• The U.S. Is Outplaying Iran in a Regional Chess Match
    World
    National Review

    The U.S. Is Outplaying Iran in a Regional Chess Match

    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.

  • 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.

  • Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago
    Science
    BGR News

    Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago

    Earth's Moon only ever shows us one face. It's locked into its current orientation, with a permanent nearside and farside, but it wasn't until the Apollo missions that scientists were able to see just how different the two sides really are. The nearside, with its sea of dark gray basins standing in contrast to the brilliant white powder that covers the rest of its face, varies dramatically from the farside, which is marked with countless smaller craters in a more uniform distribution.The debate over how the Moon's split personalities developed has raged for decades, but new research seems to indicate that one of the possible explanations does indeed hold water. The theory, that Earth's Moon was struck by a tiny dwarf planet long ago, is the subject of a new research paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.Using computer models to simulate what may have happened to the Moon's surface long ago, researchers suggest the most likely scenario seems to be the collision between the Moon and a very large body. The impact of a dwarf planet as large as 480 miles across would have struck what we see today as the Moon's nearside at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour.This theory stands in contrast to other proposed explanations, including the theory that Earth may have once had not one Moon, but two. The two-moon theory suggests that Earth's moon duo may have at one point collided and merged, leaving the Moon as we see it today looking oddly unsymmetrical.The dwarf planet collision scenario assumes that whatever the body that struck the Moon was, it was in its own path around the Sun and just happened to be in the right place at the right time to strike Earth's natural satellite. This, the researchers say, would also explain why the crust on the farside of the Moon is different than that of its nearside."We demonstrate that a large body slowly impacting the nearside of the Moon can reproduce the observed crustal thickness asymmetry and form both the farside highlands and the nearside lowlands," the paper explains. "Additionally, the model shows that the resulting impact ejecta would cover the primordial anorthositic crust to form a two‐layer crust on the farside, as observed."

  • 2020 election poll: Joe Biden's lead shrinks to zero against Bernie Sanders in critical Iowa
    Politics
    The Independent

    2020 election poll: Joe Biden's lead shrinks to zero against Bernie Sanders in critical Iowa

    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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • Abortion rights supporters' voices thunder at #StopTheBans rallies across the nation
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    Abortion rights supporters' voices thunder at #StopTheBans rallies across the nation

    Hundreds of #StopTheBans rallies took place across the nation as supporters vented frustrations at actions by states to restrict access to abortions.

  • Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security
    Business
    The National Interest

    Huawei to the Danger Zone: Chinese Telecommunications Company Threatens Britain's National Security

    The news that the United States has put Huawei on the Entities List comes as the Henry Jackson Society publishes a report on the prospect of including Huawei into the United Kingdom’s build of 5G. I coauthored this report alongside Member of Parliament Bob Seely and Professor Peter Varnish. My job was to look into claims around Huawei’s place within China’s foreign-policy strategy. We have all seen claims around it being too close to the PLA or China’s security services, but were they actually true? Were these claims just an overly-protectionist America seeking to discredit a successful Chinese tech competitor to Apple and Silicon Valley? This whole discussion took place in the wake of a UK National Security Council meeting in late April, during which time—if the Telegraph newspaper is to believed—the council decided that Huawei could take part in a limited part of the UK’s 5G network.Our findings were absolutely clear: Huawei was constrained, influenced and directed by the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese state in a multiplicity of ways.Economic Direction

  • Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'
    World
    AFP

    Eiffel Tower climber 'admitted to psychiatric unit'

    A man, believed to be Russian, who sparked a mass evacuation of the Eiffel Tower by scaling the iconic Paris landmark has been admitted to a psychiatric unit, legal sources said Tuesday. The man caused chaos Monday and the closure of the monument to tourists by spending six hours clinging to the outer metal framework of the Eiffel Tower. An investigation has been opened for unauthorised entry into a cultural monument, a judicial source said.

  • Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle

    The White House strategy appears to be designed to force the Democrats’ hand, but lawmakers are treading cautiouslyThe Trump administration has attempted to block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress. Photograph: Carlos Barría/ReutersDemocrats grabbed control of the House of Representatives in January of this year determined to restore congressional oversight. But with the Trump administration now at a moment of reckoning, a battle royal has unfolded. What exactly is the White House doing?The Trump administration’s strategy is simple: block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress, even if it means defying a subpoena, such as blocking compliance by former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the Mueller inquiry, to testify on Capitol Hill this week.Also this month, the attorney general, William Barr, has ignored a subpoena for the full report by Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia investigation and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin rebuffed a House request to hand over six years’ of Trump’s tax returns. Trump, who has dismissed the congressional inquiries as “presidential harassment”, suggested the Democratic chairs of House committees instead turn their powers to investigating his former political opponent Hillary Clinton. Why are the Democrats not looking into all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation? They would get back their credibility. Jerry Nadler, Schiff, would have a whole new future open to them. Perhaps they could even run for President! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019The White House strategy appears designed either to force Democrats to take the administration to court – which could take years – or pull the trigger on impeachment. What can Democrats actually do?Democrats on the House judiciary committee have voted to hold Barr in contempt and have threatened to hold McGahn in contempt, too.The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said the chamber may consolidate multiple contempt citations against officials. Some Democrats cite the House’s “inherent contempt” powers, which grant them the right to jail individuals in the Capitol – an action that hasn’t been taken since the 1930s – or issue fines.Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, suggested US officials held in contempt of Congress be fined $25,000 a day.“We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground,” Schiff told Axios in a recent interview.Others see the third branch of US government, the judicial branch, as the answer.“The only recourse is litigation, which the president will likely lose, but it will cause delay,” said Greg Brower, a former assistant director in the FBI’s office of congressional affairs.The White House could drag court action out beyond the 2020 election. Is impeachment really in the cards?The heart of the debate among Democrats is whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings.Some rank-and-file lawmakers have already embraced the idea, stating the 11 instances outlined in Mueller’s report in which Trump or his campaign sought to obstruct justice are reason enough alone.But Democratic leaders are treading cautiously, because they would never win a conviction in the Republican-led Senate.The American public is split on the issue , with polls showing a majority against it and support for the idea falling even among Democrats.Justin Amash, a representative from Michigan, just became the first Republican to call for impeaching Trump, an important bipartisan point that drew widespread backlash for him.And Jerry Nadler, Democratic chair of the powerful House judiciary committee, signaled impatience on Tuesday, after McGahn was a no-show to testify.“We will not allow the president to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people,” Nadler said.“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other.”

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time
    News
    The Independent

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder: Baby boy cut from mother's womb opens eyes for the first time

    A baby boy, cut from his mother's womb after her murder last month, opened his eyes for the first time on Tuesday as he fights for his life in a Chicago hospital.The mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was nine months pregnant when she was killed last month. Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa have been arrested as suspects.According to police, the pair had lured Ochoa-Lopez to their home under the pretext of offering her baby clothes.After strangling Ochoa-Lopez, the two allegedly cut the unborn baby out of her womb. Police said that they believe the elder Figuaroa had hoped to raise the child as her own after the recent death of her own son. Both Figueroas have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Clarissa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, has also been arrested and charged with concealing a homicide.The baby, who was removed from the womb almost two months premature, has been fighting for his life ever since.Sunday however, a picture emerged of the little boy in the arms of his father, Yovany Lopez, apparently taken shortly after he had opened his eyes for the first time, CNN reported."We were just praying and praying and he opened his eyes, and his dad said, 'Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'" Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who is assisting the family and is the one who took the photo, told CNN.Garcia, said she was horrified when she first heard about the killing, but believes that the country has united in support of the family."She's evoked the whole nation of people, pouring their love out for this family," Garcia said in reference to Marlen. "He's a single dad now, and we're praying this baby makes it."

  • Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?
    Lifestyle
    motorious

    Is It Cheaper To Buy A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback From Britain?

    This immaculate 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback is estimated to sell at British auction for $95K. It’s hard not to whisper Steve McQueen’s name when presented with a Ford Mustang 390 GT Fastback, even if it isn't a 1968 model. The American classifieds may provide evidence of eye-watering sums being traded for healthy Fastback specimens, but it’s not always the case in Great Britain.

  • 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.

  • Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home
    U.S.
    Yahoo News Video

    Dog sitter caught walking around naked in customer's home

    A dog sitter has been caught on camera walking around her client’s house naked. Rosie Brown hired Casey Brengle to look after her two dogs, Penny and Daisy, while she went to a wedding for four days.

  • New Quinnipiac poll shows Biden leading Dems, Trump not getting credit for the economy
    Politics
    USA TODAY

    New Quinnipiac poll shows Biden leading Dems, Trump not getting credit for the economy

    According to the poll, 71% of the voters say that the economy is "good" or "excellent," but only 38% of voters approve of Trump.

  • 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.”

  • Special Report: Hobbling Huawei - Inside the U.S. war on China's tech giant
    Business
    Reuters

    Special Report: Hobbling Huawei - Inside the U.S. war on China's tech giant

    In early 2018, in a complex of low-rise buildings in the Australian capital, a team of government hackers was engaging in a destructive digital war game. The operatives – agents of the Australian Signals Directorate, the nation's top-secret eavesdropping agency – had been given a challenge. With all the offensive cyber tools at their disposal, what harm could they inflict if they had access to equipment installed in the 5G network, the next-generation mobile communications technology, of a target nation?

  • News
    Associated Press

    The Latest: Capital murder charge filed in police shooting

    AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on shootings of police officers in Auburn, Alabama (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.

  • Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military
    World
    AFP

    Russian bombers, fighters intercepted off Alaska: US military

    US fighters intercepted six Russian military aircraft in international airspace west of Alaska, and shadowed them until they exited the area, the North American Air Defense Command said Tuesday. The Russian aircraft included two Tu-95 strategic bombers, which were intercepted Monday by two F-22 fighters, the command said. A second group of two Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters were also intercepted by a pair of F-22 fighters, it said.