• Trump to Congress: Stop Probing Me or I’m Done Talking With Democrats
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Trump to Congress: Stop Probing Me or I’m Done Talking With Democrats

    Leah Millis/ReutersPresident Donald Trump hijacked his own White House “Infrastructure Week” with a public meltdown on Wednesday—calling a surprise press conference to announce he had told Congress’ top Democrats that if they don’t stop investigating him, he’s done talking.“Get these phony investigations over with,” he said he told them.Trump suggested that he called off his meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer because he was disgusted that Pelosi had accused him of a cover-up earlier in the morning.But Schumer said the tantrum had all the hallmarks of a set-up, noting placards printed with details about the Mueller investigation were perched in front of the podium in the Rose Garden.“He came up with this pre-planned excuse,” Schumer said.Trump stood in front of that podium for roughly 10 minutes, ranting about House Democratic-led investigations, implying that he would halt cooperation on legislation with House Democrats until the investigations and subpoenas against Trump, his family, his administration, and his business empire were completed or scrapped.“I walked into the room,” Trump told the gathered reporters of his meeting. “I told Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure... but I can’t do it under these circumstances.”The president seemed particularly incensed by Pelosi’s comments, following a meeting with the Democratic Caucus on Wednesday morning, that he was engaged in a “cover-up.”“Instead of walking in happily to a meeting [today], I walk in to look at people who said I was doing a cover-up,” Trump said during the press conference. “I don't do cover-ups.”After the president’s remarks, Pelosi told reporters, “I pray for the president of the United States. I pray for the United States.”Schumer addressed Trump’s demand that the House probes be halted. “There were investigations going on three weeks ago when we met. And he still met with us,” he said. “But now that he was forced to say how he would actually pay for [an infrastructure package], he had to run away.”Schumer accused Trump of planning this well before their meeting.“It’s clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president’s part,” Schumer said. “When we got in the room [at the White House], the curtain was closed...There was a place for him at the front where he could stand and attempt to tell us why he wouldn’t do infrastructure.”The White House did not immediately respond to requests for clarification on what happened behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.Going into this latest, incredibly short round of talks, neither the Democratic side nor Trumpworld seemed very optimistic. Late last month, a senior White House official characterized the state of play to The Daily Beast by saying that “people [in the Trump administration] who say that this time it’s going somewhere are lying to you,” and rhetorically asked, “How many times do we have to go through this?”By noon on Wednesday, Trump’s latest Infrastructure Week had indeed blown up entirely.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

  • 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."

  • Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War
    Politics
    The National Interest

    Iran Bluster Is about Red Lines, Not War

    In the past week, American-Iranian tensions flared to heights not seen since the Reagan years, when U.S. and Iranian ships and planes faced off in the Persian Gulf. Not only have Iranian irregular forces apparently sabotaged four ships off the major Emirati port of Fujairah with either magnet bombs or underwater drones, but a subsequent drone attack on a Saudi pipeline amplified tensions to a new level.Even on the best of days in hyper-partisan Washington, there are enough polemics to go around. The fact that national security in general—and Iran policy in particular—have become political footballs only makes the problem worse. Never one to miss an opportunity to throw fuel on the rhetorical fire, President Donald Trump threatened via tweet, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”Happily, however, nothing in the American military posture makes it appear that war—or even a limited engagement—is imminent, let alone likely.Consider the U.S. Navy’s posture: The Trump administration has reportedly dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, but if a war against Iran really was on the table, then this would be the worst possible move.

  • 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.

  • U.S. eases curbs on Huawei; founder says clampdown underestimates Chinese firm
    Business
    Reuters

    U.S. eases curbs on Huawei; founder says clampdown underestimates Chinese firm

    The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies Co Ltd 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.

  • 'Plan B': Huawei's operating system headache after Android ban
    Business
    AFP Relax News

    'Plan B': Huawei's operating system headache after Android ban

    Google's decision to partially cut off Huawei devices from its Android operating system has presented the Chinese tech titan with one of its most dramatic challenges yet: how to keep up with the competition if it cannot use the platform that powers nearly every other smartphone in the world? If it should be the case that we can no longer use these systems (like Android)... we would therefore need to be well-armed," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's Consumer Business Group, told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview published in March. Washington last week imposed a ban on the sale or transfer of American technology to the firm -- which could impact hundreds of millions of Huawei phones and tablets around the world.

  • I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.
    Politics
    USA TODAY Opinion

    I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.

    I have nothing against old people — I'm one of them. But maybe it's time to add a maximum age limit to our minimum age requirement for our presidents.

  • Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump

    Jonathan Ernst/ReutersFormer secretary of state Rex Tillerson spoke with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee on Tuesday in a lengthy session that, an aide said, touched on his time working in the Trump administration, the frictions he had with the president’s son-in-law, and efforts to tackle issues like Russian interference in the 2016 election.Tillerson’s appearance, first reported by The Daily Beast, took place as virtually every other Trumpworld luminary has been stonewalling congressional oversight efforts. At the same time the former secretary of state was speaking before lawmakers, former White House counsel Don McGahn was ignoring a subpoena to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. Tillerson’s arrival at the Capitol was handled with extreme secrecy. No media advisories or press releases were sent out announcing his appearance. And he took a little-noticed route into the building in order to avoid being seen by members of the media. Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin, a committee aide told The Daily Beast. Tillerson also told members and aides that he had tried to establish a formal and disciplined interagency process at the State Department whereby the president could receive informed briefings on sensitive foreign policy matters, the aide said. That effort never manifested, Tillerson told the committee, in part because of the president’s management style, but also because of interference from other aides.Tillerson told the committee that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at times impeded his ability to communicate effectively and introduce to President Trump policy proposals developed by State Department experts on major foreign affairs matters across the globe, not just in the Middle East. Kushner, a White House adviser, has publicly focused much of his international efforts on the Middle East and is set to unveil a Middle East peace plan in the coming weeks.Tillerson had a notoriously prickly relationship with the president, reportedly calling him a “moron” in private. But he was present during critical moments of the administration, including Trump’s private 2017 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Since leaving his post, Tillerson has rarely made public appearances, save for speaking at a panel in Houston in December. During that appearance, he said there was “no question” Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. “So often, the president would say, ‘Here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it,’ and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law,’” Tillerson said.Tillerson’s interview by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-TX)  comes a month after special counsel Robert Mueller published his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Since then, top Democrats on the Hill have demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr and Mueller answer questions related to the report and its publication. Barr has declined to testify before the House, citing the insistence of the committee that staff lawyers be allowed to conduct some of the questioning. Mueller is reportedly in negotiations to testify, though the Department of Justice had previously not agreed on a date for him to do so. On Tuesday, CNN reported that Mueller’s team had expressed reluctance about the possibility of a testimony taking place in public for fear that it would appear political. This story has been updated with additional reporting.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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • Iraq caught in the middle of US-Iran face-off
    Politics
    AFP

    Iraq caught in the middle of US-Iran face-off

    Scarred by two decades of conflict, Iraq finds itself caught in the middle of a US-Iranian tug-of-war, fearing it could pay the price of any confrontation between its two main allies. Analysts say third parties may seek to exploit the latest spike in tensions between Tehran and Washington to spark a showdown that serves their own interests. Iraq "pays a disproportionate tax on Iranian-American tensions and (has) an unenviable front-line position in any future conflict between the two," said Fanar Haddad, an Iraq expert at the National University of Singapore.

  • 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 https://nyti.ms/2MfgBS3 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.

  • Weather forecasters urge caution for Tuesday after 18 tornadoes across five states on Monday
    News
    USA TODAY

    Weather forecasters urge caution for Tuesday after 18 tornadoes across five states on Monday

    After 18 tornadoes swept through five states Monday, forecasters say Tuesday's severe weather threat warrants caution, but lacks the same potential.

  • 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.

  • Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyIn the days leading up to Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, a top Republican opposition research firm was brimming with requests from political reporters angling for dirt. America Rising, a political action committee that shared details of its internal inquiries with The Daily Beast, said the asks came from a dozen or more reporters and ranged from broad questions to more tailored points of interest. But 10 weeks after O’Rourke’s official launch, those requests are virtually nonexistent.“The requests for oppo on him have completely died off,” a staffer at the oppo group said.The lack of oppo requests suggests a larger problem looming over O’Rourke’s campaign: a visible decline in public interest. Once elevated to the top of Democratic watch-lists, the former congressman is now registering in single digits in several national polls, nosediving from 12 percent in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in March to just 5 percent in the same survey in April. And while he’s beginning to roll out new hires in key voting states, some say he’s already fallen behind other candidates whose field operations have been interfacing with voters for months. Beto O’Rourke Blew ItAmerica Rising, which has cornered the market on opposition research on the nearly two dozen presidential contenders, has tracked what it considers a steady decline in the public’s interest in O’Rourke. The Republican National Committee, known for slinging insults about Democrats into mainstream consciousness, has not received any requests from reporters for O’Rourke information in recent weeks, according to a senior official. Typically, a high level of curiosity in revealing a candidate’s political past is one indicator of their perceived viability. And a noticeable downtick in interest could signal an enthusiasm gap between where O’Rourke started and where he’s ended up in two months. O’Rourke, himself, seemed to acknowledge the flagging interest in a recent  interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “I recognize I can do a better job also of talking to a national audience,” O'Rourke said. “I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time, but we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate with the campaign that we’ve run so far.” His next big chance will be Tuesday night, when he’ll appear in his first CNN town hall at 10 p.m. from Drake University in Des Moines. The network has previously hosted such events for several of his rivals, giving a boost to some lesser-known candidates early into their campaigns. On Monday, O’Rourke told reporters he would participate in a Fox News town hall, a general-election strategy favored by some 2020 hopefuls as an attempt to reach voters beyond the traditional Democratic base. But according to an analysis shared with The Daily Beast by Media Matters, a nonprofit that tracks right-wing coverage, even Fox News’ daily mentions of O’Rourke online have visibly declined since he announced his bid, indicating that he may no longer be considered a serious threat as a Democratic contender. O’Rourke’s campaign sees it differently: “From my perspective there’s been no decline of oppo to respond to,” a source within the campaign said. Press requests from print and television outlets, including bookers in charge of getting candidates on the air, have not declined since the launch, the campaign source added. While it’s still early to plot ad buys—the Iowa caucuses are nine months away—a source who tracks ad information for multiple political campaigns says that O’Rourke’s failure to get into that world early coincides with a frenzied campaign that’s no longer top-of-mind for voters. “It fits with an overall theme of his campaign being a little disorganized,” the source who analyzes political ads said. “He had such a moment in 2018 but it seems to have fizzled out.”While no pollsters or ad makers have been hired, a source within O’Rourke’s campaign first told The Daily Beast that they have been in initial discussions with various polling, data, and analytics firms, as well as outfits who do campaign ads. Bringing on a pollster had not previously been a top priority, the source said, adding that the campaign has been focused on talking to voters in 154 town halls and traveling to 116 cities.O’Rourke has made recent inroads on the political staffing front, bringing on Jen O’Malley Dillon, Jeff Berman, and Rob Flaherty, top talent from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s campaigns, among other recent national and state hires. But he has missed out on other high-level talent who wandered to other campaigns, multiple sources said.Meanwhile, other presidential campaigns have already hired staffers who previously worked with or expressed interest in O’Rourke. Shelby Cole, a top O’Rourke aide who helped him raise an eye-popping $80 million during his Senate campaign, joined California Sen. Kamala Harris’ team as its digital fundraising director. Emmy Ruiz, who served as Clinton’s state director in Nevada and Colorado in 2016, was thought to be seriously weighing joining O’Rourke before he announced, according to multiple Democratic sources unaffiliated with current campaigns. She later joined Harris as a senior adviser. One top Democratic operative admitted to eyeing O’Rourke for months, but changed candidate loyalty after reading his announcement article in Vanity Fair. “I was definitely interested in him back in January and February,” the veteran operative said, who has since joined another presidential campaign in a top position.   “The Vanity Fair story fed a fear I had, which was that he was a little too fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants,” the veteran operative said. “I just felt that he hadn’t totally thought this through. So that kind of soured me on him.”—Asawin Suebsaeng contributed reporting for this article.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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden
    Politics
    AFP

    N. Korea state media hits out at 'imbecile' Biden

    North Korean state media on Wednesday slammed former US vice president Joe Biden as an "imbecile" and a "fool of low IQ" after he criticised leader Kim Jong Un. Biden, who served two terms as President Barack Obama's deputy, has been on the campaign trail since announcing last month his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2020 presidential election. It accused Biden of "slandering the supreme leadership" of North Korea -- a term usually referring to leader Kim -- and said the former senator had become "reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power".

  • Democrat Cory Booker announces plan to protect abortion rights
    Politics
    Reuters

    Democrat Cory Booker announces plan to protect abortion rights

    Booker proposed a new White House Office of Reproductive Freedom, whose mission would be "coordinating and affirmatively advancing abortion rights and access to reproductive health care" across all federal agencies. The announcement came one day after Booker joined several Democratic presidential hopefuls at an abortion rights rally outside the U.S Supreme Court after a series of state laws restricting abortion, including Alabama legislation passed last week that would criminalize virtually all abortions.

  • 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.