The Indian National Congress Party went from understated optimism to shellshocked defeat within the space of a few hours on Thursday as Narendra Modi and his party celebrated another landslide victory. For the Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi, the performance by his party was nothing short of a humiliation, with several members of his own party demanding he step down and lay the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to rest for good. Mr Gandhi suffered the sting of losing the iconic seat of his family homestead in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, which he had held since 2004 and was controlled by his father before him. He won in his second constituency – candidates can run from two in India – but the symbolism of the defeat was one from which he may never recover. Modi vowed to build an 'inclusive' India after a first term marred by accusations of fomenting religious hatred Credit: AFP At a brief press conference as the results were still coming in, Mr Gandhi congratulated Mr Modi and said “the people are king and they have directed that the BJP and Modi have won this election”. He added: “I don't want to get into what went wrong today, this is not the time for that. I fully respect the Indian people's decision.” During the briefing he also conceded defeat in the Amethi election and congratulated his opponent Smriti Irani, of the BJP, who was more than 28,000 votes ahead at the time. Congress party officials did not return calls by The Telegraph but there were widespread reports in Indian media that the party had wildly miscalculated the margin of any potential loss with its internal polling, and now all that was left was to call for its talisman's head. “If they want to change anything, change the leadership,” a Congress official in Rajasthan told Reuters, referring to Mr Gandhi and the party's high command. “You need to give young people a chance.” However Mr Gandhi, 48, will probably not face an immediate leadership challenge as India's establishment party does some soul searching after an inglorious defeat. Some reports claimed Mr Gandhi had offered to resign. “According to sources, Sonia Gandhi and senior Congress leaders advised him to bring up the matter before the party forum,” reported India Today TV. “The CWC (Congress Working Committee) will meet in a week in which the proposal will be discussed,” it added. Ironically the youthful pretender had grown into his role as leader in the past 18 months after previously being seen as a reluctant heir to his political lineage which stretched back to India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. He campaigned vigorously and was not shy on calling out Mr Modi on the economy, national security, Hindu nationalism and women's rights. After a while the media started to take notice. However behind the scenes his inability to foster good relations with a host of regional party leaders that could have generated a tenable anti-Modi alliance may have damaged his chances. "The BJP fought these elections on the basis of social and religious divisive policies and the agenda was set by them on this basis," said Atul Kumar Anjaan, national secretary of the Communist Party of India, a potential ally. "But more significant is the fact that the unity of the opposition has been damaged by the Congress. The policies and decisions of Rahul Gandhi has weakened opposition unity, led to divisions and opened the doors for Modi's victory.” Congress has ruled India for most of its history since independence from Britain in 1947, and boasts three prime ministers from the Nehru-Gandhi clan. But its weak performance in the last two elections seems to suggest it needs a drastic change of direction to take on someone with Mr Modi's political savvy.
Army engineers say two runaway barges did "minimal" damage when they struck an Arkansas River dam. The barges, filled with 1,500 tons of fertilizer, swept down the flood-swollen river and hit the Webbers Falls Lock and Dam about noon Thursday and sank. Town officials in the riverfront town of Webbers Falls had warned residents to flee for fear such a collision would catastrophically breach the dam and flood the town.
For the purposes of Lockheed's marketing campaign, the F-21 is a new fighter, although it shares many of its major features with the F-16V the company has sold to Bahrain, Greece, Slovakia, South Korea and Taiwan. Lockheed can build new F-16Vs or upgrade older F-16s to the V-standard.Lockheed Martin is developing a new variant of its iconic F-16 single-engine fighter in order to compete in India’s 2019 tender for 110 new warplanes.(This first appeared earlier in the month.)But don’t count on the American firm’s “F-21” to win the contract.According to journalist Angad Singh, the likely winner is French company Dassault’s Rafale twin-engine fighter.Singh explains his rationale in the May 2019 issue of Combat Aircraft magazine. India previously ordered 36 Rafales as part of an earlier fighter tender. “With 36 aircraft already on order and the infrastructure in place for an additional 36, a case could certainly be made that training, basing and sustainment costs for additional aircraft would not be an impossible burden.”Other candidates for the Indian tender are the Saab Gripen from Sweden, the European Eurofighter Typhoon, the MiG-35 from Russia and the Boeing Super Hornet from the United States. Whichever fighter New Delhi selects, it needs the new jets now, according to Singh.
A serial killer who murdered 10 women in 1984 has been put to death.
The American automaker Ford has unveiled "Digit," a two-legged, almost human-like robot capable of making home deliveries. Designed in collaboration with Agility Robotics, Digit can walk, go up and down stairs, and carry packages of up to 40 pounds (just over 18kg), like a human. Ford's technology, research and development department is full of surprises.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr's review of the events that prompted an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia. The directive comes as the White House spars with congressional Democrats over the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who led a two-year investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election and if there were any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Climate change has long been a disaster in the making, but until recently the American public tended to treat it as an afterthought. The Green New Deal brought climate change front and center, and made Americans think about big bold solutions instead of technical tweaks and half measures. The think tank Data for Progress has a plan that actually predates Ocasio-Cortez’s, but which goes into much greater detail about how to combat climate change both at home and abroad.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Friday seeking to halt the implementation of a new Alabama law — perhaps the most restrictive of its kind in the nation — that bans abortions except in cases where the life of the mother is threatened. The Alabama ban conflicts with Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 Supreme Court case that affirmed the constitutional right of women to procure abortions, the lawsuit said, and is hence unenforceable. “The Alabama legislature has been pushing abortion care further and further out of reach for years with medically unnecessary and politically-motivated restrictions, and this extreme abortion ban shows us just how far they'll go to push their anti-abortion agenda,” read a statement from senior ACLU staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas.
The head of the United Nations organisation for Palestinian refugees on Thursday rejected a US call to dismantle the agency, saying it cannot be blamed for stalled peace efforts. UNRWA's commissioner general Pierre Krahenbuhl rebuffed the criticism from US envoy Jason Greenblatt during a visit to the Gaza Strip. "I unreservedly reject the accompanying narrative that suggests that somehow UNRWA is to blame for the continuation of the refugee-hood of Palestine refugees, of their growing numbers and their growing needs," he said in response to a question about Greenblatt's comments.
Alabama lawmakers abruptly adjourned after one lawmaker called for the censure of another over comments that included calling the president's son "evidently retarded." Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney of Shelby County on Wednesday went to the House microphone to read a letter seeking censure of Rep. John Rogers, a Democrat. Mooney said Rogers brought "shame" on Alabama with comments he made after debate on a proposed abortion ban.
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The Federal Aviation Administration is meeting with international air regulators from around the world on Thursday to determine what is needed to return the grounded Boeing Co 737 MAX to return it to service. The agency will summarize the status of three major ongoing reviews of the 737 MAX and give an update of the recertification process and shed light on Boeing's proposed revisions to its software and pilot training. Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said on Thursday he thought travelers in the United States and around the world would respect any eventual decision by the FAA to return the plane to service.
Facebook has been accused of leaving 'broken children' as collateral damage in the wake of their commercial aims, the child sex abuse inquiry has heard. Barrister William Chapman, representing the victims of abuse at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), said social media companies were not preventing paedophiles reaching children as it was “contrary to their business model” and that their apps needed to be “fundamentally redesigned”. Police also warned that tech firms were going ahead with plans to encrypt more features "in the certain knowledge" it would lead to more children being abused.
If you've got Touch Bars on the brain but you've been unwilling to cough up the extra cash to get one, today is your lucky day. Amazon is running a one-day Gold Box deal on renewed MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, and the prices are crazy. This product has been tested and certified to work and look like new, with minimal to no signs of wear, by a manufacturer or specialized third-party seller approved by Amazon.
Pressure is intensifying on Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. An increasing number of Democrats - and even a Republican congressman - are openly calling for the measure in response to the Mueller report's findings and the Trump administration's refusal to submit documents to congressional investigations. Mr Trump on Wednesday sabotaged a planned White House meeting with Ms Pelosi on infrastructure, and said he would not work with Democrats until all probes into him were closed.
When the Justice Department unsealed a March 2018 indictment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange last month, there was a reasonable case to be made that his prosecution would avoid setting a dangerous precedent against press freedom. The original indictment charged Assange with computer hacking on the novel theory that he coached Private Chelsea Manning on how to crack passwords on Department of Defense computers that stored the reams of secret diplomatic cables Wikileaks eventually published. Journalists routinely encourage sources to encrypt their texts and phone calls.
While abortion is legal nationwide, Americans have unequal access to the procedure, depending on their location in the United States and how much they are able to spend. The disparities are great indeed, from the more than 150 abortion clinics available in the most populous state of California, to only one in states like Mississippi in the South or Missouri in the Midwest. State laws also vary widely on other matters like speed limits for drivers and marriage age requirements, but the Supreme Court has set a "minimum standard throughout the entire country," noted Meg Penrose, of the Texas A&M School of Law.
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Ukraine's new President Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian with no previous political experience, on Thursday said his first days in office have been "a bit of a shock". "There's a lot of work," the 41-year-old told AFP on the sidelines of an international book fair in the capital Kiev. "I do not like the atmosphere, the building," said Ukraine's sixth president since independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on storm damage in the Southern Plains and Midwest (all times local):
Japan's Panasonic Corp said on Friday it has not stopped any shipments of components to Huawei Technologies, a day after it originally called for a halt of transactions in line with a U.S. export controls against the Chinese firm. "No transactions with Huawei have been suspended at the moment," a Panasonic representative told Reuters. "We are still making checks whether the ban applies to our products." The Osaka-based company said on Thursday it had "instructed employees to halt transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates subject to the U.S. ban." Its Chinese unit later released a separate statement that it continues to supply to Huawei, stressing that transactions not covered by the ban have been not affected.
The import ban the Trump administration imposed on Huawei a few days ago was the next logical step in the trade war against China. Huawei is prepared to fight, even as numerous business partners from the US and other countries confirm they're putting their business dealings with the Chinese giant on hold. One of the things Huawei confirmed earlier this week is that it'll move forward with an operating system of its own, which we'll call Huawei OS for lack of a better alternative, and which could launch as early as fall.
Democrats called proposals to send an extra 10,000 US troops to the Middle East "deeply troubling" as they renewed efforts to undermine Donald Trump's legal authority to launch a war against Iran. US Central Command asked for the troops, and weapons systems including Patriot missile batteries and more ships, and senior defence officials briefed the White House on the plans yesterday [THURS]. A Pentagon official said the extra forces were intended as a "deterrent" and not a move to provoke Iran. The "defensive" plan had been formulating for some time and was not a response to any very recent events. Any eventual buildup would depend on how much of the various requests from Centcom commander General Kenneth McKenzie were approved. Patrick Shanahan, the acting US defence secretary, confirmed the Pentagon was considering sending additional US troops to the Middle East. He said: "What we're looking at is - Are there things that we can do to enhance force protection in the Middle East? It may involve sending additional troops." US troops launch an F-18 Super Hornet from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea. Credit: AP Democrats in Congress criticised the move, even suggesting it could lead to war within weeks. Tom Udall, a Democrat senator, said: "At the end of this week we [Congress] are going on break. With this building up there’s a huge potential for miscalculation. When we return, we could be in the middle of a war." Democrats have been ramping up efforts to rein back Mr Trump's ability to go to war with Iran using the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF was introduced after the September 11, 2001 attacks and allows a president to pursue terrorists around the world without seeking approval from Congress. A bid by Democrats to specifically exclude Iran from the AUMF was blocked by Republicans on the senate foreign affairs committee yesterday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking during a government meeting in the capital Tehran Credit: AFP Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat congresswoman and former CIA officer, said the developments were "deeply troubling". She said: "We've seen a general lack of strategy in the way we are engaging with Iran. "Congress holds the authority to approve war powers. If we are in any way moving towards using troops then Congress needs to be involved in that." Mr Trump has repeatedly expressed his preference to reduce the US troop presence in the Middle East. But Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said: "We're evaluating the risks, making sure that we have it right. The exact force posture, the president is looking at that every day. "You can be sure that President Trump will ensure that we have all the resources necessary to respond in the event that Iran should decide to attack Americans or American interests." Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said there would be no talks with the US "under any circumstances".