• Showdown in Congress between Trump, Democrats intensifies
    Politics
    AFP

    Showdown in Congress between Trump, Democrats intensifies

    The clash between US President Donald Trump and the Democratic majority in Congress intensified on Monday, with the White House telling the president's former lawyer to ignore a subpoena to testify about Trump's alleged obstruction of justice in the Russia probe.

  • The Latest: Tornado warning for Joplin, Missouri
    News
    Associated Press

    The Latest: Tornado warning for Joplin, Missouri

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on storm damage in the Southern Plains and Midwest (all times local):

  • Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge approves PG&E $105 million wildfire assistance fund

    PG&E Corp may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which set records for devastation and were blamed on the utility's equipment, the judge overseeing the investor-owned power producer's bankruptcy ruled on Wednesday. Creditors, which include wildfire victims, are fighting for funds as PG&E navigates bankruptcy stemming from the blazes and as the state plans for increasingly long and dangerous fire seasons its officials attribute to climate change. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali at a hearing approved a motion by PG&E seeking permission to establish the fund for people who lost homes in the fires and were uninsured or have used up or will exhaust their insurance.

  • Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East
    World
    The National Interest

    Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

    Deterring regional adversaries from threatening Iran is the primary reason Tehran has amassed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.The missile program actually began under the Shah, but it was accelerated during the Iran-Iraq War in order to threaten Saddam Hussein with strikes deep in Iraqi territory. Since then, Iran has worked with countries like Libya, North Korea and China in order to develop a large and diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that form one part of its three-leg deterrent strategy. With Iran now using missiles in conflict, it’s worth taking a closer look at the weapons in its arsenal.(This first appeared back in 2017.)Shahab-SeriesThe backbone of Iran's missile forces are the Shahab-series of liquid-fueled (mostly) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). There are three variants of the missile: The Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3. The Shahab-1 was the first missile Iran acquired and is based on the Soviet Scud-B missile. Iran reportedly purchased these initially from Libya and possibly Syria, but North Korea has been its main supplier. The Shab-1 has a reported range between 285–330 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of around one thousand kilograms. Iran is believed to have three hundred Shahab-1 rockets.

  • Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'
    Politics
    The Independent

    Elizabeth Warren calls comedian to give love life advice: 'We have a plan to get my mom grandkids'

    Elizabeth Warren is the only presidential candidate with a plan for comedian Ashley Nicole Black's love life.That's at least according to Black, who wrote on Twitter that she had a chat with the Democratic presidential candidate had called her up — making good on a weekend tweet from Ms Warren offering to help."Guess who's crying and shaking and just talked to Elizabeth Warren on the phone?!?!? We have a plan to get my mom grand kids, it's very comprehensive, and it does involve raising taxes on billionaires," Black wrote on Twitter, referencing Ms Warren's campaign mantra that she has a "plan for that".The phone call — which the Warren campaign confirmed took place to The Independent — follows after Black jokingly tweeted on Sunday about the dozens of policy proposals Ms Warren has released, and that have come to largely define her campaign."Do you think Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix my love life," Black tweeted then.Ms Warren's account replied: "DM me and let's figure this out."Ms Warrens' campaign provided no details of what the phone call included. But Black, a comedian who has worked on Samantha Bee's "Full Frontal" television show, provided some context piecemeal in her replies."I'm literally shaking," she wrote in response to one user.It's "like you're talking to someone super smart, who actually cares," she wrote in response to another user, who asked how it feels to speak with Ms Warren. "It was amazing."Finally, a hint at the advice: She said I've [got to] focus on what I've got going for me... that's when I started crying LOL".

  • The Abortion Debate Is Not Part of the Culture Wars
    Politics
    Bloomberg

    The Abortion Debate Is Not Part of the Culture Wars

    All these states, plus a few more, have passed anti-abortion statutes recently, yet more evidence of the intense polarization around issues of gender, sex and religion. Abortion may be a uniquely divisive issue, and there are growing divisions among Americans along racial and economic lines. When it comes to issues of gender, sex and religion, however, Americans seem to be moving in tandem — and becoming more tolerant.

  • More House Dems come out for impeachment as McGahn defies subpoena
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    More House Dems come out for impeachment as McGahn defies subpoena

    The drumbeat among Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump got a little louder Tuesday, when former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee after Trump instructed him to defy a subpoena.

  • Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed
    News
    Associated Press

    Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl abducted from an Idaho fast-food restaurant where she worked was found safe in Arizona on Tuesday and the man accused of taking her was jailed on a $1 million bond, authorities said.

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    World
    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.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary
    News
    The Guardian

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she'd be 'hard pressed' to back Biden in primary

    Bernie Sanders appears to be the favorite to secure Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement in the Democratic presidential primaryCongresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez told the Guardian: ‘I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon.’ Photograph: Joshua Roberts/ReutersAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive US congresswoman and social media sensation, has said she would be “hard pressed” to endorse the frontrunner, Joe Biden, in the Democratic presidential primary.The statement is the latest sign of the left’s apathy towards the former vice-president, who has surged ahead of the Senator Bernie Sanders and other rivals in recent polls.Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist, appears to be the favourite to secure 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez’s prized endorsement but she said she was still some way off making a decision.“I’m not close to an endorsement announcement any time soon,” she told the Guardian on Tuesday. “I’m still trying to get a handle on my job. It seems like ages but I’m just five months in and we have quite some time. The debates are in the summer and our first primary election for the entire country isn’t until next year.” Asked if she would consider endorsing Biden, widely seen as a centrist, Ocasio-Cortez replied: “I’d be hard pressed to see that happen, to be honest, in a primary.”Biden, comfortably leading every opinion poll, came under fire last week when Reuters reported he was pursuing a “middle ground” approach to the climate crisis. He later distanced himself from the implication.Ocasio-Cortez criticised politicians seeking “a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives”. Sanders, running second in most polls, tweeted that there was “no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy”.If and when Ocasio-Cortez does endorse a candidate, Sanders probably remains the favourite to secure her support. She was an organiser for his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. The pair appeared at a rally in Washington last week to support the Green New Deal climate plan.In a short interview on Tuesday the congresswoman, who has more than 4 million Twitter followers, also reiterated her demand for Donald Trump’s impeachment. “I think that the grounds have been there for quite some time but the case is really getting to a larger point that we haven’t seen before,” she said.Democratic leaders are putting the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, under pressure to move ahead with the process. Ocasio-Cortez added: “I know that the conversation is really changing this week in the caucus and so we’ll see where the speaker lands.”

  • U.S. judge says Qualcomm violated antitrust law; appeal planned, shares plunge
    Business
    Reuters

    U.S. judge says Qualcomm violated antitrust law; appeal planned, shares plunge

    The decision issued late Tuesday night by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, caused Qualcomm shares to plunge 11 percent on Wednesday. "Qualcomm's licensing practices have strangled competition" in parts of the chip market for years, harming rivals, smartphone makers, and consumers, Koh wrote in a 233-page decision. Qualcomm said it will immediately ask Koh to put her decision on hold, and also seek a quick appeal to the federal appeals court in California.

  • Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?
    Business
    The National Interest

    Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

    What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter?Turkey, that’s what.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has raised Washington’s fears that F-35 secrets might be leaked to Russia. The U.S. has stopped shipping equipment to Turkey for that nation’s planned purchase of 100 F-35s, while the first two aircraft officially delivered to Turkey are still in the United States.For its part, Ankara is adamant that it has a right to purchase both American stealth fighters and Russian anti-aircraft missiles, despite the fact that the S-400 is one of the most likely Russian weapons to be used against the F-35. “We were surely not going to remain silent against our right to self-defense being disregarded and attempts to hit us where it hurts,” Erdogan said at a Turkish defense trade show. “This is the kind of process that is behind the S-400 agreement we reached with Russia.”“Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s ... Let me be frank: An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely.”

  • Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran. Is John Bolton driving the US into a conflict anyway?
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran. Is John Bolton driving the US into a conflict anyway?

    The view that John Bolton is driving Trump into military confrontation with America's principal foe in the Middle East is spreading across the globe.

  • US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news
    Business
    AFP

    US stocks rally on Huawei reprieve as pound gyrates on Brexit news

    Global stocks rallied Tuesday as the United States took a step away from imposing crushing restrictions on Chinese telecom company Huawei, while the pound gyrated on fresh Brexit drama.

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • Donald Trump storms out of infrastructure talks with Democrats after 'jaw-dropping' rant
    Politics
    The Telegraph

    Donald Trump storms out of infrastructure talks with Democrats after 'jaw-dropping' rant

    Donald Trump pulled the plug on infrastructure talks with Democrats in spectacular fashion on Wednesday, storming out a meeting over their refusal to drop “phony investigations” into his administration.  In what political opponents described as jaw-dropping behaviour, the US president reportedly refused to shake hands at the White House talks, instead delivering a five-minute rebuke.  Mr Trump told the gathering of senior Democratic congressmen that he would not negotiate on new legislation, such as an infrastructure spending bill, unless their inquiries into his presidency were dropped.  The US president is said to have the left without waiting for a response, walking into a press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden which was unexpectedly called to accentuate his message.  Mr Trump said that Democrats could not go down “two tracks” at the same time, adding: “You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track."  Democrats pointed to the pre-printed poster about Robert Mueller's probe as proof that Donald Trump's rebuke was planned and not 'spontaneous' Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci He pinpointed a comment by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, who earlier in the day had accused Mr Trump of overseeing a “cover-up”, as a trigger for his move.  However Democrats pushed back, insisting they had come to the White House in good faith – attendees included senior congressmen who control relevant committees – in their own press conference after talks collapsed.  Ms Pelosi accused Mr Trump of “taking a pass” on infrastructure, saying: “For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part, he really couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we had.” Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat in the Senate who also attended the meeting, said: “To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.” He said Mr Trump’s actions were not “spontaneous” but “planned”, noting that the room’s curtains had been drawn and an area left clear for Mr Trump to deliver his rebuke.  Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, gave their own press conference after talks collapsed He also noted that a poster listing facts about the scale of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation which was pinned to Mr Trump’s podium during his press conference must have been printed in advance.  The row has been brewing for weeks, with the Democrats using their majority in the House to launch a string of investigations into Mr Trump’s administration, including topics covered in the Mueller report.  Mr Trump has repeatedly criticsed the investigations and attempted to slow their progress, stopping witnesses from appearing and blocking the release of documents – prompting Ms Pelosi’s “cover-up” comment.  Mr Trump and leading Democrats had gathered last month in a meeting on infrastructure which was lauded by both sides as positive. But with talks now broken down there is little chance of progress in the near future.  Ms Pelosi later said that Mr Trump's behaviour, including the rejection of subpoenas issued by Democrat-controlled congressional committees, could amount to an "impeachable offense".  She said: “The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he's engaged in a cover-up. And that could be an impeachable offense."

  • 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Restoration Is A Work Of Art
    Lifestyle
    motorious

    1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Restoration Is A Work Of Art

    The Ford Mustang is an American automotive icon known the world over. Ford’s pony car is the four-wheeled embodiment of the American dream. Petty’s Garage is well-known for its work on modern Mustangs, enhancing their performance and producing limited edition special models.

  • British Steel collapses; thousands of jobs could go
    World
    AFP

    British Steel collapses; thousands of jobs could go

    British Steel collapsed on Wednesday after the government said last-ditch talks with its owners failed to secure a full financial rescue. The High Court in London ordered British Steel Limited into compulsory liquidation, a statement said. "British Steel Limited was wound-up in the High Court" on Wednesday, meaning its assets would be sold to help pay debts.

  • 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):

  • Boeing dismissed chance of 'bird strike' that may have caused second 737 Max crash
    Business
    The Guardian

    Boeing dismissed chance of 'bird strike' that may have caused second 737 Max crash

    * US investigators believe bird collision may have triggered crash * Ethiopian Airlines crash occurred months after Lion Air disasterTwo local boys examine debris gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, in March. Photograph: Jemal Countess/Getty ImagesBoeing officials, shortly after the first fatal crash of its 737 Max jet, played down the likelihood that a bird strike could impair the plane’s sensor equipment. Now investigators are exploring whether such a situation led to a second deadly accident just five months later.According to the Wall Street Journal, US aviation authorities believe a bird collision may have set off the sequence of events that led to the downing of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max in March, in which 157 people died.American Airlines pilots called a meeting with Boeing last November after a Lion Air Max crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 passengers and crew.The Journal reviewed a recording of the meeting in which Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice-president of product strategy, raised and dismissed the possibility that a bird strike could trigger a second crash by affecting the Max’s controversial sensor system.Sinnett told the pilots he was “absolutely” confident that heightened pilot awareness following the Lion Air disaster had further reduced the chances of another accident.Ethiopian Airlines has been facing criticism of its pilots’ conduct in the wake of the crash. At a House hearing into the accidents last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, Daniel Elwell, said pilot error contributed to the crash.In both crashes, the Max’s anti-stall system, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (Mcas), appears to have forced the planes’ noses down shortly after takeoff, leaving the pilots struggling unsuccessfully to right the jets before they crashed.The Mcas system may have been reacting to faulty information from sensors that could have been damaged by a bird strike.Ethiopian Airlines has rejected accusations that its pilots contributed to the crash. Officials have said Boeing failed to provide cockpit alerts that would have warned the pilots about sensor errors.Last week, the airline said its pilots followed procedures set out by the FAA and Boeing but “none of the expected warnings appeared in the cockpit, which deprived the pilots of necessary and timely information”.Nine countries and the US justice department are currently investigating the crashes.

  • China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships
    World
    The National Interest

    China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships

    China’s navy has a new problem: not enough names for its rapidly growing fleet of warships.“China is running out of provincial capitals to name new destroyers, and it might have to turn to other big domestic cities, which reflects the country's rapid naval development in recent years,” according to Chinese newspaper Global Times.The People’s Liberation Army Navy recently named its first Type 055 destroyer the Nanchang, which is the capital city of East China's Jiangxi Province.One of the three other Type 055 destroyers will be named Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, according to Chinese media. That just leaves Nanning and Taipei as the names of provincial capitals for destroyers (Taipei is Taiwan’s capital, though Taiwan has not yet declared independence as a separate nation from China).Which means non-capital cities will have to bequeath their names to Chinese destroyers. The latest destroyer is named Qiqihar, which is a non-capital city in in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. A few ships have been named after major cities, such as the Shenzen, a Type 051 destroyer.“Chinese destroyers and frigates should be named after big and medium Chinese cities, according to the naval vessels naming regulation,” Global Times said. “This means naming of destroyers does not necessarily have to use provincial capitals, as it was a non-binding tradition.”