• US fingers Iran on Gulf attacks but eases tone
    World
    AFP

    US fingers Iran on Gulf attacks but eases tone

    President Donald Trump's administration charged Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for the sabotage of Gulf oil interests but said its own robust response had prevented potential attacks on Americans. Top Trump officials appeared to be toning down weeks of fiery warnings to Iran before delivering a classified briefing to the full Congress, where opposition Democrats have accused the administration of hyping intelligence and pushing the United States dangerously close to war. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States has not made "a definitive conclusion" that can be presented publicly over the sabotage of oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates or drone strikes on a crude pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

  • 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."

  • Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July
    World
    Bloomberg

    Ukraine's New Leader Sets Snap Parliamentary Election for July

    (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s new leader started a two-month countdown to snap parliamentary elections as the TV comedian-turned-politician tries to consolidate power after his rapid rise to power.

  • 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.

  • AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones
    World
    Associated Press

    AP Explains: How Yemen's rebels increasingly deploy drones

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In Yemen, the high-pitched whine of drones has been a part of life for over 15 years, ever since the first U.S. drone strike here targeting al-Qaida in 2002. But now, Iran-backed Houthi rebels increasingly deploy drones in Yemen's brutal civil war.

  • 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.”

  • 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".

  • North Korea blasts Joe Biden as a 'fool of low IQ' for criticising leader Kim Jong-un
    Politics
    The Telegraph

    North Korea blasts Joe Biden as a 'fool of low IQ' for criticising leader Kim Jong-un

    North Korean state media slammed former US vice president Joe Biden for criticising leader Kim Jong-un, calling him "bereft of elementary quality as a human being". The criticism contrasts with North Korea's repeated references to the good relationship between Kim and US President Donald Trump. Kim said in April his personal relationship with Mr Trump was still good despite the collapse of their second summit in Vietnam in February. According to Newsweek, Mr Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential frontrunner, said at a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday: "Are we a nation that embraces dictators and tyrants like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Kim Jong-un?" State media the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) responded to criticism of the North's leadership in a commentary late on Tuesday. Kim Jong-un was described as a tyrant by Joe Biden Credit: AFP "What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician," it said. The news agency also called Mr Biden a “fool of low IQ”, and said Mr Biden had “the temerity to insult the supreme leadership”. KCNA listed previous controversies concerning Mr Biden, including allegations of plagiarism and falling asleep during a speech by former President Barack Obama in 2011. "We will never pardon anyone who dare provoke the supreme leadership of the DPRK but will certainly make them pay for it," KCNA said, using North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Denuclearisation talks have stalled since the breakdown of the second meeting between Trump and Kim in February and North Korea conducted more weapons tests this month. The tests were seen as a protest by Kim after Trump rejected his calls for sanctions relief at the Hanoi summit.

  • 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.

  • Carriers Drop Huawei Phones as U.S. Crackdown Crimps Plans
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Carriers Drop Huawei Phones as U.S. Crackdown Crimps Plans

    President Donald Trump’s move last week to put Huawei on an export blacklist amid a trade war with Beijing threatens to cut the tech company off from U.S. software and component suppliers. Telecom operators fear that could affect the functioning of its newest handsets as Huawei won’t get access to the most popular version of the Android mobile operating system developed by Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Britain’s BT Group Plc decided not to include Huawei phones in Britain’s first 5G network because of uncertainty over whether they could use Android, a spokesman for the carrier said.

  • Chip designer ARM halts work with Huawei after U.S. ban
    Business
    Reuters

    Chip designer ARM halts work with Huawei after U.S. ban

    Huawei, in common with Apple Inc and chipmakers such as Qualcomm, uses ARM blueprints to design the processors that power its smartphones. "ARM is complying with the latest restrictions set forth by the U.S. government and is having ongoing conversations with the appropriate U.S. government agencies to ensure we remain compliant," an ARM spokesman said in a statement. "ARM values its relationship with our longtime partner HiSilicon (Huawei's chip arm) and we are hopeful for a swift resolution on this matter." Huawei said it valued its close relationships with its partners, but it recognized the pressure some of them are under "as a result of politically motivated decisions".

  • Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Democratic Rep. Tells Acting DHS Chief: Migrant Kid Deaths Under Your Watch Are ‘Intentional’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/CSPANThe acting head of the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday was accused of overseeing the “intentional” deaths of five migrant children, in an aggressive line of questioning by a Democratic member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Rep. Lauren Underwood, an Illinois Democrat serving her first term, called the deaths the logical result of “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration,” an assertion that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan disputed as “an appalling accusation.”McAleenan, who was first tapped to replace outgoing secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in April, previously served as commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, where he was an architect of the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families. That policy, Underwood said, as well as a spate of recent deaths of children in DHS custody, amounts to more than simple administrative negligence.“People keep dying, sir. People keep dying,” Underwood said at the conclusion of five minutes of aggressive questioning, disputing that overcrowding and lack of access to medical treatment at migrant detention facilities is the result of a lack of appropriations. “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 intentional.”DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Blames Migrant Girl’s Death in Border Patrol Custody on Her FamilyAs colleagues protested her characterization, Underwood continued, calling the deaths “a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”McAleenan, who co-authored a memo to then-Secretary Nielsen asserting that Homeland Security could “direct the separation of parents or legal guardians and minors held in immigration detention so that the parent or legal guardian can be prosecuted,” protested Underwood’s remarks.“That’s an appalling accusation, and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day,” said McAleenan, adding that Congress providing adequate resources “would have prevented this from happening.”Republican committee members—as well as one Democrat, Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan—voted to strike Underwood’s remarks from the congressional record.On Monday, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became the fifth minor to die in U.S. government custody since December after being kept in a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility for more than a week. Federal law requires minors to be held in Border Patrol stations, which are not equipped to house children or the infirm, for no longer than 72 hours.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.

  • 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.

  • Tornadoes, flooding continue in Midwest
    U.S.
    KABC – Los Angeles

    Tornadoes, flooding continue in Midwest

    A dangerous storm system in the Midwest produced dozens of tornadoes for the second consecutive day Tuesday.

  • House Freedom Caucus Condemns Amash for Accusing Trump of ‘Impeachable Conduct’
    Politics
    National Review

    House Freedom Caucus Condemns Amash for Accusing Trump of ‘Impeachable Conduct’

    Members of the House Freedom Caucus voted Monday evening to condemn one of the group's co-founders, Representative Justin Amash (R., Mich.) in response to his impeachment stand against President Trump.Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee and former chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told Politico that the group easily passed the 80 percent threshold for the adoption of a formal position.“It was every single person who totally disagrees with what he says,” Jordan said after the meeting, which Amash did not attend.Amash broke ranks Saturday, becoming the first Republican to say publicly that the obstructive behavior attributed to Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller was impeachable. Here are my principal conclusions: 1\. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2\. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3\. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4\. Few members of Congress have read the report. -- Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019In addition to the backlash he received from the Freedom Caucus, Amash's impeachment stand prompted an immediate primary challenge from Michigan state representative Jim Lower, who told the Detroit Free Press on Monday that he planned to announce his bid in July, but felt compelled to speed up his timeline in the wake of Amash's statements.A number of top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have also condemned Amash's lack of party loyalty. McCarthy noted Amash's penchant for voting against the Republican party line and suggested he may no longer belong in the GOP caucus during a Sunday Fox News appearance. He did tell Politico, however, that Amash could retain his committee assignments.President Trump similarly accused Amash of seeking to exploit the controversy surrounding the Mueller report for his own political gain. ….he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION…Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands! -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019Amash, a libertarian-leaning conservative who has proven willing to split with his party on issue like Trump's national emergency declaration, remains steadfast in his position despite the criticism.“People who say there were no underlying crimes and therefore the president could not have intended to illegally obstruct the investigation—and therefore cannot be impeached—are resting their argument on several falsehoods,” he told Politico.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Abortion ban protests: Thousands demonstrate against new restrictive laws across America
    Politics
    The Independent

    Abortion ban protests: Thousands demonstrate against new restrictive laws across America

    Massive protests opposing a series of bans against abortions have continued for several days after one of the most stringent abortion laws in the nation was signed into law in Alabama last week. Crowds of demonstrators on Capitol Hill were joined by prominent women’s rights activists and politicians on Tuesday, including 2020 presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand, for a rally titled StopTheBans. “Our democracy only works when the people of this country stand up and demand it,” the New York senator said to cheers. “Do not allow this moment to pass without putting everything you have behind it … organise, advocate and vote.” Across the country, Americans from all walks of life marched in major cities and small towns to oppose bans like the one in Alabama, which makes performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases. The bill, signed by Republican Governor Kay Ivey, is effectively designed to set up a lengthy legal battle that could result in the Supreme Court revisiting a decades-old decision for Roe v. Wade, which deemed abortion a Constitutionally-protected right. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” the governor said in a statement while signing the bill on Wednesday.Hundreds of demonstrators then marched to the Alabama Capitol on Sunday to protest the state’s newly approved abortion ban, chanting “my body, my choice!” and “vote them out!”In a statement addressing the cheering crowd, Planned Parenthood Southeast President Staci Fox said “Banning abortion does not stop abortion. It stops safe abortion.”Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have also approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.But none of the laws have actually taken effect, and all are expected to be blocked by the courts as the legal challenges play out with an ultimate eye on the Supreme Court.Marchers have said the measures are energising supporters of legalised abortion, and they say they are digging in for a legal and political fight. Along the route they took, the protesters passed by scattered counter-demonstrators raising signs against abortion.The Alabama law would make it a felony, punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison to perform an abortion. There would be no punishment for the woman receiving the abortion.But the protest outside the Alabama Capitol on Sunday occurred in a state where a majority of voters recently agreed to put anti-abortion language in the Alabama Constitution. Fifty-nine per cent of state voters in November approved the constitutional amendment saying the state recognises the rights of the “unborn.” As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother - the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new..... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019Donald Trump, while not mentioning Alabama’s law, wrote in a weekend tweet that he is strongly “pro-life” but favours exceptions.“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother - the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” The president wrote in a series of tweets.Alabama’s abortion ban would go into effect in six months if it isn’t blocked by legal challenges.Additional reporting by AP