• Russia and America Are Taking Turns Probing Each Other’s Air Space
    World
    The National Interest

    Russia and America Are Taking Turns Probing Each Other’s Air Space

    Six Russian Tu-95 heavy bombers and several Russian Su-35 fighters probed U.S. air-defenses on May 20 and May 21, 2019, prolonging a period of aerial tension between the Moscow and Washington.U.S. Air Force F-22 stealth fighters and supporting aircraft on both days peacefully intercepted the Russian planes. “The Russian bombers and fighters remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace,” North American Aerospace Defense Command reported.“Two pairs of F-22s and an E-3 airborne early warning and control system from North American Aerospace Defense Command positively identified and intercepted a total of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on May 20,” noted the command, which also is known by its Cold War acronym “NORAD.”“Specifically, two of the Russian bombers were intercepted by two F-22s, and a second group of bombers with Su-35 fighters was intercepted later by two additional F-22s, while the E-3 provided overall surveillance.”

  • Missouri: destructive tornado leaves three people dead and severe damage
    News
    The Guardian

    Missouri: destructive tornado leaves three people dead and severe damage

    The National Weather Service confirmed that the deadly tornado moved over Missouri's capital, Jefferson City, shortly before midnight. Across the state, Missouri's first responders once again responded quickly and with strong coordination as much of the state dealt with extremely dangerous conditions that left people injured, trapped in homes, and tragically led to the death of three people,” Governor Mike Parson said. Authorities said the three were killed in the Golden City area of Barton county, near Missouri's south-west corner, as the severe weather moved in from Oklahoma, where rescuers struggled to pull people from high water.

  • After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm: media
    Business
    Reuters

    After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm: media

    The U.S. administration is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision, media reports show, deepening worries that trade friction between the world's top two economies could be further inflamed. The restrictions would limit Hikvision's ability to buy U.S. technology and American companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to the Chinese firm, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. The United States stuck Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world's largest telecom network gear maker, in a major escalation in the trade war.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Google unveils a fresh new look for Search on mobile devices
    Business
    BGR News

    Google unveils a fresh new look for Search on mobile devices

    Google unveiled a new look and feel today for the way it presents Google Search results on mobile, and the update has been regarded in a few corners now as somewhat News Feed-like.It's easy to see why that's the case, as the search giant's changes include putting emphasis on a website name and favicon above the search results. Whereas the source of results had previously not been so clearly emphasized, which makes the new design for showing results feel a little like scrolling through a feed of posts from publishers and the like."With this new design, a website's branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you're looking for," explains Google Senior Interaction Designer for Search Jamie Leach in a company blog post today. "The name of the website and its icon appear at the top of the results card to help anchor each result, so you can more easily scan the page of results and decide what to explore next."The post notes that the refreshed look for what's arguably Google's most important product will start showing up to users over the coming days. As part of the changes, Leach continues, when you search for a product or service and Google feels like it's got a relevant, "useful" ad that would be worth including in the results, you'll now see an ad label in bold at the top of a search results card. The web address will also be included, so you can quickly determine where the information you're seeing is coming from.The other important thing to note about the Google Search refresh on mobile is that this also lays the foundation for Google to add more action buttons and information previews to search results cards, with Google wanting you to be able to now do everything from buying movie tickets to playing podcasts right there from within the results. "Our goal with Search always has been to help people quickly and easily find the information that they're looking for," Leach says. "Over the years, the amount and format of information available on the web has changed drastically -- from the proliferation of images and video to the availability of 3D objects you can now view in AR." Which is why the company thought a "visual refresh" of Search on mobile would do a better job of helping people find the information they need and quickly determine where it came from.

  • 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.

  • China's big three airlines seek 737 MAX payouts from Boeing: reports
    Business
    AFP

    China's big three airlines seek 737 MAX payouts from Boeing: reports

    China's three biggest airlines have filed claims seeking compensation from Boeing over the grounding and delayed delivery of 737 MAX 8 aircraft following two deadly crashes, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday. The reports in various state-run media that China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China would seek payouts from the American aerospace giant come against the backdrop of an escalating US-China trade war. China Southern is Asia's largest carrier by fleet size, China Eastern is the country's number two, while Air China is the state flag carrier.

  • 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.

  • Ukraine's parliament snubs new president on election law
    World
    Associated Press

    Ukraine's parliament snubs new president on election law

    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian lawmakers on Wednesday turned down the new president's proposal to amend the election law in a blow to his hopes to get more of his supporters into parliament.

  • 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.

  • Texas flu outbreak halts migrant processing
    U.S.
    FOX News Videos

    Texas flu outbreak halts migrant processing

    National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd says that overcrowding is contributing to the health crisis at the southern border.

  • Trump administration may use Iran threat to sell bombs to Saudis without Congress' approval: senator
    Politics
    Reuters

    Trump administration may use Iran threat to sell bombs to Saudis without Congress' approval: senator

    "I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. In this case, they said the Republican president would cite rising tensions with Iran as a reason to provide more military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which he sees as an important U.S. partner in the region. Trump has touted arms sales to the Saudis as a way to generate U.S. jobs.

  • Business
    BGR News

    You can get a top-rated 10W fast wireless charger for just $9.99 if you hurry

    Whether you have an iPhone that needs 7.5 watt fast wireless charging or you have an Android phone that can utilize 10 watt fast wireless charging, there's a great deal right now on Amazon that you definitely should check out. Seneo is a well-known brand on Amazon, and the Seneo 10W Fast Wireless Charger is among the top-rated fast wireless chargers on the site. It's always a great value even at full retail, but the price just dropped to an all-time low of $9.99 on Amazon. Grab one on sale while you can!Here's more info from the product page: * NOTE: (1) QC2.0 or QC3.0 adapter is needed for Quick Charging, 5W Adapter will not work. (2) Make sure your Cell Phone support Qi Wireless Charging and Quick Charging. (3) Make sure using the supplied USB data cable. (4) Check your Phone case thickness(

  • 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.