• Iran 'threat' has diminished, says US defense secretary
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Iran 'threat' has diminished, says US defense secretary

    Patrick Shanahan credits US show of forceRemarks appear to be a sign tension is easing This handout picture released by the US navy shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet landing on the flight deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf. Photograph: MC3 Jeff Sherman/AFP/Getty Images The acting US defence secretary has claimed that the alleged threat from Iran has receded as the result of an American show of force in the Middle East. “We’ve put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans,” Patrick Shanahan told reporters before briefing Congress on the situation in the Persian Gulf and the military deployments that the US said were a response to a danger of imminent attack. The arrival of an aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships was recently accelerated, and B-52 bombers were sent to Qatar. Tensions increased with mysterious sabotage attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, and drone strikes on Saudi oil installations, claimed by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Nerves in the region were put even more on edge on Sunday by Donald Trump’s tweeted threat that any conflict with the US would mean “the official end of Iran”. The remarks from Shanahan appeared to be a sign that tensions were easing. Asked what he meant by saying that the threat was “on hold”, the acting defence secretary said: “There haven’t been any attacks on Americans. I would consider that a hold. “That doesn’t mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away,” Shanahan added. “Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.” The Trump administration did not make public the intelligence it claimed showed an imminent Iranian threat to the US in the Middle East. An investigation is under way into the sabotage attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last week. The UK and Norway are helping the US with the inquiry, which was expected to report on Monday, but has been delayed for reasons that have not made clear. One of the tankers attacked was Norwegian-flagged. The secretary of state, spoke on Tuesday with the country’s foreign minister, Ine Søreide, about the incident. A European diplomat said: “We are very careful not to make attribution for recent attacks unless we are certain.” Officials briefing the media have also claimed that overhead photography showed missiles being loaded on to dhows on the Iranian coast, and chatter about potential attacks on US facilities and personnel in Iraq. The state department withdrew non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil. It was unclear what Iran’s aim was supposed to be in loading missiles on to dhows. Experts said that it would be very difficult to fire a missile from a small boat and if the intelligence reports were true, it was more likely they were being shipped to the Houthi movement in Yemen, or moved for safekeeping. Later reports suggested that the Iranian military deployments and discussion of targets could have been contingency measures for a possible response in the event of a US attack on Iran, seen as increasingly likely in recent months with the apparent ascendancy of John Bolton, the ultra-hawk national security adviser, in foreign policymaking. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Joseph Dunford, were expected to brief the House and Senate on Iran on Tuesday afternoon. Bolton was not on the list of speakers. “My take is that the Iranians saw an attack coming and they prepared to strike back and that caused alarm in the White House and particularly with the president,” said Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council, who now teaches at Georgetown University. “The line sold to Trump by Bolton and Bibi Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman is he could strike Iran, show US dominance, and not risk anything. Iran showed it was preparing to strike back. Trump is smart enough to know that a war would be devastating, and not just for his political interests.” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued that the current defusing of tensions showed that the US response had worked. “The entire point behind America’s military repositioning in the region was to dampen the prospects of escalation,” Taleblu said. “And while it may have worked for now, Washington will need to make sure its message of resolve is similarly interpreted in the future. The Iranians have a habit of continually testing for weaknesses and deficiencies.”

  • Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed
    News
    Associated Press

    Abducted Idaho girl found safe in Arizona, suspect jailed

    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl abducted from an Idaho fast-food restaurant where she worked was found safe in Arizona on Tuesday and the man accused of taking her was jailed on a $1 million bond, authorities said.

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

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

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

  • Business
    Reuters

    GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks slide as worries about Huawei fallout mount

    Global equity markets fell on Monday as a U.S. crackdown on China's Huawei Technologies led chipmaker stocks in Europe and on Wall Street to slide on fears of a widening trade war, while the dollar was steady ahead of fresh insight on the Federal Reserve policies. China accused the United States of harboring "extravagant expectations" for a trade deal, underlining the gulf between the two sides as the U.S. action last week against Huawei began to hit the global tech sector.

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • China Warns About ‘Unwavering Resolve’ to Fight U.S. ‘Bullying’
    Business
    Bloomberg

    China Warns About ‘Unwavering Resolve’ to Fight U.S. ‘Bullying’

    Trump upped the ante in his trade dispute with China last week, announcing moves to curb Huawei’s business that are starting to have ramifications for other companies around the world. "This is wrong behavior, so there will be a necessary response," Zhang Ming, China’s envoy to the EU, said in an interview in Brussels on Monday.

  • Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail
    News
    The Independent

    Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

    A man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies

  • Apple offered to buy Tesla back in 2013 for more than it’s worth today
    Business
    BGR News

    Apple offered to buy Tesla back in 2013 for more than it’s worth today

    For years, analysts have maintained that Apple needs to move past the iPhone and look for additional revenue streams. Consequently, many analysts over the years have proposed that Apple would be well advised to make a blockbuster acquisition and snatch up a company like Netflix or Tesla.Interestingly enough, it turns out that Apple actually did make an effort to acquire Tesla six years ago at a valuation of $240 a share. Incidentally, Tesla's share price has been reeling lately and is currently hovering in the $200 range. Word of Apple's efforts to acquire Tesla was brought to light by analyst Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners who revealed the interesting tidbit on CNBC (via Electrek) earlier today."Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share," Irwin said."This is something we did multiple checks on," Irwin added. "I have complete confidence that this is accurate. Apple bid for Tesla. I don't know if it got to a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible."Notably, there have been rumblings over the years regarding Apple's interest in Tesla, but this is the first time we've seen a report that Apple was legitimately trying to make a serious play for the electric automaker.You might also recall reports from a few years back which revealed that Elon Musk, sometime in mid-2013 -- sat down for a meeting with Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica and, rumor has it, Tim Cook himself.Apple, of course, has been busy working on its own car initiative -- known as Project Titan -- for the past few years, though it remains to be seen if anything concrete ever manifests from its efforts. Early reports hinted that Apple was set on designing and building its own car, though a plethora of technical challenges ultimately resulted in a few rounds of layoffs and employees being shifted over to other projects. Last we heard, Apple's Project Titan is still ongoing but is now focused on autonomous systems as opposed to designing a car from the ground up.Interestingly, and somewhat uncharacteristically, Tim Cook confirmed this during an interview a few years ago. "We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said in 2017. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."Lastly, with Morgan Stanley recently noting that Tesla shares may sink to $10/share in a worst-case scenario, it will be interesting to see if Apple might swoop in and pick up the company at a huge discount.

  • In hometown, Macron battles disillusion and apathy ahead of EU election
    World
    Reuters

    In hometown, Macron battles disillusion and apathy ahead of EU election

    Blue-collar workers on its outskirts are tempted by protest votes, while a disillusioned, conservative middle-class in its pretty center is contemplating other right-leaning candidates or not even voting at all, spelling bad news for the president in his battle against the far-right. "We've been abandoned," Antonio Abrunhosa, 49, a former welder, told Reuters on the deserted parking lot of the former Whirlpool tumble-dryer factory. It was at the plant in the 2017 presidential election campaign that Macron tried to convince workers angered about the plant's relocation to Poland that far-right leader Marine Le Pen's protectionist, Eurosceptic views were misguided.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head
    News
    The Daily Beast

    Accused Thief Taunted Disney World With Photo of Stolen Robot’s Mutilated Head

    Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyIf you’re accused of stealing an animatronic child from Disney World, maybe don’t make a wildly popular Disney-related Twitter account and post a picture of the stolen robot child with its eyes gouged out.“Buzzy,” an animatronic boy from an abandoned Disney World attraction, has been missing for months. Online, Disney superfans treated the disappearance like a kidnapping. But the investigation into the theft led police to someone in the online Disney fandom: a Disney blogger who taunted Disney about their security, posted conspiracy theories about Buzzy’s disappearance and, in the final days before his arrest, uploaded a picture of the robot’s decapitated and eyeball-less head.Patrick Spikes, 24, was arrested last week. He worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, until last year. But Spikes didn’t completely part ways with the theme park after he stopped working there. Instead, he started churning out videos, podcasts, and tweets under the username “BackDoorDisney.” His Twitter account, which amassed more than 17,000 followers before going dark last week, promised to give fans an inside view of Disney World. In its seven months of operation, the account uploaded pictures of Disney control rooms, secret maps, and Disney cast members pretending to have sex while dressed as characters from Toy Story.Soon, Spikes was posting about an even more salacious Disney World story. In August, Disney told police that someone had stolen clothes off Buzzy. The 300-pound animatronic child used to sit inside the “Cranium Command” exhibit, in Epcot’s Wonders of Life Pavilion. But the building, which hosted somewhat dated attractions, had been closed for years. The stolen clothes (including a miniature bomber jacket) were worth nearly $7,000, Disney claimed, according to an affidavit from Florida’s Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Later, the entire robot was stolen, an operation that required the thief to cut through electric cables.Spikes and other Disney bloggers posted about Buzzy’s rumored disappearance. But Spikes and a crowd of Disney fans who broke into the park soon came under suspicion. Spikes routinely boasted of secret trips through Disney World, including with a friend who climbed the park’s Thunder Mountain roller coaster.“Good job filling the holes under the Mk back fence this morning,” Spikes wrote in a January tweet directed at Disney. “I told you guys about this issue 2 months ago but it took somebody going in and climbing one of your coasters for you to care.”On his personal Twitter account, Spikes taunted Disney, advising them to buy a bulk box of security cameras from Best Buy. As the search for Buzzy continued, Disney fans speculated that an urban explorer might have snatched the robot.Eventually, police began narrowing in on Spikes and his scene. Investigators found an October picture of Buzzy on Spikes’ @BackDoorDisney account. The picture does not appear to have been taken inside the Cranium Command exhibit. In texts with investigators, Spikes allegedly let slip that Buzzy’s clothes were sold on the black market for $8,000.Police got a warrant for Spikes’ cellphone and called him in for questioning in December. The meeting went poorly when Spikes tried to cut it short.“The defendant stated he felt sick and felt that he was going to vomit,” police alleged in an affidavit. “A short time later, he began to make strained breathing noises, and stated he couldn’t breath. He requested water, which was given to him, and also was allowed to lay on the floor. The fire department responded and all vitals were normal.” Spikes was taken to a hospital. Police charged him with non-violently resisting arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.Spikes later made a video about a police search on his house, and professed his innocence.“I said ‘really? The entire thing got stolen?’ I didn’t really believe it,” he said in the March video. “It blew my mind. I was like, you can’t be serious right now.”Later in the video, Spikes suggested that Disney had staged Buzzy’s disappearance in order to shut down his BackDoorDisney account.“There’s a theory someone talked about that Imagineering [a Disney team] removed Buzzy and didn’t tell anyone else. So when Operations, the part of the company that runs the Pavillion noticed he was missing, they filed him as ‘stolen,’” he said. “Did Disney willingly file a report, knowing the thing wasn’t stolen, just to run me down? Because obviously I had been posting a lot of backstage photos and stuff, and information … It almost seems like they wanted my phones because they knew I had a lot of backstage photos on them.”But BackDoorDisney kept implying inside knowledge of Buzzy’s disappearance.In a May 12 tweet, he tweeted a picture of Buzzy’s fate. The tweet showed a picture of Buzzy’s decapitated head, with its eyeballs scratched off. The image was included in a screenshot of a text Spikes received, which meant someone else might have stolen the robot.TwitterFive days later, police arrested Spikes. Although Buzzy’s disappearance featured prominently in an arrest affidavit (police appear to have started investigating him over Buzzy’s theft), Spikes was actually charged for a different series of alleged thefts from Disney World. His lawyer did not return The Daily Beast’s request for comment.In July, police alleged, Spikes printed a fake Disney employee card for his cousin and snuck him into the park. The pair allegedly snuck into the Haunted Mansion, a popular ride, and stole a collection of wigs and outfits from backstage. The clothes, which were designed for the ride’s animatronic ghosts, cost between $40 (a tiara) and $1,746 (a robot’s jacket), adding up to more than $7,000.Spikes and his cousin allegedly took pictures throughout the heist, and posed in the wigs at a nearby 7-Eleven. A video from shortly after the theft allegedly shows Spikes’ cousin’s girlfriend wearing a robot’s stolen dress.Disney may have priced the clothes at just over $7,000, but they allegedly went for four times that price on the black market. Days after the alleged burglary, Spikes allegedly received a combined $29,451 payment from two people over Paypal. One of the people, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, told police he paid Spikes $8,890 for 18 items from various Disney heists, including $1,000 for a Haunted Mansion dress.Shortly before his arrest, Spikes teased a forthcoming video about the black market for stolen Disney gear.Police haven’t charged Spikes with Buzzy’s disappearance. But they say his video about the raid on his house raised questions about his involvement. In the video, he showed part of a search warrant for his house. Police say he edited the document to remove references to two pieces of evidence police sought.“The fact that Spikes altered the warrant for his video and only removed these two items indicate that he was aware these items were used in a crime,” the affidavit reads.In that same video, Spikes tells viewers he’ll keep his lips tight about Buzzy’s disappearance until the investigation is over.“If things are still under investigation, I’m not going to get on YouTube and run my mouth about it,” he said. “That would be dumb.”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.

  • U.S. must ensure access to safe abortions: U.N. rights office
    Politics
    Reuters

    U.S. must ensure access to safe abortions: U.N. rights office

    Missouri's Republican governor, Mike Parson, could sign a bill into law as early as this week that prohibits women from seeking an abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy, days after Alabama enacted the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. "We are very concerned that several U.S. states have passed laws severely restricting access to safe abortion for women, including by imposing criminal penalties on the women themselves and on abortion service providers," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told Reuters Television in Geneva.

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

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

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

  • Apple more upfront with iPhone users on battery health: UK watchdog
    Business
    Reuters

    Apple more upfront with iPhone users on battery health: UK watchdog

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it raised consumer law concerns with the tech company last year after finding people were not being warned clearly that their phone's performance could slow down following a 2017 software update designed to manage demands on the battery. The iPhone maker previously came under scrutiny after it said in 2017 that software to deal with ageing batteries in iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models could slow down performance.

  • Business
    USA TODAY

    American Airlines blames mechanics for 2,200 flight delays, cancellations, warns of summer travel trouble

    American Airlines says a slowdown by mechanics led to nearly 2,200 flight cancellations, delays since February and has intensified.