In the first two weeks of May, U.S.–Iran tensions appeared to be careening toward war. In an escalating series of warnings, the U.S. asserted that an attack by Iran would be met with unrelenting force. Iran eventually responded with its usual bluster about being prepared for a full confrontation with Washington. But on the ground the Middle East looks more like a chessboard, with Iran and its allies and proxies facing off against American allies. This state of affairs was brought into sharp relief when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels launched a drone attack on Saudi Arabia and a rocket fell near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.U.S. media have tended to focus on the role of national-security adviser John Bolton in crafting the administration’s policy — and whether America would actually go to war with Iran. Iranian media have also sought to decipher exactly what the Trump administration is up to. According to Iran’s Tasnim News, the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hossein Salami told a closed session of Parliament that the U.S. was involved in a “psychological war” with Iran, predicting the U.S. didn’t have enough forces to actually attack Iran yet.In the complex game of wits being played between the Trump administration and the Iranian regime, it appears that the U.S. temporarily checked Iran’s usual behavior. Iran prefers bluster in rhetoric with a careful strategy of extending its influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, knowing that any real battle with U.S. forces will result in Iranian defeat. Tehran can’t risk massive retaliation against its allies or the regime at home for fear that it will lead to instability and the destruction of all it has carefully built up in the last years. Iran is suffering from the effects of recent nationwide floods and from shortages due to sanctions, so it can’t afford a total war, and its allies in Iraq and Lebanon are in sensitive positions of power. In the past, Iran benefited from its opaque system of alliances and its ability to threaten western powers and attack U.S. forces with proxies, even seizing U.S. sailors, without fear of reprisal. It learned in the past that the U.S. preferred diplomacy, but the current administration appears to have put Tehran on notice.The question is what can be learned from the escalating tensions. If Iran thinks Washington isn’t serious, or if it senses that domestic opposition to Washington’s saber-rattling is building, Iran may call America’s bluff. But if Iran thinks that Trump’s team really will retaliate, it will tread carefully in all the areas of the Middle East where U.S. allies and Iran’s proxies rub up against one another.To understand the chessboard, we must look at the Middle East the way Iran does. Since the 1980s, Iran’s Islamic revolution has been increasing its influence in the region. This brought Iran into vicious conflict with Iraq in the 1980s, and for a while Iran saw few major geopolitical successes. However, the weakening of the Lebanese state and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 created opportunities for Iran to exploit local militia allies and gain power. It did this in Lebanon through Hezbollah, an armed terrorist organization that has seats in the Lebanese parliament. It also did this in Iraq through a plethora of militias, many of whose leaders had served alongside the IRGC in the 1980s. Today those Shiite militias are called the Popular Mobilization Forces and they are an official paramilitary force of the Iraqi government. They have threatened the U.S., and U.S. intelligence allegedly showed them positioning rockets near U.S. bases earlier this month.In Yemen, meanwhile, Iran has worked closely with the Houthi rebels, who are being fought by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates and the government of Yemen. (That coalition is controversial; in April, Congress attempted to withdraw support for the Yemen war.) The Houthis have fired Iranian-designed ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia and used Iranian-made drones. Iran is also active in Syria, not only in support of the Syrian regime’s war against the now mostly defeated rebels, but also using bases to threaten Israel.The U.S. sees Iran as inseparable from its cobweb of allied militia groups and proxies, many of which are supported by the IRGC. The U.S. designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in April and repeatedly has warned Iran that any attack by it or its proxies will be met with a response.Iran now wants to assure its own people that war isn’t likely through media stories about how the Trump administration isn’t serious. This is in contrast to the usual Tehran bluster and threats, even historic harassment of ships in the Persian Gulf and harassment of U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran’s sudden quiet could, of course, be the calm before the storm, but it is more likely a reflection of the regime’s sudden confusion about U.S. policy. This is a good thing for American interests. Iran needs to be kept guessing about U.S. intentions. It needs to tell its proxies to stop threatening U.S. forces in Iraq, as the Defense Department says they have done as recently as March. The U.S. gained the upper hand in its recent escalation against Iran by playing Iran’s game of bluster and support for allies on the ground. If Washington wants to continue to keep Iran in check, it needs to keep up the pressure.
Customs and Border Protection said the 16-year-old from Guatemala was found unresponsive during a welfare check in the Rio Grande Valley.
Three local publications devoted their Sunday editions to essays from women, ranging from fear to grappling with personal beliefs People walk to the Alabama state capitol during the March for Reproductive Freedom against the state’s new abortion law, in Montgomery, Alabama, on 19 May. Photograph: Michael Spooneybarger/Reuters Three major Alabama newspapers devoted their Sunday editions to letters from women across the state, offering an expansive look into the reactions after a nearly all-male state legislature passed the nation’s strictest abortion ban last week. The Alabama Media Group, which operates the Birmingham News, the Huntsville Times and the Mobile Press-Register, filled their Sunday papers with 200 essays from Alabama women of various backgrounds, ages and political leanings. The essays were also available as a package online under the title “It’s time to hear Alabama’s women”. Though the state was “the talk of the nation last week”, wrote Alabama Media Group’s vice-president, Kelly Ann Scott, in an introduction to the series, “missing from many of those conversations were the voices of women from this state”. Scott continued that in less than 24 hours, more than 200 Alabama women wrote in with their perspectives. We asked women across the state to share their experiences and thoughts on what it's like to be a woman in Alabama today. Today, we share their stories with you.It’s time to hear Alabama’s women https://t.co/e3TMlMtJvc pic.twitter.com/uarBG2MENF— AL.com (@aldotcom) May 19, 2019 “They are women who live here, and some who have left,” she said. “Those who have prayed for this very law, and those who now live in fear. Mothers, trying to understand the message this law sends to their daughters and sons. And women who are angry that a majority of men in the state legislature spoke for them.” All 25 Alabama senate votes in favor of the ban, which criminalizes almost all abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, came from white men (the four women of the state senate voted against). Alabama’s female governor, Kay Ivey, signed the bill into law Wednesday night. Several groups, including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, have promised to sue, probably tying up the law in court for months. The essays illustrate a range of feeling and frustration over the law’s passage. Some women expressed anger at what they called the hypocrisy of the legislature’s “pro-life” position. “If they really believed every life was precious, they wouldn’t have allowed Alabamians to die at an alarming rate from accidents, childbirth and preventable medical conditions,” wrote Tabitha Isner, who is running for chair of the Alabama Democratic party. Ala Rep. want you to interpret this new abortion law as proof that they will go to any length to save lives...They care about life, but they care about it less than they do their 2nd amendment rights,” from Ala. Democratic Party chair candidate @TabithaK https://t.co/EcDwnyZXnB— Abbey Crain (@AbbeyCrain) May 19, 2019 “This abortion ban puts myself, my friends and future generations in danger. Not to mention any victims of sexual assault or rape,” said Isabel Hope, a teenager in Tuscaloosa. “I don’t feel safe walking alone ever. How am I supposed to feel knowing that if something were to happen, I would have no options?” Others grappled with their personal beliefs and the implications of the ban, which will disproportionately impact low-income and black women. “I am pro-life, yet I still find it problematic to legally force my personal views upon others, particularly when I know economic disenfranchisement and systemic racism await too many black children once they are born,” wrote Idrissa Snider. “These issues plague the quality of life for black children every day in our state. “Pro-life for Black women means our children are granted just as much of an opportunity to thrive and succeed in this country as others — once they are here.I am pro-life, yet I still find it problematic to legally force my personal views upon others...” https://t.co/yJGkPR3g9w— Abbey Crain (@AbbeyCrain) May 19, 2019 One woman, Rachel Hauser, wrote that the ban’s passage compelled her to share the story of her sexual assault for the first time. “If I had become pregnant from that incident, I would have had an abortion,” she said, noting that she was “thankful” to have the option of emergency contraception at the time. In her introduction, Scott said the Alabama Media Group was restricting online comments on the essays to keep their voices “heard instead of debated”. “No one should ignore their voices,” she said.
An explosion targeting a tourist bus injured at least 12 people on Sunday, mostly South African tourists, near a new museum being built close to the Giza pyramids in Egypt, two security sources said. A third security source said the bus was carrying 25 South African tourists from the airport to the pyramids area, and that four Egyptians in a nearby car were also injured by broken glass. Security and judicial sources said a rudimentary device containing nails and pieces of metal had been detonated remotely on the perimeter of the Grand Egyptian Museum, not far from the site of a roadside blast that hit another tourist bus in December.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says his presidential campaign is about much more than beating President Trump.
A wild, rugged, mountainous region of Slovakia dotted with plunging waterfalls and lakes and hiking trails has been named the top European destination of 2019 by the travel experts at Lonely Planet.
Strokosch claimed the agency was not alerted about the case until May 9, amidquestions about who had custody of the child and could make medical decisionson his behalf, the Associated Press reports
The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies from buying U.S. goods last week, a major escalation in the trade war between the world's two top economies, saying the firm was involved in activities contrary to national security. The two countries increased import tariffs on each other's goods over the past two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump said China had reneged on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations. On Monday, the Commerce Department granted Huawei a license to buy U.S. goods until Aug. 19 to maintain existing telecoms networks and provide software updates to Huawei smartphones, a move intended to give telecom operators that rely on Huawei time to make other arrangements.
The crash happened as the pilot was landing following a routine training mission, March Air Reserve Base Deputy Fire Chief Timothy Holliday said.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):
Qatari state-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera suspended two journalists on Sunday over a video they produced claiming the extent of the Holocaust was being misrepresented by Jews. The clip, posted by Al Jazeera's online AJ+ Arabic service, claimed "the narrative" that the Nazis killed six million Jews was "adopted by the Zionist movement". The video said that "along with others, the Jews faced a policy of systematic persecution which culminated in the Final Solution".
Ukraine’s new president dismissed parliament and called a snap election just moments after being sworn into office on Monday. Volodymyr Zelensky, whose Servant of People party has no representation in the current parliament, also used his inaugural address to promise an end to the war in the east of the country and asked MPs to fire several key officials including the current defence minister. “All my life I tried to do all I could so that Ukrainians laughed,” Mr Zelensky, a television comedian, told MPs during a ceremony in the parliament in Kiev. “Now I will do all I can so that Ukrainians at least do not cry any more.” Mr Zelensky, 41, won the presidency last month with a landslide run-off victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko, who had been in power since 2014. He had no prior political experience, and he was mostly known for his role in a television comedy ‘Servant of the People’, in which he played a school teacher who accidentally becomes president of Ukraine after ranting against corruption. He named his party after the TV show. Zelenskiy greets his supporters as he walks to take the oath of office ahead of his inauguration ceremony Credit: REUTERS Critics say he has given few specific details about his plans for presidency and have questioned his links to Ihor Kolomoisky, a billionaire oligarch who had fallen out with the previous government. On Monday he dispensed with the traditional motorcade and arrived at the parliament building on foot, he stopping to pose for selfies and high-five his cheering supporters who gathered outside. Inside, he delivered a punchy and at times confrontational speech in which he said his priority would be ending the war, which has claimed at least 13,000 lives since Russia sent troops across the border to support a separatist uprising in 2014. "I'm ready to do everything so that our heroes don't die there," he said. "I'm ready to lose my popularly and, if necessary, I'm ready to lose my post so that we have peace," he said. He said he would begin by demanding Russia release Ukrainian prisoners. When one MP heckled for switching from Ukrainian into Russian in an appeal to residents in the east, he snapped back: "Thank you for continuing to divide our people". He also spoke against a deep-rooted culture of corruption among the government officials, saying politicians themselves had created “the opportunities to bribe, steal and pluck the resources.” He suggested the MPs should lift their own right to immunity from prosecution and demanding the dismissal the defense minister, the head of the Security Service, and the prosecutor general. The next elections for the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s single-house parliament, were scheduled to take place in October. Mr Zelensky said they would be brought forward to July. The move appears designed to help his party win a majority of seats before the surge of popularity on which he rode to office dissipates. In a symbolic move Volodymyr Groysman, the current prime minister, said he would resign Wednesday, inviting Mr Zelenskiy to take full responsibility for the country. If parliament accepts his resignation, he will remain as a caretaker prime minister until the snap election. Russian media reported that no officials were invited to the ceremony from Moscow. The Kremlin said Vladimir Putin would not congratulate Mr Zelensky on his electoral victory until there was progress in ending the war.
The twister near Tulsa International Airport was one of at least 22 that have ripped through the region since late Monday evening, according to the NWS. "More tornadoes are on the way today," said NWS forecaster Rich Otto. The NWS said it expected severe weather across Texas, Louisiana and into Alabama and as far north as Iowa and Nebraska throughout the day and into the night on Tuesday.
* Paper detailed staff concerns over Trump and Kushner entities * President claims he doesn’t need banks or money from RussiaDonald Trump described the reporting as ‘phony’ and called Deutsche Bank ‘very good and highly professional’. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump sought on Monday to discredit a New York Times report that Deutsche Bank employees flagged concerns over transactions involving legal entities controlled by the president and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.The Times said the nature of the transactions was not clear and that the bank ultimately took no action. Some of the transactions involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, some in Russia.Trump claimed he did not “need or want banks” and does not receive money from Russia.Congress and New York state are investigating the relationship between Trump, his family and Deutsche Bank, and demanding documents related to any suspicious activity.Trump has sued in court in an attempt to block House subpoenas for his financial records that were sent to Deutsche Bank, Capital One and the accounting firm Mazars.The Times report said anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.Citing five current and former Deutsche Bank employees, the report said executives at the German-based bank, which has lent billions to Trump and Kushner companies, rejected the advice and the reports were never filed.Earlier this month, the Times obtained tax information which showed his businesses lost more than $1bn from 1985 to 1994. Trump has refused to release more recent tax returns or to comply with House subpoenas for them.Trump rejected and ridiculed that story. In his Monday tweets, he claimed not to need banks as he “made a lot of money and buys everything for cash”.He also said the “fake media … always uses unnamed sources (because their sources don’t even exist)”.But one former Deutsche Bank employee, Tammy McFadden, who reviewed some of the transactions, spoke to the Times on the record. She said she was fired last year after raising concerns about the bank’s practices, the Times said.McFadden said concerns she raised included contacts between Kushner Companies and Russian individuals in summer 2016. Deutsche Bank has been fined for laundering billions of dollars for Russians.In his report on Russian election interference released in redacted form last month, special counsel Robert Mueller did not find that Trump conspired with Moscow. But he did lay out extensive contacts between Trump aides and Russia.On Monday, Trump tweeted: “The new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”Trump also called the Times reporting “phony” and called Deutsche Bank “very good and highly professional”.Deutsche Bank denied the report but it contributed to shares falling to a record low. Shares in the German lender were down by 2.8% at the time of writing. The bank was recently forced to abandon merger plans with Commerzbank. It has also struggled to turn around its corporate and investment arms.The Times said the transactions in question, some of which involved Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to the former bank employees.Compliance staff members who reviewed the transactions prepared suspicious activity reports they believed should be sent to a unit of the US treasury that polices financial crimes, according to the newspaper.A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization told Reuters “the story is absolute nonsense”.“We have no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank. In fact, we have no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank,” she said.The newspaper said a Kushner Companies spokeswoman called any allegations of relationships involving money laundering “made up and totally false”.
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Jose Luiz Gonzalez/ReutersThe U.S. Secret Service is now participating in a not-so-secret undertaking: dealing with the influx of migrants at America’s southern border. According to a communication from the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters reviewed by The Daily Beast, the small law enforcement agency has sent personnel to the border already and is looking to send more in the coming weeks. The move came in response to a directive then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sent out earlier this spring asking each component of the department to find volunteers and dispatch them to the border. Even though it’s most closely associated with the White House, the Secret Service—along with a host of other entities and agencies—is a component of DHS. And as a result, it’s shipping people south. A DHS spokesperson did not dispute this reporting. “As we have consistently said, the Department is considering all options to address the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress.”The Daily Beast reported last week that the arm of DHS that handles threats to America’s cybersecurity and critical infrastructure, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has struggled to find enough volunteers to head to the border and fulfill DHS headquarters’ request. The agency works to secure election systems, schools, and places of worship—all of which face acute threats. Besides protecting the president, the first family, and other prominent government figures, the Secret Service also conducts criminal investigations. Its focuses include financial crimes and cybersecurity threats. The diversion of law enforcement and national security personnel to the border has concerned some congressional Democrats, who say it may be a misuse of limited government resources. But pushing back against the dramatic increase in people trying to enter the U.S. through the southern border has become has become a singular priority of President Trump. In both March and April, law enforcement officials apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the U.S., according to DHS statistics. During the Obama administration, the agency was beset by scandal: Washington socialites slipped past agents and crashed the president’s first state dinner; a Secret Service agent told his counterparts to stand down after a man fired a gun at the White House, thinking the sound came from a car backfiring; an agent who traveled to Amsterdam with the president to protect him got drunk and passed out in a hallway; and more, as NBC News has detailed. 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.
Missouri's Republican governor, Mike Parson, signed a bill into law on Friday that prohibits women from seeking an abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy, days after Alabama enacted the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. "We are very concerned that several U.S. states have passed laws severely restricting access to safe abortion for women, including by imposing criminal penalties on the women themselves and on abortion service providers," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told Reuters Television in Geneva. "So we are calling on the United States and all other countries to ensure that women have access to safe abortions.
Austin Eubanks, a survivor of the 1999 Columbine shooting, has died. He was 37. According to Austin's family, he lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.
A gang of gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil's northern Pará state Sunday afternoon, and authorities said 11 people were killed.The state security agency confirmed late Sunday only that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guamá neighborhood of the Pará state capital, Belém.The G1 news website said police reported that seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which also wounded one person. The news outlet said the attackers arrived at the bar on one motorcycle and in three cars.In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.Much of Brazil's violence is gang related. In January, gangs attacked across Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill with as commerce, buses and taxis shut down. (AP)See more news-related photo galleries and follow us on Yahoo News Photo Twitter and Tumblr.
PHOENIX (AP) — A Border Patrol agent in Arizona sent texts calling immigrants "savages" and "subhuman" the month before using his patrol vehicle to knock over a Guatemalan man who was trying to flee, prosecutors say.
A Katyusha rocket crashed Sunday into Baghdad's Green Zone which houses government offices and embassies including the US mission, Iraqi security services said in a statement. The rocket -- which came after Washington ordered the evacuation of non-essential diplomatic staff from the Baghdad embassy and the Arbil consulate citing threats from Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups -- caused no casualties, it said. "A Katyusha rocket crashed into the Green Zone without causing casualties," it said in a brief statement without giving further details.
Google said on Monday it would comply with an order by U.S. President Donald Trump to stop supplying Huawei, meaning it would no longer be able to offer its popular Android apps to buyers of new Huawei phones. The order to U.S. companies could affect tens of millions of consumers in Europe, its biggest market outside mainland China. Trump's move, said to be motivated by spying concerns amid a bitter trade war with China, could at a single blow derail Huawei's ambitions to overtake Samsung as the world's biggest phone maker.
"I don't care," Pete Buttigieg said of President Trump tweets at a Fox News town hall where he received an enthusiastic reception.
Joe Biden may be leading national polls among Democratic voters, but a new poll shows his dominance doesn’t necessarily extend to Iowa.Mr Biden is matched by Bernie Sanders in the state, a sharp drop from his 11 point lead in a separate poll last month. Both candidates can claim 24 per cent support in the state, which will vote first in the nominating process next year.Mr Biden and Mr Sanders are followed in the new poll by several candidates with significant showings, including Pete Buttigieg (14 per cent), Elizabeth Warren (12 per cent), and Kamala Harris (10 per cent).Reading into the polls just a bit more, Mr Biden has more to worry about than just Mr Sanders, too.Ms Warren stands out as the most liked candidate in the race, with a favourability rating at 78 per cent — the top in the race. She is followed by Mr Sanders, who is the next closest with 71 per cent.“Good news for Elizabeth Warren: her favourability exceeds that of any other candidate in the race and her name recognition is near universal,” said principal pollster Jane Loria in a news release.She continued: “In some states, we see a large spread between the front-runners and the so-called second-tier in the excitement barometer, but in Iowa the candidates are all pretty tightly clustered. When we ask respondents to identify the five candidates they’re most excited about, 54% say Warren, followed by Biden (53%), then Harris (53%), Sanders (49%), and Buttigieg (46%)The terrain looks much better for Mr Biden when looking at the other states that follow close after Iowa, however. In New Hampshire, Mr Biden beats Mr Sanders 36 per cent to 18 per cent. In South Carolina, meanwhile, Mr Biden recently got 46 per cent support compared to Mr Sanders’ 15 per cent.But, any fragility in Iowa could have real consequences for Mr Biden’s third presidential race. The state has an outsized influence on the presidential nominating process, and a loss there would show potentially significant vulnerabilities for the former vice president.The Iowa Starting Line/Change Research Poll was released on Monday, and the Iowa caucuses will be held in January.
The kidnapping was caught on Ring doorbell video, showing the man pull up and take Salem from her mother's arms.