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Houthi Drones Strike Big Saudi Refineries Trigger Huge Fires

Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched drone attacks on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and a major oil field Saturday, sparking huge fires and halting about half of the supplies from the world’s largest exporter of oil. The attacks were the latest of many drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure in recent weeks, but easily the most damaging. They raise concerns about the global oil supply and likely will further increase tensions across the Persian Gulf amid an escalating crisis between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. The attacks resulted in “the temporary suspension of production operations” at the Abqaiq oil processing facility and the Khurais oil field, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The fires “were controlled,” the statement said, and no workers were injured. The fires led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies, according to the statement, which said part of that would be offset with stockpiles. The statement said Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant, would provide updated information in the next 48 hours. The Iranian-backed Houthis, who hold Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and other territory in the Arab world’s poorest country, took responsibility for the attacks in the war against a Saudi-led coalition that has fought since 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government. But the U.S. blamed Iran, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeting, “There is no evidenceContinue reading

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Benjamin Netanyahu - Israel Politics News Headlines

A visibly frantic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the fight of his political life as the country heads to national elections for the second time this year. With Netanyahu locked in a razor tight race and facing the likelihood of criminal corruption charges, a decisive victory in Tuesday’s vote may be the only thing to keep him out of the courtroom. A repeat of the deadlock in April’s election, or a victory by challenger Benny Gantz, could spell the end of the career of the man who has led the country for the past decade. Netanyahu’s daily campaign stunts have helped him set the national agenda — a tactic the media-savvy Israeli leader has perfected throughout his three decades in national politics. But it may well be the things he can’t control — including a former political ally turned rival and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip — that bring him down. Throughout the abbreviated campaign, Netanyahu has seemed to create new headlines at will. One day he is jetting off for meetings with world leaders. The next, he claims to unveil a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear site. Then he vows to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Nearly every day, he issues unfounded warnings about the country’s Arab minority “stealing” the election, drawing accusations of incitement and racism. “Netanyahu is always worried. That’s why he has survived this long,” said Anshel Pfeffer, a columnist at the Haaretz newspaper and author of a recent biography of Netanyahu. “EveryContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News Headlines

The House Judiciary Committee is escalating its impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, preparing a vote as soon as next Wednesday to establish procedures for hearings the panel hopes to hold this fall. The details are still being negotiated, but a procedural vote next week could set rules for the hearings, according to a person familiar with the plan. The person requested anonymity because the resolution is still being worked out and the person wasn’t authorized to discuss it. The rules could include allowing staff to question witnesses; allowing some evidence to be presented in closed sessions to protect sensitive materials; and allowing the president’s counsel to respond in writing to evidence and testimony, among other guidelines. The vote would be similar to procedural votes taken at the beginning of the impeachment investigations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, according to the person. Tentative details of the resolution were discussed on a call with members of the committee Friday as they prepare to return to Washington next week after a six-week recess. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said just before the recess that the committee is already in an impeachment investigation as it has called multiple witnesses related to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and sued the White House for blocking testimony. The vote would make clear that the committee is indeed serious about moving forward with an impeachment probe, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged caution to members, saying earlier this month that theContinue reading

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Jim Mattis - USA Headline News Today

Try as he might, Jim Mattis can’t seem to hide his real feelings about Donald Trump – that the president is leading the world’s most powerful nation down a dangerously wrong path. Mattis, the retired Marine general who resigned as defense secretary last December in a military policy dispute with Trump, says he owes the nation public silence while his former boss remains in office. Yet the comments Mattis is making as he promotes his new book suggest a strong, if implicit, message: Trump’s leadership is diminishing America. From the day he accepted Trump’s offer to lead the Pentagon, Mattis knew his views didn’t align entirely with those of the president-elect, particularly on what Mattis considers a central pillar of American global power and influence: respect for allies. Trump often denigrates allies, calling them ingrates and freeloaders. Mattis, who spent more than four decades in the Marines, is a former NATO supreme allied commander. Strengthening alliances was No. 2 on his list of strategic priorities as defense secretary, behind only his push to restore what he saw as America’s eroding military edge. Nations with allies prosper, Mattis likes to say, while those without them wither. Trump prefers to largely go it alone, America first. During his two-year tenure at the Pentagon, Mattis was consistently circumspect. He shied from news cameras, concerned that any utterance could offend his boss or amplify the daylight between the two men on any number of issues. To preserve his influence, he felt he must holdContinue reading

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World War II, WWII - Veterans

Seventy-five years ago, they helped free Europe from the Nazis. This weekend, U.S. veterans are back in Paris to celebrate, and commemorate. Now in their 90s, these men aren’t afraid to cry about what they saw in World War II. And they want everyone to remember what happened back then, so that it doesn’t happen again. “The veterans, all the veterans of World War II, I think we saved the world,” said Harold Angle, who came to France with the U.S. 28th Infantry Division in 1944, and recounted his experiences to The Associated Press in Paris. “To be under the domination of a dictatorship like the Hitler regime and some of the terrible, terrible things that they did. “When you talk about taking little kids out on a firing range and shooting them for target practice….” Emotion choked his voice. “I can’t imagine anybody doing things like that. So I think we really did save the world. The guy had to be stopped.” Now 96, he’s among Allied veterans, French resistance fighters and others taking part in ceremonies Saturday and Sunday marking the 75th anniversary of the military operation that liberated Paris from Nazi occupation. Angle, from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, landed in Normandy in 1944 and moved into eastern France, where his division fought through a brutal winter. He saved a piece of a bullet that hit his helmet, and keeps it with a wartime photo of himself and a letter he wrote home to his mother, describing his scrape withContinue reading

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Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings - UK News in Politics

Boris Johnson has lost no time in making his mark as British prime minister. In two weeks, he has toured the country telling Britons a spending squeeze will end and they will leave the European Union on Oct. 31 no matter what. His moves bear the hallmark of one man who has stayed behind the scenes since Johnson became prime minister on July 24 but has a vital role — senior adviser and de facto chief of staff Dominic Cummings. Dominic Cummings, the architect of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, says little in public. Yet comments by two sources who worked with him at Vote Leave, his essays, blogs and reports from insiders over the last few years suggest a policy of moving fast and bypassing others in pursuit of a goal. The two sources, one supporter and one critic, say the threat of a no-deal Brexit is a plan by Cummings designed to force the EU to compromise on the departure deal agreed by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May, and to pin the blame on the bloc if no new agreement can be reached. Parliament rejected that deal because some lawmakers feared it could bind Britain to EU rules it would no longer have any say over, leading to a “Brexit in name only”. But Johnson’s insistence that the government will, if it has to, pursue a no-deal Brexit, has weakened the pound as investors bet Britain, already at risk of recession, could see a disruptiveContinue reading

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Bernie Sanders - USA Politics News Today

Democratic presidential candidates expressed outrage Saturday that mass shootings have become chillingly common nationwide and blamed the National Rifle Association and its congressional allies after a gunman opened fire at a shopping area near the Texas-Mexico border. “It’s not just today, it has happened several times this week. It’s happened here in Las Vegas where some lunatic killed 50 some odd people,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said as he and 18 other White House hopefuls were in Nevada to address the nation’s largest public employees union. “All over the world, people are looking at the United States and wondering what is going on? What is the mental health situation in America, where time after time, after time, after time, we’re seeing indescribable horror.” Sanders blasted Republican Senate leadership for being “more concerned about pleasing the NRA than listening to the vast majority of the American people” and said that President Donald Trump has a responsibility to support commonsense gun safety legislation. At least 20 people were killed amid back-to-school shopping in El Paso. A 21-year-old man was taken into custody, law enforcement officials said. Shortly after the shooting and before its death toll was widely reported, White House officials said Trump had been briefed while spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf club. He conveyed his initial reaction on Twitter, writing that the shooting was “terrible” and that he was in close consultation with state officials. He turned to other topics, tweeting a note of encouragement to UFC fighterContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - USA NEWS HEADLINE

The British government is working on the assumption that the European Union will not renegotiate its Brexit deal and is ramping up preparations to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 without an agreement, senior ministers said on Sunday. Boris Johnson, who took over as British prime minister on Wednesday with a promise to deliver Brexit by the end of October “no ifs or buts”, plans to seek a new exit deal with the EU. The EU has said repeatedly that the deal cannot be reopened. PM Boris Johnson has set up a ‘war cabinet’ to push through Brexit ‘by any means necessary’ by October 31. In a move similar to Tony Blair’s ‘sofa government’, Mr Johnson will make all key decisions over Brexit with a team of just six senior ministers – all of whom are Brexiteers. Michael Gove, Chancellor Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, and the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will be the core group of advisors to plot the UK’s exit from the EU. Leading Brexit supporter Michael Gove, who Johnson has put in charge of ‘no deal’ preparations, wrote in the Sunday Times newspaper that the government would undertake “intensive efforts” to secure a better deal from the EU. “We still hope they will change their minds, but we must operate on the assumption that they will not … No deal is now a very real prospect and we must make sure that we are ready,” Gove wrote. “Planning for no dealContinue reading

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Hassan Rouhani and Donald Trump - USA, Iran News

U.S. strategy on Iran is confused and Washington seems increasingly short of options to avoid escalation, with President Donald Trump saying that the choice between war and diplomacy “could go either way.” “The Trump administration is facing a fork in the road with respect to its own policy,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The U.S. has “deployed an enormous amount of pressure on Iran” and is “well prepared to keep that in place for as long as they deem it necessary,” as long as Washington “can avoid escalation and an eruption of a military conflict,” said Maloney. Asked Monday if the U.S. was leaning toward negotiation or conflict, Trump did little to reassure those who prefer the former in resolving an international crisis that is currently one of the world’s most potentially explosive. “I’m okay either way it goes,” said the president, who has imposed punishing sanctions on Tehran while also repeatedly calling for dialogue. Iran has publicly refused to take part in any talks held under pressure. Meanwhile tensions have mounted, with drones shot down, oil tankers mysteriously attacked and ships seized by both Tehran and U.S. ally the U.K. According to Maloney, Iran is “trying to get a sense of where the red lines for the administration are.” But so far, despite tough talk — “We are ready for the absolute worst,” Trump said Monday — the president has repeatedly emphasized his desire to avoid a new U.S. military intervention, and spoke publiclyContinue reading

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John Paul Stevens - USA NEWS

John Paul Stevens moved left as the Supreme Court shifted to the right during his nearly 35 years as a justice. That’s how the bow-tie wearing Republican from the Midwest emerged as the leader of the high court’s liberal wing and a strong proponent of abortion rights, consumer protection and limits on the death penalty. Stevens, who died Tuesday at age 99 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, served longer than all but two justices and was the second-oldest after Oliver Wendell Holmes in the court’s nearly 230 years. He stepped down from the bench at age 90, but remained active in public life. He wrote books, spoke frequently in public and contributed lengthy pieces to The New York Review of Books. Stevens liked to argue that his views remained more or less the same, while the court became more conservative during his tenure. “I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” Stevens told The New York Times in 2007. “I think as part of my general politics, I’m pretty darn conservative.” But the justice began his Supreme Court years as a critic of affirmative action and a supporter of the death penalty. His views on both shifted substantially to the point that Stevens declared in 2008 that he believes the death penalty is unconstitutional. His legal reasoning was often described as unpredictable or idiosyncratic, especially in his early years on the court. He was a prolific writer of separate opinions laying out his own thinking, whether he agreed orContinue reading

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Rare Earths Metal

The Pentagon is rapidly assessing the United States’ rare earths capability in a race to secure stable supply of the specialized material amid the country’s trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earths industry, according to a government document seen by Reuters. The push comes weeks after China threatened to curb exports to the United States of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used to build fighter jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics. The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27. Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency. The U.S. government’s fiscal year ends in September. The U.S. Air Force, which is part of the Pentagon and created the document, confirmed the document’s existence. The Pentagon’s headquarters did not respond to a request for comment. The responses will be reviewed by two government contractors, including Northrop Grumman Corp, which did not respond to requests for comment. “The government wants to know how much of these minerals we could eventually be producing, and how soon,” said Anthony Marchese, chairman of Texas Mineral Resources Corp, which is working to develop the Round Top rare earth deposit in the state’s western edge. Several miners, though, declined to comment when asked if they will reply to the Pentagon, a sign of the sensitivity around rareContinue reading

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US Democrats 2020 Candidates

In four hours of debate among Democratic contenders for the U.S. presidency, the word “deficit” was never uttered and the government’s debt was mentioned only once. The reality is that Democrats are reluctant to make a campaign issue out of one of America’s most vexing problems — the ballooning annual budget deficits and overall debt under President Donald Trump. That’s because some of their most popular policies going into the 2020 election would present significant budget challenges of their own, including expanding Medicare health coverage and offering government help to cut college costs and reduce student debt. While Democrats insist they have workable plans that will cover the costs of these proposals, Republicans counter that their tax-the-rich solutions are not realistic. On their side of the political divide, Republicans are equally interested in keeping mum on the subject, having happily backed Trump’s massive tax cuts and a surge in military spending – two key drivers of the deficit blow-out – after championing fiscal conservatism for years. By supporting Trump, many Republican lawmakers have essentially abandoned an already fading commitment to balanced budgets and cutting the national debt. “I don’t think in this election cycle there seems to be much of an interest in addressing the issue,” lamented Senator Rob Portman, a former White House budget director. Portman, a Republican, is seen as a hawk on government spending, although he was also a strong defender of the 2017 tax-cut law that will drive up the national debt by at least $1Continue reading

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Donald Trump - US Politics News

The Justice Department says it will press its search for legal grounds to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, hours after President Donald Trump said he is “very seriously” considering an executive order to get the question on the form. Trump said Friday his administration is exploring a number of legal options, but the Justice Department did not say exactly what options remain now that the Supreme Court has barred the question at least temporarily. The government has already begun the process of printing the census questionnaire without that question. The administration’s focus on asking broadly about citizenship for the first time since 1950 reflects the enormous political stakes and potential costs in the once-a-decade population count that determines the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives for the next 10 years and the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending. It also reflects Trump’s interest in reshaping how congressional districts are drawn. “You need it for Congress, for districting,” he said Friday. “How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.” Districts now are based on the total population. Some Republicans want them based on the population of eligible voters, a change that could disadvantage Democrats by excluding immigrants. The Supreme Court has left open the issue of whether districts based only on the population of eligible voters is constitutional. The Census Bureau’s own experts have said a citizenship question would discourage immigrantsContinue reading

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Nicolas Maduro's Son Nicolas 'Nicolasito' Maduro - Venezuela News

The Trump administration turned up the pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Friday by targeting his son Nicolas “Nicolasito” Maduro with sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department said. The new sanctions are the latest push in six months of efforts to oust Maduro, whose 2018 re-election has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and most Western nations. Maduro’s son has been involved in propaganda and censorship, has profited from Venezuelan mines, and helped pressure the military to keep humanitarian aid out of the country, the Treasury Department said. “Maduro relies on his son Nicolasito and others close to his authoritarian regime to maintain a stranglehold on the economy and suppress the people of Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Treasury will continue to target complicit relatives of illegitimate regime insiders profiting off of Maduro’s corruption,” said Mnuchin, who is in Osaka, Japan, with President Donald Trump for a G20 summit. The Venezuelan government called the new measures “illegal” and said they had the “dark aim” of trying to directly attack Maduro’s family after the Trump administration’s previous attempts to overthrow the socialist leader had failed. The government “rejects the continued attacks by the Trump administration that seek to undermine, unsuccessfully, the spirit and will of a people determined to take the reins of their own destiny,” it said in a statement. Washington has thrown its support behind opposition leader Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, who invoked the country’s constitution in January to declareContinue reading

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Turkey Elections

Millions of Istanbul residents voted on Sunday in a re-run of a mayoral election that has become a referendum on President Tayyip Erdogan’s policies and a test of Turkey’s ailing democracy. In the initial March 31 vote, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate secured a narrow victory over Erdogan’s AK Party (AKP) in Turkey’s largest city, a rare electoral defeat for the president. But after weeks of AKP appeals, Turkey’s High Election Board in May annulled the vote citing irregularities. The opposition called the decision a “coup” against democracy, which has raised the stakes for round two. “It is really ridiculous that the election is being re-run. It was an election won fair and square,” said Asim Solak, 50, who said he was voting for the opposition candidate in the CHP stronghold of Tesvikiye. “It is clear who cancelled the election. We hope this election re-run will be a big lesson for them,” he said. Polling stations across Istanbul opened at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), with 10.56 million people registered to vote in a city which makes up nearly a fifth of Turkey’s 82 million population. Voting ends at 5 p.m. Results will be announced in the evening. Real estate agent Bayram, 60, said he voted for the AKP’s candidate, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, as he believed foreign powers the United States, Europe and Israel supported the opposition. “All of these will want a piece from Istanbul and then there will be chaos. The enemy of my enemyContinue reading

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Nicolas Maduro - Venezuela Today News

Major European nations are considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and several top officials for their recent crackdown on political opponents, although divisions remain over the timing of any action for fear of derailing a negotiated exit to the country’s crisis, The Associated Press has learned. The financial and travel restrictions are being mulled by a core group of five nations — U.K., France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands — before being proposed to the European Council, said diplomats and members of the Venezuelan opposition with knowledge of the plan. A total of five sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly. While Maduro is among a dozen officials who could be hit with sanctions, no final decision has been made, two people said. The group still needs to breach internal divisions before making a formal proposal to the EU’s executive branch. Greater consensus exists for punishing top members of the armed forces and judiciary who have been instrumental in the arrest of allies of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, whose family is believed to live in Spain. Also on the list is Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez, a top Maduro aide and envoy to talks with the opposition sponsored by Norway, and Jorge Márquez, who is head of the powerful communications regulator which was responsible for pulling the plug on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and Britain’s BBC earlier this year. Steady progress is being made on buildingContinue reading

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Jamal Khashoggi - Donald Trump - Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

The Trump administration granted two authorizations to U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear power information with Saudi Arabia shortly after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, a U.S. senator who saw the approvals said on Tuesday. The timing of the approvals is likely to heap pressure on the administration of President Donald Trump from lawmakers who have become increasingly critical of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Khashoggi, a native of Saudi Arabia, left in 2017 to became a resident of the United States where he published columns in the Washington Post critical of the kingdom’s leadership. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, where Jamal Khashoggi lived, called the timing of the approvals “shocking” and said it adds to a “disturbing pattern of behavior” of the administration’s policy on Saudi Arabia. The Department of Energy granted the first part 810 authorization on Oct. 18, 16 days after Khashoggi was killed. The second occurred on Feb. 18. U.S. authorities have concluded that responsibility for Khashoggi’s death went to the highest levels of the Saudi government. Riyadh has denied that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved. The authorizations were among seven granted to U.S. companies by Trump’s administration since 2017, as Washington and Riyadh negotiate a potential wider agreement to help Saudi Arabia develop its first two nuclear power reactors. The Energy Department has kept information in the approvals to Saudi Arabia confidential, citing protection of businessContinue reading

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