• U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran

    Kena Betancur/AFP/GettyThe American intelligence community has no evidence that al Qaeda has cooperated with the Iranian government in its recent aggressive moves in the Persian Gulf region, a senior U.S. government official told members of Congress on Tuesday. That finding, which was relayed to The Daily Beast by three sources familiar with the matter, could undercut a potential legal case for going to war with Iran if tensions between Washington and Tehran keep escalating. The assessment was delivered in a classified briefing with dozens of House members on Capitol Hill. According to the three sources, one of the officials who briefed the members said the U.S. government does not have evidence of operational coordination between the Iranian government and the terrorist group responsible for 9/11 with respect to the current threat stream. The significance of the admission is likely to divide lawmakers. Democrats who worry about the prospect of war between the U.S. and Iran will likely say that the lack of intelligence means the Trump administration cannot use Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight al Qaeda as a legal basis to start a war with the regional power. Republicans, in contrast, are likely to view it as a non sequitur, arguing that the administration isn’t trying to start a war but rather to act in defense of U.S. interests and forces in the Gulf region. Over the last decade, presidents from both parties have circumvented Congress when it comes to waging military campaigns. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have all used the 2001 AUMF to justify a wide range of military activity—drawing pointed but largely toothless criticism from Capitol Hill. Obama, for instance, used the 2001 AUMF to justify the American fight against the Islamic State, which did not exist in 2001. Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel SaysLast month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly connected Iran and al Qaeda, calling the ties “very real.” “They have hosted al Qaeda, they have permitted al Qaeda to transit their country,” said Pompeo, “There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al Qaeda. Period, full stop.”When Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed him on whether the 2001 AUMF would permit a war on Iran. “I would prefer just to leave that to the lawyers,” he said, as France24 reported.Pompeo is not the only government official to see a connection between Iran and al Qaeda. In 2011, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department accused the two of forming an alliance to move arms and fighters. In February of this year, The Washington Times, a conservative paper, ran a story citing anonymous Trump administration officials saying that Iran is “providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East”—a claim the newspaper noted could be used to justify war. Increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran have generated concern on the Hill about an escalatory spiral. Earlier this month, the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, with administration officials saying Iranian proxies were threatening U.S. forces in the region. That came after the administration eliminated sanctions waivers for countries looking to buy Iranian oil and after the administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. The Daily Beast reported last week that officials in multiple U.S. government agencies have assessed that Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior came in response to those moves. A year ago, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from an international deal with the Iranian government intended to keep it from developing nuclear weapons by trading caps and insight on their program for targeted sanctions relief. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Iran Says It Will Hit Limit on Nuclear Stockpile in Weeks
    World
    Bloomberg

    Iran Says It Will Hit Limit on Nuclear Stockpile in Weeks

    “If we were proceeding at the previous speed, it would have taken several months,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, in an interview with Tehran’s Vatan Emrooz newspaper. The 2015 deal cut Iran’s low-enriched uranium by some 97% and capped its stockpile at 300 kilograms (661 pounds). Iran has remained well below that inventory limit for more than a year and had just 203 kilograms on hand during the first quarter, according to monitoring data.

  • Serial cyberstalker could avoid prison again under plea deal
    News
    Associated Press

    Serial cyberstalker could avoid prison again under plea deal

    Only hours before women marched through many U.S. cities in January, Christopher Cleary set off a manhunt when he posted a Facebook message threatening to kill "as many girls as I see" in retaliation for years of romantic rejection. Cleary, 27, called himself a virgin who never had a girlfriend, stoking fears of another deadly rampage by a man blaming women for his problems. When police tracked his cellphone and arrested the Colorado resident at a McDonald's restaurant in Provo, Utah, Cleary said he had been upset and wasn't thinking clearly.

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

  • 3 Ways a Roth 401(k) Can Boost Retirement Savings
    Business
    Consumer Reports

    3 Ways a Roth 401(k) Can Boost Retirement Savings

    In the 13 years since Roth 401(k)s were first launched, these accounts have become a standard option in most retirement plans. Seven out of 10 of employers now offer a Roth 401(k), according to a...

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • ARM supply halt deals fresh blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei
    Business
    Reuters

    ARM supply halt deals fresh blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei

    British chip designer ARM halted relations with Huawei [HWT.L] to comply with a U.S. blockade of the company, potentially crippling the Chinese telecom company's ability to make new chips for its future smartphones. Huawei, like Apple Inc and Qualcomm, uses ARM blueprints to design the processors that power its smartphones. In another blow to the Chinese tech giant, Japanese conglomerate Panasonic Corp on Thursday joined the growing list of global companies which have said they are disengaging with Huawei, the world's second-largest seller of smartphones and the largest telecom-gear maker.

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

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

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

  • Tornado hits Missouri capital as deadly storms sweep state
    News
    Associated Press

    Tornado hits Missouri capital as deadly storms sweep state

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A tornado tore apart buildings in Missouri's capital city as part of an overnight outbreak of severe weather across the state that left at least three people dead and dozens injured.

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

    British Steel collapses; thousands of jobs could go

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

  • The Air Force Loves the F-22 Raptor. So Why Not Build More of Them?
    Business
    The National Interest

    The Air Force Loves the F-22 Raptor. So Why Not Build More of Them?

    “Just as F-22 production would compete for fiscal and contractor resources with other Air Force programs, any F-22 export would compete with FMS customers' resources as well, including countries already committed to F-35 purchases. Most nations are not likely to have the resources available for procurement of an export F-22, which extremely limits the ability of FMS to reduce the costs associated with restarting production.”A 2017 Pentagon report to Congress detailing production retail costs for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor show that reviving the powerful stealth air superiority fighter would be prohibitively expensive. Moreover, it would take so long to reconstitute the production line that it would not be until the mid to late 2020s before the first “new” F-22s would have flown. By that time, the F-22 would be increasingly challenged by enemy—Russian and Chinese—capabilities.(This first appeared last year.)

  • Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated
    News
    Associated Press

    Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated

    CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a suburban Chicago hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday. The woman was charged weeks later with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.

  • Adam Schiff calls on Rod Rosenstein to testify
    Politics
    Yahoo News

    Adam Schiff calls on Rod Rosenstein to testify

    WASHINGTON — Speaking at a gathering of progressives, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called on former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify on Capitol Hill about his involvement in Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Donald Trump presidential campaign.

  • 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.

  • This Is the Secret to Making Your Driveway 10 Times More Beautiful
    Lifestyle
    Car and Driver

    This Is the Secret to Making Your Driveway 10 Times More Beautiful

    These 13 ideas can drive up your curb appeal. From Car and Driver

  • 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.

  • 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.