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  • Bernie and Jane Sanders hire lawyers in response to FBI probe

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    FBI is probing whether Jane Sanders improperly acquired bank loans to expand Burlington College, which was forced to close because of heavy debt

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 05:13:23 -0500
  • Islamic Jihad launches new round of rockets towards Israel

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    Islamic Jihad fired a further volley of rockets and mortars from Gaza towards Israel Monday, following a flare-up between the group and the Jewish state that triggered school, road and train closures in southern Israel. Israel's army said in a statement that 20 "projectiles" had been fired from the Palestinian enclave on Monday, 18 of them intercepted by its air defence systems. On Sunday, in response to Israel's killing of a militant along the border, Islamic Jihad launched more than 20 rockets from Gaza into Israel.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 06:34:28 -0500
  • 'Frankly it's bulls***': CNN anchor boils over in interview with corrupt politician pardoned by Trump

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    In a fiery CNN segment, host Anderson Cooper called out an unrepentant Rod Blagojevich, on his third day out of prison following the commutation of his sentence by Donald Trump.Mr Blagojevich, the former Democratic governor of Illinois, imprisoned in late 2011 following convictions in 17 out of 20 corruption charges, claimed that he was a “political prisoner” not dissimilar to Nelson Mandela and made excuses as to why he should not have been in prison.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 12:38:52 -0500
  • Federal judge rejects Roger Stone's request for her recusal

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    Stone's request was nothing more than an attempt to "to disseminate a statement for public consumption that has the words 'judge' and 'biased' in it," the judge wrote.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 21:52:50 -0500
  • Here Comes 1984: China's Regime Is An Existential Threat to the World

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    One expert tells you why.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 17:33:00 -0500
  • Man drives Jeep off 6-story roof of Los Angeles-area garage

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    A man drove his Jeep off the the sixth floor of a Los Angeles-area parking garage early Sunday and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, authorities said. When officers arrived shortly after midnight, they found the destroyed vehicle up against a McDonald's restaurant across the street from the garage in Santa Monica, police said. Firefighters extricated him from the wreckage and took him to a local trauma center, where he was listed in critical condition, the Santa Monica Fire Department said.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 15:15:26 -0500
  • South Korean Government Raised COVID-19 Alert to Its 'Highest' Level as Confirmed Cases Surpass 600

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    At least 300 cases are linked to a religious group

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 11:43:51 -0500
  • CDC is preparing for the 'likely' spread of coronavirus in the US, officials say

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    While coronavirus has not spread in the United States, CDC officials said they're preparing for the coronavirus to become a pandemic.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 08:44:19 -0500
  • New York's governor compares the 'virus of hate' to the coronavirus after bomb threats were emailed to 19 Jewish community centers in one morning

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    "People are worried about the coronavirus, which we're watching in this state — there's also a virus of hate, and it's spreading," Andrew Cuomo said.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 15:43:22 -0500
  • Trump says Russia leak meant to hurt Sanders

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    President Trump on Sunday called for an investigation into an apparent leak of classified intelligence on Russian interference in the 2020 presidential campaign and said it was meant to hurt Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 12:18:38 -0500
  • Malaysia in turmoil as Anwar denounces bid to bring down govt

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    Malaysian politics was in turmoil Monday after leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim denounced a "betrayal" by coalition partners he said were trying to bring down the government, two years after it stormed to victory. Anwar's "Pact of Hope" alliance was thrown into crisis after his rivals within the coalition and opposition politicians met at the weekend reportedly to try to form a new government. Speculation is mounting that Anwar, who had been the presumptive successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, and his lawmakers would be left out of any new coalition, ending his hopes of becoming premier any time soon.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 23:50:23 -0500
  • John Oliver explains how Narendra Modi is 'Marie Kondo-ing India' of Muslims, and why he might fail

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    President Trump has landed in India for his first state visit, "and at the center of it will be Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a man for whom Trump seems to have a great deal of affection," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. While Modi may have charmed Trump, however, "within India he's an increasingly controversial figure, because his government has pursued a steadily escalating persecution of religious minorities -- persecution so intense that for the last two months, Indians across the country have been taking to the streets in anger."The charismatic, previously Teflon-coated Modi has both a "cult of personality" inside India and a new groundswell of opposition, Oliver said, "and if citizens in the world's largest democracy, home to over a billion people, are either wearing masks of Modi or marching in the streets, it seems like tonight it might be worth exploring why that is" and "where things could be heading."One of Modi's "defining beliefs" is Hindu nationalism, the idea that "India is a fundamentally Hindu nation -- which is provocative, given that India's founders, Gandhi and Nehru, explicitly disavowed that," Oliver said. While they created India as a secular nation, Modi's BJP party "has served as the political arm of a hard-core Hindu nationalist paramilitary group, the RSS," whose founders admired Hitler's aim to purify the race, he noted. India is home to the world's second-largest Muslim population, and while Modi doesn't say much publicly about Muslims, "those closest to him are comfortable saying a lot."And "since winning re-election, Modi has moved from quiet support for religious intolerance to concrete action," his government working to "strip millions of Muslims of citizenship, and they did it in a diabolically clever two-step way," Oliver said. "They're basically Marie Kondo-ing India, and it's only Muslims that don't seem to 'spark joy' in them." Now, "the government is now building detention camps for all the illegal immigrants that they are creating," and "the only glimmer of hope here is that for perhaps the first time in Modi's whole career, his actions are creating a massive and sustained backlash." Oliver ended with an image of the Taj Mahal and a message: "India, home to this enduring symbol of love, frankly deserves a lot more than this temporary symbol of hate." There is NSFW language. Watch below. More stories from theweek.com Trump's host on his India visit is a fervent vegetarian. The White House is apparently nervous about the menus. Donald Trump Jr. just won a permit to hunt a grizzly bear in Alaska Elizabeth Warren rose to 2nd place in a new national poll after the Las Vegas debate

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 04:29:04 -0500
  • Girl, 11, gave birth to baby allegedly fathered by brother

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    The 17-year-old boy told police he had sex with his sister about 100 times but did not know she was pregnant, according to charging documents.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 14:40:57 -0500
  • US accuses Russia of huge coronavirus disinformation campaign

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    US officials say thousands of social media accounts linked to Russia are part of a coordinated effort to spread disinformation about the new coronavirus.The campaign allegedly aims to damage the US’s image and spread unfounded conspiracy theories that it is behind the outbreak which has infected nearly 78,000 globally and killed over 2,500 people.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 12:17:30 -0500
  • Haiti police exchange fire with troops near national palace

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    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian police officers exchanged gunfire for hours Sunday with soldiers of the newly reconstituted army outside the national palace, in a dangerous escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions. At least three police officers were wounded, fellow officers told The Associated Press. Haiti's raucous three-day Carnival celebration was to have started Sunday afternoon in Port-au-Prince and other major cities but the government announced Sunday night that Carnival was cancelled in the capital “to avoid a bloodbath.” Police protesters and their backers had burned dozens of Carnival floats and stands at recent protests, saying they did not believe the country should be celebrating during a crisis.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 14:37:56 -0500
  • Iran, Italy, and South Korea announced harsh new measures to stifle their own outbreaks of the coronavirus

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    New cases outside China have caused global concerns that more major regions were at risk and the outbreak could reach pandemic status.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 21:02:02 -0500
  • 10 Amazing Facts About Polar Bears

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    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 15:00:00 -0500
  • Coronavirus: Could It Takedown China's Communist Party?

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    It's up to Xi himself.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 07:52:00 -0500
  • After Bernie Sanders' landslide Nevada win, it's time for Democrats to unite behind him

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    No other Democrats can beat him at this point. Sill, the liberal establishment is still struggling to come to terms with Sanders’ inevitable nomination It was a landslide. Bernie Sanders had been expected to win the Nevada caucuses, but not like this. With just 4% of the vote in, news organizations called the race for Sanders, since his margin of victory was so large. Sanders has now won the popular vote in all of the first three states, and is currently leading in the polls almost everywhere else in the country. He was already the favorite to take the nomination before the Nevada contest, with Democratic party insiders worrying he was “unstoppable.” His campaign will only grow more powerful now.Importantly, Sanders’ Nevada victory definitively disproved one of the most enduring myths about his campaign: that it could attract left-leaning young white people, but was incapable of drawing in a diverse coalition. In fact, voters of color were a primary source of Sanders’ strength in Nevada; he received the majority of Latino votes. Entrance polls showed Sanders winning “men and women, whites and Latinos, voters 17-29, 30-44 and 45-65, those with college degrees and those without, liberal Democrats (by a lot) and moderate/conservatives (narrowly), union and non-union households.” The poisonous concept of the white “Bernie Bro” as the “typical” Sanders supporter should be dead.Some members of the media establishment had no idea what to make of Sanders’ Nevada victory. On MSNBC, James Carville said that “Putin” had won Nevada, and Chris Matthews declared the primary “over” (ill-advisedly comparing Sanders’ victory to the Nazi invasion of France). Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post admitted that Sanders had been stronger with nonwhite voters than she expected, and it might now be “too late” to do anything about him.The other candidates and their supporters did their best to spin a humiliating defeat. Amy Klobuchar said her sixth-place finish “exceeded expectations”—if sixth place is better than you expected, you’re probably not a viable candidate. Biden vowed, implausibly (and for the third time) that he would bounce back. Pete Buttigieg took to the stage to denounce Sanders, who he said “believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.” A Warren supporter rather charmingly said that while Sanders had won, Warren had the “momentum,” and the Warren campaign itself said the Nevada “debate” mattered more than the Nevada “result.”Let’s be clear: the other candidates were crushed, and Nevada was yet more evidence that there is no longer much serious opposition to Sanders. Michael Bloomberg fizzled completely in his big debut, and Democrats would be out of their minds to enrage every Sanders supporter by nominating a Republican billionaire. Joe Biden has lost badly in all of the first three contests, and it’s very clear that he can’t run an effective campaign. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has nearly gone broke and in desperation she has resorted to relying on the Super PACs that she previously shunned. Pete Buttigieg can’t win voters of color or young people (and has accurately been described as sounding like “a neural network trained on West Wing episodes”). As Matthews says: it’s over. Bernie is dominating the fundraising, dominating the polls, and winning every primary. I am not sure Jacobin is right that “it’s Bernie’s party now”—for one thing, virtually the entire Congressional Democratic party is still opposed to Bernie. But it’s certainly Bernie’s nomination. There is simply no other credible candidate.Democrats shouldn’t worry, though: Bernie has a strong organization and a lot of money, and can mobilize millions of people to support him in November. He’s exactly the kind of candidate you should want your party to have. And for all the fear of his “radicalism,” he’s really a moderate: his signature policies are a national health insurance program, a living wage, free public higher education, and a serious green energy investment plan. It’s shocking that there is such opposition to such sensible plans. On what planet are these things so politically toxic that Democrats are afraid to run on them? Voters like these ideas, and so long as Democrats unify behind Bernie rather than continuing to try to tear him down, they will have a very good shot at defeating a radical and unhinged president like Donald Trump. The polling looks good for Bernie in November, so now we just need to get this primary over with and focus on the real fight. The other candidates had their shot: they lost. They need to accept it.One other takeaway from Nevada is that no future election should occur without significant reform to the caucus process. Nevada wasn’t an outright catastrophe like Iowa was—at least we got results on election night. But it was still plagued with “voting rules confusion, calculation glitches and delays in reporting tallies.” And the caucus process can be downright bizarre: tied results in the Las Vegas caucuses are resolved with a card game, and at one point Sanders lost a delegate to Pete Buttigieg because the Sanders team pulled an Ace and Buttigieg pulled a 3. (Aces were low.) From the electoral college to the Iowa caucus, American elections desperately need to reworked from the bottom up according to the simple principle “the person with the most votes ought to win.”And yet caucuses also produce some truly inspiring on-the-ground stories, from the cab driver who spoke up for Bernie and kept billionaire Tom Steyer from being viable to the guy who switched from Trump to Bernie because he was convinced socialists were good people. Ordinary people gave incredible speeches as part of the caucus process—one reason why it should be fixed rather than ditched entirely. Members of the Culinary Union, whose leadership had prominently opposed Sanders over Medicare For All, ended up defying their leaders and pushing Sanders to victory at a number of caucus sites.All in all, Nevada was an inspiring moment for American democracy, proof that ordinary working people of all races and incomes and genders can come together around a robust progressive agenda. Democrats need not worry: this is a good thing. It’s a night to be celebrated. The primary is not completely over, but hopefully it is now clear to every sensible observer that Bernie is cruising toward the nomination and needs to be supported rather than torn down. * Nathan Robinson is a Guardian US columnist and the editor of Current Affairs

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 11:14:51 -0500
  • Grave of slain Iraq commander, a new anti-US magnet

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    Clad in black, they joined wailing women and men beating their chests in grief at Wadi al-Salam (valley of peace), an ever expanding cemetery. All eyes were on the grave of Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Killed alongside top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, Muhandis is now revered as a martyred icon of anti-American resistance.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 22:44:26 -0500
  • WHO says it no longer uses 'pandemic' category, but virus still emergency

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    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 03:02:13 -0500
  • Feds' plan to relocate coronavirus patients puts region at risk, California city says

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    Officials in Costa Mesa, California, and Anniston, Alabama, said they were kept in the dark about plans to transfer patients to their communities.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 22:31:49 -0500
  • Two 13-year-old boys charged with murder in California library fire

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    Charges have been filed against two 13-year-old boys linked to a library fire at California's Porterville City Library that killed two firefighters.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 05:48:56 -0500
  • German Carnival floats take aim at racism in wake of attack

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    Biting commentary on racism in Germany featured prominently Monday among Carnival floats in western cities, hastily put together in the aftermath of a deadly far-right attack last week near Frankfurt. The floats for parades in Cologne, Duesseldorf, Mainz and elsewhere are notorious for their no-holds-barred satire, and also took aim at Brexit, the potential candidates to take over leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, and U.S. President Donald Trump. Last Wednesday, a 43-year-old German man who had posted a racist screed online advocating genocide gunned down nine people of foreign background in the Frankfurt suburb of Hanau, before apparently killing himself and his mother.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 04:36:23 -0500
  • Mike Bloomberg is roasting Donald Trump in billboards in two Western cities — see photos of the ads

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    Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg is slamming Donald Trump for eating burnt stake and cheating at golf in his campaign's latest deluge of ads.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 14:50:00 -0500
  • How South Korea’s Coronavirus Outbreak Got so Quickly out of Control

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    South Korea now has the highest number of coronavirus cases outside mainland China

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 03:37:57 -0500
  • Russia's Relationship With China Is Growing Despite Setbacks

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    What are the strategic implications of Moscow and Beijing working closely together in a sensitive domain?

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 19:09:00 -0500
  • Chris Matthews Likens Bernie’s Strong Nevada Showing to France Falling to Nazi Germany in WWII

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    Cable news personalities had a lot to say about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-VT) early lead in the Nevada caucuses Saturday, with MSNBC's Chris Matthews likening it to the shock of France falling to Germany during WWII.“It looks like Bernie Sanders is hard to beat... I think it's a little late to stop him, and that's the problem,” Matthews said during a panel segment. “It's pretty much over unless that changes.”He then dropped the eyebrow-raising WWII reference, seemingly as a way to describe how Sanders has—in his view—clinched the Democratic nomination.“I'm reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940. And the general calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over,’” Matthews said. “And Churchill says, ‘How can it be? You got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It's over.’”Other pundits also marveled at Sanders’ lead, with CNN’s Van Jones claiming the jaws of the Democratic “establishment” were “hanging off their faces.”“Nobody thought six months ago thought we would be sitting here with Bernie Sanders on his way to the nomination. He's on his way to the nomination,” he said. “Something could happen to stop him. Somebody may have some marbles to throw at the stairs or banana peel, they better find it. Because this guy is off and running.”Jones commented on the impressive Latino turnout for the Vermont senator, claiming that he was “running as if he's a Latino candidate now.”He also pointed to younger voters who caucused for Sanders, claiming their support has been a “youthquake.” “You got a new generation stepping up. They're not scared of any of these ideas and they're tired of hearing Republicans calling everything we say socialist. They ruined the word socialist,” he said.Another MSNBC personality, Joy Reid, attributed Sanders’ lead to the “sheer unadulterated rage”of young voters who she said were motivated to “throw the tables over” to vote for Sanders.“They're turning the tables over and they don't care what the potential result is. They're the hungriest,” she said. “No one is as hungry, angry, enraged and determined as Sanders voters. Democrats need to sober up and figure out what the hell they are going to do about that.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 19:14:19 -0500
  • Greyhound will stop allowing immigration checks on buses

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    Greyhound, the U.S.’s largest bus company, said on Friday that it will stop allowing Border Patrol agents without a warrant to board its buses to conduct routine immigration checks.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 13:54:53 -0500
  • Kuwait, Bahrain announce first coronavirus cases

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    Kuwait and Bahrain confirmed on Monday their first novel coronavirus cases, health ministries in the two Gulf states announced, adding all had come from Iran. Kuwait reported three infections and Bahrain one. "Tests conducted on those coming from the Iranian holy city of Mashhad showed there were three confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19)," the Kuwaiti health ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 03:49:28 -0500
  • The Vegas way: Buttigieg backer pulls winning card to break tie at Nevada caucus

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    That's how Democrats settle matters in the state that's home to the nation's most famous gaming mecca.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 18:28:00 -0500
  • Belgian carnival defies calls to cancel parade with Jewish caricatures

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    A satirical Belgian carnival parade decried by Israel's foreign minister as "hateful" went ahead on Sunday despite being withdrawn from the United Nation's list of recognized cultural events over accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. After a float in 2019 featured caricatures of ultra-Orthodox Jews standing with bags of money, organizers in the city of Aalst faced calls to cancel the centuries-old parade, which was included on UNESCO's cultural heritage list in 2010. Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Twitter on Thursday: "Belgium as a Western democracy should be ashamed to allow such a vitriolic anti-Semitic display," calling on authorities to ban "this hateful parade".

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 12:01:15 -0500
  • For Virginia Tech parents, new gun laws a long struggle

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    When Virginia lawmakers pass sweeping new gun control laws in the coming days, it will mark the culmination of nearly 13 years of often thankless work for two parents whose children were shot in one of the country's worst mass shootings. Lori Haas and Andrew Goddard started pressing lawmakers to enact new gun laws shortly after a gunman killed 32 people and wounded more than a dozen others at Virginia Tech in 2007. Haas and Goddard have been Virginia's most visible gun-control lobbyists for years, but until recently had little to show for their work.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 09:29:25 -0500
  • Countdown Begins to Possible End of U.S. War in Afghanistan

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    KABUL, Afghanistan -- The United States and the Taliban started the clock early Saturday on a plan to end America's longest war after more than 18 years, beginning with what they hope will be seven days of greatly reduced violence in Afghanistan.If the weeklong, partial truce holds, the two sides have agreed, they will meet on Feb. 29 to sign an agreement laying out a timetable for the U.S. to withdraw its troops.The pact is also meant to clear the way for peace talks involving the Taliban and the government in Kabul, and U.S. officials point to the reduction in hostilities as the first link in a fragile chain of events that could deliver peace in Afghanistan after more than four decades of conflict.But the Afghan government is deep in a political crisis after a bitterly disputed presidential election in which the opposition candidate claimed victory despite President Ashraf Ghani having been declared the winner. With rival claimants to legitimacy, it is unclear who would negotiate with the Taliban, whether they would be prepared to enter talks while struggling to control the government, or what kind of mandate they would have.U.S. negotiators demanded the seven-day reduction in violence, which went into effect after midnight Saturday, as a public show of the Taliban's good faith and its ability to control its fractious and scattered forces. Now it is the government in Kabul whose cohesion and command are more in doubt."I call on all Afghans to seize this opportunity," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter on Friday.A previous attempt at finalizing a deal between the Taliban and the U.S. fell apart on the verge of completion in September, with President Donald Trump citing a new outbreak of violence, and the same risk hangs over the latest try.And even if the carefully choreographed rollout of the agreement does presage the end of the American phase of the war, the plan might not spell the end of the war itself. Trump is determined, one way or another, to reduce U.S. involvement in Afghanistan to a minimum, and the Taliban's long-term commitment to compromise and power-sharing remains open to question.Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief U.S. negotiator, recently arrived in Kabul to prepare for the announcement of an agreement, to find a government that was threatening to split apart. He has been shuttling in a convoy of armed vehicles between the heavily guarded homes of the divided elite in Kabul, trying to keep the peace.In September, Afghanistan held a presidential election marred by Taliban attacks and allegations of fraud and mismanagement. It was not until Tuesday -- after nearly five months of delays, acrimonious disputes and a partial audit of the results -- that the election commission declared that Ghani had won another five-year term.His main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, also declared victory, accusing the election body of favoring the incumbent, and called on his supporters to form their own government.The U.S. government still has not acknowledged Ghani's victory. The only public comment it has made on the results hinted at concern that the electoral mess might make matters worse."It is likely that these developments could add to the challenges Afghanistan faces, including the challenges of the peace process," Molly Phee, Khalilzad's deputy in negotiations, said Tuesday at the United States Institute of Peace, a government-funded policy group in Washington. "Our priority, and what we believe to be the priority of most Afghans, remains peace and the peace process."Since U.S. officials couldn't persuade Ghani to postpone the election, the yearlong talks with the Taliban, primarily in Doha, Qatar, became a race against Afghanistan's political calendar. Election after election has been so tainted that U.S. diplomats were essentially trying to rush through a peace deal with the Taliban before Afghanistan's latest political crisis could complicate the equation.They almost finalized a deal with the insurgents last summer that would have pushed back the election, but Trump called off the talks on the eve of the signing, and the vote went ahead.The political showdown pits technocratic Ghani and his circle of young advisers against some of the most hardened figures of recent Afghan history, survivors of years of battle and deal-making. One of Abdullah's key supporters is Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been accused of an array of violent acts, and until recently served as Ghani's vice president.Dostum, who has one of the most unified bases of support in the north, was the first to call for a parallel government, and to urge protests and the announcement of governors in northern provinces. Abdullah's fate could turn on how willing the general is to push the crisis, and how receptive he is to a deal with Ghani.Khalilzad, who was expected to return to Doha to prepare for the signing ceremony, has extended his stay in Afghanistan to manage the political tensions, meeting repeatedly with Ghani, Abdullah and other key political players.Late Thursday, Khalilzad told a meeting of Dostum's party that the announcement of election results had caught him by surprise, according to one participant. He and Gen. Austin S. Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, urged the participants to make sure that political rallies don't turn to violence.Analysts said the conflict was unlikely to affect the first steps of the peace process, as U.S. officials had made it clear to everyone that their priority was starting the violence reduction. But the high-stakes political showdown would make it difficult to move on to the next phase, when a unified negotiating team that includes the Afghan government is expected to sit across from the Taliban."The U.S. has clearly put its weight on the peace issue, and that message is clear to all sides -- with President Ghani agreeing to reduction of violence -- there is a consensus among the parties," said Omar Sadr, an assistant professor of political science at the American University of Afghanistan."But the election issue has created a huge gap between the political sides and that needs to be bridged in a very short time for this process to move forward," he added. "And I don't know how that can happen without Khalilzad and the U.S. stepping in."Sadr said the Americans remaining quiet on the election results gives them "maneuver room" to broker a settlement to the political crisis -- which could provide leverage to make sure the peace process doesn't fall apart.The seven-day violence reduction being rolled out closely resembles a cease-fire, barring some exceptions, officials said.The Taliban has agreed to hold back attacks on cities, highways, and major security outposts throughout the country. In return, Afghan government forces and the U.S. military, which has stepped up airstrikes in the last year, have agreed to hold back their operations.In preparation for the start of the violence reduction, Ghani has been meeting all provincial security and political leaders in recent days. He told one group that the Taliban currently carry out about 80 attacks a day, and that a reduction to about 10 attacks would be seen as a successful implementation."Our brave security and defense forces will only act in defense of themselves and the honorable people of Afghanistan," he said in a televised address late Friday.Taliban leaders scrambled to get their message of minimizing violence to the lowest units of what has increasingly been a decentralized force.In private WhatsApp messages, Taliban commanders can be heard taking pains to strike a nuance: they want fighters to hold fire and not attack, but to stay vigilant in their positions and not venture into cities and government territory.The group has long feared that a full cease-fire could divide its ranks and make remobilizing difficult if the peace process crumbled and all-out fighting resumed.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 10:11:57 -0500
  • Mike Bloomberg's social media strategy is under fire as Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for platform manipulation

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    A Twitter spokesman said the identical posts violated its policy against manipulation and spam that was created in response to the 2016 election.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 12:08:29 -0500
  • I Live in South Korea Where Coronavirus Cases are Rising. Not Much Has Changed

    Golocal247.com news

    It is important to keep perspective. There are fifty-three million people in South Korea. Only four hundred thirty or so of them have corona, and only two have died. The sensationalism of disease outbreak coverage does not help. We have all seen too many movies, and overwrought invocations of Contagion or zombie apocalypse movies generate paranoia and unnecessary anxiety. South Korea is safe.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 08:28:00 -0500
  • Indian authorities scramble to give Trump mega-rally

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    The city of Ahmedabad in India was jostling with activity on Sunday as workers cleaned roads, planted flowers and hoisted billboards featuring President Trump, a day ahead of his maiden two-day visit to India after Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised him a lively public reception.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 10:50:52 -0500
  • Sanders, Steyer gain in South Carolina, but Biden still on top in latest poll

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    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be basking in his victory after the Nevada caucuses, but he can't celebrate for too long. The South Carolina primary is right around the corner, and despite Sanders steadily encroaching into first place for weeks in state polls, it's still former Vice President Joe Biden's state to lose in the week leading up to the vote, a new CBS/YouGov poll revealed Sunday.Sanders crushed his competition in Nevada, where Biden finished a distant second. South Carolina, though, has always been the early voting state the vice president has had his eye on — and he's still got a chance — but Sanders is right behind him now as Biden's once dominant lead has shrunk to just a five-point advantage over Sanders in the new poll.> NEW FROM ⁦@CBSNewsPoll⁩ FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: @JoeBiden (28%) has only a single-digit lead with ⁦@BernieSanders⁩ (23%) right behind him. Support for the ex-VP has fallen double-digits ⁦@TomSteyer⁩ is at 18%. https://t.co/fBQEccgY2U> > — Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) February 23, 2020Some of that likely has to do with Biden's support among black voters shrinking over the last few months. He still maintains the edge, but billionaire Tom Steyer has shot up to second place among the demographic thanks to a furious final effort in the state. Steyer, in fact, is in third place in the poll, which must excite his campaign, considering he told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that he'll need a top-three finish next Saturday to get back into the race.The CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov between February 20-22, 2020. A representative sample of 2,000 registered voters in South Carolina was selected, including 1,238 self-identified Democrats, as well as independents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary this year. The margin of error is 5.5 points.More stories from theweek.com Trump's host on his India visit is a fervent vegetarian. The White House is apparently nervous about the menus. Donald Trump Jr. just won a permit to hunt a grizzly bear in Alaska Elizabeth Warren rose to 2nd place in a new national poll after the Las Vegas debate

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 12:03:00 -0500
  • Expelled Wall Street Journal reporters leave China after headline row

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    Two Wall Street Journal reporters left China on Monday after being expelled over a controversial headline in an op-ed that angered Beijing. Three reporters were ordered out of the country last week over what Beijing deemed a racist headline that the journalists were not involved in writing -- marking one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years. The Journal opinion piece -- headlined "China is the Real Sick Man of Asia" -- was written by a US professor who criticised the Chinese government's initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 04:59:39 -0500
  • Probe into abuse at America's oldest deaf school finds 'appalling truths'

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    Officials apologized for the "inexcusable actions" of staff and faculty members and the "fact that the school did not prevent or stop them."

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 23:21:00 -0500
  • Anwar cries foul as Malaysian parties discuss sweeping coalition change

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    Malaysia's would-be leader Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday accused 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's party and "traitors" in his own camp of plotting a wholesale change in the ruling coalition that could ultimately deny him the premiership. After being promised that he would one day become prime minister, Anwar allied with former rival Mahathir to win a surprise victory in the 2018 general election and end the six-decade grip of a party accused of widespread corruption. "We know there are attempts to bring down PH and form a new government," Anwar said, referring to the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition that he helped form under Mahathir, who leads the Bersatu party.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 10:00:57 -0500
  • Hero in Hanukkah attack declining $20K reward over Zionism

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    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 20:21:13 -0500
  • Putin Sent Her Activist Boyfriend to Siberia. Now She Wants to Go, Too.

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    MOSCOW—Few people are familiar with Novaya Zemlya, a very obscure archipelago above the Arctic Circle that is controlled by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the infamous Soviet spy agency, the KGB. Even fewer people hope to travel to those thinly populated and thoroughly militarized islands, where the Russian army tests its Arctic missile systems, and where polar bears suffering the effects of climate change dig through garbage pits at impoverished settlements. Alexei Navalny on Standing Up to Putin and His Murderous MinionsIt sounds like hell frozen over, in fact—and it figures in what looks like a new tactic by President Vladimir Putin (a former KGB operative) to intimidate his most vocal critics. But Kira Yarmysh has a special reason to go there. She is desperate to see her partner, who became the first victim of such an operation last December.“The FSB abducted my boyfriend, Ruslan Shaveddinov, and isolated him in Novaya Zemlya,” Yarmysh told The Daily Beast. “The most outrageous truth is that several divisions of the state system, including military authorities, aviation, and secret services, are helping to hide Ruslan from us.” This was hardly a random act. Yarmysh is a news presenter and spokesperson for Russia’s top opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny, and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Shaveddinov is one of the group’s star reporters and presenters as well.Russia still has a military draft, and 12 months of service are mandatory for all male citizens age 18 to 33. Shaveddinov, known as “Shav,” has been famous for presenting vivid, well-documented corruption investigations on YouTube. But at 23 years old, he was vulnerable, and authorities claimed he was draft-dodging.The news agency TASS quotes Moscow’s military commissar, Col. Maksim Loktev, claiming the conscription of Shaveddinov was perfectly ordinary: “He departed to the place of his military service on the draft.” But the young activist’s colleagues aren’t buying it. It’s not just the matter of conscription; it’s the deployment that’s suspicious.“This is a unique example of how the FSB begins to use military service as a prison for politically active young men,” Navalny told The Daily Beast. “I think the order was to isolate Shav.”Viewers all over Russia recognize Yarmysh and Shaveddinov from YouTube, which is the main outlet for Navalny’s reports. More than three million viewed their presentation last summer (while Navalny was in jail) about Moscow Deputy Mayor Natalia Sergunina. They reported she was making millions of dollars off property deals in the Russian capital for companies controlled by her relatives, an allegation that she has denied.  There are frequent police raids on FBK offices, along with confiscations of computers, cellphones, and video cameras. On July 27, members of an armed special unit raided Yarmysh’s home at dawn, woke the couple up, put Ruslan on the floor, and confiscated all of the digital equipment. After a tough 2019, Kira and Ruslan looked forward to celebrating the New Year’s holiday together, without any people around. But on Dec. 23, Kira’s boyfriend vanished and his cellphone was not answered. His friends found the door to his apartment broken. Nearly 24 hours later, Yarmysh discovered that her partner was more than 3,000 kilometers (some 2,000 miles) away, in a unit of what’s called the 33rd Guards Rocket Army based in Rogachevo village on the Southern Island of Novaya Zemlya. Yarmysh had never heard much about the rules of the archipelago and the news came as a shock: there was an old nuclear testing ground near Ruslan’s base; she could not visit his island without a special FSB permit. Then Ruslan called her, and what she heard broke her heart, she says.“There were two army captains with him listening in our conversation, so every time I asked him how he was, he said, ‘Let’s talk about you,” Yarmysh remembered. “He told me he was banned from using his cellphone, which is a violation—every Russian soldier can call home once a week! So I decided to sue his commander.”Yarmysh wanted to be present during the court hearing last week, and, of course, to see Ruslan. She requested an FSB permit earlier this month, but days passed and there was no word back. The court hearing was scheduled for last Wednesday, but a Moscow judge on the case was not able to get to Novaya Zemlya, Yarmysh said—the flight got canceled due to harsh weather conditions. (This is not unusual given the brutal Arctic weather.) “They regularly cancel flights during the winter, so I am surprised that the army managed to transport Ruslan there so easily in December,” Yarmysh said. “It is obvious that the weather is not an issue, if there is an order to bring the guy.”Finally a hearing was held at the end of the week, and a lawyer from the Navalny team was able to make it there, but there was no satisfaction to be had and communications were spotty. At midday on Saturday, Yarmysh tweeted that she still had heard nothing about her boyfriend's fated. (A troll responded with pictures of polar bears eating a bloody corpse: "Found him. But no need to thank me.")The lawyer finally got in touch late Saturday, but only briefly. He reported that, officially, the court said Shaveddinov had no unusual restrictions. But in practical terms that was no consolation, and Yarmysh said she couldn't be sure what happened until the attorney made it back to Moscow. As of Monday, however, he was till stuck above the Arctic Circle because of the weather."Prisoners have more rights than Ruslan," Yarmysh told The Daily Beast. "He doesn't have any right to call, or even to send letters."Yarmysh grew up in Rostov-on-Don, a provincial southern town on the border with Ukraine’s Donbas region. Her single mother brought her up dreaming that one day Kira would win The Clever Heads, a televised competition for high-schoolers that awards the winners with a chance to enroll in Russia’s most prestigious university for future diplomats, the MGIMO, or Moscow State Institute of International Relations. And, yes, Yarmysh won.While studying at MGIMO, she thought she would one day get a diplomat’s position in Africa, far from the Russian political scene. But anti-Putin street protests in 2011-2012 changed her life, and she wound up on the front line of the opposition’s constant fight with corrupt bureaucrats. Her mother has always been an Aleksey Navalny fan, Yarmysh said, so when she got her job at the FBK six years ago, her family supported her. “Kira Yarmysh is one of the brightest stars in Navalny’s team. She is emerging to be even bigger but still stay in Navalny’s shadow,” Echo of Moscow Deputy Chief Editor Olga Bychkova told The Daily Beast. Yarmysh says that if she has to she will wait for her boyfriend for 12 months, as do millions of other Russian girls all over the country. “I hope this is going to be just one year,” she says.  For two months, Yarmysh has been worried, feeling “hurt,” she says, wondering why out of all Russia’s vast military bases, her boyfriend was isolated in the Arctic. “The authorities might think that Ruslan and I, if we come out to a street protest, might lead masses of people,” Yarmysh said, then added: “I personally have no fear. If they raid our homes, if they detain us, I tell myself, we must be doing everything right.” But for the moment that is, at best, cold comfort.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 24 Feb 2020 05:11:15 -0500
  • A day-by-day breakdown of coronavirus symptoms shows how the disease, COVID-19, goes from bad to worse

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    The first symptom is typically a fever. By day five, patients may have difficulty breathing. By day 10, some are admitted to the ICU.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 07:26:00 -0500
  • How China Is Humiliating Pakistan

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    Pakistan sees itself as a major regional power but recent events show that Beijing considers Pakistan little more than a subordinate colony to be exploited but not heard.

    Sat, 22 Feb 2020 19:30:00 -0500
  • 'We Are Kinder Than Them.' Trump and Modi Don't Reflect the Spirit of Gujarat

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    With Trump's Indian visit, it is clear the two leaders share a dangerous view of the world. Suketu Mehta on the spirit of his home state.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 22:30:46 -0500
  • Outcry after MSNBC host compares Sanders’ Nevada win to Nazi invasion

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    * Calls for firing of Chris Matthews after widespread anger * Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist is JewishMSNBC host Chris Matthews compared Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday to the Nazi invasion of France, spurring calls for his firing.“I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940 and the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, ‘It’s over,’” Matthews said on air on Saturday night.“And Churchill says, ‘How can that be? You’ve got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?’ He said, ‘It’s over.’”“So I had that suppressed feeling,” Matthews also said.Sanders, a senator from Vermont and self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is Jewish.He won the Nevada caucuses easily, helping solidify his status as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in a primary split between moderates and progressives. Sanders’ win came in the wake of a strong showing in Iowa and victory in New Hampshire.> MSNBC’s Chris Matthews likens Sanders victory in Nevada to Nazi Germany overrunning France in 1940: “It’s too late to stop him … it’s over” pic.twitter.com/6GJetLoDkq> > — Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 22, 2020Matthews’ words prompted widespread anger.“Bernie is Jewish and his family was killed by the Nazis,” tweeted David Sirota, a Sanders speechwriter and former Guardian contributor. “None of this is OK.”“This is absolutely disgusting on [Matthews’] part,” tweeted Parker Molloy, editor-at-large at Media Matters for America. “Retire, get fired, whatever. Bottom line is that Matthews needs to be out of a job.”On air, Matthews said Republicans would disclose opposition research on Sanders that would “kill him” in the general election against Donald Trump.“It looks like Bernie Sanders is hard to beat,” Matthews said of the primary, adding: “I think it’s a little late to stop him, and I think that’s the problem.”MSNBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 09:51:53 -0500
  • Conservatives claim victory in Iran polls after record low turnout

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    Iran's conservatives claimed victory Sunday in a general election marked by the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution amid public anger against the government, an economic downturn and the disqualification of half the candidates. A conservative resurgence would heap pressure on beleaguered President Hassan Rouhani and signal a shift from four years ago when reformists and moderates won a slender majority in parliament. "Victory for the anti-American candidates, a new slap for Trump," crowed the ultra-conservative Kayhan newspaper.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 12:04:25 -0500
  • Coronavirus updates: Italian towns locked down as almost 150 test positive

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    As Italy experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, here is the latest for Sunday, Feb. 23.

    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 06:57:00 -0500
  • Seven wounded in shooting at flea market in Houston

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    Sun, 23 Feb 2020 21:57:17 -0500
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