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For U.S. diplomats, public impeachment hearings could be catharsis and maybe a circusWhile the email seen by Reuters focused on global policy challenges, the message extolling truth struck a nerve in a diplomatic corps immersed in an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump that Pompeo himself has spurned. Next week three diplomats will be the first to testify in open hearings led by Democrats in the House of Representatives considering whether Trump should be impeached for abusing power by pressing Ukraine to investigate a rival. At least four voiced alarm at the efforts of Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to politicize a department that prides itself on being apolitical.


11/10/2019 11:13:43 AM

Turkey starts returning IS fighters, deports US nationalTurkey on Monday deported citizens of the United States and Denmark who fought for the Islamic State group and made plans to expel other foreign nationals as the government began a new push to send back captured foreign fighters to their home countries, a Turkish official said. The move comes just over a week after the Turkish interior minister said Turkey was not a "hotel" for IS fighters and criticized Western nations for their reluctance to take back citizens who had joined the ranks of the extremist militant group as it sought to establish a "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that about 1,200 foreign IS fighters were in Turkish prisons and 287 members, including women and children, were recaptured during Turkey's offensive in Syria.


11/11/2019 9:39:06 AM

Hong Kong police shoot protester as pro-democracy unrest spirals into rare working-hours violenceA protester was shot and a man set on fire on Monday as protests in Hong Kong spilled into rare daytime hours, forcing public transport, offices and schools to shut down. A 21-year-old activist was in critical condition after being shot and wounded at around 7.20am as traffic police trying to stop protesters from blocking a road fired three live shots with no prior warning. Police later said all were meant to be warning shots, as the officers felt their lives were under threat. Video circulating online showed an officer holding a protester and pointing his gun at another, firing at close range. Another man was admitted to hospital for burns, after he was set on fire. Videos online show protesters arguing with a man in a green t-shirt, as he criticises Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists. A masked person in black then throws liquid over the man, and sets him on fire. The violence is pushing Hong Kong to the “brink of no return,” said Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam. She condemned the protesters’ “wishful thinking” that escalating violence would force the government to meet their demands.  Police fired tear gas in the Central business district Credit:  REUTERS/Thomas Peter “I’m making this statement clear and loud here: That will not happen,” Ms Lam said. “Violence is not going to give us any solution.”  Chaos erupted as news of the use of live rounds spread, and as video circulated online of a police officer driving his motorcycle into protesters, further inflaming tensions. The police said the officer was suspended and under investigation. Police fired tear gas in several neighbourhoods, as clashes broke out throughout the day, including in the central business district. Subway stations were closed and bus routes halted as activists blocked roads and vandalised stations. Protesters also threw petrol bombs inside a rail car holding passengers, a subway spokesperson told local media.    Protests are now a near-daily occurrence, sometimes flaring up with little or no notice, engulfing city in the biggest political challenge ever against Xi Jinping, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.  Skirmishes are increasingly violent, with protesters vandalising buildings and throwing petrol bombs and bricks at police, government offices, as well as people or businesses thought to be pro-Beijing or sympathetic to police.  Police have responded with greater force, using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, making more than 3,000 arrests since protests began early June. The first use of live rounds came in August, when two protesters, aged 14 and 18, were shot, both of whom survived. Some office workers took shelter from the tear gas inside a mall Credit: Nicole Tung/Bloomberg Activists increasingly resent the police for using what they call disproportionate force in handling the protests.  The live rounds on Monday “are clear evidence of reckless use of force,” said Man-kei Tam, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong. “These are not policing measures – these are officers out of control with a mindset of retaliation.” “These behaviours call their training in question and the commands they have been given – officers should be deployed to de-escalate difficult crowd control situations, not make them worse,” said Mr Tam. Underpinning the protests are widespread fears that Hong Kong’s unique freedoms are eroding under Beijing rule. Some protesters have also called for independence, something Chinese Communist Party leaders will never tolerate.  Beijing has decried the protests as the work of Western governments trying to foment unrest to destabilise China, without giving any evidence.


11/11/2019 2:13:19 AM

Iranian beauty queen wins asylum in PhilippinesAn Iranian beauty queen sought by Tehran on criminal charges has been granted political asylum in the Philippines, an official said Friday, ending a three-week standoff at Manila airport.


11/9/2019 1:03:06 PM

Jeep Brings Back Wrangler Freedom Edition, an Armed Forces TributeJust in time for Veterans Day, the tried and true military-appreciation version of the classic Jeep is back.


11/10/2019 10:59:00 AM

Tulsi Gabbard is demanding an apology from Hillary ClintonRep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is keeping up her feud with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Gabbard's 2020 campaign released a letter from its legal counsel Monday demanding Clinton apologize and retract comments she made about her in October, The Hill reports. Clinton in a podcast on Oct. 17 called Gabbard the "favorite of the Russians," also saying she's being groomed for a third-party bid. The latter remark was initially reported widely as referring to Russians grooming Gabbard, though Clinton's spokesperson later said she meant Gabbard is being groomed by Republicans. Clinton additionally referred to Jill Stein as "also a Russian asset" after talking about Gabbard, with the "also" seeming to suggest Clinton thinks Gabbard is one as well. Gabbard's legal counsel rejected Clinton's explanation for the "grooming" comment, in the Monday letter calling the idea that she meant Republicans "spin developed only after you realized the defamatory nature of your statement, and therefore your legal liability." Clinton's comments are "actionable as defamation," the letter also says, going on to demand she "immediately hold a press conference to verbally retract -- in full -- your comments." Beyond that, Gabbard's counsel demands Clinton release a retraction on her Twitter account and distribute it to major news outlets, with an exact wording even being provided; a statement has Clinton saying she made a "grave mistake," that she apologizes, and that "I support and admire" Gabbard's work.This is Gabbard's latest escalation of her war against Clinton after tearing into her immediately after the October comments in a stunning Twitter thread, calling her "the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long." More stories from theweek.com Donald Trump Jr. walks offstage after being heckled at book event — by conservatives Uber CEO compares Jamal Khashoggi's murder to his company's own 'mistakes' The president has already confessed to his crimes


11/11/2019 8:58:22 AM

Swedish police set up task force to combat gang violenceSwedish police said on Monday they would set up a special task force to deal with a wave of shootings and bombings linked to criminal gangs following the fatal shooting of a 15-year old in the city of Malmo at the weekend. Sweden has long held a reputation as being one of the safest countries in the world and while overall crime and murder rates remain low, gang wars in major cities have claimed an increasing number of victims in recent years. On Saturday, two 15-year-olds were shot outside a pizza restaurant in Malmo in what police said appeared to be a gang conflict over control of the drug trade in the area.


11/11/2019 6:12:48 AM

Lebanon Offers Banks Dollars as ‘Haircut’ on Deposits Ruled Out(Bloomberg) -- Lebanon’s central bank has no plans to impose formal restrictions on the movement of money or force depositors to accept losses but will offer “unlimited” dollars for commercial lenders to finance trade and meet customer demands through weeks of protest.With demonstrators gathered outside the central bank’s Beirut headquarters, Governor Riad Salameh said lenders could borrow dollars at an interest rate of 20% to ensure that they were able to give depositors ready access to their money-- on condition that the funds are not transferred abroad. The central bank had also asked lenders to accept Lebanese pounds from clients repaying loans in dollars.The move comes in response to restrictions imposed by individual banks on the transfer and withdrawal of dollars in order to minimize capital flight after the protests forced them to close for a week. Since opening, some have also frozen credit facilities for importers, leaving some unable to settle payments for goods already in transit to Lebanon and causing a public outcry and fears of shortages.Lebanon Warned on Default and Recession as Its Reserves DeclineSalameh said he had asked lenders to meet with merchants immediately to find a way to finance imports.“There is a lot of talk about capital controls in the legal term and this is not on the table,” he said. “The central bank doesn’t have the power to do this and it does not want to. We are a country that lives off transfers and we can’t put Lebanese in a situation where they transfer their money into the country and cannot get it out.”Capital Controls?Calls have mounted for Lebanon to impose formal restrictions on the transfer of dollars abroad in order to defend its dollar peg as the country enters its third week without a prime minister. Saad Hariri resigned in the face of public protests last month but political bickering means no replacement has been named while the caretaker government is unable to take measures needed to pull the economy back from the brink.To keep its lenders stable and defend the dollar peg, Lebanon relies on inflows from the millions of Lebanese living abroad. However, capital inflows needed to finance the large current account and fiscal deficits have slowed as confidence has dwindled. Meanwhile, outflows have gathered pace.Salameh said that some $2 billion had been withdrawn from the banks during the crisis, mostly by panicky depositors storing emergency cash at home. A lack of access to dollars at the banks has forced importers and ordinary people to turn to exchange bureaus creating a parallel exchange rate and pressuring the peg.Defending the PegThe central bank has repeatedly said that Lebanon’s peg of 1,507.5 pounds to the dollar was a guarantor of social stability and would be not be compromised to ease the financial crisis. But on the street, it now costs at least 1,800 pounds to buy a single dollar, forcing up prices in a country that relies heavily on imports.Salameh said the rise of a parallel dollar exchange rate was a natural response to the crisis but the measures announced on Monday should help restore some balance.To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


11/11/2019 6:42:16 AM

India's Nuclear Arsenal Keeps Growing, And That's Bad News For Pakistan and ChinaIndia could be approaching 200 warheads.


11/10/2019 4:30:00 AM

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