Day: August 12, 2019

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.

China says it welcomes U.N. to visit Xinjiang via proper procedures

BEIJING ( ) – China said on Monday it would welcome U.N. officials to its far western region of Xinjiang if they follow the proper procedures, amid ,专门哟啪的微信群Gabrielle,global concern over Beijing’s de-radicalization program there.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kangm asked at a regular briefing about reports that China had invited UN experts to Xinjiang, said that all parties, including the U.N., were welcome, as long as they respected appropriate travel procedures.

U.N. officials should also “avoid interfering in domestic matters” and adopt an objective and neutral attitude, he added.

The top U.N. human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, in December said her office was seeking access to Xinjiang to verify “worrying reports” of re-education camps holding Muslim minorities, including the Turkic speaking Uighurs.

In上海品茶QQ August, a U.N. human rights panel sa,上海外卖品茶群Octavia,id it had received credible reports that a million or more Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang were being held in what resembled a “massive internment camp”.

In a rare move, a group of 15 Western ambassadors in Beijing, spearheaded by Canada, have sought a meeting with the top official in the region, Communist Party boss Chen Quanguo, for an explanation of alleged rights abuses against Uighurs.

Beijing has launched an increasingly active publicity campaign to defend its actions in Xinjiang in the face of an outcry from activists, scholars, foreign governments and U.N. rights experts.

In the last two weeks, the Chinese government has arranged for diplomats from 12 non-Western countries to visit the region, as well as organizing a trip for a small group of reporters, including , to three facilities, which it cal,上海品茶工作室Nadia,led vocational education training centers.

In the centers, Uighur students learned in Mandarin about the dangers of extremist thought and sang and danced for reporters, including a rendition in English of “If You’re Happy and You Know it, Clap Your Hands”.

Xinjiang officials told on the trip that the de-radicalization program had been highly successful but that fewer people would be sent through the system in future.

last year reported on harsh extrajudicial detentions and interrogations at the camps, which are at odds with Beijing’s claims, and took pictures of guard towers and barbed wire surrounding some. (

Regional party quits India’s ruling coalition over citizenship row

NEW DELHI ( ) – A small regional party in India quit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling coalition on Monday, protest上海品茶工作室ing against his bid to give citizenship to hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims from neighboring countries such as Bangladesh.

Modi said last week his government was determined to pass a bill in parliament to relax rules for Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to become citizens of Hindu-majority India.

Critics have called the bill, to be discussed in parliament on Tuesday, an attempt by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiy,上海品茶会所Octavien,a Janata Party (BJP) to boost its Hindu voter base ahead of a national election due by May.

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), based in the border state of Assam in India’s northeast, has become the fourth ally to quit the ruling National Democratic Alliance in the past year, for a variety of reasons.

Protests have erupted in recent months and on Monday in Assam, where a movement against illegal immigrants, of all religions, from Bangladesh has simmered for decades, with some residents blaming them for eating into their resources and job opportunities.

It is estimated that millions of Bengali-speaking people in Assam trace their roots to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which won independence from Pakistan in 1971 with India’s help.

“The home minister clearly told us they will try to get this bill passed tomorrow, so there’s no question us staying with the BJP anymore,” AGP President Atul Bora told reporters in New Delhi.

The BJP has the numbers in the Assam assembly to stay ,上海品茶水磨Hal,in power in the state despite the AGP pullout, but the regional party could help galvanize anger amongst many ethnic Assamese opposed to giving citizenship to migrants who came to India after 1971.

That could hurt the BJP’s goal of sharply increasing its parliamentary seats from the northeast region of the country in the national election.

At least two of the parties that have left the BJP fold have already largely agreed to ally with the main opposition Congress, which hopes to take on Modi as a united front and says the citizenship should not discriminate against Muslims.

The BJP says it is in favor of institutionalist “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards” to the ethnic Assamese, but also wants to give citizenship to Hindus from Bangladesh as the growth in the Hindu population of Assam had been overtaken by that of Muslims.

“We’re trying to save Assam from Jinnah,” BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, referring to Pakistan founder Muhammad ,上海外卖品茶群Gabriella,Ali Jinnah who was instrumental in carving Muslim-dominated Pakistan out of India after winning independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Khamenei aide says U.S. approached him in Kabul seeking talks with…

DUBAI ( ) – An aide to Iran’s supreme leader said on Monday U.S. officials approached him during a December visit to Afghanistan to request talks with Tehran, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, but the U.S. State Department denied the report.

Tensions between Iran and the United States have increased since May, when President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers and later reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact.

“During my visit to Kabul last month, the Americans … asked to hold talks,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and a close aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying, without specifying what the U.S. side wanted to discuss.

“This report is not accurate,” said a State Department spokeswoman on condit,上海品茶工作室Mace,ion of anonymity.

While denying it made a specific overture to Shamkani, the spokeswoman repeated that Trump is open to a dialogue with Iran on “urgent national security issues” and wants Tehran to “make fundamental changes in their destructive behavior.”

Washington accuses Tehran of destabilizing the region by projecting its power via proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

In 2001, Iran worked with the United States to help set up a new Afghan government to replace the Taliban, which had been toppled by a U.S.-led military campaign following al Qaeda’s September 11 atta上海品茶微信cks on U.S. cities.

Shamkhani was in Kabul last month for talks with the Taliban “to help curb the security problems in Afghanistan.” He said the Kabul government had known of his talks with the Taliban.

Majority-Shi’ite Iran has long had close ties to Shi’ites in neighb,上海喝茶资源群Mabel,oring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban’s Sunni militants.

Washington accuses Iran of trying to extend its influence in western Afghanistan by providing military training, financing and weapons to the Taliban, a charge Tehran denies.

Shamkhani’s comments came days after reports of talks between U.S. and Taliban officials over proposals for a ceasefi,上海品茶微信Cade,re in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops ahead of possible peace negotiations.

Khamenei slapped down an offer of direct talks made by Trump last year and Iranian officials have said Washington’s crippling sanctions would fail to wreck the economy.

In July, Iranian authorities said Tehran had rejected eight U.S. requests for a meeting between Trump and President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in Sept 2017.

UK’s opposition Labour chides government over Brexit ferry contract

LONDON ( ) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party criticized the government on Monday for awarding a 14 million pound ($18 million) contract to,上海品尝嫩茶Pamela, a ferry company with no ships to provide backup freight cover in case the country exits the European Union without a deal.

Labour’s transport spokesman, Andy McDonald, said the transport ministry had failed to carry out proper checks on the company, Seaborne Freight, contrary to what it had asserted.

He pointed to “mounting evidence of a lack of relevant expertise or experience” on the part of Seaborne.

“Our economy depends on these trading routes continuing to function yet [Transport Secretary] Chris Grayling is prepared to rely on amateurs in the event of a no deal,” he said.

“A no-deal (Brexit) scenario would be terrible for our transport networks under any circumstance but the sheer incompetence with which preparations have been handled is alarming in the extreme.”

Seaborne Freight Chief Executive Ben Sharp rejected the criticism ,上海品茶QQGabriel,and said the company had been working on providing a ferry service for the last two years.

“Collectively, the directors and investors of Seaborne have significant experience in operating vessels and ferries alike – in particular ferries in the Channel,” he told .

“Seaborne is no threat to the United Kingdom because they are not paying us anything until we deliver. So, what is the problem?”

Currently, Britain’s EU membership means that trucks drive smoothly through border checks within the 28-nation bloc. But in a no-deal Brexit, even a few minutes’ delay at customs for each truck could mean vehicles backed up at ports and queued on feeder roads on both sides of the Channel.

British lawmakers are expected to reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, potentially leading to a disruptive departure of the UK from the EU on March 29 without an agreement on their relationship.

Britain awarded contracts worth more than 100 million pounds in total to three shipping firms to provide extra ferries. The other two are established operators – French firm Brittany Ferries and Danish group DFDS.

Grayling said on Monday the contract with Seaborne was “subject to the achievement of a range of key milestones”.

“It is not uncommon that they d上海品茶会所o not own their own vessels and will be chartering them through third parties,” Grayling said. “The bids we received to provide capacity were subject to technical, financial and commercial assurance.”

In a review of UK filings, Seaborne Freight’s Sharp served as a director with a shipping company, Mercator International Ltd, which filed for insolvency in 2014. The firm owed creditors 1.7 million pounds, a filing for the year to March 31, 2013 showed.

Sharp said: “That was part of a complex chartering contract that failed, and the company was wound up in the United Kingdom. The directors were not sanctioned, disciplined or c,上海妹子品茶微信Balthazar,riticized and that has never changed.”

Seaborne Freight faced separate criticism last week when its business terms and conditions showed references to placing “any meal/order”, prompting speculation on social media that it had copied the format from a takeaway delivery company. Seaborne has since updated its website.

More than 800 detained in Sudan protests: government

KHARTOUM ( ) – Sudan said on ,上海品茶419论坛Gabe,Monday it had detained more than 800 people since protests began nearly three weeks ago in the most persistent challenge to President Omar al-Bashir’s three-decade rule.

The figure, the first given by authorities since the unrest erupted, was,上海品茶工作室Daisy, far below th上海品茶QQe assessment of a leading human rights activist who said about 2,000 people were detained.

In a report to parliament, Interior,上海品茶微信Gabriel, Minister Ahmed Bilal Othman added that 381 demonstrations had taken place and 127 police officers were injured during the demonstrations triggered by price rises and shortages of cash. He said 14 police bases and more than 100 police cars had been burned around Sudan.

Authorities say 19 people, including two security officials, have died, while global rights group Amnesty International said on Dec. 24 it had credible reports 37 protesters had been killed by bullets from security forces.

Officers have been using live ammunition, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters, witnesses say.

Activist Barraq al-Nathir al-Warraq said on Friday that security forces had detained around 2,000 people, including political activists, journalists and civil society members.

Authorities have called for restraint in response to the protests, which they blame on unnamed infiltrators.

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

Ousted Slovak PM Fico seeks top court job

BRATISLAVA ( ) – Slovakia’s dominant political figure Robert Fico ,上海品茶论坛Pablo,will run to become a Constitutional Court judge this month, seeking to quit party politics less than a year after he was pushed out of prime min,上海品茶419论坛Gabriel,ister’s office in the furor ,上海妹子品茶微信Gabe,over the murder of a journalist.

The murder of Jan Kuciak, who investigated political corruption and EU subsidy fraud, and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova triggered biggest protests since the 1989 fall of communism against the sleaze in politics.

Fico resigned in March after being in power for almost a decade, but remains chairman of the ruling Smer party and is seen as driving policy behind the scenes while party ally Peter Pellegrini serves as prime minister.

Now Fico, 54, who has a law degree and represented Slovakia at the European Court of Human Rights in 1994-2000, has been nominated to become a Constitutional Court judge.

The body is the country’s top court, which rules on whether legislation passed by parliament and judgments by lower courts are in line with the constitution. Former lawmakers have been elec上海品茶微信ted previously to serve on it, but never former party leaders or prime ministers.

The parliament, where the governing coalition has a narrow majority of 76 out of 150 votes, will select 18 candidates to become Constitutional Court judges in a vote later this month.

President Andrej Kiska, who is unaffiliated with any party and who sided with protesters calling for Fico’s ousting, will pick nine of them to replace judges whose term expire on Feb. 16.

The court has 13 judges in total, elected for a term of 12 years.

Modi plans job quotas for less well-off Indians as election nears

NEW DELHI ( ) – India’s cabinet on Monday backed proposals to reserve 10 percent of government jobs for Indians outside the higher income brackets, a plan the main opposition party suggested was an attempt by the government to lure back voters as an election nears.

The initiative is expected to mainly benefit the upper echelons of India’s centuries-old Hindu caste system, which has traditionally been a core voter base for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Modi must call a national election by May and was dealt a setback in December when the BJP lost power to the opposition Congress party in three states, its biggest defeat since he took office in 2014.

Two BJP sources said the quota plan would benefit people from other religions not covered by existing affirmative action – the reason why lower caste Hindus and India’s indigenous tribes were excluded from it.

According to the government bill, the recipients must also be classed as “economically weak”, which the sources said was defined as anyone with annual income below 800,000 rupees ($11,500上海品茶工作室) and owning fewer than five acres of land.

In 2017, the average income in India was $1,939.60, according to the World Bank.

The states the BJP lost included Rajasthan, one of four – the o,上海品茶会所Caitlin,thers being Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana – in which upper caste land-owning farming communities have held large protests in recent years demanding quotas for government jobs.

More broadly, Modi has be,上海品茶QQGabriella,en criticized for failing to deliver jobs for young people and better conditions for f,上海品茶微信Easton,armers.

“The … Modi government has suddenly woken up to the woes of (the) economically poor, facing imminent defeat in the 2019 elections,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said of the quota plan.

“Creating reservations in jobs may just prove to be one more ‘Jumla’ (gimmick) for the purpose of election promises.”

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, junior health minister and a BJP member, welcomed the proposal, calling it “historic.”

Hindus, who account for about four-fifths of India’s 1.3 billion people, were traditionally grouped into thousands of castes, whose membership is determined by birth.

The lower castes have faced various forms of discrimination including segregation and social boycotts.

There have been attempts to reduce caste-related inequality, and the country has had many lower caste leaders, including current president Ram Nath Kovind.

But introducing quotas for lower castes has always been a contentious issue and have led to violent protests, though India’s income levels and expenditure patterns remain largely linked to caste.

The government is expected to submit the quota bill to the lower house of parliament on Tuesday. Modi’s BJP has a majority there, but not in the upper house.

Mozambique indicts 18 people in connection with $2 billion loan scheme

MAPUTO ( ) – Mozambique has indicted 18 citizens for their involvement in fraud involving $2 billion in loans to state-owned companies, the attorney general’s office (AGO) said on Monday, in a scandal that has ensnared two major international banks.

“Mozambique AGO is indicting 18 defendants, (ranging) from public workers and other citizens, on charges of abuse of power, abuse of trust, swindling and money laundering,” it said in a statement.

The indictment came days after three ex-Credit Suisse bankers were charged in the United States with frau,上海品尝嫩茶Cade,d over their role in Mozambique’s deal in 2013 in borrowing money from international investors to fund projects that included a state tuna fishery.

Former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang, 63, is one of the 18 indictees. He was arrested in neighboring South Africa last week as part of the same case, and has denied wrongdoing.

The attorney general’s office also said it would seek to have those charged in the United States and elsewhere to face charges in Mozambique, one of the most indebted countries in上海品茶QQ the world.

Apart,上海品茶论坛Radcliff, from Credit Suisse, the Russian lender VTB also arranged financing for Mozambique’s state-owned companies.

The southern African state admitted in 2016 to undisclosed lending, prompting the International Monetary Fund and foreign donors to cut off support, triggering a currency collapse and a default on Mozambique’s sovereig,上海品茶会所Eden,n debt. It is still struggling to overcome the resultant debt crisis.

Ex-president Jammeh was ‘trouble’ for Gambia from the start: first…

BANJUL ( ) – Yahya Jammeh was going to be “trouble” for Gambia from the moment he seized power, the first witness to a commission convened to investigate rights abuses under his presidency said on Monday.

The Truth, Reconciliati,上海品茶QQHadley,on and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which opened after repeated delays caused by a lack of funding, is part of a reckoning with a 22-year-long rule marked by extrajudicial killings, torture and forced disappearances.

Testifying about the 1994 coup, police official Ebrima Ismaila Chongan recalled Jammeh, who later declared Gambia an Islamic republic, as a heavy drinker who was often up to no good.

“He used to come to me to beg for money and other things,” said Chongan, who trained Jammeh as a police cadet and later spent two years in the capital Banjul’s notorious Mile 2 Prison for opposing the coup. “When I knew that he was the leader, I knew that Gambia was going to be in trouble.”

The TRRC, an initiative of current President Adama Barrow expected to sit for two years, plans to investigate the coup’s origins and abuses throughout Jammeh’s tenure, which ended in 2017 when he fled to Equatorial Guinea after losing an election.

Atrocities uncovered in the past two years include the execution in 2005 of 52 migrants from neighboring Senegal whose bodies were dumped down a well.

At least 200 people crowded the exhibition hall of a Banjul hotel for the first day of hearings, with dozens more huddled outside within earshot while others tuned in across the country to live radio and television broadcasts.

“Today is the day, and we want to hear from every single witness and victim,” said Baba Jallow, the co,上海品茶会所Kaia,mmissi,上海外卖品茶群Queena,on’s executive secretary, who as a journalist in 2000 was forced into exile by threats from Jammeh’s forces.

“I am just grateful that the process … is finally off the ground.”

The 11-member commission can make criminal referrals, and many victims want to see Jammeh 上海品茶QQreturn to Gambia to face trial for the abuses it investigates. But that seems unlikely given the warm welcome he has received from Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang.

Previous truth and reconciliation commissions, a model popularized by hearings in South Africa in the 1990s that delved into its apartheid past, have received mixed reviews – seen as cathartic moments for victims but criticized for granting amnesties too liberally and only looking into politically significant cases.

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