Month: August 2019

Japan studio arson attack a ‘blow to animation industry’: commentator

TOKYO ( ) – A suspected arson attack on a Japanese animation studio in which 30 people are believed to have been kil,上海品茶论坛Caitlin,led and scores injured will be a major blow to the nation’s famed animation industry, a film commentator said.

Kyoto Animation, based in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, is known for popular series such as the “Sound! Euphonium”. Its “Free! Road to the Worl,上海品茶交友群Queena,d – The Dream” movie is due for release this mont,上海外卖品茶群Hal,h.

But the studio has an outsized impact on Japan’s noted animation industry that outstrips a list of the works it has produced, said Tokyo-based film commentator Yuichi Maeda.

“It’s one of the best and largest animation firms in Japan, and with that loss of life, many of the best hands at animation in the nation are likely to be dead,” Maeda said, his voice shaking. “It’s too painful to contemplate.”

“It has a huge presence in animation here. To have this many people die at once will be a huge blow to the Japanese animation industry.”

While some companies, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s “Studio Ghibli” were well known for the limpidness of their scenery and use of colors, or their detailed drawings, the strengths of Kyoto Animation, founded in 1981, stretched across the board.

“They really never did anything wrong. The animation was great, the story qua上海品茶工作室lity was really high. Overall, the balance was just amazing,” Miura said.

“…They do a huge variety of work, the stuff that everybody loves. They don’t make things that people hate,” Miura said. “This incident is just unimaginable.”

Malaysian police say political leader behind gay sex tape allegations

KUA,上海品茶网Pablo,LA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysian police on Thursday said a leader of a political party was behind videos purporting to show a cabinet minister, seen as a potential successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, engaged in sex with another man.

They did not identify the party or the leader.

The sex tapes, allegedly of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, were widely distributed to journalists and politicians via WhatsApp la上海品茶微信st month.

Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim, who Mahathir has named as his succes,上海品茶会所Idaia,so,上海喝茶资源群Fabian,r, spent about a decade in jail under the law on what he said were trumped up charges.

Azmin, who is said to be close to Mahathir, said the videos were a “nefarious plot” to end his career.

“Results of (police) investigation reveal that there is a wicked alliance that is masterminded by a leader of a political party with the intention to shame and destroy the reputation of a certain individual,” police chief Abdul Hamid Bador said in a statement.

Abdul Hamid said the video was probably authentic but that facial recognition tests were “not able to associate the perpetrator in the video with the individual in question”.

The statement did not identify the individual but the headline of the statement referred to the sex video “allegedly involving an individual bearing likeness to a senior cabinet minister”.

The video was produced by parties that were hired with “hundreds of thousands of ringgit”, Abdul Hamid said, referring to Malaysia’s currency.

The sex scandal has deepened rifts within the ruling coalition and raised concerns of a turbulent transition from 94-year-old Mahathir.

Azmin last month said he was convinced the videos were the work of insiders in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party, the biggest component of the Pakatan Harapan alliance. Anwar and Azmin are the president and deputy president in PKR.

Anwar has said it was “slander” to suggest he had anything to do with the leaked footage.

Earlier on Thursday, Anwar brushed aside talk of a challenge from Azmin for the premiership and said he had the support needed to become prime minister.

Croatia PM reshuffles cabinet, proposes six new ministers

ZAGREB ( ) – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday ordered a reshuffle of his cabinet with six new ministers, just over a year before his government’s term in office expires in late 2020.

“The logic behind this government reshuffle is to continue our work on achieving our goals for the benefits of the citizens, without any burden,” Plenkovic told reporters late on Wednesday after meeting his coalition partners.

The conservative-liberal ruling coalition, which is also supported by some s上海品茶QQmaller parties, has a thin parliamentary majority. The new ministers are expected to be approved by lawmakers on Friday.

The government will get new ministers for public administration, state assets management, agriculture, foreign and European affairs, labor and pensions, we,上海品茶Nadia,lfare policy, regional development and European Union funds.

All six of the proposed new ministers were previously lower-level government officials. Only the current Labour Minister Marko Pavic, who will take over the regional development and the EU funds ministry, was in the Cabinet.

The previous ministers in charge of public administration and state ,上海品茶微信Jackson,assets management resigned earlier this month following media reports about questionable real estate deals..

Also, some other ministers who are set to be replaced, have in recent months been criticized for conduct in relation to private matters which media reports have said raised questions of propriety.

“We want to carry on our work with the public and the media focusing on our,上海品茶网Landon, achievements rather than on the matters which have been a distraction from what we have been doing well,” Plenkovic said.

As part of the reshuffle, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric have been proposed as new deputy prime ministers.

Worries remain for U.S. government contractors as shutdown ends

WASHINGTON ( ) – Minutes after President Donald Trump announced an end to the longest U.S. government shutdown in history on Friday, Yvette Hicks’ phone started ringing.

“I had bill collectors calling me back-to-back-to-back wondering when I could start making a payment arrangement,” she said, recalling how her mood quickly changed from excitement back to worry.

Hicks, 40, a security guard at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, is one of thous,上海品茶会所Faith,ands of federal gove,上海品茶群二维码Talon,rnment contractors who do not expect to be paid for the month of work they missed during the 35-day partial shutdown – and who remain at risk if Trump and lawmakers fail to reach a more lasting agreement beyond the current three-week deal to reopen the government.

Trump, who had demanded Democrats agree to fund construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border before he would agree to reopen the government, has signed legislation guaranteeing back pay for 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown.

Contractors, however, were not included, leaving many worried they won’t recover their losses.

Without a paycheck, Hicks began rationing her children’s asthma medication, considered cashing in a life insurance policy and prayed every day she could keep her family from becoming homeless again.

“I promised them that we would never suffer like that again,” Hicks said in an interview at her home on Friday, crying as she recalled the three years she and her four children spent without a home.


It is not clear how many federal government contract workers there are, though some estimates run into the millions.

An official with the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, which represents Hicks and nearly 700 other contractors, mostly security guards and janitors in Washington, said those members are among the lowest paid workers in the federal government.

“These are not folks who can afford to miss a paycheck,” said Alison Hirsch, the unit’s vice president. “These are not folks who are making enough money to have a robust savings account. It can permanently alter their credit scores, their ability to support themselves.”

When Hicks reports to work on Tuesday, it will be the first time she has been able to wear her uniform since she was hired in late December. Her first day was scheduled for Jan. 1, the same day the Smithsonian, which oversees the space museum and several others in Washington, closed due to a lack of funding.

With a book titled “Prayers for Difficult Times” on the sofa beside her, Hicks tearfully described giving her 8-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter smaller doses of their asthma medicine to make it last longer, while limiting how much time they ran and spent outside in the cold.

In a statement issued before Friday’s deal was reached, her employer, Allied Universal, said it would “provide vacation buyback for accrued time,” which is unlikely to help new hires like Hicks. It also said it provided letters to furloughed employees who were seeki上海品茶工作室ng to avoid late fees from creditors.

Wi,上海品茶微信Kaia,th bills piling up and uncertainty over whether the government will still be open beyond Feb. 15, Hicks said she still worries about becoming homeless again.

“There’s no stability,” she said. “How long will the government be shut down again if Trump doesn’t get what he wants?”

House Democrat seeks details of Treasury debt limit plans

WASHINGTON ( ) – A leading Democrat in Congress asked the U.S. Treasury on Tuesday to advise lawmakers about when it intends to seek an increase in the U.S. debt ceiling, an issue that could become part of the debate over President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Representative Richard Neal, who chairs the tax committee in the House of Representatives, requested details about the Trump administration’s debt limit plans in a Jan. 29 letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Treasury officials received Neal’s letter and were reviewing it, a spokeswoman said.

The current limit on U.,上海喝茶资源群Kaia,S. debt extends through March 1, and analysts say Congress will likely have to reinstate the ceiling at a level well above $20 trillion or risk a first-ever default that would damage U.S. credit. Treasury should be able to sustain government obligations for longer by taking various measures, while using cash on hand and incoming revenues.

“The United States must continue to pay all of its bills on time and in full. I look forward,上海品茶水磨Gabriel, to hearing from you about what adjustment in the debt limit is needed,” Neal said in the letter to Mnuchin.

Neal’s House Ways and Means Committee released the letter as the debt limit showed signs of becoming embroiled in the debate over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which led to a 35-day shutdown of about one-quarter of the federal government.

Congress and Trump reopened the government last week with a measure that will expire on Feb. 15, to give negotiators time to work out an agreement.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has urged Trump to consider the possibility of making the debt limit part of ongoing negotiations over border security, according to CNN.

The idea was quickly rejected by Democrats, who have accused Trump of using federal workers furloughed by the shutdown as “hostages” in his bid to win congressional approval for his border wall.

“T上海品茶会所he debt ceiling. No more hostages!” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. “That’s not a good idea. We ought to be negotiating to get an,上海外卖品茶群Kaia, agreement.”

In his letter, Neal blamed Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for a significant drop in government revenue and warned that effects of the shutdown could cut revenue.

Factbox: ‘Prepare to die’ – Most colorful alleged threats by Trump…

( ) – Roger Stone, a longtime ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, allegedly called an associate “a rat,” threatened his dog and invoked “The Godfa上海品茶工作室ther” Mafia movies in a bid to stop him from testi,上海品尝嫩茶Radcliff,fying in an investigation run by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, according to court papers unsealed on Friday.

Stone was arrested in Florida on Friday and accused of lying to congressional investigators and tampering with a witness.

Prosecutors accuse the political provocateur of threatening an associate who hosted a radio program in an apparent attempt to stop the unnamed person from testifying to investigators probing Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The 24-page indictment is peppered with alleged threats, some with typos or grammatical errors, from Stone to the unnamed associate:

* “You are a rat. A stoolie. You backstab your friends-run your mouth my lawyers are dying Rip you to shreds,” Stone told the person in an April 9 email. He also threatened to “take that dog away from you,” and said, “I am so ready. Let’s get it on. Prepare to die (expletive).”

* “If you testify you’re a fool. Because of tromp I could never get away with a certain (sic) my Fifth Amendment rights but you can. I guarantee you you are the one who gets indicted for perjury if you’re stupid enough to testify,” ,上海品茶419论坛Sabina,Stone told the person in a Dec. 1, 2017, text message.

* “You are so full of (expletive). You got nothing. Keep running your mouth and I’ll file a bar complaint against your friend,” Stone wrote in a May 21 email.

* Another Dec. 1 2017 message referred to a character in “The Godfather: Part II” who declines to testify to Congress after mobsters bring his brother from Italy to the hearing in an apparent threat to the man’s safety. Court papers said that Stone told the person to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli.’”

(This version of the story was refiled to add dropped word in,上海品茶Naia, headline)

Myanmar filmmaker charged over Facebook posts about military

YANGON ( ) – A Myanmar judge on Thursday charged filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for Facebook posts he made about the po,上海外卖品茶群Queena,werful military, meaning he will stand trial despite concern over his health and an outcry from human rights groups.

The director, who runs a human rights film festival, was detained three months ago after a complaint from an army officer that listed 10 of,上海品茶419论坛Rachel, his Facebook posts.

In the posts he criticized the military’s political role and Myanmar’s 2008 constitution, which was drawn up by the former ruling junta and which civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is attempting to amend.

The case is one of a slew the military has launched against critics in recent months.

Some activists want Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to do more to protect free expression, but Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi himself has said she should not be blamed for his incarceration.

Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi pleaded not guilty to the charge, under section 505(a) of Myanmar’s colonial-era penal code, which carries a maximum two-year prison term for statements that could cause a soldier or other service member “to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty”.

But after preliminary hearings, the judg,上海品茶水磨Fabi,e at Insein Township Court, in the main city of Yangon, ruled the posts caused soldiers to lose respect for the military.

The court was packed with friends, diplomats and reporters.

A separate defamation case under a telecommunications law has been filed against Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi for the same Facebook posts.

After Thursday’s ruling, the filmmaker told reporters he did not intend to damage or disrespect the military.

“The military was also not destroyed. There is no proof that respect was lost in the military. But I was charged with 505(a),” he said.

The prosecutor declined to comment.

The complainant, Lieutenant-Colonel Lin Tun, told the court that he filed the lawsuit because he took 上海品茶会所offense at the filmmaker’s posts.

“I am unsatisfied with his posts. This wouldn’t have happened if he did not write anything,” he told the judge.

“They couldn’t provide any proof on their accusations and yet they charged him,” defense lawyer Robert San Aung told after the hearing.

His client, who has recently undergone cancer treatment, was deteriorating in detention, the lawyer said.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners human rights group, 161 people are in jail, either convicted or facing trial on politically motivated charges.

Scores are on bail and 76 people had lawsuits against them just in June.

Malnutrition, disease kill at least 139 displaced in Indonesia’s…

JAKARTA ( ) – Thousands of people in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua have been displaced by fighting between soldiers and separatists, and at least ,上海品茶QQDaisy,139 of them have died from malnutrition and disease, an aid group said on Thursday.

But the Indonesian military disputed the figures for deaths and displaced issued by the Solidarity Team for Nduga aid group.

A long-running separatist movement in Papua has seen an increase in violence in recent months.

The military launched a crackdown following the killing by the rebels of 16 construction workers building a highway in the mountainous Nduga area in December.

Hipolitus Wangge, a volunteer wit,上海品茶Caitlin,h the aid group, said 1上海品茶工作室39 people had died in a camp for displaced in the town of Wamena, 40 of them aged under 5 and 24 older children.

He said 5,200 people, including 700 children, were sheltering in Wamena without enough food, clean water and clothing, while access to health and education was limited.

Many of the displaced were suffering from respiratory infections, diarrhoea and dysentery, he sai,上海品茶交友群Quaid,d.

“This morning, a two-year-old child died,” Wangge told reporters at a news briefing in Jakarta.

Muhammad Aidi, a spokesman for Indonesia’s military command in Papua said the group’s account of the situation was a “hoax”.

“There is no data on deaths,” he said, asking for proof of where the bodies were buried, while saying there was no data even on the size of the population in the area.

Aidi said some villagers had returned to their homes with the help of the military and the government and those who had not were afraid of the separatists.

Papua parliament member Emus Gwijangge has urged the military to allow journalists to go to Nduga, saying it had been difficult for the public to get an independent account, the Papuan media outlet reported.

Gwijangge estimated thousands were still displaced.

President Joko Widodo has sought to ease tension in the restive region, which became part of Indonesia after a controversial U.N.-backed referendum in 1969, by freeing prisoners, addressing rights concerns and stepping up investment.

Widodo has also pledged to developed impoverished Papua with projects like the Trans Papua Highway. After the killing of construction workers, he ordered the military to help complete the project.

Factbox: Will Spain’s Sanchez stay on as prime minister?

MADRID ( ) – Spain enters a week of votes and debates which will be vital in determining whether Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez, who has been acting prime minister since an inconclusive election in late April, will be confirmed in the job.

Leaders of the main parties are at odds with each other in a country with no recent experience of coalition governments and an increasingly fragmented political landscape, meaning it may take many more weeks, and possibly a repeat election, to find a deal.

Here are the main dates and events to watch out for:


Both the Socialists and far-left Podemos have said they wanted a deal, so this would at first glance be the most logical,上海品茶419论坛Eden, scenario. But Sanchez and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias have very different views of what an agreement should look like.

Sanchez said talks were off after Iglesias ,上海品茶Dallas,called his latest proposal “idiotic”.

Podemos is expected to publish on Thursday evening the result of a consultation of party members, though a party source said that might be pushed to Friday. They were asked to decide between an all-out coalition deal or a looser pact, proposed by Sanchez, that would include just上海品茶会所 a few low-ranking Podemos-backed officials.

The first option would make it harder for Sanchez to become prime minister, unless he does a U-turn and allows Iglesias and other senior Podemos figures to have key cabinet positions.


Sanchez and the leaders of parties from the far-left to the far-right will fight off for hours on Monday and Tuesday in a parliamentary debate ahead of the first investiture vote, scheduled for around 1800 (1600 GMT) on Tuesday.

Sanchez is very unlikely to win this first vote, which requires an absolute majority and would need not only the Socialists’ 123 lawmakers and Podemos’ 42 to vote for him but also many other small parties, to get at least 176 votes.


Forty-eight hours after the first vote, lawmakers will cast ballots again. This time, all Sanchez requires is more “yes” than “no” votes. But that still will not be easy.

It will mostly depend on what Podemos does. If they vote for Sanchez, alongside Basque nationalists and a handful of lawmakers from smaller regions, which are largely guaranteed, it is in the bag for Sanchez.

Without Podemos, Sanchez would require a surprise abstention by a big party, possibly the conservative People’s Party (PP). It would be very unexpected at this stage but that has happened in the past.


That’s where the game of chicken gets even more tense. Podemos or other parties might well decide they want to make Sanchez sweat it out more and wait for another vote in September, but the Socialists have said it’s all off if he is not sworn in next week.


If no deal is reached, a repeat election would be held on November 10. If there is a deal and Sanchez is confirmed as prime minister, the question wil,上海品茶工作室Cain,l be what he can achieve in power, considering how fragmented Spanish politics are.

China reveals plans for carrier relocation to Beijing’s new airport

(This Jan. 3 story was refiled to fix typo in airport name in paragraph 6)

BEIJING ( ) – China’s aviation regulator published on Thursday plans for airline relocation to Beijing’s new mega-airport set to open this year and said it would let foreign carriers decide which of the capital’s airports they will use.

Beijing Daxing International Airport, due to open in September, will accommodate 72 million passengers a year by 2025 and is expected to become one of the world’s busiest airports upon completion.

This will be the city’s second such facility and help relieve pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport, whose annual capacity has reached 100 million passengers.

Foreign airlines, along with those in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, can choose which airport they want to operate in, with the option of having a presence in both. Chinese carriers, except China P上海品茶工作室ostal Airlines, will have to use only one airport, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). ,上海品茶网Earl,

China initially planned to relocate airlines from,专门哟啪的微信群Quaid, th,上海品尝嫩茶Sabine,e SkyTeam alliance to the new airport, while Star Alliance airlines would stay at the existing Beijing airport.

Airlines including China Southern, China Eastern, Beijing Capital Airlines and China United Airlines will be relocated to Beijing Daxing International Airport, while carriers such as Air China, Hainan Airlines and Grand China Air will stay at Beijing Capital International Airport.

Relocation will last from the winter of 2019 to the winter of 2021, the CAAC said.

Merkel’s coalition partner demands answers over German data breach

BERLIN ( ) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), demanded on Sunday that her interior minister quickly find out what Germany’s security agencies knew about a huge data breach and how they reacted.

The breach has shocked Germany’s establishment and risks rocking Merkel’s awkward ‘grand coalition’ again just months after a row over the fate of the domestic intelligence agency chief came close to tearing apart the ruling alliance.

The government said on Friday that personal data and documents from hundreds of German politicians and public figures including Merkel had been published online, in what appeared to be one of Germany’s biggest data breaches.

Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the center-left (SPD), told the Funke media group the government must quickly shed light on “which agencies knew what exactly when, and how th,上海品茶工作室Idaleen,at was dealt with”.

“This should be a priority for (Interior Minister) Horst Seehofer. It’s about protecting our democracy,” Klingbeil added.

Seehofer told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung he only became aware of the breach on Friday morning, but that he would share everything he finds out with the public and intended to do so by the middle of this week at the latest.

The ecologist Greens leader in parliament, Anton Hofreiter, said the president of the BSI cyber defense agency, Arne Schoenbohm, must explain himself urgently in an extraordinary parliamentary committee meeting.

The BSI on Saturday defended its role in responding to,上海品茶419论坛Gabi, the data breach, saying it could not have connected individual cases it was aware of last year until the entire data release became public last week.

Last year, Seehofer was at the center of a political storm over another security agency chief, whose the fate almost tore apart Merkel’s coalition of her conservativ上海品茶工作室e bloc and the SPD.

Despite SPD resistance, Seehofer rescued Hans-Georg Maassen from dismissal in September when the domestic spy chief questioned the authenticity of videos showing far-right nationalists chasing immigrants in the eastern city of Chemnitz.

But Maasse,上海外卖品茶群Idaline,n was subsequently sacked in November over a speech given behind closed doors condemning “naive and leftist” government policies.

Syrian opposition urges countries not to reconcile with Assad

RIYADH ( ) – Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Sunday he was surprised by countries rebuilding ties with the Syrian government and urged them to reverse their decision.

Arab states, including some that once backed rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war, aiming to expand their influence in Syria at the expense of non-Arab Turkey and Iran.

The United Arab Emirates re-opened its embassy in Damascus last month and Bahrain said its embassy there, and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama, had been operating “without interruption”.

“We do not have the power to stop this reconciliation,” Nasr Hariri told reporters in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he is based.

“We still hope there is a possibility for (these co,上海品茶QQFabi,untries) t,专门哟啪的微信群Idaia,o revisit their decisions and realize that the real and solid relation should be with their brothers of the Syrian people not with the regime that has committed all these crimes,” he said.

“Bashar al-Assad will remain a war criminal even if thousands of leaders had a handshake with him.”

Kuwait said last week it expected more Arab countries to reopen embassies in Damascus in “coming days”, although the move would need a green light from the Arab League. ,上海妹子品茶微信Caden,

Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 in response to the government’s violent crackdown on “Arab Spring” protests. For Syria to be reinstated, the League must reach a consensus.

“We do not think it would be a sound step to readmit Syria into the Arab League. We think this is a decision that won’t be in the interest of the political process,” Hariri said.

U.S-allied Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, were the main regional backers of armed groups opposed to Assad, providing finance or weapons or both, acting largely as part of a program of support 上海品茶工作室for the armed opposition coordinated by Washington.

Malaysia’s king abdicates after two years on throne

KUALA LUMPUR ( ) – Malaysia’s King Muhammad V abdicated on Sunday, the palace said, after two years on the throne, the first time a monarch has stepped down before completing their five-year tenure.

The king’s resignation took effect immediately, the National Palace said in a statement. No reason was given and palace officials did not respond to requests for comment.

A week ago, the king, 49, had resumed duties after spending two months on medical leave. Im,上海品茶水磨Cain,ages purporting to show him getting married in Russia appeared on social media in December. The palace did not respond t,上海外卖品茶群Lake,o requests for comment on the photos or reports of a marriage.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the king assumes a largely ceremonial role, including as the custodian of Islam in the Muslim-majority country. However, the king’s assent is needed before the appointment of a prime minister or senior public officials.

Malaysia has nine royal households, who typically take turns to sit on the throne, and the selection of the next king is decided by a vote in the Council of Rulers, made up of all nine royal households.

The palace statement said the king, who took the throne in December 2016, was grateful for the opportunity given to him by the Counc,上海品茶交友群Caitlin,il of Rulers and thanked the prime minister and government for their cooperation during his rule.

“His Highness has worked towards fulfilling his responsibilities entrusted to him as the head of state, serving as a pillar of stability, source of justice, the core of unity … for the people,” the palace statement said.

The New Straits Times reported there had been tensions between the palace and the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who led the opposition to an election win in 上海品茶QQMay.

Mahathir, known for challenging royalty during his past 22-year tenure as prime minister, said in a blog post last week that everyone “from the Rulers to the Prime Minister and Ministers, to the civil servants and ordinary citizens” are subject to the law. He did not elaborate.

In June, the government and palace faced a near two-week impasse over a plan to appoint a non-Malay as attorney-general. The king eventually approved the appointment, though the incident had stoked racial tensions.

Egypt’s Sisi opens mega-mosque and Middle East’s largest cathedral…

CAIRO ( ) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated Egypt’s largest church and mosque in the New Administrative Capital on Sunday, the eve of Coptic Christmas, in a message of tolerance in the predominantly Muslim country.

Copts, the largest Christian minority in the Middle East, were due hold a midnight mass in the Cathedral of the Nativity, billed by the government as the Middle East’s largest church, a few hours after the inauguration.

Coptic Christians make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt’s nearly 100 million people and have long complained of discrimination under laws that favor Muslims.

They have also increasingly been targeted in recent years by Islamist militants including Islamic State, which is waging an insurgency in the north of the remote Sinai Peninsula.

Foreign dignitaries and officials including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit flanked Sisi at the opening, state television showed.

Angham, a prominen,上海品茶交友群Daisy,t local singer, sang for Muslim-Christian coexistence as a display of fireworks lit the skies over the two houses of worship.

“This is an important moment in our history,” Sisi said in a speech as he opened the cathedral. “We are one and we will remain one,” he added, referring to Egyptian Christians and Muslims.

“On this day we see you have fulfilled this promise and here we are witnessing a great opening on this grand occasion,” the head of the Coptic church Pope Tawadros II said. He w,上海品茶论坛Caitlin,ill preside over midnight mass later in the evening with Sisi in attendance.

U.S. President Donald Trump also praised the opening of the church and the mosque.

“Excited to see our friends in Egypt opening the biggest Cathedral in the Middle East. President Al-Sisi is moving his country to a more inclusive future,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

The Cathedral of the Nativity, adorned with Coptic icons, can accommodate more than,专门哟啪的微信群Kaiden, 8,000 worshippers while the al-Fattah al-Aleem Mosque can hold nearly double the number. Both are located in the new administrative capital, a major development located some 45 km (28 miles) east of Cairo.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Imam of the al-Azhar Mosque, said Islam obliges Muslims to safeguard and defend houses of worship, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish.

Contractors have been clearing debris from the perimeter of the cathedral in the last two weeks in preparation for its grand opening.

The new Egyptian capital, announced in March 2015, is intended partly to reduce crowding in Cairo but will also be home to governm上海品茶QQent ministries and an airport. The government is expecting to begin moving to the new premises later this year.

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

LYON, France ( ) – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on his上海品茶微信torical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the pedophile scandal inside the Catholic Church in France, and will stand trial alongside five others from his diocese.

While most of the recent focus in the Church’s global abuse crisis has been on Australia and Chile, Barbarin’s trial puts the spotlight on Europe’s senior clergy again, just as Pope Francis prepares to host a meeting of senior bishops from around the world in Rome next month to discuss the protection of minors.

Barbarin is accused of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s by Father Bernard Preynat – a priest who has admitted sexual abuse, according to his lawyer, and is due to go on trial later this year.

The charges carry a potential three-year prison sentence and fines of up to about $50,000.

Barbarin told the newspaper Le Monde in August 2017 that he had never concealed allegations against Preynat, but acknowledged shortcomings in his handling of them.

“I myself realize that my response at the time was inadequate,” he said.

Barbarin’s lawyer, Jean-Felix Luciani, said he expected Barbarin to be acquitted.

“He’s accused of covering up for Preynat, whereas in fact it was Barbarin who triggered this whole process,” Luciani said. “You don’t repair one injustice with another.”


Barbarin told Le Monde in 2017 that he had previously opened an investigation of Preynat under church or canon law because a judicial investigation was moving so slowly.

Barbarin, who moved to the Lyon diocese in 2002, has said he became aware of Preynat’s activities in 2007. He eventually removed the priest from his post in 2015.

Barbarin told Le Monde that he had suspended two other priests and called in the judiciary “when I learned of allegations of recent abuses, in 2006 and 2014”. But faced with allegations of abuses said to have taken place 15 or 20 years earlier, he said he “knocked on doors” for advice, but received no satisfac,上海品茶论坛Kailani,tory answer.

Lyon prosecutors had previously investigated Barbarin but dropped the probe in the summer of 2016 without a detailed explanation. However, an association of alleged victims called Parole Liberee (“Freed Word”) used a provision of French law to compel the cardinal to stand trial.

Pope Francis has come under fire over the Church’s handling of the spreading sexual abuse crisis.

In September, researchers said they had found indications of sexual abuse in Germany by 1,670 Catholic clerics over the course of seven decades. On Friday, the Vatican said an Argentine bishop working in a top Vatican financial department was under preliminary investigation for sexual abuse.

Pope Francis himself met Barbarin in early 2016, and later told the Catholic newspaper La Croix that it would make no sense,上海外卖品茶群Hadleigh, for the cardinal to resign before any eventual trial.

“According to the information at my disposal, Cardinal Barbarin took the appropriate measures, he took things in hand. He is brave, creative, a missionar,上海品茶微信Radcliff,y,” Francis was quoted as saying.

Lawsuit against Trump model agency dismissed by U.S. judge

(This story corrects date of election to Nov. 8 from Nov. 3 in eighth paragraph)

By Alana Wise

WASHINGTON ( ) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s modeling agency, saying there was insufficient evidence a foreign-born model had been misled or was owed back pay.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres found that Alexia Palmer had not p,上海品茶网Nala,rovided proof that Trump Model Management LLC fraudulently applied for a U.S. visa for her or that she had been denied fair wages.

Attorneys for both Palmer and the modeling agency could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lawyers for Trump, who owns the agency but was not named directly in the suit, have called the case “frivolous” and “without merit.”

Palmer, a Jamaica native, sued in October 2014, alleg上海品茶QQing that for her three-year contract with the agency, she was promised a $7,上海品茶群二维码Lark,5,000-a-year salary, but received just $3,880.75. She sought $250,000 in back pay.

The lawsuit also alleged Palmer’s experience was part of a grander scheme to “lure foreign models to the United States” and cheat them out of their pay.

But Torres said there was not enough evidence to prove that Palmer had worked the requisite number of hours over the three years to justify a minimum hourly wage complaint or warrant back pay.

The case’s dismissal was a setback for attorneys who sought to bring a class action against the agency on behalf of models. A group lawsuit could have drawn additional attention to Trump’s employment of foreign-born workers as he seeks the Republica,上海外卖品茶群Idris,n nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

Trump, a billionaire New York businessman, has acknowledged legally using foreign workers in his businesses but has said his experience would allow him to reform a visa system that can be easily manipulated.

The case is Alexia Palmer v. Trump Model Management, et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-08037.

Obama says journalists partly to blame for tone of presidential race

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Barack Obama on Monday laid some of the blame for the tone of the presidential campaign on political journalism that has been pinched by shrinking newsroom budgets and cheapened by a focus on retweets and likes on social media.

In a speech to a journalism awards dinner, Obama urged journalists to ask tougher questions of the candidates vying to be president. He v上海品茶QQoiced dismay over the vulgar rhetoric, violence at rallies and unrealistic campaign pledges that have,专门哟啪的微信群Queena, continually grabbed headlines, in a thinly veiled reference to Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

“The number one question I’m getting as I travel around the world or talk to world leaders right now is, ‘What is happening in America?’ about our politics,” Obama said, describing international alarm over whether the United States will continue to function effectively.

“It’s not because around the world people have not seen crazy politics. It is that they understand America is the place where you can’t afford completely crazy politics,” he said.

“When our elected officials and our political campaigns become entirely untethered to reason and facts and analysis, when it doesn’t matter what’s true and what’s not, that makes it all but impossible for us to make good decisions on behalf of future generations,” Obama said.

He said the media landscape has changed since his first presidential campaign in 2008, when “there was a price if you said one thing and then did something completely different.

“The question is, in the current media environment, is that still true? Does that still hold?” he said.

He said news organizations have a responsibility to dig deeper despite the faster pace of “this smartphone age” and steep financial pressures in the news business.

Voters “would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especiall,上海品茶工作室Sabina,y when polit,上海品茶交友群Caitlin,icians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep,” Obama said.

The New York Times earlier this month reported that Trump has so far earned almost $1.9 billion worth of media coverage, compared with $313 million for the next closest Republican challenger, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and $746 million for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s tariff plan could boomerang, spark trade wars with China,…

WASHINGTON ( ) – Donald Trump’s threats to slap steep tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports may have won him votes in Republican primaries but they would likely backfire, severely disrupting U.S. manufacturers that increasingly depend on global supply chains.

The Republican presidential front-runner’s campaign pledges to impose 45 percent tariffs on all imports from China and 35 percent on many goods from Mexico would spark financial market turmoil and possibly even a recession, former trade negotiators, trade lawyers, economists and business executives told .

“I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year,” Trump said in a Feb. 25 debate, referring to the 2015 U.S. goods trade deficit with Mexico. Economists dispute the idea the United States is “losing” money as the trade deficit is simply the difference between what the United States imports and what it exports to a country.

“Imposing tariffs or putting up trade barriers may sound good, but it will hurt our economy and credibility,” said Wendy Cutler, the former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative who helped lead U.S. negotiations in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal last year.

Among those hardest hit would be the U.S. auto industry, which has fully integrated Mexico into ,上海品茶交友群Paisley,its production network. Some $118 billion worth of vehicles and parts flowed north and south across the border tariff-free last year, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

A 35 percent tariff would raise costs for Ford Motor Co’s U.S.-assembled F-series and medium-duty pickup trucks that use Mexican-made diesel engines, one of its most profitable vehicle lines. (Graphic on U.S.-Mexico auto and parts trade:

Ford CEO Mark Fields on Wednesday defended the company’s investment strategy, which includes $9 billion for U.S. plants over the next four years, saying, “We will do what makes sense for the business.”

Buyers of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s popular Ram 1500 pickup trucks assembled in Saltillo, Mexico, could see their $26,000 base price pushed up by $9,000 if the tariff is fully passed on to consumers. A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment on Trump’s statements.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement that U.S. trade policy constitutes “unilateral economic surrender” and needs complete change because it allows foreign competitors to shut out U.S imports, devalue their currencies and unfairly target U.S. industries.

“I don’t think he does our issue any favors by making it so incredibly jingoistic and bombastic,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a group that allies domestic steelmakers and other manufacturers with the United Steelworkers union.

“But I believe there’s widespread agreement … that there is something amiss with our economic relationship with China and it’s past time that our government pushes back a little more forcefully.”


It would take years for U.S. industry to rebuild supply chains devastated by sudden tariff hikes on Chinese and Mexican goods and any retaliatory measures, said Peter Petri, a Brandeis University professor who has co-authored an influential study on the effects of the TPP trade deal on national income.

Even if U.S. firms were ab上海品茶QQle to make such a transition, Petri said this would likely result in a permanent annual reduction in U.S. national income of more than $100 billion, or 0.8 percent.

Trump’s tariff plans would effectively violate NAFTA and revoke U.S. commitments to the World Trade Organization, say trade lawyers.

Beijing and Mexico City “are just going to retaliate on the things that are likely to hurt us most,” said Susan Schwab, the U.S. Trade Representative from 2006 to 2009 in the George W. Bush administration. Schwab negotiated major portions of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

In 2009, Mexico slapped duties up to 25 percent on more than 90 different U.S. farm goods, from pork to frozen potatoes due to foot-dragging by U.S. lawmakers on allowing Mexican truckers on to U.S. roads, as specified under NAFTA. The National Potato Council estimates that U.S. growers lost about $70 million in revenue over 31 months, a 50 percent cut from their third-largest export market.

Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo said last week that big tariffs on Mexico would return the United States to “an isolationist, xenophobic and protectionist vision.”

And a full-scale tariff war with China would likely expose the largest U.S. export sectors to steep duties, including aircraft, semiconductors, corn and soybeans, trade lawyers said.

Retaliatory tariffs would also hurt growing U.S. vehicle exports to China – at 300,000 a year now equivalent to the annual output of a large assembly plant. General Motors Co is now planning to import a Buick sport-utility vehicle from a Chinese joint venture plant.

A GM spokesman declined to comment.

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper called Trump “big-mouthed, anti traditional and abusively forthright” in an editorial, but did not directly address his tariff proposals.


A long-running U.S.-China trade dispute over solar panels illustrates how tariffs can sometimes cause unanticipated damage.

In 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department slapped anti-dumping duties of up to 78 percent on Chinese solar panels after German-owned SolarWorld AG complained that below-cost Chinese imports were hurting its U.S. production.

China responded with its own 57 percent duties against U.S. producers of polycrystalline silicon, the raw material for photovoltaic cells. This put the brakes on an industry that was fast expanding to meet demand from Chinese solar panel makers.

Hemlock Semiconductor, controlled by Dow Corning, abandoned construction of a $1.5 billion new polysilicon plant in 2014. Dow Corning spokesman Jarrod Erpelding said Hemlock “serves as a strong example of how trade disputes often have unintended consequences.”

“This is really stupid,” said Francine Sullivan, chief legal officer of REC Silicon in Moses Lake, Washington, which halted production this year. “The necessity and value in putting on tariffs to protect solar panels in the U.S. was just not thought through. We’ve suffered enormous financial damage as a result of this.”

The Trump campaign said measures like tariffs would level the playing field and help bring “millions of manufacturing jobs back to the United States.”

But Durwin “Oodie” Royal, a furnace operator at U.S. Steel Corp’s Lone Star Tubular Operations in Texas, knows first-hand that such relief can be temporary.

Workers at the plant cheered when the United States imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese drilling pipe in 2009 and 2011. But the company announced on Friday that it would temporarily idle the tube mill, laying off 450 workers as it battles a slump in U.S. oil and gas drilling, a continued global steel glut and “unfairly traded imports.”

“When they slap tariffs on one country, the imports just come in from another country,” said Royal, who expects to be among those workers who are idled.

Af,上海品茶工作室Babette,ter the tariffs were imposed on China, South Korean imports surged, he said. “Right now, we’re just limping along like everybody else.”

Wisconsin governor backs Republican Ted Cruz in presidential race

WASHINGTON ( ) – Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz won the backing on Tuesday of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, gaining a boost in the contentious three-way race a week before that state’s presidential primary.

Walker, himself a former Repub,上海妹子品茶微信Fabi,lican president上海品茶QQial candidate, emphasized he was not endorsing the U.S. senator from Texas in an effort to thwart Republican front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

“To me, I’m all in,” Walker said in a radio interview on WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. He said he planned to campaign for Cruz throughout the state before the April 5 Wisconsin primary.

Wisconsin polls, though scarce, show Trump and Cruz running neck-and-neck in the state. A recent Emerson poll showed Cruz taking 36 percent and Trump with 35 percent. Ohio Governor John Kasich lagged in third place, with 19 percent.

Walker said he chose to back Cruz because he was a principled constitutional conservative who would stand up to big government special interests and give power to the states.

“I just fundamentally belie,上海品茶群二维码Cade,ve if you look at the facts, if you look at the numbers, that Ted Cruz is in the best position by far to both win the nomination of the Republican Party,专门哟啪的微信群Eden, and to then go on and defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall this year,” Walker said.

Walker’s endorsement adds to a number of other more mainstream Republicans stepping up behind Cruz as the best alternative to Trump, who has racked up a strong delegate lead but alienated many party leaders with his harsh views on immigration, Muslims and women.

From Russia with love: why the Kremlin backs Trump

MOSCOW ( ) – Donald Trump is a brave pro-Putin political maverick who would end U.S. foreign wars and perhaps lift sanctions on Moscow. Hillary Clinton, however, is a warmonger beholden to the military-industrial complex.

Russian state TV, which hews closely to the Kremlin’s world view, leaves little doubt about who Moscow supports in November’s U.S. presidential election: “The Donald.”

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman took brief exception this month to a Trump attack video which showed Putin laughing at the prospect of Clinton defending America. But officials and analysts say the Kremlin still sees Trump as the best candidate by a mile.

Putin has hailed Trump as “very talented”. The head of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee said he’d be a worthy winner of the 2015 “man of the year” title in the United States.

And Dmitry Kiselyov, presenter of Russia’s main weekly TV news show “Vesti Nedeli,” claimed this month that the Republican party elite had struck a secret deal with the Democrats to derail Trump, in part because of his sympathy for Russia.

“Trump doesn’t suit the Republican party,” Kiselyov told viewers. “They usually divide up the state budget (among themselves) by frightening people about Russia. But Trump is ready to find a common language with Putin. That’s why they don’t need Trump and even regard him as dangerous.”

Kiselyov has been one of the chief proponents of state television’s strongly anti-American tone, once saying Moscow could turn the United States into radioactive ash.

Some experts say Trump appeals to Moscow because Putin believes a Trump presidency would be isolationist and leave Russia with a free hand.

“The Kremlin can’t believe its luck,” said Konstantin von Eggert, an independent Moscow-based political analyst who believes the Obama administration has not been forceful in countering Russia.

“President Obama and (Secretary of State) John Kerry were a dream team for them, but now they have an even better option; someone who thinks that America should have nothing to do with the rest of the world.”

RT, the Kremlin’s English-language TV channel formerly known as Russia Today, says it does not back any U.S. candidates. But it has described Trump as “idiosyncratic and raw,” and suggested he represents the popular will of U.S. voters, which a sinister U.S. establishment is trying to subvert.

“Can America’s elections be truly called democratic if the political establishment aligns itself against the popular will?” lamented Peter Lavelle, the American host of RT’s flagship talk “CrossTalk” show. “As things stand now millions of voters could be disenfranch,上海品茶网Idris,ised.”


Trump has received advice from Lieutenant General Michael 上海品茶工作室Flynn, a former U.S. military intelligence chief who advocates better ties with Russia, and who shared a dinner table in Moscow with Putin in December to celebrate RT’s 10th anniversary.

Trump has won friends in Moscow with statements praising Putin as a strong leader that he could probably get along with. His support for Russian air strikes in Syria was welcomed.

In January, after a British judge ruled that Putin had “probably” authorized the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, Trump said he saw “no evidence” the Russian president was guilty.

“First of all, he says he didn’t do it. Many people say it wasn’t him. So who knows who did it?” Trump said.

This week, Trump said the United States should reduce funding for NATO. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said his comments showed the,上海品茶工作室Ebba, alliance was in crisis.

“For the last two years all we heard from Western newspapers and TV was very critical of Russia,” Victor,上海品茶论坛Barbara,ia Zhuravleva, a Moscow-based expert on U.S.-Russia relations, told .

“So when you hear something that is not so critical and even more friendly towards your country it’s like: ‘Thank God, There’s one person we can talk to: Donald Trump’”

Trump and Putin were similar, she said: “They are both open-minded, pragmatic, and say what they think.”


The mutual appreciation between Trump and Putin has invited comparisons to the Russian leader’s friendship with another billionaire-turned-politician, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, who outraged Ukrainians and irked EU leaders last year by visiting Russian-annexed Crimea with Putin. They toured a Crimean winery and drank a priceless 240-year-old bottle from its cellar.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton, who is well known to the Kremlin because of her 2009-2013 stint as U.S. Secretary of State, is clearly not to Moscow’s taste.

“We really don’t want Hillary,” said one Russian official, who spoke anonymously because of the subject’s sensitivity. “She’s no friend of Russia’s.”

State media coverage has focused on what it has cast as her wacky promise to declassify UFO files and on the pressure she has faced for using her personal email account for government business and over her response to the fatal 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Pro-Kremlin bloggers, corralled by a Putin supporter who used to represent the ruling party in parliament, are enthused by the prospect of agitating on behalf of Trump.

“Trump is the first member of the American elite in 20 years who compliments Russia. Trump will smash America as we know it, we’ve got nothing to lose,” Konstantin Rykov told his followers on social media.

“Do we want the grandmother Hillary? No. Maybe it’s time to help the old brigand.”

French cardinal tells court no pedophile cover-up

LYON, France ( ) – The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon, the highest-profile cleric to be caught up in the pedophile scandal inside the Catholic Church in France, told a court on Monday 上海品茶QQhe never tried to cover up sexual abuse and was not guilty of anything.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who stands trial alongside five others from his diocese, is accused of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse on Boy Scouts in the 1980s and early 1990s by Father Bernard Preynat.

Preynat has admitted sexual abuse, according to his lawyer, and is due to go on trial later this year.

“I never sought to conceal or cover up the facts,” Barbarin said on the first day of trial in Lyon.

“I am grateful justice intervened in this affair, but I didn’t think it was up to me to file a complaint, especially since the victim was told,上海品茶微信Hal, it was too late to act,” he said.

“I can’t see what I am guilty of.”

While most of the recent focus in the Church’s global abuse crisis has been on Australia and Chile, Barbarin’s trial puts the spotlight on Europe’s senior clergy again, just as Pope Francis prepares to host a meeting of senior bishops from around the world in Rome next month to discuss the protection of minors.

Barbarin, who moved to the Lyon diocese in 2002, visited the priest in his parish the same year but said he had not checked,专门哟啪的微信群Lake, Preynat’s file, where mail from parents denouncing the abuse was recorded, before doing so.

After being officially informed of Preynat’s actions in 2014, Barbarin said he convinced one of the alleged victims, Alexandre Hezez, to write a letter describing the facts, which he passed on to Churc,上海品茶论坛Hadrian,h hierarchy in Rome.

He removed the priest from his post in 2015, six months after being told to do so by the Vatican. “It was to avoid public scandal, just as Rome had suggested,” he told the court.

Lyon prosecutors had previously investigated Barbarin but dropped the probe in the summer of 2016 without a detailed explanation. However, an association of alleged victims called Parole Liberee (“Freed Word”) used a provision of French law to compel the cardinal to stand trial.

Pope Francis has come under fire over the Church’s handling of the spreading sexual abuse crisis.

He met Barbarin in early 2016, and later told the Catholic newspaper La Croix that it would make no sense for the cardinal to resign before any eventual trial.

Netanyahu demands to confront state’s witnesses in corruption probes

JERUSALEM ( ) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contesting an April election under the shadow of possible corruption charges, demanded on Monday to confront the state’s witnesses against him.

Announcing on Twitter, three hours beforehand, that he would make a “special announcement” on Israeli TV, Netanyahu – now in his fourth term – touched off a wave of social media speculation that he might resign or even launch legal action of his own to try to stay any indictment.

Instead, he kicked off Israel’s main TV evening news programs with an anticlimactic speech in which he again professed his innocence in a series of corruption cases. He contended he was a victim of a political witchhunt and said he was being denied the chance to challenge his accusers face-to-face.

“I demand a confrontation with the state’s witnesses now. What are they afraid of? What do they have to hide? I am not afraid and I have nothing to hide…As far as I am concerned it can be broadcast live, so the public can see and hear it.”

In response, Israel’s Justice Ministry said the investigations against Netanyahu – who is now in his fourth term – have been carried out professionally and thoroughly.

Netanyahu’s calling of th,上海品茶网Pablo,e snap election, ahead of a national ballot due by November, was widely seen as a direct appeal to voters for a fresh political mandate that could help him weather a potential indictment.

Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, said investigators had twice turned down his requests to confront the witnesses. At least three ex-Netanyahu confidants have agreed to provide evidence against him, Israeli media reports said.

Netanyahu is enmeshed in three graft cases. He has said he would not bow out of the election race if Israel’s attorney-gen,上海品茶419论坛Talon,eral announces his intention to accept police recommendations to indict him.

上海品茶微信Should he decide on an indictment, the attorney-general would, under Israeli law, then hold a hearing with Netanyahu in which the prime minister and his lawyers could make their case against filing charges in court.

There has been mounting speculation in Israel that an indictment decision will be announced in the next few weeks, before election day.

Police have alle,上海品茶群二维码Fabian,ged that Netanyahu granted regulatory favors to Israel’s leading telecommunications company, Bezeq Telecom Israel, in return for more positive coverage on a news website belonging to the firm’s owner.

In a second case, police contend that Netanyahu received expensive gifts from wealthy friends. A third investigation focuses on suspicions that Netanyahu negotiated a deal with one newspaper for better coverage in return for promises to back legislation that would have limited the circulation of a rival.

Sudan security forces arrest Khartoum University lecturers: professors

KHARTOUM ( ) – Sudanese security authorities arrested several faculty members from Khartoum University on Sunday, two professors said, after they joined anti-government protests that have posed th,上海品茶交友群Kai,e most serious challenge to President Omar al-Bashir’s rule.

The arrests came amid fresh demonstrations in Khartoum and Wad Madani in response to a call by a coalition of professional unions to push for Bashir to step down.

Witnesses said security forces blocked professors and lecturers from coming out to protest outside the university, arresting at least eight. It was the first time the faculty of the country’s oldest and most prestigious educational institution has joined the protests since they began last month.

The rest were forced to return into the faculty club house, where security forces surrounded the building trapping about 100 professors and lecturers inside for nearly three hours.

“We demand the president of the republic to step down,” one placard read carried by the lecturers inside the club house, according to pictures posted on social media.

A police spokesman could not immediately be reached to comment.

Intermittent protests have rocked Sudan since anger over food shortages and rising bread prices erupted into demonstrations in the city of Atbara in the north on Dec. 19.

Security forces have used tear gas on occasions, live ammunition against demonstrators and rounded up more than 2,000 people. The Sudanese government has said that 19 people were killed in the protests, including at two members of the security forces. Amnest,上海品茶微信Faith,y International has put ,上海品茶论坛Barrett,the death toll at 37.


In Sunday’s protests, witnesses said hundreds of men and women marched from three separate locations in the capital trying to reach the presidential palace in central Khartoum but were dispersed by security forces using tear gas and stun grenades.

A separate protest in Wad Madani, Sudan’s second largest city, was also dispersed by security forces using tear gas, according to witnesses.

The protests were smaller than previous demonstrations.

They are the most persistent opposition Bashir has faced since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup nearly 30 years ago.

Sudan’s economy has struggled to recover from the loss of three quarters of its oil output –上海品茶QQ its main source of foreign currency – since South Sudan seceded in 2011, keeping most of the oilfields.

The United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017. But many investors have continued to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, whose president is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in Darfur – charges he dismisses.

Mexicans burn Donald Trump effigies in Easter ritual

MEXICO CITY ( ) – Mexicans celebrating an Easter ritual late on Saturday burnt effigies,上海品茶群二维码Kai, of U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant views have sparked outrage south of the American border.

In Mexico City’s poor La Merced neighborhood, hundreds of cheering residents yelled “death” and various insults as they watched the explosion of the grinning papier-mâché mock-up of the real estate tycoon, replete with blue blazer, red tie and his trademark tuft of blond hair.

Media reported that Trump effigies burned across Mexico, from Puebla to Mexico’s industrial hub Monterrey.

The burning is part of a widespread Mexican Holy Week tradition 上海品茶会所where neighborhoods burn effigies to represent Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ according to the Bible. The effigies are often modeled on unpopular political figures.

“Since he started his campaign and began talking about immigrants, Mexico, and Mexicans, I said ‘I’ve got to get this guy,’” said Felipe Linares, the artisan who crafted Trump and whose family has been making Judases for more than 50 years.

Trump, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has drawn fire in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country will not pay for the wall and likened Trump’s “strident tone” to the ascent of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Trump, who has also aroused concern among many in his own party with his proposals, has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the border and vowed to incre,专门哟啪的微信群Falkner,ase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to help make Mexico pay for,上海品茶微信Hadleigh, the wall.

Judas effigies are burnt in villages and towns in several Latin American countries such as Venezuela and in parts of Greece. Anthropologists say the practice serves a symbolic function to overcome divisions and unite communities around a common enemy.

Linares has also done mock-ups of corrupt former union leader Elba Esther Gordillo and President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose popularity has been hit by conflict-of-interest scandals and the disappearance of 43 students at the hands of corrupt police.

Factbox: Break up big banks, end free-trade agreements. What a…

( ) – Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has made income inequality and Wall Street main themes of his campaign for the Democratic nomination to run for president in November.

Here is a look at some of his policy proposals, taken from his website, news stories and interviews.


Sanders would expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the Deferred Action for Parents of America program to extend legal protections given to certain immigrants who entered the country illegally.

He would establish a whistleblower visa program for workers reporting labor violations.

Sanders would end both for-profit and family detention of illegal immigrants.

He would reform immigration laws, and would include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently in the country.

The candidate would protect the border with technology such as high-grade cameras, thermal imaging and movement sensors instead erecting of a border wall.


Sanders would reverse trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement.

He would make it easier for people to join labor ,上海品茶工作室Quaid,unions.

Sanders says that permanent normal trade relations with China have been disas,上海品茶419论坛Caden,t上海品茶QQrous.

He has called for U.S. companies to invest more in the United States.


Sanders would seek the breakup of the largest financial institutions and reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era banking law that forced a separation of commercial and investmen,专门哟啪的微信群Paisley,t banking businesses.

He would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

Sanders would tax Wall Street speculation to help fund free public college and university tuition, and would establish a progressive estate tax for those who inherit more than $3.5 million.

He would set up a $1 trillion infrastructure investment program.

The candidate would lift the cap on taxable income above $250,000 to expand Social Security benefits.


Sanders supports the Iran nuclear deal, and opposes the use of ground troops in Iraq and Syria.

He would close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and would move toward normalizing relations with Cuba.

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