first player – male or female – to score a World Cup hat-trick in a four-goal blitz of Jamaica.

Kerr did it all by herself in Grenoble on Tuesday, firing the Socceroos to a 4-1 win over the eliminated Reggae Girlz and a last 16 clash against Norway..

Former Australia striker Tim Cahill, the country’s most prolific scorer with 50 goals from 108 matches, led the congratulations on social media.

“Massive result,” Cahill tweeted with a bunch of applause emoticons. “Congratulations Matildas and Sam Kerr with 4 goals”.

Kerr struck her first two with a pair of well-taken headers in the first half and capitalized on two defensive blunders after the break, with Jamaica goalkeeper Nicole McClure gift-wrapping her fourth with a botched attempt at a pass.

The 25-year-old Kerr now has five goals for the tournament to equal the United States’ Alex Morgan in the Golden Boot race.

Cahill, who retired from international football after the men’s World Cup last year, was renowned for his lethal headers and Kerr’s efforts against Jamaica raised comparisons by local pundits on Wednesday.

“It was the best individual performance of her Matildas career, and probably the greatest one-off show by any Australian player,” Fairfax soccer journalist Michael Lynch wrote on Wednesday.

Kerr joked that she was going after Cahill’s “heading record”.

“I grew up watching Timmy Cahill. Headers are my favorite goals. I think it just comes naturally for me, I know it is one of my strengths so I try and work on it a bit,” she said.

“Maybe it is coming from an AFL (Australian Rules football) background and getting up there.”

Kerr’s five goals for the tournament have lifted her past veteran team mate Lisa De Vanna’s previous Australian record of four at a World Cup set in the 2007 finals.

Only Americans Michelle Akers (1991) and Morgan, who scored five in the 13-0 rout of Thailand, have scored more goals in a women’s World Cup match.

Jamaica coach Hue Menzies was left dazzled by Kerr’s display.

“I told her after the game, ‘you were just good to sit back and watch’. I would pay to come and watch her, it’s just something she just has within her, and she brings her team with her,” Menzies said.

Despite the easy win, it was still a tense night for Kerr and Australia who were in danger of slipping into third place in the group after substitute Havana Solaun netted Jamaica’s first World Cup goal after halftime.

Kerr’s enterprise ensured Australia finished second, however, and pushed third-placed Brazil into a tough last 16 clash against heavyweights France or Germany.

Australia were criticized after being upset 2-1 by Italy in their opener, and the Matildas needed an epic 3-2 comeback win over Brazil to steady their tournament.

A defiant Kerr told the critics “to suck on that one” after the Brazil win, a riposte that sat uncomfortably with some media pundits at home.

After her Jamaica masterclass, there was only praise.

“She’s a special one and in the end I’m fortunate not only with the win but if there’s one player you’re really happy for to score the goals, it’s Sammy,” said coach Ante Milicic.

“We, as an Australian footballing community, should be thankful that we’re witnessing one of the best players in the world live.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: California's Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco
FILE PHOTO: California’s Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

June 19, 2019

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday apologized to Native Americans for violence and other wrongdoings they suffered during the state’s history and called their mistreatment genocide.

The Democratic governor, in an executive order, called for the creation of a Truth and Healing Council to produce a report before the end of 2024 on the historical relationship between the state and Native Americans.

Newsom delivered the apology during an appearance with tribal leaders at the California Indian Heritage Center near Sacramento, the state capital.

“It’s called a genocide, that’s what it was, a genocide,” Newsom said, citing the $1.3 million in state funding authorized in the 1850s to subsidize militia campaigns against Native Americans. “No other way to describe it, and that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.”

Tribal leaders who appeared with Newsom on Tuesday thanked him for the apology.

“It’s healing to hear your words, but actions will speak for themselves and I do look forward to hearing more and seeing more of you,” Erica Pinto, chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village in San Diego County, said.

“WAR OF EXTERMINATION”

In discussing the history of California’s treatment of Native Americans, Newsom cited an 1851 address to the state legislature by California’s first governor, Peter Burnett.

“That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected,” Burnett said then.

The state of California had never previously formally apologized for its role in wrongdoing against Native Americans, according to the governor’s office.

Newsom’s predecessor, Democrat Jerry Brown, did endorse a 2016 book by historian Benjamin Madley, of the University of California, Los Angeles, titled “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873.” The book detailed how California’s indigenous population fell from as many as 150,000 people to about 30,000.

Madley estimated that between 1846 and 1873, up to 16,000 Native Americans were killed in California. Disease, dislocation and starvation also took their toll, Madley wrote.

The U.S. Congress in 2009 passed a resolution, tucked into an appropriations bill, that apologized to Native Americans for violence, maltreatment and neglect inflicted by U.S. citizens.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

Almost four years to the day President Donald Trump announced his run for the White House from Trump Tower in New York City, he took the stage at a massive rally in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday night to announce his plans for a second term.

Taking the stage with first lady Melania Trump, and his vice president, Mike Pence, and his wife Karen, Trump beamed as his wife declared: “It has been my honor to serve as first lady of this incredible country for the past two years. And I’m excited to do it for six more.”

“With every ounce of heart, might and sweat … we are going to keep keep America great again and we will indeed keep America great,” Trump said. “Better than ever before. And that is why tonight I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as president of the UnitedStates.”

Trump announced his first improbable run for the White House on June 16, 2015.

After pounding Democrats, Hillary Clinton, the media and the two-year investigation of Russia meddling by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump declared:

“The only thing these corrupt politicians will understand is an earthquake at the ballot box. We did it once and now we will do it again and this time we’re going to finish the job.”​

“2016 was not merely another four-year election. This was a defining moment in American history, ask them right there,” he said, pointing at the news media in the crowd. He then smirked as the crowd booed and chanted their disdain.

“That is a lot of fake news back there,” he declared.

“Our patriotic movement has been under assault from the very first day,” he declared. “We accomplished more than any other president has in the first two and a half years of a presidency. And under circumstances that no president has had to deal with before, because we did, in the middle of the great and illegal witch-hunt.

“We went through the greatest witch-hunt in political history. The only collusion was committed by the Democrats, the fake news media, and their operatives and the people who funded the phony dossier, crooked Hillary Clinton and the DNC,” he said.

“It was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of the election, spy on our campaign, which is what they did, and subvert our democracy. Remember, the insurance policy just in case Hillary Clinton lost.”

At which point the crowd burst into the chant: “Lock her up!”

Of Democrats, he complained:

“They only care about their own political power,” he said. “They went after my family, my business, my finances, my employees, almost everyone that I have ever known or worked with, but they are really going after you. That’s what it is all about. It’s not about us. It’s about you. They tried to erase your vote, erase your legacy of the greatest campaign and the greatest election probably in the history of our country.

“Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”

He framed the 2020 election as “a verdict on the amazing progress we have made” and “a rigged system.”

“So if you want to shut down this rigged system once and for all, then show up November 3rd. That’s your day, big day, and vote, vote, vote.We’re going to have a big, big day.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Donald Trump on Tuesday stood by claims he made about five men who were wrongly convicted for the brutal rape of a female jogger in New York City’s Central Park 30 years ago.

Dubbed the “Central Park Five,” the men have faced renewed attention after becoming the subjects of a Netflix miniseries about them.

The attack made national headlines in 1989 as a sign that crime in the city had spiraled out of control. The victim in the case, a 28-year-old investment banker, nearly died from the incident and was left with no memory of it.

Amid the intense media attention, Trump, then a real estate developer in New York, spoke out about the case and took out a full-page ad in several of the city’s newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

Asked by a reporter outside the White House whether he would apologize to the five men, Trump said: “Why do you bring this question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up.”

“You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that,” he said, referring to one of the prosecutors in the case.

The case raised questions about race as a factor in the criminal justice system. All five of the men – Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise and Yusef Salaam – were black or Hispanic, while the victim was white.

The men were all between the ages of 14 and 16 at the time of the attack. They were imprisoned for between five and 13 years.

Though they all confessed after long police interrogations, they each later recanted their statements, saying they had been exhausted and coerced by police officers.

Their convictions were overturned in 2002, after another man confessed to the crime and DNA tests confirmed his guilt.

In 2014, New York City agreed to pay more than $40 million to the five men.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: World Athletics Championships
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – World Athletics Championships – women’s 100 metres final – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 6, 2017 – Elaine Thompson of Jamaica after the race. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Kayon Raynor

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – As Jamaica prepares to select their world championship team, the exhilarating days of the nation’s male sprinters, led by Usain Bolt, dominating the world are gone, two of the Caribbean island’s top coaches say.

While the country’s female sprinters continue to excel, the men do not rank among the year’s best in either the 100 or 200 meters.

“It appears we are going through another one of those cycles,” coach Glen Mills, who guided Bolt to eight Olympic gold medals and 14 world championship medals between 2007 and 2017, told Reuters.

“I think that there is talent in the junior level that could develop, which could move us once again to the forefront,” said the optimistic Mills two days before the June 20-23 national championships which will help determine the Jamaican team for the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 world championships in Doha.

Stephen Francis, who brought two-times world 100m bronze medalist and former record holder Asafa Powell to global attention, blamed a variety of reasons for the recent decline.

“You find that a combination of bad coaching, bad environment, bad influences and a lack of discipline and all that kind of thing are responsible for the fall,” Francis said in an interview with Reuters.

“I stated a couple of years ago that there was going to be a problem with male sprinting in Jamaica.”

The saving grace has been the female sprinters led by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a five times global champion at 100m, and Rio double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, the coaches believe.

“Our female program looks very lucrative with our top females over the years, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson and of course we have quite a large number of youngsters including Briana Williams (World under-20 double gold medalist) among others,” Mills said.

Francis added: “Shelly and Elaine are there, but you have others in the pipeline who one expects in two or three or four years will replace them.

“But not so for the men, I don’t know if anybody can say where the next good talent is coming from.”

Still there is optimism that Jamaica could win as many as 10 medals in Doha.

“I think we have at least three events where we have prospects on the male side… obviously the discus (2019 world leader (Fedrick Dacres), the sprint hurdles (Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod), maybe the 400m and maybe the long jump,” Francis said.

“On the female side, there are a whole lot of events where we have medal prospects.”

Fraser-Pryce and Thompson are among the year’s fastest in the 100, Janeek Brown and Danielle Williams in the 100m hurdles and the women’s 4x100m relay team.

(Editing by Gene Cherry and Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Sanctions are working against Iran, and as it is “lashing out,” the Trump administration is acting “absolutely appropriate” with the steps it has taken to protect U.S. allies and assets in the region, Rep. Michael Waltz said Tuesday.

“Inflation is spiking,” the Florida Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.” “You have a series of labor strikes…since the president lifted the waivers, in terms of Iran being able to export its oil, they have dropped from 2.5 million barrels per day to less than 400,000.”

That has caused Iran’s government to “externalize the problem,” which is creating an “external crisis,” said Waltz.

He also said Iran’s pressure on Europe is “blackmail,” as it is trying to create a narrative blaming the current issues on the United States for pulling out of the Iran deal.

“That ignores the fact that Iran is supporting terrorism all over the region and Syria, Iraq, Yemen,” said Waltz. “It is holding Americans hostage as we speak.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has also blamed Trump’s actions and called on the United States to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal, and Waltz said she is ignoring the “fact of history,” from the Beirut bombings to the deaths of more than 500 American soldiers during the Iraq War.

“At the end of the day, they are emboldened by a perceived weakness, and deterred by strength,” said Waltz.

He also on Tuesday commented on the Trump 2020 rally taking place in his home state noting that a win in Florida is important to a presidential race.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Argentine politician Sergio Massa arrives for a meeting with presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez in Buenos Aires
Argentine politician Sergio Massa arrives for a meeting with presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez (not pictured), in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

June 18, 2019

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine politician Sergio Massa, who recently pledged his support to the main opposition challengers to President Mauricio Macri, is in line to play a key role in the country’s Congress if his new allies win national elections later this year.

The former chief of staff said on Tuesday he would be the first on a list of candidates to lead the Chamber of Deputies, one of the country’s two houses of Congress, if Peronist hopeful Alberto Fernandez wins the presidency.

Massa, a centrist politician who had himself eyed a presidential run, struck an alliance last week with Fernandez and his unrelated running mate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015.

The alliance – which had raised the question of what role Massa would take – is expected to widen the appeal of the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket to more moderate voters, particularly in the key province of Buenos Aires.

Argentina’s National Congress is comprised of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

“Beyond my personal interest, our biggest responsibility is to give Argentines the possibility to build a majority to have a new government,” Massa said during a seminar in Buenos Aires.

The Fernandez-Fernandez pairing will take on center-right leader Macri in elections in October. If no candidate wins 45% of votes in the first round of voting – or wins at least 40% with a 10 percentage point margin over the second-place finisher – the race will go to a runoff in November.

Macri, who has been hit hard in the polls by a painful economic recession and market volatility, will seek re-election with running mate Miguel Ángel Pichetto, another moderate Peronist.

(Reporting by Gabriel Burin; writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: South African athlete Caster Semenya speaks with journalists after she raced for the first time after her ban in France
FILE PHOTO: South African athlete Caster Semenya speaks with journalists after she raced for the first time after her ban due to elevated testosterone levels at a small meeting in Montreuil, near Paris, France, June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer – /File Photo

June 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Caster Semenya will get another chance at her favorite event, the 800 meters, when the South African competes in the June 30 Prefontaine Classic in California, her agent and meeting officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

The race will be the first at the distance for the double Olympic champion since the Swiss Federal Tribunal issued a stay of new IAAF regulations for XY chromosome athletes like Semenya with differences in sexual development (DSDs) who compete in events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

“Caster’s representation requested that she be removed from the 3,000 meters (where she was originally entered) to the 800 meters and we are happy to comply,” meet director Tom Jordan said in a telephone interview.

“Indications are she will be going for a fast time,” said Jordan, who was busy lining up a competitive field for the race at Stanford University.

Semenya, unbeaten at the distance in 30 finals since 2015, has a personal best of 1:54.25, with the world record 1:53.28.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month rejected her appeal against the rules, which mean middle distance female athletes with a high natural level of testosterone must take medication to reduce it.

Semenya has defiantly refused to take medication and appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, which earlier this month said the South African will be able to run in the 800m without medication until her appeal is ruled on by the tribunal on June 25.

The ruling applied only to Semenya, the IAAF said.

“Nothing changes from our point of view,” an IAAF spokeswoman said on Tuesday when asked for comment on Semenya decision to run in the Diamond League race.

“The IAAF continues to comply with the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s order dated 31 May to suspend the DSD Regulations in as far as they apply to the appellant. It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organized by the IAAF. Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organizer.”

Semenya had wanted to run an 800 meters at Sunday’s Rabat Diamond League meeting. She at first was denied entry but officials later reversed their decision.

It came too late, Semenya said.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Former Vice President Joe Biden told supporters at a Manhattan fundraiser he has received donations from 360,000 people, with an average contribution size of $55, The Hill reported.

That amounts to nearly $20 million, which would be the largest fundraising total disclosed by any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

In the first quarter of this year, before Biden entered the race, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reported raising $18.2 million, while Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said she had received $12 million from donors during the same time period.

The second quarter of the year covers the period between April 1 and June 30, and candidates have until July 15 to report those fundraising totals.

Biden, who is one of the most proficient fundraisers in the Democratic primary race, is expected to raise as much as $25 million in the second quarter.

In just the first 24 hours after he announced his candidacy in April, Biden’s campaign announced he had received $6.3 million in donations.

Biden told his supporters at the Manhattan event, which was a $2,800-per-person fundraiser, that those who have contributed to his campaign in such large numbers have “allowed me to be able to compete in a way that I’ve never been able to before,” according to The Hill.

Other Democratic candidates are also expected to report significant fundraising totals for the second quarter, with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg reportedly raising $7 million in April alone.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Alabama Judge Roy Moore is expected to make an announcement on his 2020 Senate intentions at an event Thursday, Politico reported.

“Judge has spoken with most all of you on the phone over the past few weeks and is appreciative of your warm support,” Judge Moore’s wife Kayla wrote in a note to supporters, according to the report. “We will be making an official announcement regarding the race in Montgomery this Thursday.”

Moore, who narrowly lost to Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., in a special election in 2017, was dodged by allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with underage girls decades before becoming a judge and aspiring politician.

Despite Sen. Jones being viewed as vulnerable in his re-election campaign in the long-red state of Alabama, Moore’s prospective campaign relaunch has been met with cold, if not frozen, response from congressional Republicans.

President Donald Trump urged Moore to stay out of the race, saying he cannot win.

The Republican primary for the Alabama Senate race figures to be crowded, including Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., ex-Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, state Rep. Arnold Mooney, and state Secretary of State John Merrill, according to Politico.

Source: NewsMax Politics

As President Donald Trump denounces “fake polling,” the popularity of daughter Ivanka Trump just might be a catalyst for re-election in a 2020 race that can turn on the narrowest of margins, Newsweek reports.

The report cites a Firehouse Strategies and 0ptimus poll that has Ivanka’s favorability trumping her presidential father in three key swing states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

“While not by overwhelming margins, Ivanka Trump maintains better net favorability among likely voters in these three states than her father does,” according to the pollsters.

Those rust-belt states were decisive for President Trump’s election in 2016 and Ivanka’s popularity could prove pivotal, according to Newsweek.

Ivanka Trump’s results in the poll:

  • Pennsylvania (+3): 38% favorable, 35% unfavorable.
  • Michigan (+1): 37% favorable, 36% unfavorable.
  • Wisconsin (-4): 35% favorable, 39% unfavorable.

President Trump’s favorability margins in the poll:

  • Pennsylvania -3 points.
  • Michigan -5 points.
  • Wisconsin -7 points.

President Trump has lashed out at polling and fired three pollsters who leaked unfavorable results to the media this week, but his poll also has former Vice President Joe Biden leading in the hypothetical matchup in those three battleground states.

According to former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, as quoted in “Kushner, Inc.: Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump,” per Newsweek, Ivanka Trump is already projecting a presidential flair.

“She thinks she’s going to be president of the United States,” Cohn said, according to author Vicky Ward. “She thinks this is like the Kennedys, the Bushes, and now the Trumps.”

The Firehouse/0ptimus poll was conducted June 11-13 among 1,687 likely voters.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., one of the most vulnerable U.S. senators running for re-election next year, will receive backing from Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the influential Koch network, CNBC reported Tuesday.

The director of AFP’s Colorado operation, Jesse Mallory, explained Gardner’s willingness to stand up to President Donald Trump is one of the main reasons for the group’s support.

“He was one of the first five GOP senators to back a proposal in 2018 to rein in the president’s authority to impose tariffs unilaterally, and has called on the president to work with Congress to avoid prolonging the trade war that is driving up prices for consumers and businesses and killing jobs in industries that depend on imported components, in Colorado and across the country,” Mallory wrote in an op-ed published in the Colorado Sun on Tuesday.

In addition to benefitting from AFP Action’s grassroots mobilization and advertising campaigns, the Libertarian organization will also be hosting a rally for Gardner in Denver on June 26.

The endorsement by the AFP for Gardner comes as political analysts are labeling Colorado’s senate seat as a possible pickup opportunity for the Democrats in 2020, with the GOP defending at least 20 seats in the Senate in the election next year.

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Source: NewsMax Politics

PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London
PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

June 18, 2019

By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson got a further boost in his campaign to become Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday when a second former rival in the race backed him to lead the country out of its Brexit crisis.

Hours before the six contenders to replace Theresa May were due to be whittled down by the party’s lawmakers, Andrea Leadsom declared her support for Johnson, the clear favorite.

“He is the best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October,” Leadsom, a former leader of the House of Commons who was eliminated from the leadership contest last week, told LBC radio. “Secondly, I do believe he is an election winner.”

On Monday, health minister Matt Hancock, who quit the race on Friday, also backed Johnson, despite their contrasting views on Brexit, saying he was almost certain to win the contest.

Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has given unequivocal statements that he will take Britain out of the European Union by Oct. 31 whether or not an agreement can be struck with the bloc to smooth the transition.

“We must leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal,” Johnson wrote again on Twitter on Tuesday.

Sterling fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly six months on Tuesday.

‘CONFRONTATION WITH EU’

“It looks like Boris Johnson is going to be the next prime minister unless there is a big surprise and that indicates a looming confrontation with the European Union,” said Lee Hardman, a FX strategist at MUFG in London.

Johnson was due to participate in a televised debate on Tuesday evening along with the candidates who survive the second round of voting.

Those who do not receive the backing of more than 33 of the 313 Conservative lawmakers will be eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.

Johnson opted not to appear in a first debate on Sunday and stayed away from question-and-answer sessions in parliament that the other five candidates attended on Monday.

His rivals kept up their calls on Johnson to spell out his plans for Brexit in more detail.

“What I find alarming and I want to try to clarify as soon as possible, hopefully in these debates this evening, is that half the people in his campaign have got the impression that he intends to leave on Oct. 31 with no deal,” Rory Stewart, Britain’s aid minister, told BBC radio.

“And the other half seem to have got the impression that he’s going for the softest of soft Brexits. The only way that we are going to have stability in our government, or our party or our country, is if people trust us.”

Johnson’s rivals hope that during Tuesday’s debate he will commit more of the gaffes that have marked his career.

But, barring a major upset, he looks set to make the final two in the race, when mainly pro-Brexit Conservative Party members will cast the deciding votes in July.

Johnson’s willingness to contemplate a no-deal Brexit could set up a clash with parliament which has voted against such an outcome. Brussels has ruled out a re-negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement, the divorce deal it reached with May last year.

Johnson won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. The result of Tuesday’s second round of voting is due around 1700 GMT.

(Additional reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

The fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer in the Indiana city where Pete Buttigieg is mayor presents both political peril for a presidential candidate who has struggled to connect with minority voters and an opportunity to show leadership on issues of race and policing that are critical — and personal — for much of the Democratic primary electorate.

Buttigieg on Monday canceled several days of campaign events after returning to South Bend, where he spent the day meeting with community members and faith leaders following the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Jack Logan.

Logan died after he was shot once in the abdomen from the front by a white officer who responded to a call about a suspicious person going through cars about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter said Monday.

Sgt. Ryan O’Neill spotted the man, later identified as Logan, leaning inside a car, Cotter said. When O’Neill confronted him, Logan allegedly approached the officer with a 6 to 8-inch long knife raised over his head. That’s when Cotter said the officer fired twice, with the other shot hitting a car door.

In a matter of months, Buttigieg has gone from a relatively obscure 37-year-old mayor to the top tier of a crowded Democratic presidential field. His handling of the shooting could test his ability to navigate the demands of the campaign trail while still performing his day job.

“I did consider it important to be here to have these conversations,” Buttigieg said in South Bend on Sunday after cutting short a presidential campaign trip. “I know that whenever an incident like this happens, there is tremendous hurt that can come about. That the city will be hurting.”

Asked by a reporter how the shooting might affect his presidential bid, Buttigieg declined to answer, saying, “Right now I’m here as mayor.”

The white mayor has had a sometimes-tense relationship with the black community dating back to his first term in office, when he fired the city’s first black police chief. He has also faced criticism for his handling of police misconduct cases, including a case involving an officer who was twice disciplined for civil rights violations but not fired, and for not having a police department that reflects South Bend’s diversity. Roughly 40% of the city’s residents are black or Hispanic; the department is almost 90% white.

Buttigieg said Sunday that he was sometimes hesitant to speak publicly after shootings involving police earlier in his time as mayor and that he heard from the black community that he needed to be more open and transparent.

“One of the reasons we’re communicating up front right now is because of lessons learned from members of the community,” he said.

Logan’s wife, Shafonia Logan, told reporters after meeting with the police chief Sunday night that she had many questions about what happened to her husband of 13 years. She said her husband called her early Sunday asking her to pick him up, as he was out with friends, but she was in bed, and he replied that he would walk to his mother’s house a few minutes away.

“I don’t know what happened or what they say — he was breaking into a car?” she said. “Was that justified for him to shoot and kill him about breaking in a car?”

Shafonia Logan said that she never knew her husband to carry a knife or a gun and that he was afraid of police officers. She also questioned why her husband was taken to a hospital in a police car rather than in an ambulance.

She said her husband had five children from other relationships.

Logan was released from prison in June 2018 after serving a sentence for a 2009 St. Joseph County conviction on three felony counts of dealing cocaine or narcotics, according to Indiana Department of Correction records. He had other convictions since 1988 on drug possession and handgun violation charges.

Cotter said no police video exists of the confrontation as the officer’s dash and body cameras weren’t automatically activated because he was driving slowly without his emergency lights on while looking through a parking lot.

DeRay McKesson, who began protesting the police killings of black men in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, and has advocated for reforms addressing policing and communities of color, also said there are many questions left to be answered. He said that Buttigieg made the right choice to leave the campaign trail.

“We will all be watching to see how Buttigieg deals with this latest case of a police officer killing a citizen,” McKesson said. “He is still the mayor of South Bend. In leaving the campaign trail to be the leader he was elected to be, we will get perhaps the best glimpse into how he makes decisions under public pressure.”

Buttigieg initially canceled Monday campaign events in New York then later canceled a Tuesday trip to California, where he had a series of fundraisers scheduled, including one at the home of director and producer Ryan Murphy and his husband.

The candidate has proved to be a fundraising juggernaut, raising more than $7 million in April alone, according to a person close to the campaign who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial details.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo
FILE PHOTO: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

June 17, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history, died on Monday aged 67 after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities said.

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power following mass protests against his rule.

The public prosecutor said he had collapsed in a defendants’ cage in the courtroom shortly after speaking, and had been pronounced dead in hospital at 4:50 p.m. (1450 GMT). It said an autopsy had shown no signs of recent injury on his body.

After decades of repression under Egyptian autocrats, the Brotherhood won a parliamentary election after a popular uprising toppled Mubarak and his military-backed establishment in 2011.

Mursi was elected to power in 2012 in Egypt’s first free presidential election, having been thrown into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of millionaire businessman Khairat al-Shater, by far the Brotherhood’s preferred choice.

His victory marked a radical break with the military men who had provided every Egyptian leader since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

Mursi promised a moderate Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era where autocracy would be replaced by transparent government that respected human rights and revived the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline.

But the euphoria that greeted the end of an era of presidents who ruled like pharaohs did not last long.

The stocky, bespectacled man, born in 1951 in the dying days of the monarchy, told Egyptians he would deliver an “Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation”.

Instead, he alienated millions who accused him of usurping unlimited powers, imposing the Brotherhood’s conservative brand of Islam and mismanaging the economy, all of which he denied.

STATE OF EMERGENCY

Security sources said the Interior Ministry had declared a state of alert on Monday, notably in Mursi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, where the body was expected to be taken for burial.

Mursi had been in court for a hearing on charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which had close ties to the Brotherhood.

His body was taken to the Tora prison hospital, state television reported.

His lawyer said Mursi’s health had been poor in jail. “We had put in several requests for treatment, some were accepted and others were not,” the lawyer, Abdel-Menem Abdel-Maqsood, told Reuters.

Mursi was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012, and a life sentence for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar. He had denied the charges.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mourned his fellow Islamist as a martyr.

“Putting doubts aside, he has become a martyr today with the fulfillment of God’s order … Our prayers are with him,” Erdogan said.

“Condolences to all my brothers who walked the same path as he did. Condolences to the people of Egypt. Condolences to his family and those close to him.”

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a backer of Mursi and his Brotherhood, tweeted his condolences to Mursi’s family “and to the brotherly Egyptian people”.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdullah and Enas al-Ashray; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Sami Aboudi; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: OANN

Most Democratic and independent voters said the Democratic Party’s top priority in the 2020 election was beating President Donald Trump, a new poll conducted on behalf of The Daily Beast found Monday.

Ipsos surveyed hundreds of voters, and found the leading male Democratic candidates hold a 5 percentage point advantage over the two leading female candidates. Additionally, the vast majority of voters said the Democratic Party’s top priority in choosing a candidate is whether they can beat Trump. 

  • 82% said the party’s priority is to nominate someone who can beat Trump.
  • 40% said nominating a woman is not a priority for the party.
  • 38% said nominating a minority candidate is not a priority.
  • 20% said nominating a white man is not a priority.

The survey also found most Democrats and independents, 74%, say they would be comfortable with a female president. But these voters are split over whether a female candidate would have a harder time than a man running against Trump: 39% agree it would be harder, 26% disagree, and 28% neither agree nor disagree.

One-in-five respondents said they agree with the statement women are “less effective in politics than men.”

“Talk about learning the wrong lessons,” Jen Palmieri, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

“I think Democrats have a lot of trauma about the 2016 outcome and are suspicious that voters have an unease with women candidates,” she said. “But the actual record shows a different story.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

President Donald Trump sent out a tweet Monday insisting he is ahead in surveys against Democratic presidential candidates, even though internal polling by his own re-election campaign showed he is behind former Vice President Joe Biden in several battleground states.

“Only Fake Polls show us behind the Motley Crew,” Trump wrote. “We are looking really good, but it is far too early to be focused on that. Much work to do!”

Trump’s comment came a day after he reportedly fired three pollsters following the leak of the 17-state survey which showed him behind in the race in numerous crucial places, according to Politico.

Trump last week denied the “phony polls” existed, insisting “we are winning in every single state that we’ve polled.”

CNN reported Trump has been angry for several days about the internal polls leaked to the media.

Although his campaign has publicly pushed back against the surveys, saying they are weeks old and do not reflect the current reality, a person familiar with the situation told CNN those denials had less to do with the quality of the polls than about pacifying the president.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Visitors look at the French-German-Spanish New Generation Fighter (NGF) model during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris
Visitors look at the French-German-Spanish New Generation Fighter (NGF) model during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 17 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

June 17, 2019

By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) – Spain on Monday joined a Franco-German project to build a next-generation fighter jet, an initiative touted as key to ensuring Europe can defend itself without depending on allies in an increasingly uncertain world.

Dassault Aviation and Airbus will build the warplane which is expected to be operational from 2040, with a view to replacing Dassault’s Rafale and Germany’s Eurofighter over time.

The European project faces competition from Britain, which last year launched its own plans for a new combat jet dubbed “Tempest”. Industry executives have urged European capitals to move swiftly or risk losing out in a global market to bigger players led by the United States, or even China in the future.

The defense ministers of France, Germany and Spain signed an accord launching a trilateral framework of cooperation at the Paris Airshow, sat in front of a mock-up of the jet and with French President Emmanuel Macron applauding behind them.

France’s Safran and Germany’s MTU Aero Engines will jointly develop the new warplane’s engine.

Dassault and Airbus have delivered a joint industrial proposal to the governments of France and Germany.

“The first demonstrator phase marks another decisive step,” they said in a joint statement.

France had explored working with Britain on the project, bringing together Europe’s two biggest military powers.

But in July 2017, Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans for the new Future Combat Air System (SCAF), including a fighter jet and a range of associated weapons such as drones.

Britain’s unveiling last July of its plans for a next-generation aircraft to rival the United States’ F35, the world’s most advanced warplane, laid bare European divisions and deepening scepticism about the future of European defense cooperation as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

BAE Systems, Italy’s Leonardo, engine maker Rolls-Royce and missile maker MBDA are running the British project.

“Competition amongst Europeans when it weakens us against the Americans, the Chinese, is ridiculous,” Macron told reporters at the air show when asked about the two combat jet programs.

The French and German governments expect to invest an initial 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in the combat jet by 2025, with France, the project leader, contributing 2.5 billion euros, according to the French defense ministry.

Paris and Berlin target the first flight of a prototype around 2026.

(Reporting by Michel Rose, Sophie Louet; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

First round of presidential election in Guatemala
Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE) arrives to cast her vote at a polling station during the first round of the presidential election in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

June 17, 2019

By Adriana Barrera and Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala’s presidential election appeared to be headed for a runoff as partial results on Monday gave center-left candidate Sandra Torres an early lead but far short of the majority needed to avoid a second round against a conservative rival.

With votes tallied from 42% of polling stations, preliminary results from Sunday’s election gave former first lady Torres 24.18% of the vote, followed by conservative Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei with 15%, the electoral tribunal said.

The presidential race, which groups 19 candidates, appeared all but certain to be headed for a second round of voting on Aug. 11. The head of the electoral tribunal said late on Sunday it could take approximately two weeks to have definitive results from across the Central American country.

Guatemala’s next president will face the daunting challenge of curbing drug gang violence that has ravaged the country and helped spur illegal immigration to the United States, stoking tensions with President Donald Trump.

Torres, of the center-left UNE party, has led the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales, a conservative former television host whose term has been blighted by accusations of corruption made by U.N.-backed investigators.

Nevertheless, Torres also has high negative ratings and may struggle to win a direct run-off if supporters of the many right-of-center candidates unite against her.

In third place with 12.11% was Edmond Mulet, a former U.N. official whose conservative candidacy gained traction in recent weeks.

Torres, who wants to send troops into the streets to fight drug gangs, and use welfare programs to tackle poverty, extended a hand to Guatemala’s business elite when voting on Sunday.

“We have to sort out our problems here, and part of the reason for the migration is the lack of jobs, the gap in wages between the United States and here,” she said. “We need to work with the business community to revive the economy.”

Rampant violence and widespread discontent over corruption and impunity in the country of 17 million have prompted more and more Guatemalans to flee for the United States.

The surge of departures has undermined Trump’s pledge to curb illegal immigration, and the U.S. president has responded by threatening to cut U.S. aid to Central America.

That prospect has caused alarm in Guatemala, where the legacy of the bloody 1960-1996 civil war still casts a long shadow over the country’s development.

COALITION PROSPECTS

Rain fell on Guatemala City during Sunday’s vote and results suggested there was considerable discontent among the electorate about the choice of candidates on offer. More than 12% of votes cast were blank or spoiled ballots, the early count showed.

Morales, who is barred by law from seeking re-election, took office in 2016 vowing to root out corruption after his predecessor was brought down by a probe led by the U.N.-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Instead, Morales himself became a target of a CICIG probe into allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing and was subject to impeachment proceedings in 2017.

He survived the attempt to oust him, and then engaged in a bitter dispute with the CICIG before finally terminating its mandate, effective from September.

None of the top contenders has unequivocally backed the CICIG, with Torres saying she would consider holding a referendum on whether it should remain in Guatemala.

Fernando Escalante, 41, an industrial design adviser, said the next president must continue the fight against corruption.

“I fear all the progress we’ve made could be lost, but maybe it’s time for us Guatemalans to take on the task,” he said.

Questions of legitimacy have dogged the 2019 contest since two of the front-runners were forced out, including Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who tried to impeach Morales with the CICIG. The government accused Aldana of corruption, leading to her exclusion last month.

(Reporting by Daniel Flynn; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson got a boost for his bid to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May when one of his former rivals backed his candidacy on Monday and said he was almost certain to win the contest.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who dropped out of the race on Friday after winning just 20 votes in the first ballot of Conservative lawmakers, said Johnson was the best candidate to lead the party.

“Boris has run a disciplined campaign and is almost certainly going to be our next prime minister,” Hancock said in an article in The Times newspaper.

“People need to put aside their differences for a greater purpose. My view is that we need to start coming together sooner rather than later,” Hancock said.

The Brexit crisis could deepen under a new British leader as Johnson, the face of the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead the United Kingdom out of the EU with or without a deal.

The British parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would roil financial markets and shock the world economy, while the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement that May agreed in November.

Johnson, the favorite to replace May, won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. A total of 313 lawmakers voted.

His closest rivals were: Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, who won 43 votes; Michael Gove, environment minister, with 37 votes and Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, on 27 votes.

Rivals turned their fire on Johnson on Sunday, questioning his pledge to leave the EU by the end of October no matter what.

“The difference between me and Boris is that I would try for a deal,” said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a Channel 4 television debate, where Johnson’s absence was marked by an empty lectern.

The second round of voting will be on Tuesday with the result due around 1700 GMT. Any candidate with 32 votes or fewer is eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by William Schomberg)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Shanghai – Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai, China – May 18, 2019 Noah Lyles of the U.S. celebrates winning the Men’s 100m REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

June 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Noah Lyles overcame an apparent false start to run the fourth-fastest 150 meters of all time on a wet elevated straightaway in Boston on Sunday.

After television footage showed the world and Olympic 200m favorite leaving the starting blocks early, Lyles was given a second chance and romped to a personal best 14.69 seconds in the Adidas Boost Boston Games.

Retired Jamaican Usain Bolt, the man Lyles would like to succeed in the Olympic 200m, holds the world best of 14.35 seconds in the infrequently run event.

“What did the guy at the start say? Green card. Then it was a green card,” Lyles said after officials told NBC Sports there was no conclusive evidence that the star of the meeting had false started.

But four-time Olympic sprint medalist Ato Boldon, the network’s analyst, disagreed. “In any other meet, Noah is out of this race,” he said.

Once the red-clad Lyles got moving in the restart, there was no stopping him as he left British runnerup Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake 0.41 seconds in his wake.

The United States has not won an Olympic medal in the men’s 200m since 2008 and Lyles is aiming to change that.

“I made it my mission,” said the talented sprinter with Bolt-like showmanship. “We are not out of this. We are coming back.”

His goal is gold in both September’s world championships in Doha and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Despite the wet conditions, Bahamian Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Britain’s 100m European champion Zharnel Hughes and South African sprinter Akani Simbine had impressive performances.

Miller-Uibo clocked 16.37 seconds, a mere 0.14 off her world best in the women’s 150m.

Hughes claimed the 200m straightaway race in 20.00 seconds and Commonwealth Games winner Simbine clocked 9.92 seconds in the 100m.

The women’s 100m went to world 60m indoor champion Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast in 11.09 seconds with world outdoor gold medalist Tori Bowie, who is coming back from injuries, third in 11.22.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Source: OANN

Joe Biden leads in the early Democratic nomination race for 2020, helped by a sense that the former vice president is best placed to beat President Donald Trump, a new “CBS Battleground Tracker” poll shows.

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg are among the candidates that likely Democratic voters are at least considering in 18 states that will shape the initial 2020 fight, the poll shows.

The CBS News/YouGov poll shows Biden had support of 31% of Democratic primary voters with three U.S. senators next: Warren of Massachusetts at 17%, Sanders of Vermont at 16%, and Harris of California at 10%. It was one of a number of recent national or state polls that showed Warren, a former Harvard law professor, in second place.

Biden’s top-preference numbers would translate today into an estimated delegate standing of 731 delegates to Warren’s 355 and Sanders’ 317, CBS said.

Democrats were split on whether the party’s message should emphasize returning the country to how it was before Trump, or pursue a more progressive agenda than they had under President Barack Obama. Among voters who want a more progressive direction, Biden is in much tighter competition with Warren and Sanders.

Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats think swing voters — in the abstract — might be more favorable toward a white, male, moderate candidate, the poll showed.

The survey of 16,624 registered voters in 18 states was conducted May 31 through June 12. The margin of error was plus or minus 1.5%.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – November 23, 2018 McLaren’s Fernando Alonso during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

June 16, 2019

LE MANS, France (Reuters) – Double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso won the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race for the second year in a row on Sunday with Toyota team mates Kazuki Nakajima and Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi.

The number eight car crew, who took the lead with an hour to go, were also crowned world endurance champions with Nakajima driving the final stint and becoming the first Japanese to win the title.

Toyota’s number seven TS050 hybrid car, crewed by Britain’s Mike Conway, Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi and Argentina’s Jose Maria Lopez, led most of the way but suffered two late punctures and dropped to second in a one-two finish for the Japanese manufacturer.

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne — Alonso’s former McLaren Formula One team mate — finished third in his debut Le Mans with Russian team mates Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin in the number 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering car.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

MotoGP - Catalunya Grand Prix
MotoGP – Catalunya Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – June 16, 2019 Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez celebrates winning the race REUTERS/Albert Gea

June 16, 2019

BARCELONA (Reuters) – MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez won his home Grand Prix of Catalunya on Sunday after Honda team mate Jorge Lorenzo fell and took out the Spaniard’s main rivals in a mass crash.

French rider Fabio Quartararo finished second, after starting on pole and dropping to eighth, for the Petronas Yamaha team with Italian Danilo Petrucci third for Ducati.

Marquez’s rivals Andrea Dovizioso and the Yamaha factory pairing of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales went down like skittles after Lorenzo lost control of his Honda at turn 10 and hit them with 23 laps remaining.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE), raises her arms flanked by members of her party during her closing campaign rally in Villanueva
FILE PHOTO: Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE), raises her arms flanked by members of her party during her closing campaign rally in Villanueva, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Guatemala June 14, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

June 16, 2019

By Sofia Menchu and Adriana Barrera

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalans on Sunday will vote for a new president, who will face the challenge of curbing drug gang violence that has convulsed the country and helped spur illegal immigration to the United States, fueling tensions with President Donald Trump.

Nineteen candidates will compete in the election, which is expected to yield no outright winner, forcing the top two vote getters to face off in a second round on Aug. 11.

Former first lady Sandra Torres, of the center-left UNE party, has led the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales, a conservative former television host whose term has been blighted by accusations of corruption made by U.N.-backed investigators.

Torres, who has promised to send troops onto the streets to fight drug gangs, and to tackle poverty with welfare programs, has support of around 20 percent of the electorate, according to polls.

Her closest rivals, trailing by a few percentage points, are conservatives Alejandro Giammattei, who is running in his fourth campaign, and Edmond Mulet, a former United Nations official whose candidacy has increasingly gained traction in the run-up to the vote.

“I want to see education improving, more jobs and for security to get better, because we live in a very unsafe country. And for politicians and lawmakers to stop stealing,” said John Estrada, 24, a tattoo artist in Guatemala City.

Rampant violence and widespread discontent over corruption and impunity in the country of 17 million have prompted more and more Guatemalans to flee for the United States.

The surge of departures has undermined Trump’s pledge to curb illegal immigration, and the U.S. president has responded by threatening to cut U.S. aid to Central America.

That prospect has caused alarm in Guatemala, where the legacy of the bloody 1960-1996 civil war continues to cast a long shadow over the country’s development.

COALITION PROSPECTS

To avoid a run-off, one of the candidates would need to win more than 50 percent of the vote, a result pollsters deem unlikely. The outcome of the election will likely depend on candidates’ ability to build a coalition for the second round.

In research report on Friday, Eurasia Group said Torres would struggle to win a run-off, given her high rejection rate and the ability of her likely opponent to unify the conservative vote and secure the support of the country’s powerful elites.

Morales, who is barred by law from seeking re-election, took office in 2016 vowing to root out corruption after his predecessor was brought down by a probe led by the U.N.-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Instead, Morales himself became a target of a CICIG probe into allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing and was subject to impeachment proceedings in 2017. He survived the attempt to oust him, and then engaged in a bitter dispute with the CICIG before finally terminating its mandate, effective from September.

Questions of legitimacy have dogged the 2019 contest since two of the front-runners were forced out in the final weeks, including Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who tried to impeach Morales with the CICIG. The government accused Aldana of corruption, leading to her exclusion last month.

Allegations of shady dealings have permeated the election, which has been fought out amid intensifying efforts by Trump to turn Mexico and Guatemala into buffer zones to keep undocumented migrants out of the United States.

Presidential hopeful Mario Estrada and congressional candidate Julio Jose Rosales were arrested during the campaign and charged with having links to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel.

Drug traffickers allegedly financed their campaigns in return for help transporting cocaine and heroin to the United States.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Source: OANN

After receding from the national stage, the free college movement is resurfacing as a central rallying point for Democrats as they set their sights on the White House.

At least 18 of the party’s 23 presidential contenders have come out in support of some version of free college . Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promises free tuition at public colleges and universities. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota says it should be limited to two years of community college. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York wants to provide free tuition in exchange for public service.

The candidates are responding to what some say is a crisis in college affordability, an issue likely to draw attention in the first primary debates later this month. Year after year, colleges say they have to raise tuition to offset state funding cuts. Students have shouldered the cost by taking out loans, pushing the country’s student debt to nearly $1.6 trillion this year. Even for many in the middle class, experts say, college is increasingly moving out of reach.

Free college, a catchall term for a range of affordability plans, is increasingly seen as a solution. Nearly 20 states now promise some version of free college, from Tennessee’s free community college program to New York’s Excelsior Scholarship, which offers up to four years of free tuition at state schools for residents with family incomes below $125,000 a year.

But research on the effectiveness of state programs has been mixed. Critics say the offers are often undermined by limited funding and come with narrow eligibility rules that exclude many students.

“This is a problem that has not gone away but has gotten worse in many communities,” said Mark Huelsman, associate director of policy and research for Demos, a liberal think tank. “It’s enough of a problem that people expect some action on it, and they expect some plan for how to get there.”

Plans from Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Obama housing chief Julian Castro aim to eliminate tuition at all public institutions. The candidates say that would open college to a wider group of Americans and greatly reduce the need for loans. Warren argues that college, like other levels of schooling, is “a basic public good that should be available to everyone with free tuition and zero debt at graduation.”

Others, including Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden, have backed more moderate plans to provide two years of free tuition at community colleges, similar to an idea pushed by President Barack Obama in 2015.

And there are some who say students should be able to graduate without debt. To do that, several candidates want to help students with tuition as well as textbooks and living costs. Such “debt-free” plans, which aim to steer money toward students with lower incomes, are supported Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, among others.

Proposals for free college nationwide started to gain popularity among Democrats during the Obama administration and in the 2016 primary race. That discussion stalled after the election of President Donald Trump, who is seen as hostile to the idea. His administration blames colleges for the debt crisis, saying they ramp up tuition because they know students have easy access to federal loans.

Before Trump was elected, Sanders was credited with bringing the issue to the fore when he campaigned on a promise to make tuition free at public colleges. Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee, initially criticized the idea but later adopted a similar plan. Now, early in the 2020 race, Democrats have been quick to show their support. Instead of debating whether it should be free, most are weighing which model is best and how to achieve it.

“It’s striking how much the debate has shifted over the past decade,” Huelsman said. “If you look at the 2008 election, 2012, it was not something that was necessarily a prominent part of the debate.”

For most candidates, free college is just part of the solution as they confront student debt and college access. Several also promise to help borrowers refinance loans at lower interest rates; some want to wipe away huge chunks of the nation’s student debt.

Those types of proposals are likely to be popular among the growing share of voters paying off student loans, said Douglas Harris, an economics professor at Tulane University who has studied the effectiveness of free college.

“Something like 1 in 5 voters has college debt, which is a huge percentage,” he said. “And when you have a huge number of people affected by something, then that certainly gets people’s attention.”

One of the major sticking points over free college is the price. Warren’s total education plan is estimated to cost $1.25 trillion over a decade. Sanders’ free college plan would cost $47 billion a year. Both call on the federal government to split the cost with states while also raising taxes on Wall Street or the wealthiest Americans.

Some Democrats, though, say that kind of spending is untenable. Klobuchar has rejected the idea of free college for everyone, saying the country can’t afford it. Instead she backs two years of free community college as a way to help prepare workers and fill shortages in the job market.

“When I look at the jobs that are available right now out there, we have a lot of job openings in areas that could use a one-year degree, a two-year degree, and we’re just not filling those jobs,” Klobuchar said at a March town hall in Iowa. She added that students can attend community college and then “later go on to complete their four-year degree.”

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke supports free community college for all Americans, along with debt-free college at four-year institutions for students with low and modest incomes. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he would make community college free “for those who can’t afford it.”

Many free college supporters see promise in a federal plan that could bring more funding and share the cost with states. But in Congress, that kind of plan has yet to take hold.

In March, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, reintroduced his Debt-Free College Act, which calls for a partnership with states to make sure students can afford all college costs without borrowing loans. The idea died in the previous session and has yet to be taken up in this one, but the new bill has gained wider support from Democrats.

Among those backing the plan are four 2020 candidates: Gillibrand, Harris, Warren and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 16, 2019

By Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) – Several hopefuls vying to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May turned their fire on favorite Boris Johnson on Sunday, questioning his pledge to leave the European Union by the end of October no matter what.

With former London mayor and foreign minister Johnson keeping a low profile, the other candidates have targeted the air waves to try to present their cases to lead the governing Conservative Party. But the question always returns to “Boris”.

The free publicity has done little so far to hurt Johnson, who unlike many politicians is better know by his first name Boris. He secured a large lead in the first round of voting and his team hopes for an increased share this week in the second.

But now the gloves are off. Candidate after candidate on Sunday questioned his ability to navigate Britain’s departure from the EU, saying his pledge to leave on Oct. 31 was nigh on impossible and would set Britain on track for a no deal Brexit.

“The difference between me and Boris is that I would try for a deal,” said foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who is running in second place in the leadership contest.

“I am not going to create a set of circumstances that makes it all but impossible to get a deal because I think we should be offering the country some better choices,” he told the BBC Andrew Marr Show, adding that he was the only “alternative”.

One of Hunt’s supporters, work and pensions minister Amber Rudd, went further, making a thinly veiled criticism of what she described as some candidates “do or die approach” to Brexit without “considering the consequences to people’s jobs”.

TORY TOAST

Almost three years since Britain voted to leave the EU, the country, the parliament and both of the main parties are still deeply divided over how, when and even whether Brexit should happen.

Brexit has claimed two prime ministers. David Cameron resigned shortly after the referendum and now May is making way for a successor because of her failure to get a deal she agreed with the EU through parliament.

The question over Britain’s membership of the bloc is dominating the Conservative leadership race, with many of the candidates, albeit some of them reluctantly, saying they would lead the country out without a Brexit deal.

One, Rory Stewart, who wants to rule out a no deal Brexit, took issue with Johnson’s argument that the only way to get an improved deal from the EU was to prepare for leaving without an agreement and using that as leverage.

“They are not scared of it because it is not a credible threat. The European Union knows no deal cannot get through parliament,” he told the BBC, taking aim at Johnson for not offering up his views to scrutiny.

“How is Boris going to deliver Brexit, how? … I don’t even know what he believes. He won’t talk to me, he won’t talk to you, he won’t talk to the public. We want to know what he believes,” said Stewart, international development minister.

Dominic Raab, a former Brexit minister who is more in tune with Johnson but declined to say whether he would back him, said there was time to catch up with the frontrunner by taking part in debates to explain policy. All the candidates, except for Johnson, will take part in a debate later on Sunday.

“The Tory party will be toast unless we are out by the end of October,” Raab told Sky News. “I certainly think the Conservatives cannot win an election unless we’ve delivered Brexit.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: OANN

Hunt, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, attends a hustings event in London
Jeremy Hunt, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, attends a hustings event in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 16, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday he was the alternative to Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, saying he would strive to win a Brexit deal from the European Union.

“The difference between me and Boris, is that I would try for a deal,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“I am not going to create a set of circumstances that makes it all but impossible to get a deal because I think we should be offering the country some better choices.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Construction workers and passersby are seen through Olympic rings in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Construction workers and passersby are seen through Olympic rings in front of the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, in Tokyo, Japan June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

June 16, 2019

By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sea Forest Waterway, which will play host to rowing events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, opened on Sunday with the sport’s world governing body praising organizers for delivering a “world class” venue on schedule.

Sprint canoeing as well as para-rowing and para-canoeing will also feature at the newly-built venue next year.

International Rowing Federation president Jean-Christophe Rolland, himself an Olympic gold medalist from Sydney 2000, was glad the venue was completed on time.

“Everything has been on track, on time and I am very pleased more than one year before the Olympic Games to be in such a position without any major issues,” Rolland told reporters.

“There are still some little things to improve but I can say we can be relieved we will have a good course for the Olympic Games.”

The course, which is 2,300 meters long, has been constructed on canals in Tokyo Bay and is next to a former landfill site, which has been turned into a forest in time for the Games.

There are approximately 2,000 seats in a permanent grandstand, while upto 16,000 spectators can be accommodated daily during the Olympics with help of temporary seating and standing areas.

On a sunny but blustery day, the conversation revolved around the possibility of wind affecting race conditions on a course with very little natural protection from the elements.

Several dozen rowers and canoeists managed to successfully complete a demonstration on Sunday despite the conditions and Rolland said he was unfazed.

“Of course the wind, if it is too strong, might be an issue but this is the fourth time I have come here to Tokyo and this is the first time I have seen it so strong,” said the Frenchman.

“On an eight day program I hope we will find time easily where the wind is not too strong and that we can have a good competition.”

The Sea Forest Waterway is one of just eight permanent new venues being built for Tokyo 2020. Construction for all the venues is on schedule, with the archery venue already being completed and unveiled in April.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Diamond League - Doha
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Doha – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar – May 3, 2019 South Africa’s Caster Semenya before the women’s 800m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo

June 15, 2019

(Reuters) – The Moroccan Athletics Federation made it “impossible” for Caster Semenya to compete at the Rabat Diamond League meeting on Sunday because of the lateness of a re-invitation, the South African athlete’s legal team said on Saturday.

Semenya, the double Olympic 800 meters champion, never declined an invitation to run in the Rabat 800m, her legal team said, and was told only on Friday that she was being invited to race having had an initial invitation revoked.

“On June 14, the Federation changed course once again and told Caster’s agent that Caster was re-invited to run on June 16,” her legal team said in a statement.

“At that time, the only flights to Rabat would have involved 20 hours of travel, which meant that competing in the event was not rationally possible for Caster.

“Caster rejects any suggestion that she declined a proper invitation to run in Rabat. To the contrary, her inability to run in Rabat is solely due to the Moroccan Federation’s sudden and unjustified withdrawal of its initial invitation that Caster had gladly accepted.”

Semenya became the center of heated international debate after a controversial ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.

CAS said that the sport’s ruling body, the IAAF, should make rules for XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs), such as Semenya, competing in events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.

The CAS verdict was highly controversial, with many high-profile current and former athletes lining up on both sides of the debate.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal later ordered the IAAF to immediately suspend implementation of the regulations on Semenya, allowing her to compete without restriction while she appealed against the decision.

Semenya said on Thursday she had been denied entry into the event in Rabat in apparent violation of the Swiss tribunal’s decision.

Saturday’s statement said Semenya had been booked to fly to Rabat on Wednesday, having been invited to compete on June 6, but that the Royal Moroccan Athletics Federation athlete liaison, Alain Blondel, had told her agent on June 11 that its president “did not want Caster to run”.

The IAAF has said it has no say in who competes in Diamond League events such as the one in Rabat.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

Tour de France
FILE PHOTO: Cycling – Tour de France – The 116-km Stage 21 from Houilles to Paris Champs-Elysees – July 29, 2018 – Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

June 15, 2019

(Reuters) – 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.

The 34-year-old Briton was airlifted to the University Hospital of St Etienne, where he is continuing his post-surgery recovery.

“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.

“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward.

“There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.”

Froome offered his thanks for the overwhelming number of messages of support from fans.

“This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days,” he added.

“The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.”

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says he’s leaving the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary race to campaign for the state’s newly open U.S. House seat.

Stapleton told delegates at the Montana Republican Party convention in Helena Saturday there are plenty of good people running for governor, so he will seek to keep the congressional seat under GOP control.

Stapleton was the first prominent Republican to announce his candidacy for governor in 2020. His course change comes a day after U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte launched his gubernatorial campaign, which grew the field of primary candidates to six.

Stapleton is now the first Republican candidate for U.S. House. State Auditor Matt Rosendale and former District Judge Russ Fagg also are considering runs.

Former state lawmaker Kathleen Williams and current state Rep. Tom Winter are competing for the Democratic nomination for House.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's Justice Minister Sergio Moro speaks during a session of the Public Security commission at the National Congress in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s Justice Minister Sergio Moro speaks during a session of the Public Security commission at the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

June 15, 2019

By Anthony Boadle

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Leaked personal messages published on Saturday by a news website show the judge who led the corruption trial that jailed former Brazil president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva advised prosecutors to influence public opinion against the leftist leader.

The Intercept posted what it said were social media chats from then judge Sergio Moro to the prosecution team, suggesting prosecutors make a public statement playing up what Moro said were contradictions in Lula’s testimony to undermine his claim to be a victim of political persecution.

The exchange occurred after Lula’s May 10, 2017 deposition against charges that he took a beachside luxury apartment as a bribe. Lula left the court room to tell supporters that he was being “massacred” and was preparing to run for president again.

Moro, who is now Brazil’s justice minister, questioned the authenticity of the messages and said he would not comment on texts obtained by hackers.

“The supposed material, obtained in a criminal way, must be presented to an independent authority so that its integrity can be certified,” he said in a statement.

The texts copied off the Telegram messaging app appear to show Moro suggesting to prosecutors that they mount a public campaign against the man he was judging, and The Intercept said they raised doubts about Moro’s impartiality in the trial that led to a 12-year prison sentence for Lula.

“Maybe tomorrow you should write a statement clarifying the contradictions between (Lula’s) deposition and the rest of the proof and his previous statement,” the judge wrote to prosecutor Carlos dos Santos Lima on the corruption investigation.

Lula’s lawyers have long argued that Moro was a politically motivated judge who wanted to jail their client to block him from running for the presidency last year, when opinion polls showed him easily leading the race, even after he had been jailed.

In an interview published on Friday, Moro told the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper that he was not worried that the corruption conviction against Lula would be overturned, which legal experts including the Brazilian Bar Association and some Supreme Court Justices have said could happen.

The Intercept has published stories based on what it said was an “enormous trove” of messages received from an anonymous source containing exchanges between prosecutors, Moro and others involved in the investigation and prosecution of the “Car Wash” corruption probe.

Considered the world’s largest graft investigation, it has uncovered billions of dollars of bribes paid in schemes mostly involving sweetheart contracts at state-run firms. It has brought down hundreds of members of the business and political elite in Brazil and across Latin America.

Moro told the newspaper he did not think there was anything illegal in his chats with prosecutors and insisted that Lula’s case “was decided with absolute impartiality based on proof without any type of influence.”

Moro was picked for justice minister by right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who won the presidency after Lula was barred from running because of his conviction.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

Informal meeting of EU leaders in Sibiu
FILE PHOTO: Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

June 15, 2019

DUBLIN (Reuters) – A Brexit deal without the Northern Ireland “backstop” clause is as much a threat to Ireland as a no-deal Brexit, Ireland’s prime minister said on Saturday, adding that the European Union would not allow the clause to be dropped.

Leading contenders in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister have called for the controversial clause, designed to avoid a border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, to be changed or scrapped.

“To me no backstop is effectively the same as no-deal because what the backstop is is … a legally operable guarantee that we will never see a hard border emerge again,” Varadkar told RTE radio. “If we don’t have that, that is no deal.”

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Edmund Blair)

Source: OANN

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speeks at an event at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport
FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at an event at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jordan Gale

June 14, 2019

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden will appear on the same stage with Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and six other rivals during the second of two nights of candidate debates scheduled for later this month in Miami.

The first debate on June 26 will include candidates Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke among the 10 participants, NBC announced on Friday. The network is hosting that debate and a second one the following night.

The 20 qualifying candidates were split by a random draw by NBC on Friday to ensure the top-polling contenders were spread evenly over the two nights.

The requirements were needed to limit the number of candidates on the debate stage after a historically large field of 24 Democratic hopefuls jumped in the race for the nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in 2020.

Biden, the former U.S. vice president under Barack Obama, has consistently led the Democratic field in polls over U.S. Senators Sanders, Warren, Harris, Booker and Klobuchar, as well as O’Rourke, a former U.S. Representative, and Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

The line-up promises potential fireworks between Biden and Sanders, who is in second place in most opinion polls and has shown a willingness to criticize the front-runner. The first night could offer a spotlight to Warren, who has surged into third place in many polls.

Candidates qualified for the debates by receiving at least 1% in three polls, or by receiving donations from 65,000 supporters including at least 200 donors apiece in 20 states.

Four declared candidates were omitted from the Democratic debates – Montana Governor Steve Bullock, U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and Wayne Messam, the mayor of Miramar, Florida.

The debates will be broadcast in prime time on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo and be streamed online for free on a variety of digital and social platforms.

The lineups, as announced by NBC:

Wednesday, June 26:

Booker, Warren, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, former U.S. Representative John Delaney, U.S. Representatives Tulsi Gabbard and Tim Ryan, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Thursday, June 27:

Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, author Marianne Williamson, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

(Reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump panned former Vice President Joe Biden as a top candidate for his party’s presidential nomination and said he “doesn’t have what it takes” to win the presidential race ― not that he thinks very many of the other 23 contenders will have a chance to take the nomination.

“Everybody knows that Joe Biden does not have what it takes,” the president told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” adding that what he means by that is “a lot of different things,” including his “mental capacity.”

“He never did have what it takes,” Trump said. “He ran two or three times. I used to call him 1% Joe because he never got more than 1%, then (Barack) Obama came along.”

He did rank Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as two other candidates that he can see himself running against, even if he did disparage both of them as well.

“I see that ‘Pocahontas’ is doing better,” said Trump, using the nickname he gave Warren some time ago. “I would love to run against her. I see that Bernie Sanders is not doing well at all. I would have frankly run against him.”

But Trump said he doesn’t see others in the general election, specifying Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. As one he doesn’t see and downplaying South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s chances of being “a joke.”

He added that by the polls he sees, his campaign is doing well in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, he demurred when asked if he’d automatically endorse Vice President Mike Pence if he runs for the White House in 2024.

“I love Mike, we are running again,” said Trump. “You’re talking about a long time, so you can’t put me in that position, but I certainly would give it very strong consideration. He’s a very, very outstanding person.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Movistar Team rider Juan Jose Cobo of Spain cycles during the sixth stage of the Tour of Spain
Movistar team rider Juan Jose Cobo of Spain cycles during the sixth stage of the Tour of Spain “La Vuelta” cycling race between Tarazona and Jaca August 23, 2012. REUTERS/Joseba Etxaburu

June 14, 2019

(Reuters) – Spain’s Juan Jose Cobo has been found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation based on “abnormalities” in his biological passport between 2009 and 2011, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Thursday.

Cycling’s world governing body has imposed a three-year suspension on the now retired 38-year-old, with Spanish media reporting that he could also be stripped of his 2011 Vuelta a Espana title.

That would mean Briton Chris Froome, who finished second ahead of Bradley Wiggins in the race, could be awarded the victory for his seventh Grand Tour crown.

“The anti-doping tribunal found (Cobo) guilty of an anti-doping rule violation based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his biological passport and imposed a three-year period of ineligibility on the rider,” UCI said in a statement.

“In accordance with the procedural rules of the anti-doping tribunal, the decision will be published on the UCI website in due course.”

A biological passport is an electronic record where results of all doping tests by a rider over a period of time are collated and compared.

The UCI said that Cobo had used a prohibited substance but did not state what it was.

Cobo can appeal the decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport within a month.

Froome is currently in intensive care in France following surgery after a crash at the Criterium du Dauphine on Wednesday that ruled him out of next month’s Tour de France.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Diamond League - Zurich
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Letzigrund Stadium, Zurich, Switzerland – August 30, 2018 Caster Semenya of South Africa before the Women’s 800m REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

June 14, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Caster Semenya has been invited on Friday to run in an 800m race in Morocco on Sunday – after previously saying that she had been denied the right to participate in the event – but the invitation has come too late for her to get there, her agent said.

“She was invited today, but that was too late,” Jukka Harkonen told Reuters by phone. He pointed out that it takes more than 20 hours to travel to Morocco from South Africa, where Semenya lives.

(Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson at the launch of his campaign in London
FILE PHOTO: Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson attends the launch of his campaign in London, Britain June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

June 14, 2019

By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister, came under pressure on Friday to face the media over his Brexit plans as another of his rivals dropped out of the leadership battle.

Health minister Matt Hancock quit the battle to succeed May as Conservative Party leader, saying the party was looking for a candidate for the present not the future, leaving six contenders amongst whom Johnson is the overwhelming favorite.

He won the backing of 114 of 313 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of voting on Thursday, way ahead of foreign minister Jeremy Hunt who was second with 43 while three others were eliminated.

The issue dominating the contest is how and when Britain will leave the European Union and who is best placed to solve the crisis that has plunged the political establishment into turmoil since the 2016 referendum to leave the bloc.

May resigned as Conservative leader having failed three times to get her divorce deal with the EU through parliament. The EU has repeatedly said it will not renegotiate that deal.

Rivals turned their sights on Johnson who has pledged that Britain will leave on Oct. 31, whether or not a deal can be struck.

He argues that if Britain is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, the EU will bend to his argument to remove the so-called Northern Irish backstop to prevent a return to a hard border with Ireland if there is no agreed future trade deal.

But he has not yet agreed to take part in televised debates, the first of which takes place on Sunday, leading to accusations that the flamboyant former foreign secretary is avoiding difficult questions, in case any slip-up proves costly.

“We can only have that debate if our frontrunner in this campaign is a little bit braver in terms of getting out into the media, engaging in debates, engaging in the TV debate,” Hunt told BBC radio.

“What would Churchill say if somebody who wants to be prime minister of the United Kingdom was hiding away from the media, not taking part in these big occasions?”

The latter comment was a jibe at Johnson who wrote a biography of Britain’s World War Two leader.

SECOND ROUND

With Johnson so far ahead in the first round of voting, there had been speculation in the British media that some rivals might withdraw to allow a more unified challenge to the man who led the official leave campaign in 2016.

“I ran as the candidate of the future, but the party is understandably looking for a candidate for the unique circumstances we face right now,” Hancock said as he pulled out of the race.

“I will talk to all the other candidates about how these values can be best taken forward.”

A second round of voting among lawmakers takes place on Tuesday as the candidates are whittled down to a final two before 160,000 Conservative grassroots members choose the next leader by the end of July.

Lawmaker Priti Patel, one of Johnson’s party backers, said there would be plenty of opportunities to question him.

“We will see what happens over the next few weeks,” Patel said when asked by the BBC if Johnson would join the debates.

“I think this is incredibly unfair, actually. We saw Boris’ launch a couple of days ago. He spoke very clearly about the direction of travel in terms of where he stands on Brexit, how to deliver Brexit,” she said.

May’s potential successors have all said they could find the solution to the Brexit crisis which eluded her.

Parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would hurt financial markets and shock the world economy. But some of those running to lead the Conservatives, including Johnson, say it may be the only way for Britain to leave the bloc without further delay.

Another challenger, aid minister Rory Stewart, said Johnson had to attend the TV debates so lawmakers could see who was his best challenger.

“He keeps saying he will deliver Brexit by Oct. 31 but how?” Stewart said. “How is he going to renegotiate with Europe? How’s he going to get it through parliament because this can’t be just a blind act of faith?”

(Editing by William Schomberg)

Source: OANN

Otoniel Lima, mayor of La Nueva Concepcion, looks on during an interview with Reuters at La Nueva Concepcion
Otoniel Lima, mayor of La Nueva Concepcion, looks on during an interview with Reuters at the municipality of La Nueva Concepcion, Escuintla, Guatemala June 3, 2019. Picture taken June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

June 14, 2019

By Adriana Barrera and Sofia Menchu

NUEVA CONCEPCION, Guatemala (Reuters) – The mayor of Nueva Concepcion, a town on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, stands accused by prosecutors of drug trafficking and money laundering for Mexican cartels that use the coastal route to transport cocaine to the United States.

Yet Otoniel Lima, who rides around his poor municipality of 130,000 people in an armored SUV, has immunity from prosecution until his term ends in December. And until a few days ago, the 58-year-old planned to run for reelection on Sunday.

This week, Guatemala’s highest electoral court, the TSE, revoked his candidacy, some six months after the charges were filed. He is among a handful of candidates blocked from Sunday’s municipal, legislative and presidential polls for alleged links to drug trafficking.

Lima denies all the allegations against him.

“If I were a drug trafficker, I would admit it,” he told Reuters in his office, gesturing indignantly. “I would have fled – I would have left the country – but I haven’t.”

In Guatemala, a transit route for much of the cocaine that flows into the United States, drug trafficking looms as a major issue in Sunday’s elections – just as a U.N. anti-corruption body prepares to leave the Central American country.

Former first lady Sandra Torres, of the center-left UNE party, leads the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales, a former television host. She has pledged to send troops onto the streets to fight violent crime and to tackle poverty by boosting social programs.

Torres, who has pledged zero tolerance for drug trafficking, has around 20% of voting intentions according to the latest polls, ahead of veteran right-wing candidate Alejandro Giammattei, with around 14%.

Pollsters predict neither candidate will win more than 50% of votes, which would result in a second round in August.

High levels of violence by gangs and drug traffickers, as well as a sense of impunity for criminals, have prompted rising numbers of Guatemalans to flee the country for the United States, sparking an angry response from U.S. President Donald Trump and threats to slash U.S. aid to Central America.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARRED

Alleged links between criminal groups and some politicians have become a hot topic. The U.N. commission tasked with fighting corruption and organized crime – the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) – is preparing to leave in September after Morales refused to renew its mandate.

Highlighting the depth of the problem, presidential hopeful Mario Estrada and congressional candidate Julio Jose Rosales were arrested during the campaign on charges of links to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel. Traffickers allegedly financed their election campaigns in exchange for help transporting cocaine and heroin to the United States.

“Drug trafficking is contaminating our population,” said Torres, who is running for the UNE, the same party that propelled her ex-husband Alvaro Colom to power in 2007.

“We have towns where, when … planes land, the army and the police are not allowed to enter,” Torres told Reuters in an interview. She has pledged to end the growing influence of drug cartels in the armed forces.

The Organization of American States (OAS), stated in a 2013 report that 80% of the cocaine destined for the United States passes through Central America and Mexico.

A rise in seizures suggests the problem may be getting worse. In 2018, cocaine seizures in Guatemala amounted to a record 17,897 kilos, up 31% from the previous year, official data shows.

Some action has been taken against politicians with alleged links to drug trafficking, but campaigners say it is barely the tip of the iceberg.

The list of candidates for Sunday’s elections with a criminal record includes some who served prison sentences – including in the United States – for weapons possession and money laundering. There are also candidates with close relatives who are either imprisoned or have served prison sentences for drug trafficking.

Nine out of the 158 lawmakers elected for the current legislative period could not assume their seats due to legal proceedings ranging from corruption, money laundering and illicit enrichment, influence paddling and attempted homicide, according to a recent report by the CICIG.

Other criminal investigations are being carried out against “more than 10 legislators”, it added.

“The Congress of the Republic has become a tribune of confluence and agreement between economic, political, military and criminal actors who have benefited with impunity from undue power and enrichment,” said the CICIG report.

Former president Alfonso Portillo argues there is no easy solution to Guatemala’s problems because drug trafficking networks place their candidates in municipalities that are key to facilitate the transit of drugs.

Dirty money is laundered through public works carried out by the municipality, he said, winning public backing for their candidates.

The problem could get worse in September following the departure of the CICIG. Founded in 2007, the CICIG has, working together with Guatemala’s public prosecutors, uncovered cases of corruption.

One of these cases led to the resignation and imprisonment of former president Otto Perez Molina and his vice president Roxana Baldetti for corruption, association with a criminal group and conspiracy to traffic drugs.

The commission did not receive President Morales’ backing to stay once its mandate ends in September.

Morales accused the CICIG of being a “threat to peace” in Guatemala after the agency requested in August 2018 a preliminary hearing against him for alleged illicit election financing.

Carmen Rosa De Leon, a director of the Institute for Teaching for Sustainable Development in Guatemala City, said that even though the UN body was not designed to target drug trafficking, its presence helped to police governance.

“Without the CICIG, we will see more links between officials and drug traffickers in illicit financing because there will be less vigilance and more penetration of organized crime involving officials, political parties and public administration,” she said.

However, many in Guatemala’s political elites are keen to see the U.N. body shuttered. Giammattei, the presidential candidate of right-wing Vamos, who ranks second in polls, said the time of the CICIG “is over” and the fight against corruption should be led by the president himself.

“We believe in binational agreements, not in multilateral agreements that impose condition upon us,” he said in reference to the role of the CICIG.

Torres has said she will organize a referendum on whether to allow the U.N. body to remain.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Sofia Menchu in Nueva Concepcion, Guatemala; editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, both of the U.S., compete in Women's 400m hurdles during the IAAF Diamond League in Bislett Stadium in Oslo
Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, both of the U.S., compete in Women’s 400m hurdles during the IAAF Diamond League in Bislett Stadium in Oslo, Norway June 13, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Lise Aserud via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NORWAY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN NORWAY.

June 13, 2019

OSLO (Reuters) – World junior record holder Sydney McLaughlin upstaged Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad to win the women’s 400 meters hurdles race at the Bislett Games on Thursday.

McLaughlin, running in her favorite event for the first time as a professional, made a poor start and clipped the first hurdle with her knee but took advantage after Muhammad, who appeared to be cruising, ran out of gas in the closing stages.

The 19-year-old burst past three other runners including world champion Kori Carter to win in 54.16 seconds, ahead of fellow American Muhammad in 54.35.

“It wasn’t the cleanest race for me but I came back strong,” McLaughlin said. “It was a sloppy race but I pulled through. I’ve got to work on my first half of the race, the second half is always my strongest.”

The men’s 400 meters hurdles produced an outstanding run from world champion Karsten Warholm as the Norwegian won in a European record of 47.33 seconds to the delight of the home crowd.

Warholm and Commonwealth champion Kyron McMaster were level after the fifth hurdle but the British Virgin Islander stumbled slightly as he landed and Warholm burst away.

World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech was beaten in the home straight by fellow Kenyan Norah Jeruto who won the women’s 3,000 meters steeplechase in a world leading time of nine minutes 03.71 seconds.

World championship silver medalist Christian Coleman also set a world leading time as he won the 100 meters in 9.85 seconds, especially impressive in the cool conditions.

“It was a good run and a pretty good time – now I’ll look back at the video and critique it,” said Coleman. “It wasn’t ideal conditions but the crowd made it exciting.”

The American was quick out of the blocks and was so far ahead by the halfway point that it did not matter when he lost ground over the last few meters.

(The story makes clear it was McLaughlin’s first 400 meters hurdles race as a professional.)

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Monaco Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 26, 2019 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in action during the race REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

June 13, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) – Ferrari will not formally appeal the penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, the team said on Thursday, but could still seek a review of the decision by presenting fresh evidence.

The deadline for the Formula One team to lodge a formal protest was Thursday evening, 96 hours after the end of the race in Montreal.

“We have withdrawn our intention to appeal and are evaluating the right of review,” a Ferrari spokeswoman said.

The team had said on Sunday they intended to appeal after stewards handed Vettel a five-second penalty for going off track and returning in what they deemed to be an unsafe fashion.

Vettel had led from start to finish but lost out to Mercedes’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton after the penalty was added on to the German’s time at the checkered flag.

“They are stealing the race from us,” Vettel, a four-times world champion, had said over the radio when told he was under investigation.

The stewards’ decision triggered an immediate controversy with some defending the penalty while others felt the officials had killed off an exciting race by over-zealous application of the rules.

Some ex-drivers, who felt Vettel could have done nothing different, questioned whether the rules were fit for purpose with Formula One trying to encourage better and more entertaining racing.

“He stayed ahead the entire race, he crossed the checkered flag first, for us he’s the moral winner. We won today,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto at the time.

The sporting regulations do not allow for in-race penalties to be appealed but Ferrari can seek a review of the stewards’ actions under article 14.1.1 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.

This allows for further action in the event of any “significant and relevant new element” coming to light that was not available to those seeking the review at the time of competition.

Ferrari have 14 days since the publication of the final race classification to produce fresh evidence, if they do decide to take that course.

The stewards then have sole discretion to determine whether such a significant and relevant new element existed, with their decision final.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Diamond League - Doha
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Diamond League – Doha – Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar – May 3, 2019 South Africa’s Caster Semenya wins the women’s 800m REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari/File Photo

June 13, 2019

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Caster Semenya has been denied participation in her favored 800 meters race in Morocco, the athlete said on Thursday, despite Switzerland’s highest court rejecting an IAAF request for eligibility regulations to be reimposed on the South African.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations say XY chromosome athletes with differences in sexual development (DSDs) can only race in distances from 400m to a mile if they take medication to reduce their naturally-occurring testosterone levels.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal (SFT) temporarily lifted the regulations affecting Semenya until June 25 but could extend that further after hearing submissions from the IAAF and Athletics South Africa over an appeal against a May 1 Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) award upholding the rules.

The IAAF wanted the regulations reinstated against 28-year-old Semenya immediately, but this was rejected by the SFT, according to the South African’s lawyers.

However, her request to race in Rabat this weekend has been denied by the Moroccan Athletics Federation, without reasons being given, despite her eligibility to compete.

Semenya’s lawyers said in a statement on Thursday that she was seeking clarity over this apparent “violation” of the SFT order.

The IAAF and the Moroccan Athletics Federation did not did immediately respond to requests for comment.

The IAAF has previously stated that the regulations are designed to provide fair competition in the selected women’s events and to safeguard the future of the sport.

Semenya had toyed with the idea of boycotting the 800m in solidarity with other athletes affected by the regulations, but said she had decided that running was the best form of protest.

“No woman should be subjected to these rules,” Semenya said. “I thought hard about not running the 800m in solidarity unless all women can run free. But I will run now to show the IAAF that they cannot drug us.”

Semenya will also apply to race at that distance in the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California on June 30, where she has already entered the 3,000 meters.

“I am a woman, but the IAAF has again tried to stop me from running the way I was born,” she said.

“The IAAF questions my sex, causes me great pain and required me to take hormonal drugs that made me feel constantly sick and unable to focus for many years.

“No other woman should be forced to go through this in order to have the same right that all women have – to do what we love and run the way we were born.”

(Reporting by Nick Said; Additional reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts working lunch with governors at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a working lunch with governors on workforce freedom and mobility in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis – RC11EBB95250

June 13, 2019

By Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of giving Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential race, while a top Republican ally said Trump was wrong to say he would accept political dirt from foreign sources.

The uproar followed televised comments in which the U.S. president told ABC News he would be willing to listen to such damaging information about political opponents as he seeks re-election.

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening,” Trump said in an interview aired Wednesday. “It’s not an interference. They have information, I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI – if I thought there was something wrong.”

Trump’s comments came less than three months after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a report that found Russia waged a hacking and influence campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

The Trump remarks to ABC drew outrage from Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates seeking to challenge Trump in 2020, as well as one of Trump’s leading Republican allies.

“What the president said last night shows clearly, once again, over and over again, that he does not know the difference between right and wrong,” said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress. “There is no sense … any ethical sense that informs his comments and his thinking.”

Some Democratic presidential candidates renewed their call to impeach the president. However, Pelosi said Democratic leaders would stick with their plan to investigate Trump and his administration before any formal impeachment proceedings.

One of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, joined Democrats in criticizing the president’s remarks.

“I think it’s a mistake,” said, Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He accused Democrats of also having accepted damaging information from foreign nationals on political opponents and said any public official contacted by a foreign government with an offer of help to their campaign should reject it and inform the FBI.

Some prominent Republicans struggled to explain the president’s comments, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying he was confident Trump was speaking hypothetically.

Others were outspoken in their discomfort. “It is never appropriate to allow a foreign government or its agents to interfere in our election process. Period,” said Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Fox News that Trump said he would “of course” go to the FBI if there was wrongdoing, although Trump said he would “maybe” go to the FBI.

“THING OF VALUE”

Any foreign contribution of “money or other thing of value” violates U.S. campaign finance law. Legal experts say knowingly soliciting information from a foreign entity would also be illegal.

An FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian election activities in the 2016 presidential election sparked Mueller’s probe, which confirmed U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia worked to help Trump win.

Mueller, whose investigation examined a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that Trump’s campaign had with Russians promising dirt on Clinton, did not charge Trump campaign staff who attended the meeting.

Trump defended his remarks in a flurry of tweets on Thursday morning, saying he talks with foreign governments daily but he did not address the issue of accepting political dirt on his opponents. “Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous!”

Top Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committee expressed alarm at Trump’s comments.

Senator Mark Warner recalled Trump’s “Russia, if you are listening” call for Moscow to dig up Clinton’s missing emails during the 2016 campaign.

“The President has given Russia the green light to interfere in the 2020 election,” Warner wrote in a Twitter post.

“The president has either learned nothing in the last two years or picked up exactly the wrong lesson – that he can accept gleefully foreign assistance again and escape the punishment of the law,” U.S. Representative Adam Schiff said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the Democratic 2020 race so far, said: “This isn’t about politics. It is a threat to our national security.”

Democratic presidential candidates who renewed calls for Trump’s impeachment included U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell.

“A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump,” Warren said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu, Makini Brice, Richrad Cowan, Ginger Gibson; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London
PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain, June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

June 13, 2019

By Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and William James

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, who has pledged to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31, surged closer to power on Thursday, winning by far the most support from Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.

Three years since voting 52%-48% to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom is heading toward a possible crisis over Brexit as most of the candidates vying to succeed May are prepared to leave on Oct. 31 without a deal.

While parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would hurt financial markets and the world economy, some of those running say it may be the only way for Britain to leave the bloc without further delay.

Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the contest to replace May. A total of 313 lawmakers voted.

“Thank you to my friends and colleagues in the Conservative & Unionist Party for your support. I am delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go,” Johnson said on Twitter.

His closest rivals were: Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, who won 43 votes; Michael Gove, environment minister, with 37 votes and Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, on 27 votes.

Sajid Javid, interior minister, came fifth with 23 votes. Matt Hancock won 20 votes and Rory Stewart 19. Three were knocked out: former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey.

Betting markets give Johnson, who has a long record of scandals and gaffes, a 70% probability of winning the top job.

SECOND ROUND

Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has spent weeks wooing Conservative lawmakers, staying out of the spotlight with a low-key campaign at odds with his flamboyant publicity stunts of the past.

But his spokesman, while celebrating a higher-than-expected number of supporters, said there was still “a long way to go in the contest and you have to hold the numbers to go into the next rounds and that’s the challenge”.

The second round is due on June 18 with further ballots planned for June 19 and June 20 until there are just two candidates. A postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership will then be held to pick a leader.

A new prime minister should be chosen by the end of July. There had been speculation that the contest could be accelerated due to Johnson’s strong lead but there was no immediate sign of rivals bowing out of the race.

Some were quick to make veiled warnings about the frontrunner.

Hunt, who has pitched himself as a unifier of both Brexit-supporting and pro-EU Conservatives, warned members of the party that “the stakes have rarely been higher for our country”. “This serious moment calls for a serious leader,” he tweeted.

Stewart, who has criticized Johnson for making promises on Brexit he cannot keep, voiced optimism about his campaign: “This is amazing – we’re getting some real momentum here … It’s increasingly clear it’s me against Boris. And let’s win.”

Finance minister Philip Hammond, who has not publicly endorsed a candidate, wrote on Thursday to all remaining leadership contenders to urge them to stick to existing budget rules until at least the next scheduled election in 2022.

Johnson has proposed cutting income tax to 20% from 40% for those earning 50,000-80,000 pounds ($65,000-$105,000), while Gove has suggested replacing value-added tax on goods and services with a narrower sales tax.

Johnson kicked off his official campaign on Wednesday with a pledge to lead Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 and a warning to his divided Conservative Party that “delay means defeat”.

“After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31,” Johnson, 54, said then. “I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome.”

Johnson, whose unconventional style has helped him shrug off a series of scandals in the past, has won over much of his party by arguing that only he can rescue the Conservatives by delivering Brexit.

He argues that if Britain is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, the EU will bend to his argument to remove the so-called Northern Irish backstop to prevent a return to a hard border with Ireland if there is no agreed future trade deal.

But the EU has refused to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement reached with May last November and Ireland has said it is not willing to change the backstop.

On Wednesday, the European Commission said: “In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom … and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 1 November 2019 very much remains a possible – although undesirable – outcome.”

(Additional reporting by David Milliken; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Stephen Addison and Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump ripped into Democrats, for their double standard when it comes to talking to foreign officials.

Trump made his comments in a series of tweets on Thursday morning.

He wrote: “I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Wales, the P.M. of the United Kingdom, the P.M. of Ireland, the President of France and the President of Poland. We talked about ‘Everything!’ Should I immediately….

“….call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous! I would never be trusted again. With that being said, my full answer is rarely played by the Fake News Media. They purposely leave out the part that matters.

“When Senator @MarkWarnerVA spoke at length, and in great detail, about extremely negative information on me, with a talented entertainer purporting to be a Russian Operative, did he immediately call the FBI? NO, in fact he didn’t even tell the Senate Intelligence Committee of…

“….which he is a member. When @RepAdamSchiff took calls from another person, also very successfully purporting to be a Russian Operative, did he call the FBI, or even think to call the FBI? NO! The fact is that the phony Witch Hunt is a giant scam where Democrats…

“….and other really bad people, SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN! They even had an ‘insurance policy’ just in case Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost their race for the Presidency! This is the biggest & worst political scandal in the history of the United States of America. Sad!”

Source: NewsMax Politics

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the Han Kuang military exercise simulating China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invasion of the island, in Changhua
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the Han Kuang military exercise simulating China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invasion of the island, in Changhua, Taiwan May 28, 2019. Military News Agency /Handout via REUTERS

June 13, 2019

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday won the ruling party’s hotly contested nomination for the 2020 presidential election, domestic media said, in a boost to her administration.

Tsai beat her former premier, William Lai, in a national tally for the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party’s primary race, several television broadcasters and newspapers said.

The self-ruled island is set to hold its presidential election in January, amid heightened tension with China, which considers it a wayward province and has never ruled out the use of force to return it to the fold, if necessary.

The election made front-page headlines in April after Foxconn chairman Terry Gou joined the primary for the China-friendly opposition party in Taiwan.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the Han Kuang military exercise simulating China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invasion of the island, in Changhua
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during the Han Kuang military exercise simulating China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invasion of the island, in Changhua, Taiwan May 28, 2019. Military News Agency /Handout via REUTERS

June 13, 2019

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday won the ruling party’s hotly contested nomination for the 2020 presidential election, domestic media said, in a boost to her administration.

Tsai beat her former premier, William Lai, in a national tally for the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party’s primary race, several television broadcasters and newspapers said.

The self-ruled island is set to hold its presidential election in January, amid heightened tension with China, which considers it a wayward province and has never ruled out the use of force to return it to the fold, if necessary.

The election made front-page headlines in April after Foxconn chairman Terry Gou joined the primary for the China-friendly opposition party in Taiwan.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN


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