• Joe Biden criticizes Kim Jong Un; North Korea calls Biden 'an imbecile'
    Politics
    Reuters

    Joe Biden criticizes Kim Jong Un; North Korea calls Biden 'an imbecile'

    Kim said in April that his personal relationship with Trump was still good despite the collapse of their second summit in Vietnam in February. Biden's campaign responded to North Korea by calling the relationship between Trump and Pyongyang "antithetical to who we are." Biden, at a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday, said: "Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Kim Jong Un?" Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state media, responded to Biden's criticism in a commentary late on Tuesday. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates, in a statement responding to the KCNA remarks, repeated that Kim is a dictator and a tyrant.

  • Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near Alaska
    World
    The National Interest

    Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near Alaska

    It’s old, it’s obvious and it has mechanical problems — facts hard to ignore while the Tu-95 plays a key role in a highly orchestrated and much exaggerated effort by the Kremlin to impress its foreign rivals.(This first appeared several years ago and is being reposted due to reader interest.) At first glance, the Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber looks like a 59-year-old flying anachronism, a Cold War leftover that has outlived its usefulness in a century when stealth is king.The Bear is showing signs of its age. In recent months, two Tu-95 crashes led to the grounding of the entire fleet of more than 50 aircraft to resolve mechanical issues. Besides, there is nothing stealthy about the Bear.Even when the bomber is in top-notch shape, the turboprop-powered Tu-95 is loud … really loud. In fact, it’s so noisy that listening devices on submerged U.S. submarines can hear a Bear flying overhead.Furthermore, it has the radar signature of a flying big-box store. The plane is huge.Photos of lumbering Bear-H bombers intercepted by sleek U.S. or NATO warplanes as they flew toward protected airspace are some of the most recognizable images of the East-West nuclear stand-off during the 1970s and ’80s.

  • The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal
    World
    Associated Press

    The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

  • Major Texas border station closed for flu outbreak after teen death
    News
    AFP

    Major Texas border station closed for flu outbreak after teen death

    A major Texas border station has been temporarily closed due to a fever outbreak, officials said, one day after a Guatemalan teenager diagnosed with flu at the facility died in immigration custody. Medical staff imposed the quarantine at the McAllen processing center after a "large number" of detainees were found to have high fevers and symptoms of a flu-related illness. "To avoid the spread of illness, the Rio Grande Valley Sector has temporarily suspended intake operations at the CPC," Customs and Border Protection said in a statement late Tuesday, referring to the Central Processing Center.

  • Trump explodes in White House meeting, refusing to work with Democrats and lashing out on Twitter
    Politics
    The Independent

    Trump explodes in White House meeting, refusing to work with Democrats and lashing out on Twitter

    Donald Trump has lashed out at Democratic leadership after refusing to sit for a bipartisan meeting at the White House, claiming he will no longer work with the party until all investigations against him have been closed. The president declined to shake anyone’s hand or even sit for the meeting Democrats scheduled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss a bipartisan solution to the nation’s failing infrastructure. He then cut the meeting short and staged a seemingly last-minute appearance at the White House Rode Garden, where he tore into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of engaging “in a cover up” over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr Trump reportedly told Democrats in the five-minute meeting that he would like to work on infrastructure but would not negotiate with them until the probes had reached their conclusions — before walking out of the room. “So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country,” the president posted in a series of tweets following his appearance in the Rose Garden. “They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40m and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work.”The president went on to claim Democrats “really want a do-over” on the special counsel’s investigation, adding, “you can’t investigate and legislate simultaneously — it just doesn’t work that way.” “You can’t go down two tracks at the same time,” Mr Trump wrote. The president appeared particularly infuriated by Ms Pelosi’s comments from earlier in the day, in which the California Democrat said, “We do believe that it is important to follow the facts, we believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States, and we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover up, in a cover up." So sad that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will never be able to see or understand the great promise of our Country. They can continue the Witch Hunt which has already cost $40M and been a tremendous waste of time and energy for everyone in America, or get back to work.... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2019Mr Trump responded by lambasting the House speaker over talk of possible impeachment proceedings, saying at his press appearance, “All of a sudden I hear last night they're going to have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I word. The I word. Can you imagine?"“I don’t do cover ups,” he continued. New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and Ms Pelosi held a competing press conference of their own on Wednesday after the meeting, with the Senate minority leader telling reporters, “What happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.” The bizarre day arrived amid a slate of new subpoenas being issued by committees probing the president’s possible obstruction of justice outlined in the special counsel’s report. Hope Hicks, who served as Mr Trump’s former White House communications director, was issued a subpoena earlier this week, along with the former chief of staff to Donald McGahn, who served as the ex-White House counsel under Mr Trump. Mr McGahn defied a subpoena this week and failed to show up for a Congressional hearing after being ordered by Mr Trump not to comply with requests from the Democrats. At least 25 Democrats reportedly support impeachment proceedings against the president, including several committee chairs and members of Ms Pelosi’s leadership team, The Hill reported.

  • View Photos of the 2019 Opel Corsa-e
    Business
    Car and Driver

    View Photos of the 2019 Opel Corsa-e

    View Photos of the 2019 Opel Corsa-eFrom Car and Driver

  • Tornado damage near Joplin, Missouri
    U.S.
    Associated Press Videos

    Tornado damage near Joplin, Missouri

    A tornado skirted just a few miles north of Joplin, Missouri, on the eighth anniversary of a catastrophic tornado that killed 161 people in the city. The tornado caused damage in the nearby town of Carl Junction. (May 23)

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    Business
    AFP

    Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

    The US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

  • Yemen's Houthis say they attacked Saudi's Najran airport by drone
    World
    Reuters

    Yemen's Houthis say they attacked Saudi's Najran airport by drone

    Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday launched a drone attack on a Patriot missile battery in the airport of the Saudi city of Najran near the Yemeni border, the group's Al-Masirah TV said on Thursday. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis said the drone was intercepted and destroyed by the kingdom's air defenses. The Houthis, who ousted the Saudi-backed Yemeni president from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi in the past 10 days in a resurgence of tactics that had largely subsided since late last year amid United Nations-led peace efforts.

  • 'Jeopardy!' champ James Holzhauer extends amazing streak with his 24th victory
    Sports
    USA TODAY

    'Jeopardy!' champ James Holzhauer extends amazing streak with his 24th victory

    James Holzhauer extended his 'Jeopardy!' winning streak to an even two dozen Tuesday, as he moves ever closer to the $2 million mark.

  • Lawmaker's censure sought after comments about Trump Jr.
    Politics
    Associated Press

    Lawmaker's censure sought after comments about Trump Jr.

    Alabama lawmakers abruptly adjourned after one lawmaker called for the censure of another over comments that included calling the president's son "evidently retarded." Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney of Shelby County on Wednesday went to the House microphone to read a letter seeking censure of Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat. Mooney said Rogers brought "shame" on Alabama with comments he made after debate on a proposed abortion ban.

  • In new charges against Assange, groups see cause for concern
    News
    Associated Press

    In new charges against Assange, groups see cause for concern

    New charges filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange quickly drew alarm Thursday from media organizations and others. The groups are concerned that the Justice Department is charging Assange for actions that ordinary journalists do routinely in their jobs. Department officials said they don't view Assange, who founded WikiLeaks in 2006, as a journalist.

  • The Real Green New Deal Doesn’t Belong to AOC
    Politics
    Bloomberg

    The Real Green New Deal Doesn’t Belong to AOC

    Climate change has long been a disaster in the making, but until recently the American public tended to treat it as an afterthought. The Green New Deal brought climate change front and center, and made Americans think about big bold solutions instead of technical tweaks and half measures. The think tank Data for Progress has a plan that actually predates Ocasio-Cortez’s, but which goes into much greater detail about how to combat climate change both at home and abroad.

  • Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    Biden blasts Trump for saying he 'deserted' Pennsylvania: 'I was 10'

    The former vice president blasted President Trump for telling the crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this week that he “deserted” them.

  • Dem. Rep. Accuses DHS Secretary of Choosing to Let Migrant Kids Die: ‘This Is Intentional’
    News
    National Review

    Dem. Rep. Accuses DHS Secretary of Choosing to Let Migrant Kids Die: ‘This Is Intentional’

    Representative Lauren Underwood (D., Ill.) on Wednesday accused the acting Department of Homeland Security secretary of intentionally implementing border-security policies that would lead to the deaths of migrant children.During his appearance before the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan was asked to explain why five children have died in federal custody after being apprehended at the southern border since December.“These stories are appalling and yet they keep happening,” Underwood said, referring to the recent migrants deaths, as well as reports of inadequate housing and medical care for migrant children apprehended at the border. “Now Congress just provided half a billion dollars in February to address the humanitarian crisis at the border and will soon provide more. Why do these tragedies keep happening?”McAleenan, who succeeded Kirstjen Nielsen in April, responded that the resources provided by Congress are insufficient to address the record number of asylum seekers, many of whom are women and children, arriving at the border each day.“They're happening because the crisis is exceeding the resources provided. That's why we've asked for more and we've asked for more authority to prevent this crisis from happening in the first place and to prevent the children from being placed at risk,” he said.Underwood, a 32-year-old freshman lawmaker, dismissed McAleenan's claims, suggesting instead that he was implementing policies intended to result in the death of children.“People keep dying, sir. People keep dying. So, this is obviously more than a question of resources,” she said. “Congress has been more than willing to provide the resources and work with you to address the security and humanitarian concerns, but at this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like — and the evidence is really clear — that this is intentional. It's a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration and it's cruel and inhumane."“That's an appalling accusation and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” McAleenan responded. The acting DHS secretary denies the accusation that migrant deaths are "intentional" policy. pic.twitter.com/7xiThg8IVY -- VICE News (@vicenews) May 22, 2019Republicans on the panel reacted forcefully to Underwood's assertion. The ranking Republican on the committee, Representative Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) called for a vote to strike her comments from the record. The vote passed 9-7.“You cannot impugn the character of the witness by stating that he intentionally murders children. That is completely inappropriate and her words should be taken down,” Rogers said during the hearing. “She was very explicit.”“It’s absolutely disheartening to see some radical Democrats stoop so low to say that the Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan is murdering children. McAleenan left the private sector to serve his country after the towers fell on 9/11. This is a sad day for America and the Democrat party,” Representative Mark Green (R., Tenn.) said in a statement provided to National Review.On Monday, 16-year-old Carlos Hernandez Vasquez became the fifth migrant child to die in federal custody in the last six months.Vasquez crossed into the U.S. without his parents and died of the flu at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas after spending a week in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CPB). His death has drawn scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers, who have pointed out that policy dictates he should have been transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours of his apprehension.“Make no mistake: This is a pattern of death. This is an epidemic of death by the Trump administration,” Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas told reporters during a press conference Tuesday. “As I mentioned, nobody had died for ten years. And in the last six months, you've had five deaths.”The Trump administration has for months urged Congress to provide resources for medical care and the construction of housing units that can accommodate the new asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border. The existing detention centers lack the capacity to handle the record influx and were built to accommodate the mostly single men who formerly comprised most of the illegal-migrant population.The administration has also urged Congress to reform the asylum system through legislation in order to limit the number of migrants who must be detained on U.S. soil while their claims are being adjudicated.

  • Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms
    News
    Reuters

    Rain, flooding expected in U.S. Southern Plains after deadly storms

    Weather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding. More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding. One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.

  • Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral
    News
    AFP

    Tale of suicidal 'Handmaid' in New York goes viral

    A red-cloaked "Handmaid" ready to hurl herself off a Manhattan building, possibly unhinged by recent legislative assaults on the right to abortion? For months now, amid the #MeToo movement and challenges to the right to abortion in the United States and elsewhere, demonstrations by women dressed in costumes inspired by "The Handmaid's Tale" have multiplied. The hit television series based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel evokes a world in which the United States has become a religious dictatorship where fertile women are enslaved and their rape is institutionalized.

  • Nevada removes abortion restrictions amid wave of nationwide bans
    Politics
    The Independent

    Nevada removes abortion restrictions amid wave of nationwide bans

    Nevada has passed comprehensive legislation to remove a series of restrictive statewide abortion guidelines, defying a wave of newly-imposed limits and bans towards women’s reproductive health across the country. The new measure, which passed 27-13 in the state Assembly on Tuesday, will overturn decades-old policies requiring physicians to determine a woman’s age and marital status prior to performing an abortion. Supplying medication to induce an abortion without prior advice from a doctor will also be decriminalized under the new bill. Women will also no longer have to be told about “physical and emotional implications” that could possibly result from having an abortion — a policy critics have said was implemented to effectively deter women from ever receiving the procedure. While one of the nation’s most restrictive laws was passed recently in Alabama — with only male politicians voting in favour of the bill — Nevada’s majority-female state legislature passed the measure mostly along party lines, according to NPR. “When the rest of the country may feel hopeless, may feel bleak, they should look to Nevada as the shining beacon that we are for women's rights," Democratic Senator Yvanna Cancela reportedly said in a statement outside of the Nevada legislature prior to the vote being held.The easing of abortion restrictions in Nevada arrived as states like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota and Mississippi have all passed opposite measures in recent years, with most of them going into effect in 2019. Georgia’s latest bill will ban abortions at the first detection of a heartbeat, which often occurs before many women even learn they are pregnant. Alabama’s recent law has sparked national outrage as it flew directly in the face of constitutional law and the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade. The state’s conservative politicians understood that, effectively designing the law to yield challenges that could result in a case reaching the Supreme Court. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Republican Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement while signing the bill on Wednesday.A new poll showed the vast majority of Americans support providing choice in women's reproductive health, with 82 per cent saying abortion should be legal in cases of rape an incest. That exception was not included in the Alabama law. That polling, released by Quinnipiac this week, includes 68 per cent of Republicans.

  • Huawei unwanted: Asian shops shun phone trade-ins on Google suspension worries
    Business
    Reuters

    Huawei unwanted: Asian shops shun phone trade-ins on Google suspension worries

    SINGAPORE/MANILA (Reuters) - Mobile phone retailers in some Asian countries are refusing to accept Huawei devices for trade-ins, as more consumers look to offload their device on worries Google suspending business with the Chinese firm will disrupt services. Google has said it will comply with an order by U.S. President Donald Trump to stop supplying Huawei, meaning current owners of Huawei phones face being cut off from updates of the Android operating system from late August. Against this backdrop, some customers in Singapore and the Philippines have rushed to sell their Huawei phones, according to retailers and online marketplace data.

  • 14 Garage Organization Ideas That'll Give You Back Your Parking Spot
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    14 Garage Organization Ideas That'll Give You Back Your Parking Spot

    It's so strangely soothing to see everything this organized in the garage.From Car and Driver

  • Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

    Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet 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.

  • Moose Crashes Wedding at Rocky Mountain National Park
    Lifestyle
    KDVR - Denver

    Moose Crashes Wedding at Rocky Mountain National Park

    A couple getting married in Rocky Mountain National Park got the best wedding gift they could have hoped for.

  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi loses his home seat in humiliating election defeat
    World
    The Telegraph

    Congress leader Rahul Gandhi loses his home seat in humiliating election defeat

    The Indian National Congress Party went from understated optimism to shellshocked defeat within the space of a few hours on Thursday as Narendra Modi and his party celebrated another landslide victory. For the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, the performance by his party was nothing short of a humiliation, with several members of his own party demanding he step down and lay the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to rest for good. Mr Gandhi suffered the sting of losing the iconic seat of his family homestead in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, which he had held since 2004  and was controlled by his father before him. He won in his second constituency – candidates can run from two in India – but the symbolism of the defeat was one from which he may never recover. Modi vowed to build an 'inclusive' India after a first term marred by accusations of fomenting religious hatred Credit: AFP At a brief press conference as the results were still coming in, Mr Gandhi congratulated Mr Modi and said “the people are king and they have directed that the BJP and Modi have won this election”. He added: “I don't want to get into what went wrong today, this is not the time for that. I fully respect the Indian people's decision.” During the briefing he also conceded defeat in the Amethi election and congratulated his opponent Smriti Irani, of the BJP, who was more than 28,000 votes ahead at the time. Congress party officials did not return calls by The Telegraph but there were widespread reports in Indian media that the party had wildly miscalculated the margin of any potential loss with its internal polling, and now all that was left was to call for its talisman's head. “If they want to change anything, change the leadership,” a Congress official in Rajasthan told Reuters, referring to Mr Gandhi and the party's high command. “You need to give young people a chance.” However Mr Gandhi, 48, will probably not face an immediate leadership challenge as India's establishment party does some soul searching after an inglorious defeat. Some reports claimed Mr Gandhi had offered to resign. “According to sources, Sonia Gandhi and senior Congress leaders advised him to bring up the matter before the party forum,” reported India Today TV. “The CWC (Congress Working Committee) will meet in a week in which the proposal will be discussed,” it added. Ironically the youthful pretender had grown into his role as leader in the past 18 months after previously being seen as a reluctant heir to his political lineage which stretched back to India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. He campaigned vigorously and was not shy on calling out Mr Modi on the economy, national security, Hindu nationalism and women's rights. After a while the media started to take notice. However behind the scenes his inability to foster good relations with a host of regional party leaders that could have generated a tenable anti-Modi alliance may have damaged his chances. "The BJP fought these elections on the basis of social and religious divisive policies and the agenda was set by them on this basis," said Atul Kumar Anjaan, national secretary of the Communist Party of India, a potential ally.  "But more significant is the fact that the unity of the opposition has been damaged by the Congress. The policies and decisions of Rahul Gandhi has weakened opposition unity, led to divisions and opened the doors for Modi's victory.” Congress has ruled India for most of its history since independence from Britain in 1947, and boasts three prime ministers from the Nehru-Gandhi clan. But its weak performance in the last two elections seems to suggest it needs a drastic change of direction to take on someone with Mr Modi's political savvy.

  • Trump Storms Out of Infrastructure Talks with Dems after Pelosi Comments
    Politics
    National Review

    Trump Storms Out of Infrastructure Talks with Dems after Pelosi Comments

    President Trump stormed out of infrastructure talks with Democratic congressional leaders Wednesday, railing against House speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that he is "engaged in a cover-up."“I don’t do cover ups,” the president told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “I walked into the room and I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that. That’s what I do. But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances.'""Get these phony investigations over with," Trump added. “I’ve said from the beginning that you probably can’t go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track."The president's ire was piqued by a meeting of the House Democratic caucus earlier Wednesday, in which members discussed the possibility of impeaching him.During the closed-door meeting, Pelosi reportedly clashed with rank-and-file members who are upping the pressure on her to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. She was said to have argued that most of the party is against impeachment, a divisive and cumbersome process, as well as a political risk for Democrats. But she emerged from the meeting with harsh words for the president."We believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up," Pelosi said told reporters afterward. "We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States."Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of planning the dramatic exit from the infrastructure meeting.“To watch what happened in the White House would make your draw drop,” Schumer said back on Capitol Hill. “It’s clear this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part. It was planned.”