Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guruIndian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own "cosmic" country. Swami Nithyananda -- one of many self-styled Indian "godmen" with thousands of followers and a chequered past -- is wanted by police for alleged rape, sexual abuse, and abduction of children. Earlier this week, he announced online that he has created his own new country -- reportedly off Ecuador's coast -- complete with cabinet, golden passports, and even a department of homeland security.


3 Guard members killed in Minnesota Black Hawk crash identified

3 Guard members killed in Minnesota Black Hawk crash identifiedKilled were Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, 30; and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28.


Judiciary Committee releases report on grounds for impeachment

Judiciary Committee releases report on grounds for impeachmentThe release of the report comes ahead of the second Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Monday.


North Dakota county may become US's 1st to bar new refugees

North Dakota county may become US's 1st to bar new refugeesReuben Panchol was forced to leave war-torn Sudan decades ago as a child, embarking on an odyssey that eventually brought him to the American Midwest and left him eternally grateful to the country that took him in. “I am an American citizen, a North Dakotan,” said Panchol, a 38-year-old father of four. If they vote to bar refugees, as expected, Burleigh County — home to about 95,000 people and the capital city of Bismarck — could become the first local government to do so since President Donald Trump issued an executive order making it possible.


Could Mexico's Version of the Marine Corps Crush the Cartels?

Could Mexico's Version of the Marine Corps Crush the Cartels?Could this work?


UPDATE 1-Mexico accepts U.S. steel demand in USMCA trade deal, but with conditions

UPDATE 1-Mexico accepts U.S. steel demand in USMCA trade deal, but with conditionsMexico would accept a U.S. demand on steel in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement if the rule took effect at least five years after the trade pact's ratification, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday. Mexican lawmakers earlier this year approved the deal, known as USMCA, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also made a last-minute demand to restrict the definition of what would constitute North American steel and aluminum under automotive rules of origin, calling for the metals to be "melted and poured" only in North America.


13 Mythical Creatures, Ranked

13 Mythical Creatures, Ranked


Polyamorous 20-year-old is dating 4 men while pregnant with her first child

Polyamorous 20-year-old is dating 4 men while pregnant with her first childTory Ojeda is a 20-year-old woman from Jacksonville, Fla., who is in a polyamorous relationship with four men. She is now expecting her first child with one of her partners. Ojeda told Barcroft Media that while the baby is biologically one of her partner's, the five of them plan on raising the child together as a family.


Whistleblower goes public after leaked documents reveal China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims

Whistleblower goes public after leaked documents reveal China's crackdown on Uighur MuslimsA Uighur woman living in the Netherlands has gone public about helping to leak secret Chinese government documents regarding human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang province because of fears for her safety. Asiye Abdulaheb told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that she was involved in last month’s leak of papers to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which highlighted the Chinese government's crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. The reveal, which followed an earlier document leak to the New York Times, showed how the Chinese government has indoctrinated and punished over a million Muslims, mainly members of the Uighur ethnic minority, in internment camps. Ms Abdulaheb, 46, told the New York Times that she went public to dissuade Chinese authorities from harming her, her ex-husband Jasur Abibula and the former couple’s two children. She said that after tweeting an excerpt from the documents in June she received a message on Facebook saying: “If you don’t stop, you’ll end up cut into pieces in the black trash can in front of your doorway.” Ms Abdulaheb and Mr Abibula are Dutch citizens and have lived in the Netherlands since 2009. Ms Abdulaheb said she had worked in a government office in Xinjiang, and was sent the secret documents electronically by an unnamed source or sources in June. Mr Abibula was convinced by a Xinjiang-based friend to travel to Dubai in September where, according to Ms Abdulaheb, he was met by Chinese security officials. They allegedly questioned him for days and attempted to convince him to help them hack his ex-wife’s computer.  “I thought that this thing has to be made public,” Ms Abdulaheb said. “The Chinese police would definitely find us. The people in Dubai had told my ex-husband, ‘We know about all your matters. We have a lot of people in the Netherlands.’”   Beijing dismissed the documents as “fake news”, claiming that the internment camps were “re-education centres” built to quell terrorism. On 3 December the US House of Representatives passed the Uighur Act of 2019 bill, which could lead to sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the abuses.


French murder suspect emerges from coma after swallowing poison

French murder suspect emerges from coma after swallowing poisonThe suspect for the rape and murder of a young woman in northern France almost two decades ago was slowly emerging from a coma while under guard in hospital Saturday after he swallowed pesticide in an apparent suicide bid following his conviction. Willy Bardon, on trial over the murder of Elodie Kulik in 2002 in a case that has attracted strong interest in France for years, ingested the substance at the courthouse in the northern city of Amiens late on Friday. Bardon, 45, is under round-the-clock police surveillance in hospital.


Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say So

Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say SoThe news that Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race highlights the fact that the Democratic field is growing less diverse with each passing month. It's now reached the point where a field that showed such promising diversity at first has been whittled down essentially to four people with first-tier status, and they're all white. There is diversity within than foursome--a gay man, a Jewish man, a woman. But in a party so dependent on voters of color, this is striking--and not in a good way. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Democrats selecting a white presidential candidate to represent the party. But that should be up to the voters, and not the DNC by means of their debate inclusion practices.Those candidates can, however strike a blow for diversity. They should band together and threaten to boycott the December Democratic debate unless the DNC and media partners agree to not exclude candidates who have shown measurable public support before the voting begins. That includes, at the very least, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, and could also include Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard, who have managed to make the most recent debate stage despite long odds.Although Harris had qualified for the December debate, her exit could create an unacceptable scenario on December 19 when the candidates gather in Los Angeles. Booker and Castro’s exclusion, coupled with the probable exclusion of other candidates of color including Yang and Gabbard, means the December debate could very well include only six candidates, all of them white. (Booker, Castro, Yang, and Gabbard have all hit the fundraising threshold, but not the polling one.)Kamala Harris Quits 2020 Race: ‘She Didn’t Know What She Was About’Democrats and the DNC should be asking themselves if they really want to eliminate all the candidates of color before the first states even get to vote. And the leading candidates, all of whom are white, should do something about it.There is precedent for the top-tier candidates banding together to protect the integrity of the debate process. Back in January 2016, NBC News, as a DNC debate sponsor, tried to bar former governor Martin O’Malley from its debate, citing his poor polling numbers compared to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While it was apparent that O’Malley’s campaign was going nowhere, it was obvious to any objective observer that eliminating him was a choice for voters in Iowa and the other primary states to make—not NBC News.On January 8, 2016 shortly after noon, Sanders tweeted that O’Malley should be allowed on the next debate stage. Literally one minute later, the Clinton campaign tweeted out similar support for O’Malley’s inclusion. And a few hours later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted that the DNC was also demanding that NBC News include O’Malley.This joint public pressure ensured O’Malley’s inclusion. It turned out to be his final debate, but it was the voters, and not outside organizations, who chose O’Malley’s fate.Dear Debate Moderators, You Are Working Up Democrats About the Wrong IssueNow, it is the DNC itself that is the culprit of such unfair practices. The party has established criteria for the December debate, which will mean that Booker and Castro could both be possibly excluded from the stage.Booker and Castro have been able to organically secure more than 200,000 unique donors each, and both have shown measurable poll support, especially with African-Americans and Latinos respectively. Excluding these two candidates of color, who represent crucial aspects of the Democratic base, from debates before Iowa could be a mistake with lasting implications for the party and country.I personally like some of these candidates, such as Booker and Castro, while I am not fond of Gabbard. But whether I like them isn’t the point. It is not my place nor anyone else’s place to deny a candidate an equal opportunity to make their case.Maybe there is an argument to be made for a smaller debate stage at some point, but the DNC has set up criteria that allows a billionaire to buy his spot while excluding serious candidates with a following and something to say.And while we’re on the subject of Tom Steyer, he has spent $47 million of his own money in what amounts to a scam. Since he needs donors only to meet the DNC’s bizarre debate criteria, he has essentially purchased his donor base, through tactics such as selling $1 swag with free shipping—usually items worth far more than $1—that has nothing to do with him or his presidential campaign. Why should he be allowed to “sell” a button about climate change or opposing Donald Trump for $1 and use that as some kind of indicia of popular support? He has also blanketed early states with enough TV ads and fancy mail to get his name identification up to the point that just enough people might utter it to a pollster because they recognize it.Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg is eschewing debates thus far, but with his $52 billion in net worth it’s not hard to imagine clever ways for him to meet future DNC debate thresholds.A debate stage that lets a white billionaire like Steyer buy his spot but excludes substantive candidates of color like Booker and Castro is neither democratic nor representative of the Democratic Party.As a person of color, I hope the DNC and the frontrunners are listening. It isn’t the DNC’s place to eliminate viable candidates before voters are allowed a say. I hope Biden, Sanders, Warren, and others will step up to tell the DNC that the Democratic Party is stronger when all viable candidates are allowed to be heard.David de la Fuente is a senior political analyst at Third Way.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Says South Carolinians Saw the Confederate Flag as 'Service' Before Dylan Roof 'Hijacked' It

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Says South Carolinians Saw the Confederate Flag as 'Service' Before Dylan Roof 'Hijacked' ItMany argued Haley was not fully acknowledging the flag's Civil War and segregationists origins


Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from AfghanistanThe body of a Japanese doctor killed in a roadside shooting in Afghanistan arrived back home Sunday, with government officials on hand to lead a brief ceremony of mourning at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Tetsu Nakamura was killed last week, along with five Afghans who had been traveling with him. Keisuke Suzuki, Japan's state minister of foreign affairs, joined other officials in bowing their heads in prayer after laying flowers by the coffin, draped in white, in a solemn ceremony in honor of Nakamura at the airport.


China Is Building Its Very Own Stealth Bombers: Meet the H-20 and JH-XX

China Is Building Its Very Own Stealth Bombers: Meet the H-20 and JH-XXMeet the H-20 and JH-XX


'Never had a better friend': Trump touts Israel record at Jewish gathering

'Never had a better friend': Trump touts Israel record at Jewish gatheringThe president praises allies and attacks his enemies while speaking to Republican and Jewish donors in the critical swing state of Florida.


Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido

Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido(Bloomberg) -- The standoff in Venezuela briefly took a new twist, according to a report from the Spanish newspaper ABC.People close to both President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido plotted to push both men aside and end the nation’s crisis with the rule of a temporary junta, the newspaper reported without citing where it got the information.The article didn’t cite sources by name, nor was it completely clear how deeply embedded the plan was before it was discovered and fell apart. But the story suggests a strong desire within the camps of both men to end the standoff between Maduro and Guaido almost a year old. Guaido, the National Assembly president, has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S., as Venezuela’s leader.Third WayThe ABC story suggested a third way, which the paper reported was born out of talks between emissaries of high-ranking Venezuelan officials with opposition leaders, in four countries between April and October this year, after huge rallies demanding Maduro’s exit.The key figure appears to be Humberto Calderon Berti, then the designated ambassador to Colombia who Guaido dismissed last month. He was the main Guaido negotiator in the talks with the emissaries for Venezuelan officials who defied Maduro.At some point in the talks, the paper said, Calderon Berti was approached to head a “transitional junta” -- a small group of powerful men who would lead the nation for 18 months. The paper said that an agreement was drafted by August, with the document outlining the political changes to oust Maduro, sideline Guaido and install the junta sent around to the key players.The Venezuelan officials who sent emissaries for the secret talks included president of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela’s most powerful men with strong ties to the military, Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.The negotiations were complex, involving the reconciliation of various factions within the army and voiding the May 2018 presidential elections Maduro is widely seen as winning only by fraud.Temporary JuntaThe paper cites discussions in which a Cabello emissary, army captain Carlos Aguilera Borjas, suggests that Calderon Berti head the temporary junta. The paper says that Maduro’s regime discovered the talks, which then came to an end.Calderon Berti told ABC newspaper that he met with Aguilera Borjas and others. But these meetings were part of his diplomatic duties and had nothing to do with a plot to form a junta, Calderon Berti said.Guaido’s representatives declined to comment on the ABC report, while the Maduro government didn’t respond to requests to do so.To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Orozco in Mexico City at jorozco8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at ncruz4@bloomberg.net, Ian Fisher, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


The acting Navy secretary promises he'll fix the Ford aircraft carrier because he's tired of it being a 'whipping boy for why the Navy can't do anything right'

The acting Navy secretary promises he'll fix the Ford aircraft carrier because he's tired of it being a 'whipping boy for why the Navy can't do anything right'Explaining that the president is "very concerned" about the Ford, Modly said that he is making fixing this flattop a top priority for the Navy.


American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawl

American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawlAround 2,000 US Army soldiers have been banned from one of the main streets in the Italian city of Vicenza after a  brawl between soldiers and locals.  The temporary ban, which affects members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in the city, involves the quaint via  Contra' Pescherie Vecchie, where two young Vicenza men say they were surrounded and beaten by several soldiers after a verbal exchange just outside a popular watering hole for off duty combat paratroopers.  “This is not my face. I was not like this before,” Riccardo Passaro, 21, told La Repubblica from the hospital where he is recovering from reconstructive facial surgery after his jaw was shattered.  City authorities are studying CCTV images to identify the culprits of the latest violent episode, which prompted Mayor Francesco Rucco to request special restrictive measures from the base commander.  Col. Kenneth Burgess issued a memo warning that personnel caught entering the restricted zone during the 45-day ban faced disciplinary sanctions. “It is a decree without precedent in Vicenza and for this we thank the American authorities," Mayor Rucco said. The US military presence in Vicenza has been expanding for the last decade, with construction of the large Del Din annex north of the historic Ederle garrison to help lodge US Africa Command and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which conducts contingency response and NATO ally training in Europe.  Vicenza's 113,000 inhabitants now intermingle, mostly peacefully, with more than 12,000 Americans, including military family members and employees of the two bases bookending the city.  But an uptick in problems related to heavy drinking, violence and public disorder since the expansion has exasperated locals.   In 2014,  several rape investigations and a car crash in the city centre involving three pedestrians made headlines. In 2016 and 2017 there were bloody brawls involving injuries and property damage. And in 2018, police intervened 550 times in violent incidents involving Americans, prompting new joint night patrols this year by U.S. military police and Italian Carabinieri.


New Jersey journalist re-arrested in Nigeria after brief glimpse of freedom

New Jersey journalist re-arrested in Nigeria after brief glimpse of freedomOmoyele Sowore, imprisoned in his home country of Nigeria since August, has been freed from government custody, but still has to stand trial.


Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken ship

Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken shipWith speeches and salutes, veterans and officials on Saturday commemorated the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, which brought a previously reluctant United States into World War II. A ceremony honoring survivors attended by US Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Washington's ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris was held within sight of the sunken USS Arizona, which was bombed in the opening moments of the attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans. Later in the day, the remains of Lauren Bruner, who died in September at age 98 and was among the last sailors rescued from the Arizona after it exploded into flames, will be interred in the wreckage.


5-Year-Old Carried a Toddler Through Minus 31-Degree Weather After Left Alone in Alaska Home

5-Year-Old Carried a Toddler Through Minus 31-Degree Weather After Left Alone in Alaska HomeThe children, who were dressed just in socks and light clothing, both received cold-related injuries


Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': Kyodo

Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': KyodoThe Imperial Japanese Army asked the government to provide one "comfort woman" for every 70 soldiers, Japan's Kyodo news agency said, citing wartime government documents it had reviewed, shedding a fresh light on Tokyo's involvement in the practice. "Comfort women" is a euphemism for the girls and women - many of them Korean - forced into prostitution at Japanese military brothels. The issue has plagued Japan's ties with South Korea for decades.


Russia's Su-57 Would Be A Game-Changer If It Wasn't So Expensive

Russia's Su-57 Would Be A Game-Changer If It Wasn't So ExpensiveMoscow can't afford it.


AOC calls out Trump after news that Amazon plans to hire 1,500 employees in New York City

AOC calls out Trump after news that Amazon plans to hire 1,500 employees in New York CityFollowing reports that Amazon plans to open a new office in New York City, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the Trump administration "should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families."


Trump says pro-Israel group will vote for him to protect their money: ‘You’re not nice people at all. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax’

Trump says pro-Israel group will vote for him to protect their money: ‘You’re not nice people at all. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax’Donald Trump has been accused of antisemitism after he told a pro-Israel Jewish group they will vote for him to protect their wealth.Mr Trump referred to members of the Israeli American Council as “brutal killers” and “not nice people” but claimed they would vote for him to avoid a wealth tax, as proposed by Democratic challengers Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.


Lebanese-born donor of Hitler items welcomed in Israel

Lebanese-born donor of Hitler items welcomed in IsraelIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday welcomed a Lebanese-born Swiss real estate mogul who purchased Nazi memorabilia at a German auction and is donating the items to Israel. Chatila, a Lebanese Christian who has lived in Switzerland for decades, paid some 600,000 euros ($660,000) for the items at the Munich auction last month, intending to destroy them after reading of Jewish groups’ objections to the sale. Among the items he bought were Adolf Hitler’s top hat, a silver-plated edition of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and a typewriter used by the dictator’s secretary.


An American trucking giant is slated to declare bankruptcy — and it may leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and jobless

An American trucking giant is slated to declare bankruptcy — and it may leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and joblessCeladon is reportedly declaring bankruptcy this week, and that collapse may leave thousands of truck drivers jobless and away from home.


'I felt like I was going to die': A harrowing look into CIA torture from the eyes of a detainee

'I felt like I was going to die': A harrowing look into CIA torture from the eyes of a detaineeA CIA detainee's drawings detail the brutal reach of torture. They are part of a new Seton Hall report called "How America Tortures."


Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspects

Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspectsA top Indian rights group on Saturday launched an investigation into the police shooting of four rape-murder suspects after accusations they were gunned down in cold blood to assuage public anger. The launch of the investigation by the National Human Rights Commission comes as India also reeled from the death of another woman on Friday, set on fire on her way to a sexual assault court hearing in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.


Beijing Orders Removal of Foreign Tech in State Offices, FT Says

Beijing Orders Removal of Foreign Tech in State Offices, FT Says(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese government has ordered state offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years, the Financial Times reported.The move is part of a broader effort to decrease China’s reliance on foreign technologies and boost its domestic industry. The goal is to substitute 30% of the technology next year, 50% in 2021 and 20% in 2022, the newspaper reported, citing estimates from analysts at the brokerage China Securities.The government under President Xi Jinping has been trying for years to replace technologies from abroad, and particularly from the U.S. Bloomberg News reported five years ago that Beijing was aiming to purge most foreign technology from its banks, the military, government agencies and state-owned enterprises by 2020.U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive policies against China and its leading companies have given this effort renewed urgency. His administration banned U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Technologies Co. this year and blacklisted other Chinese firms.Still, Beijing’s push has proven difficult because its domestic industry hasn’t yet shown itself capable of matching foreign technologies in certain sectors. Particularly hard to replace, for example, are semiconductors from suppliers like Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp., as well as software from Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.The FT reported that the latest order came from the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Office earlier this year. The newspaper said the goal is to use “secure and controllable” technology as part of the country’s Cyber Security Law passed in 2017.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.net;Debby Wu in Taipei at dwu278@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Democratic candidate Warren discloses details of past legal work, showing $2 million in compensation

Democratic candidate Warren discloses details of past legal work, showing $2 million in compensationDemocratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released information on Sunday about her past legal work, showing nearly $2 million in compensation from dozens of clients, as a dispute intensified with her rival Pete Buttigieg over transparency. Warren, a leading candidate among the 15 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, had already put out 11 years of tax returns in April and called on other candidates to follow suit. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has said in recent days that Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, should release older tax documents detailing her corporate legal work.


Is Russia's New Anti-Tank Weapon Aimed at the Army's M1 Abrams?

Is Russia's New Anti-Tank Weapon Aimed at the Army's M1 Abrams?Maybe, but Russia has its own problem.


The 25 Best Tower Defense Games

The 25 Best Tower Defense Games


World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous rate, study says

World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous rate, study saysScientists warn that ocean deoxygenation will have widespread global effects on marine ecosystems and the people that rely on them.


Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp, dies

Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp, diesPiero Terracina, described as the last survivor among the Roman Jews who were deported from the Italian capital to Nazi death camps during World War II, has died at 91. Terracina died on Sunday, Rome's Jewish Community said. As a 15-year-old, he escaped the roundup by German occupying troops of Rome's Jews in 1943 and went into hiding with his family.


One of the world's largest basic-income trials, a 2-year program in Finland, was a major flop. But experts say the test was flawed.

One of the world's largest basic-income trials, a 2-year program in Finland, was a major flop. But experts say the test was flawed.Two years after Finland launched a basic-income trial for unemployed residents, many of the recipients remained jobless.


He tried to save his wife from their burning home. She died holding his hand

He tried to save his wife from their burning home. She died holding his hand"She was my best friend," Todd Gillette said of his 50-year-old wife, who died in a house fire in South Dakota.


Day 5 of public transport chaos as French strike bites

Day 5 of public transport chaos as French strike bitesFrench commuters and tourists braced for a fifth day of public transport chaos Monday as the government prepared to respond to widespread anger over pension reform that has sparked open-ended walkouts. President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and senior cabinet ministers met late Sunday to discuss the contentious reform, which the country's powerful labour unions claim will force many to work longer for a smaller retirement payout. As both the government and unions vowed to stand firm, businesses started counting the costs of the strike which began last Thursday when some 800,000 people took to the streets across France in a mass rejection of plans to introduce a single, points-based pension scheme, unifying 42 existing plans.


Catholic Celebrity to Challenge Polish President in 2020 Vote

Catholic Celebrity to Challenge Polish President in 2020 Vote(Bloomberg) -- Szymon Holownia, a TV show host and writer known for his Catholic views, announced plans to run against incumbent Andrzej Duda in next year’s presidential election.The 43-year-old political newcomer focused his announcement on social solidarity, climate protection and higher standards in Polish politics, characterized by what he called “a devouring clinch” between the ruling Law & Justice and the main opposition party Civic Platform.“It’s time for a man coming from the bottom to fix what’s broken at the top,” he said in his announcement speech delivered in a theater in Gdansk, north of Poland. “I want a Poland in which there’s no “either-or,” but “and-and,” and where both sides can be right.”Holownia rose to fame as the co-host of Poland’s edition of “Got Talent,” a TV show he quit last month after 12 seasons. Holownia is an activist, writer and journalist supporting the liberal wing of Poland’s Catholic church. In his announcement speech, Holownia called for “friendly separation” of the church and the state.Holownia is likely to be one of at least a handful of challengers to Duda in the 2020 vote. The current president, who has the backing of the ruling camp which won the general election this year, tops all presidential and trust polls. The Civic Platform is still to pick its presidential candidate.To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Onoszko in Warsaw at monoszko@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Hannah Benjamin at hbenjamin1@bloomberg.net, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China's top diplomat tells Pompeo U.S. should stop interfering in China's internal affairs

China's top diplomat tells Pompeo U.S. should stop interfering in China's internal affairsChina's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Saturday that the United States should stop interfering in China's internal affairs, according to a report by state TV. Citing the passing of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, Yang said the United States had seriously violated international relations, and urged Washington to "correct its mistakes" and "immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs".


Crazy History: What Would Have Happened If Adolf Hitler Died In World War I?

Crazy History: What Would Have Happened If Adolf Hitler Died In World War I?Millions could have been spared.


Hundreds of thousands march through Hong Kong in largest protest for weeks

Hundreds of thousands march through Hong Kong in largest protest for weeksHundreds of thousands of black-clad, masked protesters from all walks of life took part in one of the largest mass rallies of Hong Kong’s six-month-long pro-democracy movement on Sunday, in a show of continued defiance against Chinese rule. Demonstrators expressed their anger that a sweeping victory for pan-democratic parties in district elections two weeks ago has led to few concessions from the city’s unpopular leader, Carrie Lam, towards demands including more voting rights and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality. The resounding election defeat for the pro-Beijing establishment shattered earlier government claims that the city’s “silent majority” was against the protests, while Sunday’s march showed that public support for the protest movement remains high. “People are still eager to come out, still eager to demonstrate that they are not satisfied,” said Alvin Yeung, a democrat from the Civic Party. “Hong Kong people have a very clear mind, that winning the elections was not the end of everything,” he added. “We are not asking for the moon, our demands are not so outrageous. For example, a commission of inquiry, are we asking something so unreasonable?” The turnout - with some in animal masks - appeared to be an indication that the protests are here to stay Credit:  Ivan Abreu/ Bloomberg Police said just hours before the march on Hong Kong island that they had arrested 11 people and seized a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, as well as other weapons they feared could be used during the rally. But despite the violent clashes between riot officers and protesters that have marred demonstrations in recent months, many families with young children and old people joined the march that began at the downtown Victoria Park and continued peacefully through the city’s main streets for several hours. “I’ve been to about 80 percent of the demonstrations. I’m 71. What do I have to be afraid of,” said Johnny, a retired manufacturer. “Today we are fighting for the freedom of Hong Kong and of the Uighurs,” he said, referring to China’s repressed Muslim minority. The event organisers, the Civil Human Rights Front – the non-violent umbrella group behind large rallies in June -  said that some 800,000 people had joined the protest, which also marked this week’s World Human Rights Day. The police force estimated that the march peaked at 183,000.   The demonstrators were at times jubilant, with drums and people dressed as cartoon characters cheering the crowd, some of whom flew Union Jacks and other international flags. Some hurled abuse at observing police officers who have increasingly become the focus of public anger because of their heavy-handed tactics, but tensions remained comparatively low. The police took the rare step of granting permission for the mass rally, and officers largely stood to one side as the throngs passed without major incident. As night fell, the crowd continued to flow steadily through the wide boulevards, torch lights from their phones piercing the darkness. As night fell, demonstrators used lights from their smartphones Credit:  Justin Chin/ Bloomberg "I think the CCP's [Chinese Communist Party] strategy is to wear us down through time. That's why it's important for us to come out even after the district elections to make our demands heard,” said a protester in her 20s, who gave her name as Ms Chu. “In the past six months, the Hong Kong people have become braver and stronger against the police force,” she added. "We want to come out to the march and continue to share our feelings because Hong Kong is very special as a multicultural, international city." The anti-government movement was initially sparked by a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland, but it has now spiraled into a wider set of five demands that include universal suffrage and police accountability. Some 6,000 people have been arrested and hundreds injured during protests that have at times turned violent, and public anger remains high. While the march ended peacefully around 9pm, some fear that a planned strike on Monday may turn violent. “We’re now seeking not only our five demands but also retaliation against the police and the government. If political leaders have foreign citizenship it should be revoked. The Hong Kong police should only recruit university graduates,” said protester Sam Cheung, 30, ahead of Sunday’s march.


Obergefell: Supreme Court, lawmakers have more to do to prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination

Obergefell: Supreme Court, lawmakers have more to do to prevent anti-LGBTQ discriminationEveryone should be treated with dignity and respect — and that means ensuring no one faces unfair treatment because of their LGBTQ+ identity.


Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and men

Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and menWomen in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades. The decision, which essentially erodes one of the most visible gender segregation restrictions in place, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry. While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh's upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement.


Caitlyn Jenner kicked off of TV show, no loved one waiting

Caitlyn Jenner kicked off of TV show, no loved one waitingCaitlyn Jenner’s elimination from the jungle made "I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" history last night as she became the first person voted out not to have a loved one waiting for them at the end of the bridge.


Why Texas’s fossil fuel support will ‘spell disaster’ for climate crisis

Why Texas’s fossil fuel support will ‘spell disaster’ for climate crisisThe state – which leads the way as US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise 25% in the next decade – is intensifying its production pipeline by pipelineIn the same month that Greta Thunberg addressed a UN summit and millions of people took part in a global climate strike, lawmakers in America’s leading oil- and gas-producing state of Texas made a statement of their own.Texas’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Act went into effect on 1 September, stiffening civil and criminal penalties specifically for protesters who interrupt operations or damage oil and gas pipelines and other energy facilities.Within a couple of weeks, two dozen Greenpeace activists who dangled off a bridge over the Houston ship channel became the first people charged under the new law, which allows for prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to $500,000 for protest groups.The new Texas law is emblematic of the unyielding loyalty of conservative lawmakers to the fossil fuel industry in a state stacked with influential climate science deniers or sceptics such as the US senator and former Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz and which named a pipeline tycoon to its parks and wildlife conservation commission.With kindred spirits in the Trump White House, Texas is now intensifying its support of the fossil fuel industry and, pipeline by pipeline, literally laying the groundwork for production to ramp up even more in the next decade.The scale of new production is “staggering”, according to an analysis by Global Witness, a campaign group, with Texas leading the way as US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise by 25% over the next decade. This makes it a “looming carbon timebomb”, the group believes, in a period when global oil and gas production needs to drop by 40% to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis.“The sheer scale of this new production dwarfs that of every other country in the world and would spell disaster for the world’s ambitions to curb climate change,” the report states.The US is already the planet’s leading producer of oil and gas and central to its rise is the Permian Basin, a shale region of about 75,000 sq miles extending from west Texas into New Mexico.Despite the oil price crash of 2014, the Permian’s oil production has soared from about a million barrels a day in 2011 to about 4.5m this autumn, while natural gas production has trebled since 2013, according to US government figures.In March, the Permian overtook Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar to become the world’s most productive oilfield. While Saudi Arabia’s overall production remains far higher, predictions that the Permian’s output will continue to grow at a similar rate – doubling by 2023 as pipeline capacity expands and major oil companies increase their presence – are alarming environmentalists.> Having some kind of wild west boom going on in Texas ... that’s just the precise opposite to what should be going on> > Lorne Stockman“Having some kind of wild west boom going on in Texas where it’s every man for himself drilling as quickly as possible and trying to pull the stuff out of the ground in a kind of frenzy, that’s just the precise opposite to what should be going on,” said Lorne Stockman, a senior research analyst at Oil Change International, a clean energy advocacy group.While there are some indicators of a slowdown in the growth rate, Chevron’s president of North American exploration and production, Steve Green, told an industry event in October that the oil major sees a “boom boom boom kind of economy” with a “long, healthy pace of activity in the Permian and Texas for decades to come”, Bloomberg reported.The Permian’s fortunes are not dependent on the whims of one or two dominant companies – there are hundreds of operators, from tiny independents to huge multinationals such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips, many of the corporations which, as the Guardian has reported, are behind a large proportion of the planet’s carbon emissions and are poised to flood markets with an additional 7m barrels per day over the next decade.Gene Collins has witnessed firsthand the flipside of the Permian’s economic boom. The 68-year-old, who runs an insurance agency and is on the board of a local economic development corporation, was born and raised in Odessa, a city which, with neighbouring Midland, is at the heart of the Permian. Heavy trucks are damaging road surfaces, traffic accidents have increased and housing rates have soared, he claimed.“It has not been a gradual growth. It’s been the type of growth that puts such a strain on the community that we’re unable to keep up with what we need to handle the crowds, the influx. Our housing shortage is really epidemic. It puts a burden on our school districts. We need teachers but we can’t bring teachers in because we have no place for them to stay,” Collins said.A report last May by the Environmental Integrity Project, a not-for-profit group, cited a lack of air quality monitoring in west Texas, with only one station to track sulphur dioxide levels, and limited regulatory oversight which relies on companies to self-report unauthorised emissions.The pace of drilling, low prices and lack of capacity have led to the Permian’s frackers producing more natural gas than the infrastructure system can handle, prompting them to vent gas or deliberately burn it off in an environmentally harmful process known as flaring.“We probably have some of the worst air that we’ve ever had out here in west Texas” Collins said. “Every night we flare out here, let off natural gas, a lot of it really fugitive emissions because we don’t have the regulators out here.” A spokeswoman for the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a trade group, did not respond to a request for comment on how the industry plans to improve air quality in the Permian. Its president, Todd Staples, has said that its members “are accomplishing emissions progress through voluntary programmes, innovations and efficiencies”.New pipelines should help relieve the bottlenecks, such as the Gulf Coast Express, a 448-mile pipeline which went online in September to take natural gas from west Texas towards the state’s portion of the Gulf coast. But these too come at an environmental cost.> We’re facing a massive wave of fossil fuel facilities that we’ve never seen before> > Rebekah HinojosaIn the Rio Grande valley, at the border with Mexico, activists are battling to stop the construction of three planned liquefied natural gas processing and export facilities at the port of Brownsville.“We’re facing a massive wave of fossil fuel facilities that we’ve never seen before,” said Rebekah Hinojosa, a local organiser with the Sierra Club, a national environmental group. “The lifeblood of those communities is nature, ecotourism, shrimping, fishing, dolphin watch tours. Having a massive fossil fuel industry is not compatible.”Though Texas is also the national leader in wind power capacity, the fracking investment locks the state into a fossil fuel future and enables the US to export cheap gas to other countries, perpetuating worldwide demand.Democrats in Texas are pinning their hopes on long-term demographic shifts that point to the state becoming a political battleground within the next decade, potentially paving the way for more climate-conscious policies such as restrictions on fossil fuel production, tougher regulatory regimes and promotion of renewables.“Will Texas have a political shift that might empower Democrats at some stage who might be more willing to think about restraining the growth of the oil sector, if not reversing it?” said Joshua Busby, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and senior research fellow at the Center for Climate and Security. Busby believes natural disasters might accelerate change by altering the economic equation. The Gulf coast’s vulnerability to storms potentially made more severe by global heating – such as Harvey, which flooded much of the Houston area in 2017 - could damage ports, refineries and petrochemical plants, erode financial markets’ enthusiasm for fossil fuel investments, hurt companies’ bottom lines and push climate concerns higher up the priority list for voters in traditionally conservative suburban and rural areas.Collins doubts that a radical transformation is imminent. “We have climate change deniers running the government. So there’s really no benefit to them [in restricting drilling] if they think that the energy that is produced outweighs the risk,” he said.The new measure punishing protesters, he said, underlines the political priorities in Texas: “For them to pass a law like that gives you an indication of what they think about the oil industry versus the rights and the health of human beings.”


Russia not an enemy? Macron's Moscow strategy faces first test

Russia not an enemy? Macron's Moscow strategy faces first testFrench President Emmanuel Macron this week faces the first major test of his policy of directly engaging with Russia that has disturbed some European allies, as he hosts a summit seeking progress in ending the Ukraine conflict. Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron will bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for their first face-to-face meeting at an afternoon summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday. The stakes are high: this will be the first such summit in three years and while diplomats caution against expecting a major breakthrough, a failure to agree concrete confidence-building steps would be seen as a major blow to hopes for peace and also Macron's personal prestige.


Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors

Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden said Friday he would not rule out appointing donors as ambassadors, but wouldn’t make decisions about those roles based on someone’s financial contributions.“Nobody in fact will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed,” he told a group of reporters aboard his “No Malarkey” bus in Decorah, Iowa.“But, for example, you have some of the people who are out there that are prepared to in fact, that are fully qualified — head of everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be the ambassador to France or any other country — who may or may not have contributed, but that will not be any basis upon which I in fact would appoint anybody.”Other Democratic presidential candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have criticized the longstanding practice of appointing donors to governmental positions. Warren, who has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers, has vowed to not nominate wealthy contributors as ambassadors.In a wide-ranging 20-minute interview, Biden also defended his response to an Iowa voter who confronted him Wednesday over his son’s work in Ukraine, which has come into sharp focus during the U.S. House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. He said he wanted to keep the focus on Trump, but reacted because the man made accusations that were false.Biden said his son did nothing wrong and referred to a statement by Hunter Biden that he exercised “poor judgment” in joining the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.”My son speaks for himself,” the former vice president said. “He’s a 47-year-old man. He didn’t do anything wrong.”Joe Biden, who is at the end of an eight-day bus tour across Iowa, again spoke about the need for bipartisan cooperation. He emphasized the vital role that the two-party system plays in American democracy, and the importance of having a robust Republican Party.“I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”He added: “You can’t have such a dominant influence that then you start to abuse power. Every party abuses power if they have too much power.”Biden also touted his ability to help other Democrats get elected, as he argued why he is best suited to bring about gains for party candidates as the presidential nominee.Biden, who often cites polls in swing states that show him defeating Trump, said the requests from candidates in swing districts for him to campaign on their behalf in the midterms is evidence of his appeal.“I don’t have to go out and look at a poll,” he said. “Just go into those states. You can feel it. You can taste it.”(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Decorah, Iowa at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Samoa says almost 90% of people vaccinated against measles after deadly outbreak

Samoa says almost 90% of people vaccinated against measles after deadly outbreakSamoa said on Saturday nearly 90% of eligible people had been vaccinated against measles as it lifted a two-day curfew imposed amid an outbreak that has killed 65 in recent weeks. There were, however, 103 new cases of measles reported since Friday, Samoa's Health Ministry said it a statement. The measles virus has infected almost 4,500 people in the South Pacific nation of just 200,000 since late October.


How World War III Begins in 2029 (A U.S.-China Battle Over Taiwan?)

How World War III Begins in 2029 (A U.S.-China Battle Over Taiwan?)That's what one fictional article that went viral last week suggests. Could it come true?


Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guru

Indian border officials on lookout for fugitive cosmic guruIndian border officials and embassies have issued an alert for a fugitive guru accused of rape, the government said, days after the holy man announced the creation of his own "cosmic" country. Swami Nithyananda -- one of many self-styled Indian "godmen" with thousands of followers and a chequered past -- is wanted by police for alleged rape, sexual abuse, and abduction of children. Earlier this week, he announced online that he has created his own new country -- reportedly off Ecuador's coast -- complete with cabinet, golden passports, and even a department of homeland security.


3 Guard members killed in Minnesota Black Hawk crash identified

3 Guard members killed in Minnesota Black Hawk crash identifiedKilled were Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr., age 28; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, 30; and Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg, 28.


Judiciary Committee releases report on grounds for impeachment

Judiciary Committee releases report on grounds for impeachmentThe release of the report comes ahead of the second Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing on Monday.


North Dakota county may become US's 1st to bar new refugees

North Dakota county may become US's 1st to bar new refugeesReuben Panchol was forced to leave war-torn Sudan decades ago as a child, embarking on an odyssey that eventually brought him to the American Midwest and left him eternally grateful to the country that took him in. “I am an American citizen, a North Dakotan,” said Panchol, a 38-year-old father of four. If they vote to bar refugees, as expected, Burleigh County — home to about 95,000 people and the capital city of Bismarck — could become the first local government to do so since President Donald Trump issued an executive order making it possible.


Could Mexico's Version of the Marine Corps Crush the Cartels?

Could Mexico's Version of the Marine Corps Crush the Cartels?Could this work?


UPDATE 1-Mexico accepts U.S. steel demand in USMCA trade deal, but with conditions

UPDATE 1-Mexico accepts U.S. steel demand in USMCA trade deal, but with conditionsMexico would accept a U.S. demand on steel in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement if the rule took effect at least five years after the trade pact's ratification, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday. Mexican lawmakers earlier this year approved the deal, known as USMCA, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also made a last-minute demand to restrict the definition of what would constitute North American steel and aluminum under automotive rules of origin, calling for the metals to be "melted and poured" only in North America.


13 Mythical Creatures, Ranked

13 Mythical Creatures, Ranked


Polyamorous 20-year-old is dating 4 men while pregnant with her first child

Polyamorous 20-year-old is dating 4 men while pregnant with her first childTory Ojeda is a 20-year-old woman from Jacksonville, Fla., who is in a polyamorous relationship with four men. She is now expecting her first child with one of her partners. Ojeda told Barcroft Media that while the baby is biologically one of her partner's, the five of them plan on raising the child together as a family.


Whistleblower goes public after leaked documents reveal China's crackdown on Uighur Muslims

Whistleblower goes public after leaked documents reveal China's crackdown on Uighur MuslimsA Uighur woman living in the Netherlands has gone public about helping to leak secret Chinese government documents regarding human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang province because of fears for her safety. Asiye Abdulaheb told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that she was involved in last month’s leak of papers to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which highlighted the Chinese government's crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. The reveal, which followed an earlier document leak to the New York Times, showed how the Chinese government has indoctrinated and punished over a million Muslims, mainly members of the Uighur ethnic minority, in internment camps. Ms Abdulaheb, 46, told the New York Times that she went public to dissuade Chinese authorities from harming her, her ex-husband Jasur Abibula and the former couple’s two children. She said that after tweeting an excerpt from the documents in June she received a message on Facebook saying: “If you don’t stop, you’ll end up cut into pieces in the black trash can in front of your doorway.” Ms Abdulaheb and Mr Abibula are Dutch citizens and have lived in the Netherlands since 2009. Ms Abdulaheb said she had worked in a government office in Xinjiang, and was sent the secret documents electronically by an unnamed source or sources in June. Mr Abibula was convinced by a Xinjiang-based friend to travel to Dubai in September where, according to Ms Abdulaheb, he was met by Chinese security officials. They allegedly questioned him for days and attempted to convince him to help them hack his ex-wife’s computer.  “I thought that this thing has to be made public,” Ms Abdulaheb said. “The Chinese police would definitely find us. The people in Dubai had told my ex-husband, ‘We know about all your matters. We have a lot of people in the Netherlands.’”   Beijing dismissed the documents as “fake news”, claiming that the internment camps were “re-education centres” built to quell terrorism. On 3 December the US House of Representatives passed the Uighur Act of 2019 bill, which could lead to sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the abuses.


French murder suspect emerges from coma after swallowing poison

French murder suspect emerges from coma after swallowing poisonThe suspect for the rape and murder of a young woman in northern France almost two decades ago was slowly emerging from a coma while under guard in hospital Saturday after he swallowed pesticide in an apparent suicide bid following his conviction. Willy Bardon, on trial over the murder of Elodie Kulik in 2002 in a case that has attracted strong interest in France for years, ingested the substance at the courthouse in the northern city of Amiens late on Friday. Bardon, 45, is under round-the-clock police surveillance in hospital.


Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say So

Democrats Must Not Have an All-White Debate—and the White Candidates Should Say SoThe news that Senator Kamala Harris has dropped out of the race highlights the fact that the Democratic field is growing less diverse with each passing month. It's now reached the point where a field that showed such promising diversity at first has been whittled down essentially to four people with first-tier status, and they're all white. There is diversity within than foursome--a gay man, a Jewish man, a woman. But in a party so dependent on voters of color, this is striking--and not in a good way. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Democrats selecting a white presidential candidate to represent the party. But that should be up to the voters, and not the DNC by means of their debate inclusion practices.Those candidates can, however strike a blow for diversity. They should band together and threaten to boycott the December Democratic debate unless the DNC and media partners agree to not exclude candidates who have shown measurable public support before the voting begins. That includes, at the very least, Cory Booker and Julian Castro, and could also include Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard, who have managed to make the most recent debate stage despite long odds.Although Harris had qualified for the December debate, her exit could create an unacceptable scenario on December 19 when the candidates gather in Los Angeles. Booker and Castro’s exclusion, coupled with the probable exclusion of other candidates of color including Yang and Gabbard, means the December debate could very well include only six candidates, all of them white. (Booker, Castro, Yang, and Gabbard have all hit the fundraising threshold, but not the polling one.)Kamala Harris Quits 2020 Race: ‘She Didn’t Know What She Was About’Democrats and the DNC should be asking themselves if they really want to eliminate all the candidates of color before the first states even get to vote. And the leading candidates, all of whom are white, should do something about it.There is precedent for the top-tier candidates banding together to protect the integrity of the debate process. Back in January 2016, NBC News, as a DNC debate sponsor, tried to bar former governor Martin O’Malley from its debate, citing his poor polling numbers compared to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While it was apparent that O’Malley’s campaign was going nowhere, it was obvious to any objective observer that eliminating him was a choice for voters in Iowa and the other primary states to make—not NBC News.On January 8, 2016 shortly after noon, Sanders tweeted that O’Malley should be allowed on the next debate stage. Literally one minute later, the Clinton campaign tweeted out similar support for O’Malley’s inclusion. And a few hours later, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted that the DNC was also demanding that NBC News include O’Malley.This joint public pressure ensured O’Malley’s inclusion. It turned out to be his final debate, but it was the voters, and not outside organizations, who chose O’Malley’s fate.Dear Debate Moderators, You Are Working Up Democrats About the Wrong IssueNow, it is the DNC itself that is the culprit of such unfair practices. The party has established criteria for the December debate, which will mean that Booker and Castro could both be possibly excluded from the stage.Booker and Castro have been able to organically secure more than 200,000 unique donors each, and both have shown measurable poll support, especially with African-Americans and Latinos respectively. Excluding these two candidates of color, who represent crucial aspects of the Democratic base, from debates before Iowa could be a mistake with lasting implications for the party and country.I personally like some of these candidates, such as Booker and Castro, while I am not fond of Gabbard. But whether I like them isn’t the point. It is not my place nor anyone else’s place to deny a candidate an equal opportunity to make their case.Maybe there is an argument to be made for a smaller debate stage at some point, but the DNC has set up criteria that allows a billionaire to buy his spot while excluding serious candidates with a following and something to say.And while we’re on the subject of Tom Steyer, he has spent $47 million of his own money in what amounts to a scam. Since he needs donors only to meet the DNC’s bizarre debate criteria, he has essentially purchased his donor base, through tactics such as selling $1 swag with free shipping—usually items worth far more than $1—that has nothing to do with him or his presidential campaign. Why should he be allowed to “sell” a button about climate change or opposing Donald Trump for $1 and use that as some kind of indicia of popular support? He has also blanketed early states with enough TV ads and fancy mail to get his name identification up to the point that just enough people might utter it to a pollster because they recognize it.Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg is eschewing debates thus far, but with his $52 billion in net worth it’s not hard to imagine clever ways for him to meet future DNC debate thresholds.A debate stage that lets a white billionaire like Steyer buy his spot but excludes substantive candidates of color like Booker and Castro is neither democratic nor representative of the Democratic Party.As a person of color, I hope the DNC and the frontrunners are listening. It isn’t the DNC’s place to eliminate viable candidates before voters are allowed a say. I hope Biden, Sanders, Warren, and others will step up to tell the DNC that the Democratic Party is stronger when all viable candidates are allowed to be heard.David de la Fuente is a senior political analyst at Third Way.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Says South Carolinians Saw the Confederate Flag as 'Service' Before Dylan Roof 'Hijacked' It

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley Says South Carolinians Saw the Confederate Flag as 'Service' Before Dylan Roof 'Hijacked' ItMany argued Haley was not fully acknowledging the flag's Civil War and segregationists origins


Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from Afghanistan

Body of slain doctor returns home to Japan from AfghanistanThe body of a Japanese doctor killed in a roadside shooting in Afghanistan arrived back home Sunday, with government officials on hand to lead a brief ceremony of mourning at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. Tetsu Nakamura was killed last week, along with five Afghans who had been traveling with him. Keisuke Suzuki, Japan's state minister of foreign affairs, joined other officials in bowing their heads in prayer after laying flowers by the coffin, draped in white, in a solemn ceremony in honor of Nakamura at the airport.


China Is Building Its Very Own Stealth Bombers: Meet the H-20 and JH-XX

China Is Building Its Very Own Stealth Bombers: Meet the H-20 and JH-XXMeet the H-20 and JH-XX


'Never had a better friend': Trump touts Israel record at Jewish gathering

'Never had a better friend': Trump touts Israel record at Jewish gatheringThe president praises allies and attacks his enemies while speaking to Republican and Jewish donors in the critical swing state of Florida.


Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido

Plot Emerged to Fix Venezuela Without Maduro or Guaido(Bloomberg) -- The standoff in Venezuela briefly took a new twist, according to a report from the Spanish newspaper ABC.People close to both President Nicolas Maduro and his rival Juan Guaido plotted to push both men aside and end the nation’s crisis with the rule of a temporary junta, the newspaper reported without citing where it got the information.The article didn’t cite sources by name, nor was it completely clear how deeply embedded the plan was before it was discovered and fell apart. But the story suggests a strong desire within the camps of both men to end the standoff between Maduro and Guaido almost a year old. Guaido, the National Assembly president, has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the U.S., as Venezuela’s leader.Third WayThe ABC story suggested a third way, which the paper reported was born out of talks between emissaries of high-ranking Venezuelan officials with opposition leaders, in four countries between April and October this year, after huge rallies demanding Maduro’s exit.The key figure appears to be Humberto Calderon Berti, then the designated ambassador to Colombia who Guaido dismissed last month. He was the main Guaido negotiator in the talks with the emissaries for Venezuelan officials who defied Maduro.At some point in the talks, the paper said, Calderon Berti was approached to head a “transitional junta” -- a small group of powerful men who would lead the nation for 18 months. The paper said that an agreement was drafted by August, with the document outlining the political changes to oust Maduro, sideline Guaido and install the junta sent around to the key players.The Venezuelan officials who sent emissaries for the secret talks included president of the National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello, one of Venezuela’s most powerful men with strong ties to the military, Supreme Court President Maikel Moreno and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.The negotiations were complex, involving the reconciliation of various factions within the army and voiding the May 2018 presidential elections Maduro is widely seen as winning only by fraud.Temporary JuntaThe paper cites discussions in which a Cabello emissary, army captain Carlos Aguilera Borjas, suggests that Calderon Berti head the temporary junta. The paper says that Maduro’s regime discovered the talks, which then came to an end.Calderon Berti told ABC newspaper that he met with Aguilera Borjas and others. But these meetings were part of his diplomatic duties and had nothing to do with a plot to form a junta, Calderon Berti said.Guaido’s representatives declined to comment on the ABC report, while the Maduro government didn’t respond to requests to do so.To contact the reporter on this story: Jose Orozco in Mexico City at jorozco8@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ney Hayashi at ncruz4@bloomberg.net, Ian Fisher, Matthew G. MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


The acting Navy secretary promises he'll fix the Ford aircraft carrier because he's tired of it being a 'whipping boy for why the Navy can't do anything right'

The acting Navy secretary promises he'll fix the Ford aircraft carrier because he's tired of it being a 'whipping boy for why the Navy can't do anything right'Explaining that the president is "very concerned" about the Ford, Modly said that he is making fixing this flattop a top priority for the Navy.


American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawl

American soldiers banned from Italian main street after vicious brawlAround 2,000 US Army soldiers have been banned from one of the main streets in the Italian city of Vicenza after a  brawl between soldiers and locals.  The temporary ban, which affects members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade stationed in the city, involves the quaint via  Contra' Pescherie Vecchie, where two young Vicenza men say they were surrounded and beaten by several soldiers after a verbal exchange just outside a popular watering hole for off duty combat paratroopers.  “This is not my face. I was not like this before,” Riccardo Passaro, 21, told La Repubblica from the hospital where he is recovering from reconstructive facial surgery after his jaw was shattered.  City authorities are studying CCTV images to identify the culprits of the latest violent episode, which prompted Mayor Francesco Rucco to request special restrictive measures from the base commander.  Col. Kenneth Burgess issued a memo warning that personnel caught entering the restricted zone during the 45-day ban faced disciplinary sanctions. “It is a decree without precedent in Vicenza and for this we thank the American authorities," Mayor Rucco said. The US military presence in Vicenza has been expanding for the last decade, with construction of the large Del Din annex north of the historic Ederle garrison to help lodge US Africa Command and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, which conducts contingency response and NATO ally training in Europe.  Vicenza's 113,000 inhabitants now intermingle, mostly peacefully, with more than 12,000 Americans, including military family members and employees of the two bases bookending the city.  But an uptick in problems related to heavy drinking, violence and public disorder since the expansion has exasperated locals.   In 2014,  several rape investigations and a car crash in the city centre involving three pedestrians made headlines. In 2016 and 2017 there were bloody brawls involving injuries and property damage. And in 2018, police intervened 550 times in violent incidents involving Americans, prompting new joint night patrols this year by U.S. military police and Italian Carabinieri.


New Jersey journalist re-arrested in Nigeria after brief glimpse of freedom

New Jersey journalist re-arrested in Nigeria after brief glimpse of freedomOmoyele Sowore, imprisoned in his home country of Nigeria since August, has been freed from government custody, but still has to stand trial.


Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken ship

Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken shipWith speeches and salutes, veterans and officials on Saturday commemorated the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, which brought a previously reluctant United States into World War II. A ceremony honoring survivors attended by US Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Washington's ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris was held within sight of the sunken USS Arizona, which was bombed in the opening moments of the attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans. Later in the day, the remains of Lauren Bruner, who died in September at age 98 and was among the last sailors rescued from the Arizona after it exploded into flames, will be interred in the wreckage.


5-Year-Old Carried a Toddler Through Minus 31-Degree Weather After Left Alone in Alaska Home

5-Year-Old Carried a Toddler Through Minus 31-Degree Weather After Left Alone in Alaska HomeThe children, who were dressed just in socks and light clothing, both received cold-related injuries


Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': Kyodo

Official documents shed light on Tokyo's role in 'comfort women': KyodoThe Imperial Japanese Army asked the government to provide one "comfort woman" for every 70 soldiers, Japan's Kyodo news agency said, citing wartime government documents it had reviewed, shedding a fresh light on Tokyo's involvement in the practice. "Comfort women" is a euphemism for the girls and women - many of them Korean - forced into prostitution at Japanese military brothels. The issue has plagued Japan's ties with South Korea for decades.


Russia's Su-57 Would Be A Game-Changer If It Wasn't So Expensive

Russia's Su-57 Would Be A Game-Changer If It Wasn't So ExpensiveMoscow can't afford it.


AOC calls out Trump after news that Amazon plans to hire 1,500 employees in New York City

AOC calls out Trump after news that Amazon plans to hire 1,500 employees in New York CityFollowing reports that Amazon plans to open a new office in New York City, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the Trump administration "should focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families."


Trump says pro-Israel group will vote for him to protect their money: ‘You’re not nice people at all. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax’

Trump says pro-Israel group will vote for him to protect their money: ‘You’re not nice people at all. You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax’Donald Trump has been accused of antisemitism after he told a pro-Israel Jewish group they will vote for him to protect their wealth.Mr Trump referred to members of the Israeli American Council as “brutal killers” and “not nice people” but claimed they would vote for him to avoid a wealth tax, as proposed by Democratic challengers Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.


Lebanese-born donor of Hitler items welcomed in Israel

Lebanese-born donor of Hitler items welcomed in IsraelIsraeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday welcomed a Lebanese-born Swiss real estate mogul who purchased Nazi memorabilia at a German auction and is donating the items to Israel. Chatila, a Lebanese Christian who has lived in Switzerland for decades, paid some 600,000 euros ($660,000) for the items at the Munich auction last month, intending to destroy them after reading of Jewish groups’ objections to the sale. Among the items he bought were Adolf Hitler’s top hat, a silver-plated edition of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and a typewriter used by the dictator’s secretary.


An American trucking giant is slated to declare bankruptcy — and it may leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and jobless

An American trucking giant is slated to declare bankruptcy — and it may leave more than 3,200 truck drivers stranded and joblessCeladon is reportedly declaring bankruptcy this week, and that collapse may leave thousands of truck drivers jobless and away from home.


'I felt like I was going to die': A harrowing look into CIA torture from the eyes of a detainee

'I felt like I was going to die': A harrowing look into CIA torture from the eyes of a detaineeA CIA detainee's drawings detail the brutal reach of torture. They are part of a new Seton Hall report called "How America Tortures."


Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspects

Indian police investigated over killings of rape suspectsA top Indian rights group on Saturday launched an investigation into the police shooting of four rape-murder suspects after accusations they were gunned down in cold blood to assuage public anger. The launch of the investigation by the National Human Rights Commission comes as India also reeled from the death of another woman on Friday, set on fire on her way to a sexual assault court hearing in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.


Beijing Orders Removal of Foreign Tech in State Offices, FT Says

Beijing Orders Removal of Foreign Tech in State Offices, FT Says(Bloomberg) -- The Chinese government has ordered state offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years, the Financial Times reported.The move is part of a broader effort to decrease China’s reliance on foreign technologies and boost its domestic industry. The goal is to substitute 30% of the technology next year, 50% in 2021 and 20% in 2022, the newspaper reported, citing estimates from analysts at the brokerage China Securities.The government under President Xi Jinping has been trying for years to replace technologies from abroad, and particularly from the U.S. Bloomberg News reported five years ago that Beijing was aiming to purge most foreign technology from its banks, the military, government agencies and state-owned enterprises by 2020.U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive policies against China and its leading companies have given this effort renewed urgency. His administration banned U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei Technologies Co. this year and blacklisted other Chinese firms.Still, Beijing’s push has proven difficult because its domestic industry hasn’t yet shown itself capable of matching foreign technologies in certain sectors. Particularly hard to replace, for example, are semiconductors from suppliers like Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp., as well as software from Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.The FT reported that the latest order came from the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Office earlier this year. The newspaper said the goal is to use “secure and controllable” technology as part of the country’s Cyber Security Law passed in 2017.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Gao Yuan in Beijing at ygao199@bloomberg.net;Debby Wu in Taipei at dwu278@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Democratic candidate Warren discloses details of past legal work, showing $2 million in compensation

Democratic candidate Warren discloses details of past legal work, showing $2 million in compensationDemocratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released information on Sunday about her past legal work, showing nearly $2 million in compensation from dozens of clients, as a dispute intensified with her rival Pete Buttigieg over transparency. Warren, a leading candidate among the 15 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, had already put out 11 years of tax returns in April and called on other candidates to follow suit. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has said in recent days that Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, should release older tax documents detailing her corporate legal work.


Is Russia's New Anti-Tank Weapon Aimed at the Army's M1 Abrams?

Is Russia's New Anti-Tank Weapon Aimed at the Army's M1 Abrams?Maybe, but Russia has its own problem.


The 25 Best Tower Defense Games

The 25 Best Tower Defense Games


World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous rate, study says

World's oceans are losing oxygen at a dangerous rate, study saysScientists warn that ocean deoxygenation will have widespread global effects on marine ecosystems and the people that rely on them.


Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp, dies

Piero Terracina, Rome Jew who survived Nazi death camp, diesPiero Terracina, described as the last survivor among the Roman Jews who were deported from the Italian capital to Nazi death camps during World War II, has died at 91. Terracina died on Sunday, Rome's Jewish Community said. As a 15-year-old, he escaped the roundup by German occupying troops of Rome's Jews in 1943 and went into hiding with his family.


One of the world's largest basic-income trials, a 2-year program in Finland, was a major flop. But experts say the test was flawed.

One of the world's largest basic-income trials, a 2-year program in Finland, was a major flop. But experts say the test was flawed.Two years after Finland launched a basic-income trial for unemployed residents, many of the recipients remained jobless.


He tried to save his wife from their burning home. She died holding his hand

He tried to save his wife from their burning home. She died holding his hand"She was my best friend," Todd Gillette said of his 50-year-old wife, who died in a house fire in South Dakota.


Day 5 of public transport chaos as French strike bites

Day 5 of public transport chaos as French strike bitesFrench commuters and tourists braced for a fifth day of public transport chaos Monday as the government prepared to respond to widespread anger over pension reform that has sparked open-ended walkouts. President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and senior cabinet ministers met late Sunday to discuss the contentious reform, which the country's powerful labour unions claim will force many to work longer for a smaller retirement payout. As both the government and unions vowed to stand firm, businesses started counting the costs of the strike which began last Thursday when some 800,000 people took to the streets across France in a mass rejection of plans to introduce a single, points-based pension scheme, unifying 42 existing plans.


Catholic Celebrity to Challenge Polish President in 2020 Vote

Catholic Celebrity to Challenge Polish President in 2020 Vote(Bloomberg) -- Szymon Holownia, a TV show host and writer known for his Catholic views, announced plans to run against incumbent Andrzej Duda in next year’s presidential election.The 43-year-old political newcomer focused his announcement on social solidarity, climate protection and higher standards in Polish politics, characterized by what he called “a devouring clinch” between the ruling Law & Justice and the main opposition party Civic Platform.“It’s time for a man coming from the bottom to fix what’s broken at the top,” he said in his announcement speech delivered in a theater in Gdansk, north of Poland. “I want a Poland in which there’s no “either-or,” but “and-and,” and where both sides can be right.”Holownia rose to fame as the co-host of Poland’s edition of “Got Talent,” a TV show he quit last month after 12 seasons. Holownia is an activist, writer and journalist supporting the liberal wing of Poland’s Catholic church. In his announcement speech, Holownia called for “friendly separation” of the church and the state.Holownia is likely to be one of at least a handful of challengers to Duda in the 2020 vote. The current president, who has the backing of the ruling camp which won the general election this year, tops all presidential and trust polls. The Civic Platform is still to pick its presidential candidate.To contact the reporter on this story: Maciej Onoszko in Warsaw at monoszko@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Hannah Benjamin at hbenjamin1@bloomberg.net, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


China's top diplomat tells Pompeo U.S. should stop interfering in China's internal affairs

China's top diplomat tells Pompeo U.S. should stop interfering in China's internal affairsChina's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call on Saturday that the United States should stop interfering in China's internal affairs, according to a report by state TV. Citing the passing of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, Yang said the United States had seriously violated international relations, and urged Washington to "correct its mistakes" and "immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs".


Crazy History: What Would Have Happened If Adolf Hitler Died In World War I?

Crazy History: What Would Have Happened If Adolf Hitler Died In World War I?Millions could have been spared.


Hundreds of thousands march through Hong Kong in largest protest for weeks

Hundreds of thousands march through Hong Kong in largest protest for weeksHundreds of thousands of black-clad, masked protesters from all walks of life took part in one of the largest mass rallies of Hong Kong’s six-month-long pro-democracy movement on Sunday, in a show of continued defiance against Chinese rule. Demonstrators expressed their anger that a sweeping victory for pan-democratic parties in district elections two weeks ago has led to few concessions from the city’s unpopular leader, Carrie Lam, towards demands including more voting rights and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality. The resounding election defeat for the pro-Beijing establishment shattered earlier government claims that the city’s “silent majority” was against the protests, while Sunday’s march showed that public support for the protest movement remains high. “People are still eager to come out, still eager to demonstrate that they are not satisfied,” said Alvin Yeung, a democrat from the Civic Party. “Hong Kong people have a very clear mind, that winning the elections was not the end of everything,” he added. “We are not asking for the moon, our demands are not so outrageous. For example, a commission of inquiry, are we asking something so unreasonable?” The turnout - with some in animal masks - appeared to be an indication that the protests are here to stay Credit:  Ivan Abreu/ Bloomberg Police said just hours before the march on Hong Kong island that they had arrested 11 people and seized a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, as well as other weapons they feared could be used during the rally. But despite the violent clashes between riot officers and protesters that have marred demonstrations in recent months, many families with young children and old people joined the march that began at the downtown Victoria Park and continued peacefully through the city’s main streets for several hours. “I’ve been to about 80 percent of the demonstrations. I’m 71. What do I have to be afraid of,” said Johnny, a retired manufacturer. “Today we are fighting for the freedom of Hong Kong and of the Uighurs,” he said, referring to China’s repressed Muslim minority. The event organisers, the Civil Human Rights Front – the non-violent umbrella group behind large rallies in June -  said that some 800,000 people had joined the protest, which also marked this week’s World Human Rights Day. The police force estimated that the march peaked at 183,000.   The demonstrators were at times jubilant, with drums and people dressed as cartoon characters cheering the crowd, some of whom flew Union Jacks and other international flags. Some hurled abuse at observing police officers who have increasingly become the focus of public anger because of their heavy-handed tactics, but tensions remained comparatively low. The police took the rare step of granting permission for the mass rally, and officers largely stood to one side as the throngs passed without major incident. As night fell, the crowd continued to flow steadily through the wide boulevards, torch lights from their phones piercing the darkness. As night fell, demonstrators used lights from their smartphones Credit:  Justin Chin/ Bloomberg "I think the CCP's [Chinese Communist Party] strategy is to wear us down through time. That's why it's important for us to come out even after the district elections to make our demands heard,” said a protester in her 20s, who gave her name as Ms Chu. “In the past six months, the Hong Kong people have become braver and stronger against the police force,” she added. "We want to come out to the march and continue to share our feelings because Hong Kong is very special as a multicultural, international city." The anti-government movement was initially sparked by a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland, but it has now spiraled into a wider set of five demands that include universal suffrage and police accountability. Some 6,000 people have been arrested and hundreds injured during protests that have at times turned violent, and public anger remains high. While the march ended peacefully around 9pm, some fear that a planned strike on Monday may turn violent. “We’re now seeking not only our five demands but also retaliation against the police and the government. If political leaders have foreign citizenship it should be revoked. The Hong Kong police should only recruit university graduates,” said protester Sam Cheung, 30, ahead of Sunday’s march.


Obergefell: Supreme Court, lawmakers have more to do to prevent anti-LGBTQ discrimination

Obergefell: Supreme Court, lawmakers have more to do to prevent anti-LGBTQ discriminationEveryone should be treated with dignity and respect — and that means ensuring no one faces unfair treatment because of their LGBTQ+ identity.


Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and men

Saudi restaurants no longer need to segregate women and menWomen in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government that upends a major hallmark of conservative restrictions that had been in place for decades. The decision, which essentially erodes one of the most visible gender segregation restrictions in place, was quietly announced Sunday in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry. While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh's upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move codifies what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement.


Caitlyn Jenner kicked off of TV show, no loved one waiting

Caitlyn Jenner kicked off of TV show, no loved one waitingCaitlyn Jenner’s elimination from the jungle made "I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here" history last night as she became the first person voted out not to have a loved one waiting for them at the end of the bridge.


Why Texas’s fossil fuel support will ‘spell disaster’ for climate crisis

Why Texas’s fossil fuel support will ‘spell disaster’ for climate crisisThe state – which leads the way as US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise 25% in the next decade – is intensifying its production pipeline by pipelineIn the same month that Greta Thunberg addressed a UN summit and millions of people took part in a global climate strike, lawmakers in America’s leading oil- and gas-producing state of Texas made a statement of their own.Texas’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Act went into effect on 1 September, stiffening civil and criminal penalties specifically for protesters who interrupt operations or damage oil and gas pipelines and other energy facilities.Within a couple of weeks, two dozen Greenpeace activists who dangled off a bridge over the Houston ship channel became the first people charged under the new law, which allows for prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up to $500,000 for protest groups.The new Texas law is emblematic of the unyielding loyalty of conservative lawmakers to the fossil fuel industry in a state stacked with influential climate science deniers or sceptics such as the US senator and former Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz and which named a pipeline tycoon to its parks and wildlife conservation commission.With kindred spirits in the Trump White House, Texas is now intensifying its support of the fossil fuel industry and, pipeline by pipeline, literally laying the groundwork for production to ramp up even more in the next decade.The scale of new production is “staggering”, according to an analysis by Global Witness, a campaign group, with Texas leading the way as US output of oil and gas is forecast to rise by 25% over the next decade. This makes it a “looming carbon timebomb”, the group believes, in a period when global oil and gas production needs to drop by 40% to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis.“The sheer scale of this new production dwarfs that of every other country in the world and would spell disaster for the world’s ambitions to curb climate change,” the report states.The US is already the planet’s leading producer of oil and gas and central to its rise is the Permian Basin, a shale region of about 75,000 sq miles extending from west Texas into New Mexico.Despite the oil price crash of 2014, the Permian’s oil production has soared from about a million barrels a day in 2011 to about 4.5m this autumn, while natural gas production has trebled since 2013, according to US government figures.In March, the Permian overtook Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar to become the world’s most productive oilfield. While Saudi Arabia’s overall production remains far higher, predictions that the Permian’s output will continue to grow at a similar rate – doubling by 2023 as pipeline capacity expands and major oil companies increase their presence – are alarming environmentalists.> Having some kind of wild west boom going on in Texas ... that’s just the precise opposite to what should be going on> > Lorne Stockman“Having some kind of wild west boom going on in Texas where it’s every man for himself drilling as quickly as possible and trying to pull the stuff out of the ground in a kind of frenzy, that’s just the precise opposite to what should be going on,” said Lorne Stockman, a senior research analyst at Oil Change International, a clean energy advocacy group.While there are some indicators of a slowdown in the growth rate, Chevron’s president of North American exploration and production, Steve Green, told an industry event in October that the oil major sees a “boom boom boom kind of economy” with a “long, healthy pace of activity in the Permian and Texas for decades to come”, Bloomberg reported.The Permian’s fortunes are not dependent on the whims of one or two dominant companies – there are hundreds of operators, from tiny independents to huge multinationals such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips, many of the corporations which, as the Guardian has reported, are behind a large proportion of the planet’s carbon emissions and are poised to flood markets with an additional 7m barrels per day over the next decade.Gene Collins has witnessed firsthand the flipside of the Permian’s economic boom. The 68-year-old, who runs an insurance agency and is on the board of a local economic development corporation, was born and raised in Odessa, a city which, with neighbouring Midland, is at the heart of the Permian. Heavy trucks are damaging road surfaces, traffic accidents have increased and housing rates have soared, he claimed.“It has not been a gradual growth. It’s been the type of growth that puts such a strain on the community that we’re unable to keep up with what we need to handle the crowds, the influx. Our housing shortage is really epidemic. It puts a burden on our school districts. We need teachers but we can’t bring teachers in because we have no place for them to stay,” Collins said.A report last May by the Environmental Integrity Project, a not-for-profit group, cited a lack of air quality monitoring in west Texas, with only one station to track sulphur dioxide levels, and limited regulatory oversight which relies on companies to self-report unauthorised emissions.The pace of drilling, low prices and lack of capacity have led to the Permian’s frackers producing more natural gas than the infrastructure system can handle, prompting them to vent gas or deliberately burn it off in an environmentally harmful process known as flaring.“We probably have some of the worst air that we’ve ever had out here in west Texas” Collins said. “Every night we flare out here, let off natural gas, a lot of it really fugitive emissions because we don’t have the regulators out here.” A spokeswoman for the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a trade group, did not respond to a request for comment on how the industry plans to improve air quality in the Permian. Its president, Todd Staples, has said that its members “are accomplishing emissions progress through voluntary programmes, innovations and efficiencies”.New pipelines should help relieve the bottlenecks, such as the Gulf Coast Express, a 448-mile pipeline which went online in September to take natural gas from west Texas towards the state’s portion of the Gulf coast. But these too come at an environmental cost.> We’re facing a massive wave of fossil fuel facilities that we’ve never seen before> > Rebekah HinojosaIn the Rio Grande valley, at the border with Mexico, activists are battling to stop the construction of three planned liquefied natural gas processing and export facilities at the port of Brownsville.“We’re facing a massive wave of fossil fuel facilities that we’ve never seen before,” said Rebekah Hinojosa, a local organiser with the Sierra Club, a national environmental group. “The lifeblood of those communities is nature, ecotourism, shrimping, fishing, dolphin watch tours. Having a massive fossil fuel industry is not compatible.”Though Texas is also the national leader in wind power capacity, the fracking investment locks the state into a fossil fuel future and enables the US to export cheap gas to other countries, perpetuating worldwide demand.Democrats in Texas are pinning their hopes on long-term demographic shifts that point to the state becoming a political battleground within the next decade, potentially paving the way for more climate-conscious policies such as restrictions on fossil fuel production, tougher regulatory regimes and promotion of renewables.“Will Texas have a political shift that might empower Democrats at some stage who might be more willing to think about restraining the growth of the oil sector, if not reversing it?” said Joshua Busby, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and senior research fellow at the Center for Climate and Security. Busby believes natural disasters might accelerate change by altering the economic equation. The Gulf coast’s vulnerability to storms potentially made more severe by global heating – such as Harvey, which flooded much of the Houston area in 2017 - could damage ports, refineries and petrochemical plants, erode financial markets’ enthusiasm for fossil fuel investments, hurt companies’ bottom lines and push climate concerns higher up the priority list for voters in traditionally conservative suburban and rural areas.Collins doubts that a radical transformation is imminent. “We have climate change deniers running the government. So there’s really no benefit to them [in restricting drilling] if they think that the energy that is produced outweighs the risk,” he said.The new measure punishing protesters, he said, underlines the political priorities in Texas: “For them to pass a law like that gives you an indication of what they think about the oil industry versus the rights and the health of human beings.”


Russia not an enemy? Macron's Moscow strategy faces first test

Russia not an enemy? Macron's Moscow strategy faces first testFrench President Emmanuel Macron this week faces the first major test of his policy of directly engaging with Russia that has disturbed some European allies, as he hosts a summit seeking progress in ending the Ukraine conflict. Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron will bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky for their first face-to-face meeting at an afternoon summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday. The stakes are high: this will be the first such summit in three years and while diplomats caution against expecting a major breakthrough, a failure to agree concrete confidence-building steps would be seen as a major blow to hopes for peace and also Macron's personal prestige.


Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors

Biden Says He Would Consider Giving Ambassadorships to Donors(Bloomberg) -- Joe Biden said Friday he would not rule out appointing donors as ambassadors, but wouldn’t make decisions about those roles based on someone’s financial contributions.“Nobody in fact will be appointed by me based on anything they contributed,” he told a group of reporters aboard his “No Malarkey” bus in Decorah, Iowa.“But, for example, you have some of the people who are out there that are prepared to in fact, that are fully qualified — head of everything from being the ambassador to NATO to be the ambassador to France or any other country — who may or may not have contributed, but that will not be any basis upon which I in fact would appoint anybody.”Other Democratic presidential candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have criticized the longstanding practice of appointing donors to governmental positions. Warren, who has sworn off high-dollar fundraisers, has vowed to not nominate wealthy contributors as ambassadors.In a wide-ranging 20-minute interview, Biden also defended his response to an Iowa voter who confronted him Wednesday over his son’s work in Ukraine, which has come into sharp focus during the U.S. House impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump. He said he wanted to keep the focus on Trump, but reacted because the man made accusations that were false.Biden said his son did nothing wrong and referred to a statement by Hunter Biden that he exercised “poor judgment” in joining the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.”My son speaks for himself,” the former vice president said. “He’s a 47-year-old man. He didn’t do anything wrong.”Joe Biden, who is at the end of an eight-day bus tour across Iowa, again spoke about the need for bipartisan cooperation. He emphasized the vital role that the two-party system plays in American democracy, and the importance of having a robust Republican Party.“I’m really worried that no party should have too much power,” he said. “You need a countervailing force.”He added: “You can’t have such a dominant influence that then you start to abuse power. Every party abuses power if they have too much power.”Biden also touted his ability to help other Democrats get elected, as he argued why he is best suited to bring about gains for party candidates as the presidential nominee.Biden, who often cites polls in swing states that show him defeating Trump, said the requests from candidates in swing districts for him to campaign on their behalf in the midterms is evidence of his appeal.“I don’t have to go out and look at a poll,” he said. “Just go into those states. You can feel it. You can taste it.”(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Decorah, Iowa at tpager1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Samoa says almost 90% of people vaccinated against measles after deadly outbreak

Samoa says almost 90% of people vaccinated against measles after deadly outbreakSamoa said on Saturday nearly 90% of eligible people had been vaccinated against measles as it lifted a two-day curfew imposed amid an outbreak that has killed 65 in recent weeks. There were, however, 103 new cases of measles reported since Friday, Samoa's Health Ministry said it a statement. The measles virus has infected almost 4,500 people in the South Pacific nation of just 200,000 since late October.


How World War III Begins in 2029 (A U.S.-China Battle Over Taiwan?)

How World War III Begins in 2029 (A U.S.-China Battle Over Taiwan?)That's what one fictional article that went viral last week suggests. Could it come true?