ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shook hands and exchanged words politely on Thursday on the sidelines of a G20 summit meeting, a Japanese official said, in an unexpected show of cordiality. Relations between the world's second- and third-largest economies have been troubled for months because of a row over tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. There are also disputes over the countries' wartime past. Abe is keen to improve ties and has called for dialogue with China, though he has rejected any conditions on talks. China has shown no inclination to respond to the overtures. A Japanese government official said the contact took place shortly before G20 leaders began their main session and the two met for about four to five minutes and spoke through interpreters. In a later report, China's official Xinhua news agency said that Xi told Abe that China-Japan relations were facing grave difficulties, a situation China is "unwilling to see." Ties have been strained for months because of a row over a the islands as well as disputes over the countries' bitter wartime past. Xi reiterated China's position that Japan should correctly deal with such sensitive issues by facing up to its history and seeking "a way to properly manage differences and address the problems", Xinhua reported. It added that Abe said he had been looking forward to seeing Xi and was eager to improve Japan-China relations. Tensions remain high surrounding the islands, with aircraft and ships from both countries playing cat-and-mouse games near them for months. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, speaking before the meeting between Xi and Abe, said Beijing had been "clear-cut" that the islands belonged to China. "China-Japan relations are faced with serious difficulties now, but the responsibility rests not with China," Qin told reporters at a briefing. "The different views between China and Japan of this issue should be effectively managed through consultations," he said of the islands. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Lidia Kelly; Additional reporting by Jonathan Standing in BEIJING; Editing by Stephen Coates)
- The Week
Many GOP officials still privately hope prosecutors, some other outside force will make Trump go away
In 2015 and 2016, former President Donald Trump's Republican primary rivals and other GOP officials tried to dodge his withering personal insults "while hoping that external events and news media coverage would ultimately lead to his downfall," Maggie Haberman recalls at The New York Times. That strategy obviously failed. But many Republican leaders are once more hoping, mostly in private, that time or some heaven-sent deus ex machina makes Trump fade into retirement, despite his clear intention to retain control over the GOP. Some Republicans "are privately hopeful that the criminal investigation into Mr. Trump's business by the New York district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., will result in charges that hobble him from running again or even being a major figure within the party," Haberman reports, adding that Trump is said to be "agitated about the investigation." Others say they believe he is losing relevance his own, now that he is out of office and kicked off Twitter. David Kochel, a Republican strategist and Jeb Bush supporter in 2016 campaign, is not among them. "We've seen this movie before — a bunch of GOP leaders all looking at each other, waiting to see who's going to try and down Trump," he said, adding that Trump and Fox News are making sure the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is "being stuffed down the memory hole" for conservatives. "It is Groundhog Day," another GOP Trump critic, Tim Miller, told Haberman. It seemed "like a rational choice in 2015," but "after we all saw how the strategy fails of just hoping and wishing for him to go away, nobody learned from it." In the meantime, most GOP leaders and 2024 hopefuls are going out of their way to stay on Trump's good side. One reason is Trump's ability to steer huge sums of money to friendly Republicans, Politico notes. But Trump also holds sway over a sizable faction of the GOP electorate — though just how sizable is a matter of dispute — and he seems to relish savaging Republican critics. Trump "intimidates people because he will attack viciously and relentlessly, much more than any other politician, yet somehow people crave his approval," Mike DuHaime, a Chris Christie adviser in 2016, told the Times. "Trump did self-destruct eventually, after four years in office," he said. "But he can still make or break others, and that makes him powerful and relevant." More stories from theweek.comThe girl at the center of the Matt Gaetz investigation also reportedly went on his scrutinized Bahamas tripReport: Biden set to sanction Russian officials over election meddling, hacksThe GOP's economic confusion
- Associated Press
When Thailand's transport minister was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, it was Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha who got a headache. Prayuth was not particularly lauded for his leadership last year against the coronavirus, but for much of 2020 Thailand fought the disease to a standstill, with low infection and death rates envied by more developed countries. Now, an outbreak at nightspots in the capital Bangkok has sent new infections surging, suggesting the country may have been lulled into a false sense of security before mass vaccinations begin.
- Business Insider
Pelosi says she thinks Chauvin trial is 'disappointing': 'Maybe my disappointment springs from my expectation that these are our protectors'
The House Speaker said she still respects law enforcement officers, and she stamped down calls, even within her own party, to "defund the police."
- The Daily Beast
Chris Jackson/GettyHis grandfather’s funeral isn’t until Saturday, but this is shaping up to be, even by his extravagant standards of non-normalcy, a pretty extraordinary week for Prince Harry.As he sits in splendid isolation in Frogmore Cottage, Harry could be forgiven if his head is spinning.The lavishly restored period property into which he and Meghan moved just 24 months ago, and dreamed of making their home, now houses his cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack and their baby. The tenants are still there, and the owner is holed up in what was once intended as Doria Ragland’s (Meghan Markle’s mom) self-contained apartment, The Daily Beast understands.Prince Harry and Prince William’s Feud Rumbles on as They Issue Dueling Statements on Philip’s Death He is literally just a few miles away from Windsor Castle, but if he has spoken to his father or the queen, no-one is saying so. And this despite the fact that, bizarrely, Her Majesty carried out an official duty Tuesday, overseeing the retirement of one of her senior aides, recorded thus by the official court circular: “The Earl Peel had an audience of The Queen today, delivered up his Wand and Insignia.” (Was Earl Peel was ordered to leave his wand on the desk on the way out?).We do know, courtesy of the Telegraph’s well-briefed correspondent Camilla Tominey, that Harry has spoken to his brother Prince William on the phone since he landed back in the U.K.This hardly seems like a great triumph in the arena of conflict resolution.We already know from Gayle King that other phone calls between Harry and his brother and father have taken place. King said they were regarded as “not productive.”If you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get it in your inbox on Sunday.There is, frankly, no suggestion from royal aides that being in the same time zone has helped mend fences, no sense of joyous white smoke going up from Frogmore or 140 miles north at Anmer Hall, where William and Kate are rather pointedly spending the last days of the Easter holidays with their children, rather than waving at Harry from the garden of Frogmore Cottage like some of us might be inclined to do.Tominey touts Kate as taking on the role of fraternal peacemaker, quoting a source as saying, “Being so close to her own siblings, Pippa and James, and having witnessed first-hand the special bond between William and Harry, [Kate] has found the whole situation difficult and upsetting.”But while hopes of a major reconciliation between Harry and his family are being talked up by commentators, the reality on the ground is that expectations are at rock bottom. Emotions are strained and the wounds inflicted by Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey are still raw. The media may have moved on; the family will never forget what, as they see it, was Harry’s betrayal of them. There are also the unanswered questions over the identity of the royal family member who allegedly questioned the color of the then-unborn Archie’s skin, and who allegedly stopped Meghan being able to access help when she was feeling suicidal.There has been much wishful thinking this week that the death of their grandfather will bring the brothers together. Physically, of course, it will. They will walk side by side behind Philip’s coffin, recreating the tragic cortege they formed behind their mother’s coffin in 1997.This was, coincidentally, at Philip’s urging. The brothers were said to be reluctant to walk behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral but Philip took charge telling them, “I’ll walk if you walk.” Harry said years later that he was grateful for his grandfather’s guidance.But piecing together the tatters of Harry’s relationship with the royal family will be no easy task. Many of the 29 other royals attending the funeral on Saturday will feel the same way as one friend of the family who, The Daily Beast reported, said this week: “Philip was already seriously ill when the interview screened. He was 99, so the fact that he has died is of course very sad, but hardly surprising. His death may put things into perspective, but I’m not sure it really changes anything.”The logistical constraints imposed by the pandemic are unlikely to help; if they are remotely like any other family, one imagines the brothers need to have a frank, face to face discussion at a certain level of decibels to clear the air. But having arrived back in the U.K. on Sunday afternoon, Harry is not likely to be allowed to exit quarantine until the day of the funeral. Harry’s people have made it clear he will be following Covid quarantine rules to the letter.If Harry doesn’t already feel like he has gone through the looking glass, the curious apparent rehabilitation of Prince Andrew should do it.The first sign of this development came when Andrew, who has failed to make himself available to the American authorities for questioning over his links to sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, winkled his way back on to TV screens at the weekend.He told a camera outside church that his mother was feeling a “huge void” in her life; it still hasn’t been established if his intervention was authorized. It seems hard to believe even Andrew would be stupid enough to do something like that if it wasn’t, as some briefing has suggested.Dan Wootton, the journalist who broke the news that Harry and Meghan were leaving the U.K., reported in the Daily Mail that sources had told him: “Prince Andrew might hope that this sad situation changes things, but Prince Charles is adamant there is no way back while allegations hang over him. He spoke on camera in a private capacity because this is a family event. No one can stop him doing that.”Neither the palace nor an advisory firm retained by Prince Andrew responded to inquiries from The Daily Beast on that question.Until today it looked as if Andrew was set to be allowed to wear military uniform to the funeral, the only question being whether he would be in the garb of a three-star vice admiral (his current rank, which was never removed from him when he was fired from the family as a working royal), or actually be promoted by his mother to a four star admiral, an elevation that was due to take place last year but was put on hold. The Daily Mail reported that he was lobbying hard to be awarded his overdue promotion.Harry is the only male member of the family not technically serving, so was thought to be the only male royal attending the funeral not in military uniform. There is nothing more integral to the royal family’s sense of its own legitimacy than its military associations, and Harry’s happiest days were spent in the army. Harry was forced to give up his captaincy of the Royal Marines along with all other military associations when he stepped back from life as a working royal, a defenestration that he has made clear he considers utterly unfair.According to The Sun on Wednesday, to spare Harry's blushes—and lots of embarrassing questions about Andrew—the queen has stipulated that no royals should wear military uniform at Philip’s funeral. A military source told The Sun: “It’s the most eloquent solution to the problem.” Another source confirmed that “current thinking is no uniforms.”Buckingham Palace and the Sussexes declined to comment to The Daily Beast for this article.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.
- Lexington Herald-Leader
You shouldn’t see a goat during your visit to the park, rangers said.
- The Daily Beast
NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Taliban never kept secret what their reaction would be if the Biden administration delays the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, and now that it’s happened, U.S. forces may have to deal with a new, unbridled wave of violence and bloodshed in the months leading up to the new September pull-out deadline.Hours after news broke on Tuesday that following a “rigorous policy review,” President Joe Biden is planning to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11—a break away from the previously agreed May 1 deadline—Taliban military leaders sat down for a policy review of their own. The group then announced it would be boycotting peace talks unless “all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland.”Speaking to The Daily Beast on Wednesday, Mullah Salih Khan, a Taliban group commander from Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, said that the insurgent group is “very much prepared to strike,” against U.S. and Afghan government forces, warning that the militants will turn Afghanistan “into a nightmare” for them.Mullah Mujahid Rahman, a Taliban subcommander from the Ghazni province, added that the U.S. has “proven they can’t be trusted after retreating from the May 1 deadline,” and that the group is willing to “fight till the end” of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.“We have the pride of defeating about 100,000 invaders from [different] countries in Afghanistan. A few thousand won’t be a problem at all,” he said, referring to the 3,500 American troops still stationed in the country.Taliban Boycotts Key Peace Talks After U.S. Pull-Out DelayExperts say this reaction shouldn’t come as a surprise.“Afghanistan will likely see an unrestricted fighting season, with attacks on Afghan provincial capitals as well as against foreign forces,” Andrew Watkins, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, told The Daily Beast. “It is hard to say if the talks have been entirely halted, but it’s also difficult to see any reason for the Taliban to continue, if, as they seem to suggest so far, the Doha deal has been broken by the U.S.”There were signs of the violence-to-come even before U.S. officials shared news of the extended deadline, when rumors of a seemingly inevitable delay were swirling both domestically and abroad.Most dramatic among them was one video shared across their social media platforms last week, portraying what appears to be the Taliban’s training facility, somewhere between the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The 50-second clip, made in English for the benefit of international parties, shows an assortment of 50 odd young men—part of the Taliban’s martyrdom-seeking forces of suicide bombers and fighters—dressed in military fatigues and with their faces covered.Wearing a jacket with the initials “I.E.A”, an acronym for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan—the Taliban’s self-given name—one of them issues a warning against the Americans: “God willing, if they do not abide by the agreement they will be responsible for the killing in the next war,” he said, adding that the martyrdom forces are “waiting the order of the Emir and the establishment of the Islamic system all around the world.”“It seems clear from the Taliban’s response that even if they privately celebrate the news of a U.S. withdrawal, the primary mood is mistrust, and they reject the announcement as an abrogation of the U.S.-Taliban deal,” said Watkins, adding that while the Taliban may resume talks with Americans, “there is very little chance of the Taliban committing to real compromise in peace talks with other Afghan stakeholders.”Other stakeholders believe that the seeming disintegration of the peace process might not entirely be on Biden, but can also be attributed to developing fractures within the Taliban’s insurgency.“Not all of the Taliban have been in favor of power-sharing, inclusive governments. Many among them want a monopoly over everything,” Rahmatullah Nabil, a former Afghan spy chief, told The Daily Beast.He was referring to the many recent proposals made public that detail a potential deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government. One such proposal from the U.S. recommended a power-sharing agreement between the warring parties and has been criticized by the members of the U.S. Congress.Biden Desperate for Last-Ditch Afghan Deal Before Admitting He’ll Miss Trump’s Withdrawal DeadlineNabil continues to maintain strong intelligence networks and had previously warned of the Taliban’s lack of commitment to the process and the U.S.-facilitated deal, which seems to have emboldened the insurgent group.“The Taliban is consulting with their leaders in Pakistan… but with no actual pressure on the Taliban’s main backers like the Pakistani military and ISI, we will plunge into another crisis if the peace process collapses and Americans withdraw,” he warned.Hekmatullah Azamy, deputy director of the Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies, an Afghan think tank closely observing the political and security developments, gave a similar assessment.“The Taliban’s military wing feels compelled to teach the Americans a lesson for not abiding with their promised deadline, and as such, they will restart the violence. Unfortunately, the political wing that is conducting the negotiations is unable to convince them otherwise,” Azamy told The Daily Beast.In any case, an increase in violence seems inevitable.“Such units are already prepared for battle,” Azamy said, referring to the information gathered by his organization. “They understand that it won’t be easy, and the U.S. is fully equipped to respond to their attacks. But many among them are willing to engage in conflict anyway.”Meanwhile, Afghan government officials are opting to remain optimistic, as the U.S.’s extended stay in Afghanistan gives them a little more time to develop diplomatic and political pressure on the Taliban to agree to a possible ceasefire.“I think the U.S.’s extension on troop withdrawal could be a good thing for Afghanistan. It will force the Taliban to reconsider their stance,” a senior Afghan security official told The Daily Beast. But the official was less certain that the Taliban would actually escalate violence against the U.S. right away: “They have gained so much, it is unlikely that they will risk it all,” he said.Some in the Taliban, however, continue to promise otherwise.“We never paused our Jihad after the U.S.-Taliban deal,” said Mullah Salih Khan, one of the Taliban commanders who spoke to The Daily Beast. “There is nothing for the Taliban to lose, but the puppet Afghan government will lose everything.”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.
A judge reinstated the pension of a Black police officer fired after stopping a white colleague's chokehold, citing George Floyd
Cariol Horne was fired from the Buffalo police force after stopping a white colleague's chokehold on a Black man who said he couldn't breathe.
- FOX News Videos
'You don't end wars by announcing that you're leaving,' Wyoming Republican tells 'Your World'
- Business Insider
Coinbase says the entire crypto market could be destabilized if Bitcoin's anonymous creator is ever revealed or sells their $64 billion stake
Satoshi Nakamoto owns about 5% of all bitcoin. If their 1.1 million cache was transferred, it could compromise bitcoin's over $1 trillion market.
- The Daily Beast
Alamance County Sheriff's Office Students and parents alike joined in mourning the sudden death of a popular high school basketball coach earlier this week in Monroe, North Carolina. They fondly recalled his uplifting “all love, no fear” motto, the “encouragement and motivation” he gave to students at his school, and his smile that “will forever remain etched in our hearts.” But two days later, the local sheriff dropped a bombshell: teacher Barney Dale Harris had died while allegedly trying to rob a Mexican drug cartel.Harris, who taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School and served as the boys’ head basketball coach, was found dead last week in a mobile home belonging to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, widely considered to be the most powerful and ruthless drug cartel in Mexico, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson announced at a Wednesday press conference.Harris, 40, seemed to have come prepared for a fight. He was found in the stash house wearing a bulletproof vest, gloves, and a face cover, the sheriff said. He had been shot multiple times.“It was almost like an old western shootout,” the sheriff said, adding that three neighboring homes were left riddled with bullet holes.Harris had gone to the trailer with his brother-in-law, Steven Alexander Stewart Jr., in order to rob a cartel member named Alonso Beltran Lara, according to the sheriff. The attempted attack wasn’t meant to be a one-off, the sheriff said: Harris and Stewart were said to have been tracking the cartel’s movements through North Carolina to pinpoint stash houses in hopes of robbing them. Alamance County Sheriff's Office “The I-85 and I-40 corridor has really caused Alamance County to be a great place to deposit their drugs,” the sheriff said of the cartel’s growing presence in the area.The theft did not go as planned. When police officers discovered the grisly scene after reports of gunfire in the mobile home, they found Harris’ body as well as Lara’s, the cartel member the two had allegedly plotted to rob. Lara’s hands and feet were bound, and he was shot “execution-style,” the sheriff said, though he was still clinging to life when police got there. Officers brought him to a nearby hospital, where he died. Deputies did not disclose who they believe shot Lara, and the investigation is ongoing.“The trailer looked like it had been ransacked,” the sheriff said. “They were looking for money or drugs, or both,” he said. Deputies found a bag with 1.2 kilos of cocaine and about $7,000 in cash near Lara’s body.Stewart, who had apparently fled following the firefight, was found at his home with “related objects tied to the crime scene” and charged with first-degree burglary and first-degree murder, police said. He is being held without bond.The news of the violent circumstances surrounding Harris’ death rocked Monroe, where Union Academy had issued a statement just two days earlier calling on students to wear school colors to celebrate Harris. School leaders had lauded him, saying “[Harris’] motto ‘All Love...No Fear’ will be forever a part of who we are as a school. Love each other and live each day to the fullest.”On Wednesday, after the sheriff suggested the beloved basketball coach had been moonlighting as a violent criminal, the school released another statement saying it was “shocked and devastated to hear the information.”Harris, who leaves behind a wife and three children, started working at the Union Academy in July 2017. Parents of children at the school were quoted in local media earlier this week gushing over the basketball coach.“We absolutely love the family. My husband went to college with Coach Harris. He coached my nephew. It’s been a difficult time, he will be greatly missed,” one unnamed parent told WSOC-TV on Monday.A GoFundMe set up for the Harris family before the sheriff’s press conference was equally full of praise for the late teacher.“Our lives will never be the same, as Coach Harris touched the lives of everyone he encountered. He never met a stranger and the encouragement and motivation he gave both his students and athletes was priceless. Coach Harris’ smile will forever remain etched in our hearts,” the fundraiser’s description reads.The sheriff struck a much more ominous tone on Wednesday, warning that Harris’ death may not be the last violence tied to the cartel to strike the area.“When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartels, somebody is probably going to die,” Johnson said. “The Mexican cartels, they don’t forget. They’re going to pay somebody back somewhere.”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.
- Business Insider
NASA's InSight Mars lander is going into emergency hibernation. If it can't save its batteries, it could die.
The InSight lander is shutting down nonessential operations to save energy. An out-of-season dust storm could end its life on Mars.
A BBC team meets the Taliban, a group that clearly sees itself as Afghanistan's government-in-waiting.
COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing pandemic have once again tempered many of the usual customs and traditions.
- Business Insider
In a rare bipartisan effort, the vast majority of senators pushed forward an anti-Asian hate crime bill in a 92-6 vote Wednesday.
- Yahoo News 360
Traffic stops are the most common way Americans interact with the police. Does it make sense to have armed officers enforcing traffic laws?
- Business Insider
A US F-15C fighter jet recently fired the longest air-to-air missile 'kill' shot in Air Force history
The fighter jet fired on an aerial target drone from the farthest distance ever recorded and scored a "kill," the Air Force said.
PARIS (Reuters) -The European countries party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday its decision to enrich uranium at 60% purity, bringing the fissile material closer to bomb-grade, was contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 accord. But in an apparent signal to Iran's arch-adversary Israel, which Tehran blamed for an explosion at its key nuclear site on Sunday, European powers Germany, France and Britain added that they rejected "all escalatory measures by any actor". Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognise, has not formally commented on the incident at Iran's Natanz site, which appeared the latest twist in a long-running covert war.
- Business Insider
Republican voters and Trump loyalists are disproportionately hesistant or unwilling to get vaccinated.
- The Daily Beast
via TwitterIvanka Trump broke her post-inaugural social media silence with some personal news: she’s vaccinated. The former presidential advisor announced via Instagram, Twitter, and a statement sent to the AP that she had received her first Pfizer jab. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) “Today, I got the shot!!! I hope that you do too! Thank you Nurse Torres!!!” Ivanka captioned a photo. In the snap, she wears a tie-dye face mask, white t-shirt and jeans while a nurse in pink scrubs administers the dose. Per the AP, Ivanka received the vaccine in her adopted home state of Florida, where she moved with Jared Kushner and her children after leaving DC. Two sources said that she had the option to get her shot when her father was still in office, but chose to hold off. Ivanka Trump, Miami Beach Bum, Plots Her Next MoveUnsurprisingly, not all fans of the woman whose father consistently downplayed the pandemic and scoffed at basic COVID safety precautions are happy with this news. Her Instagram post has devolved into a deluge of complaints regarding her choice to get the shot. “Bummer. I was hoping you were above this kind of virtue signaling,” one person wrote on Instagram. “Hell no. Quit telling perfectly healthy people to take this so called vaccine,” another added. The resounding agreement in Ivanka’s comments section, per a few more Instagram users: “Disappointing.”There were similar musings on Ivanka’s Facebook and Twitter announcements. “Love you! But going to decline,” a person wrote on Facebook. Former vice president Mike Pence got his shot back in December via a televised press conference, for which he wore a rather unfortunate short sleeved shirt. Donald and Melania Trump received theirs, too, before leaving office in January—though they did not publicize the event and news broke after President Biden’s inauguration. 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.
Federal prosecutors in the Brazilian state of Roraima are investigating reports that illegally-mined gold is being exchanged for COVID-19 vaccines in the Yanomami indigenous reserve, the prosecutors office told Reuters on Wednesday. Tribal leaders in the Amazon region have complained of the deals and prosecutors say they will investigate the reports as part of an investigation already underway into the diversion of vaccine shots intended for indigenous people. The association said a health worker in the Homoxi district gave illegal miners vaccines in exchange for gold.