Keith Fangman, former Cincinnati FOP president, and Reverend Damon Lynch III, former president of Cincinnati's Black United Front, discuss how today's leaders could learn from what they did amid the civil unrest in 2001.
PARIS (Reuters) -The European countries party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday its decision to enrich uranium at 60% purity, bringing the fissile material closer to bomb-grade, was contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 accord. But in an apparent signal to Iran's arch-adversary Israel, which Tehran blamed for an explosion at its key nuclear site on Sunday, European powers Germany, France and Britain added that they rejected "all escalatory measures by any actor". Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognise, has not formally commented on the incident at Iran's Natanz site, which appeared the latest twist in a long-running covert war.
- The Telegraph
What’s the story? Ministers, Whitehall mandarins and a former prime minister have become embroiled in a major lobbying scandal after it emerged that David Cameron had been quietly pushing for a beleaguered finance company to receive Covid bailouts from the Treasury. After leaving office in 2016, Mr Cameron took on a job with Greensill Capital, a “supply chain finance” company that offers short term credit to firms to help them pay invoices more quickly. The company is run by Lex Greensill, who worked in Government during Mr Cameron’s time in office and was awarded a CBE for his work on a similar finance scheme for government departments. It has emerged that Mr Cameron privately lobbied ministers, senior Government officials and the Bank of England to attempt to secure a coronavirus support payment for Greensill last year. The former prime minister told an official it was “nuts” that supply chain finance firms were excluded from the Government’s support schemes and asked Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, to look again at whether Greensill could be given a bailout from the Treasury. Mr Cameron’s attempts were resisted – and investors withdrew their money from the company earlier this year after raising concerns about its viability. The firm has since filed for insolvency protection and threatens to bring Liberty Steel, a major UK manufacturer, with it. But the saga has raised questions about how lobbying in Westminster works, and whether former public servants like Mr Cameron should be allowed to use their contacts for private enterprise – and profit. The consultant lobbying regulator, which monitors freelance lobbyists in the UK, concluded that since Mr Cameron was an employee of Greensill, it was not equipped to regulate his activities. Boris Johnson now faces calls to increase the scope of lobbying rules to create greater transparency, while critics of Mr Cameron point out that it was under his government that an attempt to establish more rigorous rules was voted down by Tory peers. Mr Johnson has now set up an independent inquiry chaired by Nigel Boardman, a senior corporate lawyer, to investigate Mr Cameron’s lobbying and Mr Greensill’s involvement in Government under the Cameron government. Labour says the inquiry is likely to be a “Conservative cover-up” and is calling for another inquiry into cronyism led by MPs. Looking back The messages from Mr Cameron to decision-makers in Whitehall make for extraordinary reading. They have all been uncovered by reporters – largely from the Financial Times and Sunday Times – because there is no requirement for communications of that nature to be released by Government departments. Mr Cameron contacted Mr Sunak and two of his junior Treasury ministers (John Glen and Jesse Norman) about Greensill’s eligibility for Covid payments, and arranged a “private drink” with Matt Hancock to discuss a payment scheme that was eventually rolled out in the NHS. Mr Cameron says he believed Greensill’s supply chain model could have been integrated into the Government’s bailout scheme – known officially as the Covid Corporate Financing Facility – and points out that a similar idea was used following the financial crash in 2008. “What we need is for Rishi (Sunak) to have a good look at this and ask officials to find a way of making it work,” Mr Cameron wrote last year. Mr Cameron has released a statement that says while he can “understand the concern” about lobbying from former PMs, he thought it was “right” that he represented the company to the Treasury because it was involved in financing a large number of UK firms. He denies that he was given share options in the company worth $60 million, and says the true figure was far lower. Given the company’s insolvency, they are now worthless anyway. Anything else? One of the few organisations that monitors lobbying and the business activities of former ministers is the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) and is run by Eric Pickles, a former Tory MP. Yesterday Mr Pickles revealed that a senior civil servant was granted permission to join Greensill Capital while still working at the highest levels of government in 2015 – when Mr Cameron was still prime minister. Bill Crothers was head of Whitehall procurement, in control of a £15 billion annual purchasing budget, when he took on an external role as part-time adviser to the finance company's board. Labour said the news was “extraordinary and shocking” and is pushing for a wide-ranging inquiry led by MPs. The party will use an opposition day motion today that will establish the parliamentary inquiry if Tory MPs do not vote it down. A Labour source this week noted that in The Thick of It, a political sitcom generally held to be an exaggerated representation of Westminster, there is a judge-led inquiry into one leaked email – let alone a major lobbying scandal involving a former PM. The Government has already announced there will be an independent inquiry – and has expanded its scope to include Mr Crothers’ second job – but the story now threatens to become a broader outcry about lobbying in Westminster. It is thought that many civil servants have second jobs as advisors on company boards, and ministers often hold meetings with lobbyists without declaring them to the Cabinet Office. And while Labour has been highly critical of the Government’s “cronyism” during the Covid crisis, many Labour MPs are themselves former lobbyists. The Refresher take The unedifying text messages sent by David Cameron to government officials are only the beginning of a political scandal that will almost certainly claim more scalps. Whether or not Labour succeed in establishing a parliamentary inquiry into lobbying, there is now much greater scrutiny on the well-oiled revolving door between big business and the Government. While much of the murky behaviour is actually within the existing lobbying rules, ministers now rightly face growing calls to expand the regulations to tackle the various “private drinks” between old friends that seemingly inform official decision-making. This was first published in The Telegraph's Refresher newsletter. For more facts and explanation behind the week’s biggest political stories, sign up to the Refresher here – straight to your inbox every Wednesday afternoon for free.
- The Telegraph
The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over a bid for a prosecution limit on soldiers for war crimes. The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which has already cleared the Commons, seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from deployments by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, which would make it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident. However the Lords backed by 333 votes to 228, moved to ensure the most serious of offences are not covered by legislation aimed at protecting service personnel from vexatious battlefield claims. The Government also sustained further defeats to the Bill, with peers backing changes aimed at preventing personnel facing delayed and repeated investigations into allegations arising from foreign deployments at 308 votes to 249, and removing a planned six-year time limit on troops bringing civil claims against the Ministry of Defence at 300 votes to 225. The Bill has faced criticism for not excluding war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture from its scope, as it did for rape and sexual violence. Critics argued this risked damaging the UK's international reputation and could lead to service personnel ending up before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Bill seeks to limit false and historical allegations arising from overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution, making it exceptional for personnel to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident. Calls for this provision not to cover genocide and torture were led by Labour former defence secretary Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, who also previously served as secretary general of Nato. Urging "tactical retreat" by ministers, he said: "For the first time in the history of British law, we would be creating a two-tier justice system where troops acting for us abroad would be treated differently from other civilians in society. "In addition to that, this Bill by saying that there is a presumption against prosecution for the most serious of all crimes, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and torture, it undermines some of the most basic international legal standards for which this nation was renowned.” However, Defence minister Baroness Goldie, rejected the demands, as she said the Bill provided an appropriate balance between victims' rights and fair protection for service personnel. Responding to news that Peers had defeated the Government in amendments to the Bill, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said: “The Overseas Operations Bill would be a huge stain on the UK’s international reputation, it would end total opposition to torture, and it’s a hugely welcome that the Lords have made this principled stand today. MPs should reflect on this defeat and drop the Bill all together when it returns to the Commons. “Yet again it has fallen to the Lords to act as the UK’s moral compass. “Granting troops a licence to torture would be an enduring disgrace for the UK and would set a very dangerous international precedent.”
- The Independent
Animal experts say new Tesla factory could harm wild horses, as it used animals to tempt people to Nevada base
Electric car manufacturer touted proximity to animals as a perk of working at new factory
- Yahoo News
The prosecution rested its case Tuesday against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer standing trial for murder in the death of George Floyd, arguing that Chauvin’s use of force to subdue Floyd was excessive and unjustified and ultimately killed him.
- Lexington Herald-Leader
J.D. Vance was one of the first investors in the mega-greenhouse company based in Morehead, Ky.
- Yahoo News
President Biden’s top intelligence chiefs have yet to determine how people first became infected with COVID-19, but they say they haven’t ruled out the possibility that it escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
- The Independent
‘Our system doesn’t serve kids like Daunte,’ Courteney Ross says
- Business Insider
Hundreds of American companies signed a new statement opposing voting-restriction laws - here's who signed and who didn't
Companies including Netflix, Starbucks, and Amazon signed the statement, though The New York Times reported that Delta and Coca Cola refuesd.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Texas should avoid voting laws that may hurt businesses, candidates for Fort Worth mayor said Wednesday in a forum, though some wanted to have a more hands-on approach to advocating for voting laws.
Major global stock indexes scaled new peaks on Wednesday before shedding gains that anticipated a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while the dollar dipped to three-week lows as Treasury yields held below recent highs. High-flying growth stocks declined on Wall Street, sending the benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq lower, while underpriced value stocks rose, lifting the Dow to a new record. U.S. import prices increased more than expected in March, fueled by higher costs for petroleum products and tight supply chains in the latest data to show inflation heating up as economies reopen.
- Business Insider
Madoff used his business to attract investors, who were then recommended to bring in new clients and drive the biggest Ponzi scheme in US history.
- USA TODAY
To stay motivated while working from home, check out our favorite productivity-boosting products from Sony, HelloFresh, Keurig, and more.
- The Independent
‘Congress itself is the target’: Capitol police overlooked intel and were ordered to hold back during riot, report finds
Days before attack, law enforcement officials were warned Stop the Steal campaign could attract ‘white supremacists, militia members’ and other violent groups
- The Independent
Kristen Clarke would be first Black woman to lead crucial Justice Department division amid rise in white supremacist violence and threats to voting rights
- USA TODAY
If confirmed after a likely contentious hearing, Kristen Clarke would be the first Black woman to fill the high-profile Justice Department post.
- The Independent
Rusten Sheskey will not face any discipline for the shooting of Black man that sparked 2020 Kenosha riots
- Associated Press
At its start, America’s war in Afghanistan was about retribution for 9/11. Then it was about shoring up a weak government and its weak army so that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida could never again threaten the United States. With bin Laden long since dead and the United States not suffering another major attack, President Joe Biden is promising to end America’s longest war and move on to what he believes are bigger, more consequential challenges posed by a resurgent Russia and a rising China.
- Business Insider
Iran says it will enrich uranium to highest level ever after apparent Israeli attack on key nuclear facility
Iran, which now plans to enrich uranium to 60% purity, has vowed revenge on Israel over Sunday's act of sabotage on the Natanz nuclear complex.
- Charlotte Observer
The Carolina Panthers need to admit their mistake and move on by trading QB Teddy Bridgewater