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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 rareHere's the full story.

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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 $1Here's the full story.

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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 immigrantsHere's the full story.

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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 declareHere's the full story.

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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 enemyHere's the full story.

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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 buildingHere's the full story.

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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 businessHere's the full story.

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Boris Johnson - UK Politics Headline News

Boris Johnson, the leading candidate to succeed Theresa May as Britain’s next prime minister, said he would withhold a previously agreed 39 billion pound Brexit payment until the European Union gives Britain better exit terms. The EU has repeatedly said it will not reopen discussion of the Brexit transition deal it reached with May last year, which British lawmakers have rejected three times, prompting May to announce her resignation earlier this month. May stepped down as leader of the governing Conservatives on Friday. Johnson, a former foreign secretary in May’s cabinet, is popular with ordinary Conservative Party members, who will decide between the two candidates who come top in a series of votes by Conservative lawmakers over the coming weeks. “I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write that entire cheque before having a final deal. In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant,” Boris Johnson told the Sunday Times. Britain is due to leave the EU on Oct. 31. If Parliament does not approve a deal – and the government does not ask the EU for another delay – there risks being major economic disruption from a disorderly departure. The 39 billion pounds represents outstanding British liabilities to the EU, which would be paid over a number of years according to the withdrawal agreement negotiated by May. Johnson also said border arrangements with Ireland should be settled only as part of a long-term agreement, rejecting a “backstop” which wouldHere's the full story.

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Fatou Bom Bensouda , Fatou Bensouda, Gambian Lawyer , International Criminal Court, ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today kicked off a campaign in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, with a call to unite humanity against crimes. By uniting against crimes, the ICC and all those supporting it can work together to build a more peaceful, just world by deterring crimes and promoting accountability and access to justice. The campaign, called “Humanity against crimes”, explores the crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction, how the ICC promotes access to justice, and how we can work together to protect people from suffering and help prevent mass crimes. It also includes specific calls to action for both individuals and states to unite in these common goals. A new webpage on the campaign features exclusive interview footage with the ICC President, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, and the President of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP), Mr O-Gon Kwon. In his video statement, the ICC President stated: “The purpose of the ICC is to help prevent war-related violence, and prevent it through the rule of law, and to provide access to justice where it otherwise could not be attained. The ICC needs the support of everyone in its mission.” Speaking on the importance of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the ASP President stated: “Each person, and every country on earth, can help build a more peaceful, more just world. Support the UN’s Goal 16 for peace and justice. Join over 120 countries already supporting the Rome Statute system… NoHere's the full story.

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Mike Pompeo - US Today

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the Trump administration is ready for unconditional discussions with Iran in an effort to ease rising tensions that have sparked fears of conflict. But the United States will not relent in trying to pressure the Islamic Republic to change its behavior in the Middle East, America’s top diplomat said. Pompeo repeated long-standing U.S. accusations that Iran is bent on destabilizing the region, but he also held out the possibility of talks as President Donald Trump has suggested. While the offer may not pan out, Pompeo made it during a visit to Switzerland, the country that long has represented American interests in Iran, as part of a European trip aimed at assuring wary leaders that the U.S. is not eager for war. “We’re prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions,” Mike Pompeo told reporters at a news conference with his Swiss counterpart. “We’re ready to sit down with them, but the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic Republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue.” Pompeo’s meeting with Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis in the southern Swiss town of Bellinzona came amid concerns about the potential for escalation and miscalculation with Iran — a situation that has many in Europe and the Middle East on edge. Cassis, whose country has been an intermediary between the two before, made no secret of that nervousness. “The situation is very tense. We are fully aware, both parties are fullyHere's the full story.

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Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu - Nigeria Politics

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday declined comments about whether it had launched an investigation to find out how former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu, came about the bullion vans that drove into his home in February. Nigerians have mounted pressure on the anti-graft office to open money laundering probe against Bola Tinubu, after the ruling APC party chieftain was seen on February 22 receiving at least two armoured vehicles believed to be bearing cash. The development raised controversies because it came a day to the presidential election on February 23. Mr Tinubu is a senior leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and a strong ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, who was seeking reelection at the time. Critics said there was no doubt the vehicles were conveying cash to bribe voters with, especially since such trucks are used in Nigeria almost exclusively to convey cash by banks, government institutions and cash-in-transit firms. Mr Tinubu’s action was widely deemed contrary to Nigerian anti-money laundering laws, which places a cap of N5 million ( about $14,000) on cash handling by individuals. The former Lagos governor admitted the next day that the bullion vans were conveying money to his house, but he defended his action as out of public’s interest because he was not a government official. Transparency deferred Many Nigerians expected the EFCC to investigate the incident for possible violation of Nigerian laws. But the anti-graft office has declined to comment on the matter — and there isHere's the full story.

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Cyril Ramaphosa - South Africa Politics Headlines News

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday urged the country to pursue “an extraordinary feat of human endeavor” as he was sworn in for a five-year term with a delicate fight against government corruption ahead of him. “The challenges our country face are huge and real. But they are not insurmountable. They can be solved. And I stand here today saying they are going to be solved,” Cyril Ramaphosa told some 30,000 people in the capital, Pretoria, with several African leaders in attendance. He promised a new era in which officials will improve the lives of South Africans instead of enriching themselves. He called for a state free from graft and “resources squandered,” and urged fellow citizens to end poverty in a generation. Both would be immense achievements: Corruption and mismanagement have consumed billions of rand, and South Africa is the world’s most economically unequal country . Ramaphosa’s inauguration followed his ruling African National Congress party’s 57.5% victory in this month’s election. It was the party’s weakest showing at the ballot box since the ANC took power at the end of the harsh system of racial apartheid in 1994, as voter turnout and confidence fell. Ramaphosa first took office last year after former president Jacob Zuma was pressured to resign amid corruption scandals that badly damaged public faith in the ANC. A former protege of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, Ramaphosa is seen by many as having the potential to clean up both the government and the rulingHere's the full story.

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Nancy Pelosi - Donald Trump - USA Politics Headline Today

Nancy Pelosi ’s calling for an “intervention” to save the nation from him. He says she’s “crazy.” The enmity between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi deteriorated Thursday into rude-and-then-some questioning of his fitness for office and her sanity, with personal attacks flowing from both the nation’s top elected officials after a dramatic blow-up at the White House. However intended, the exchanges left uncertain ahead of the 2020 election whether Trump and the Democrats will be able to work together on serious, must-pass tasks, such as funding the government and raising the federal borrowing limit, let alone thornier issues such as immigration, national security and more. Pelosi went first, with demure shrugs and practiced sass. Then, as a tornado warning blared across Washington, Trump followed with a derisive nickname — something he had declined to give her, up to now. “She’s a mess,” Donald Trump told reporters at an afternoon news conference in which he lined up White House staff to testify to his calmness the day before when he walked out after three minutes at a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer. “Crazy Nancy. … I watched Nancy and she was all crazy yesterday.” As for himself, he declared, “I’m an extremely stable genius.” Pelosi scolded back: “When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues,” she tweeted. There was more, before and after that exchange, for political enthusiasts with theHere's the full story.

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News Headline

President Donald Trump said that he has been considering pardons for several American military members accused of war crimes, including headline-grabbing cases of shooting unarmed civilians and killing an enemy captive. Trump, leaving the White House for a trip to Japan, said he was “looking” at the pardons after being asked about reports that he was considering clemency for the soldiers around the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. “Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard and long,” the president said. “You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight, sometimes they get really treated very unfairly.” But, Trump cautioned, “I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t made any decisions.” “There’s two or three of them right now,” Donald Trump continued. “It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on, and I’ll make my decision after the trial.” A number of veterans groups have registered opposition to the possible pardons, including one that could reportedly go to Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL. Gallagher is charged with killing a wounded Islamic State prisoner under his care in Iraq in 2017. Dozens of Republican congressmen have championed Gallagher’s cause, claiming he’s an innocent war hero being unfairly prosecuted. Trump got him moved from the brig to better confinement in a military hospital with access to his lawyers and family. Prosecutors said Gallagher fatally stabbed a wounded teenage Islamic State fighter, shot two civilians in Iraq andHere's the full story.

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Julian Assange NEWS

A new indictment against Julian Assange could further delay what was already expected to be a protracted battle to get the WikiLeaks founder out of a London jail cell and into a U.S. court, opening the door for his legal team to argue that the Espionage Act charges are political and thus not covered by an extradition treaty between the two countries. U.S. authorities want to extradite Assange to face charges that he directed the publication of a huge trove of secret documents that disclosed the names of people who provided confidential information to American and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Julian Assange, 47 and originally from Australia, is serving a 50-week sentence in London after being evicted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in April. He has insisted he will fight extradition. Though the United States and the United Kingdom have a longstanding extradition treaty, one exception is for political offenses. The criteria aren’t clearly spelled out, but Assange and his lawyers are likely to use the charges filed Thursday to argue that the Justice Department wants to put him on trial for crimes that are inherently political in that they involve the acquisition and publication of government secrets. “At least on the face of it, it seems like it would complicate the ability of the United States to extradite Assange from the U.K. because we often think of espionage as one type of political offense,” said Ashley Deeks, a University of Virginia law professor and national security and internationalHere's the full story.

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Gretchen Whitmer - USA NEWS - Gretchen Esther Whitmer

Michigan’s Legislature on Friday passed a landmark bill that would cut the country’s highest auto insurance premiums by letting drivers forego a one-of-a-kind requirement to buy unlimited medical coverage for crash injuries. The votes followed the announcement of an agreement between Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. She said the legislation would guarantee rate reductions for every motorist and offer choice among personal injury protection, or PIP, levels. PIP, on average, makes up half of car premiums. The measure — approved 94-15 by the House and 34-4 by the Senate — also would prohibit the use of several non-driving factors in setting rates and scale back reimbursements for health providers that treat accident victims to 190% to 230% of what Medicare pays. Unlike several other no-fault insurance states, Michigan does not have a fee schedule for care covered by auto insurers. They pay much more for the same services than is paid by employer plans or government insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. A driver choosing to stick with unlimited coverage would see a 10% PIP reduction. Someone who fully opted out would get a 100% cut, if they have health insurance, and potentially also avoid paying much of a $220 annual per-vehicle fee that reimburses car insurers when severely injured motorists’ expenses exceed a certain amount. People on Medicaid would have to get at least $50,000 in benefits and would pay 45% less. People picking one of two other options — $250,000 or $500,000 of coverage —Here's the full story.

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Benjamin Netanyahu - Politics Israel Headline Story

Thousands of Israelis protested on Saturday against legislative steps that could grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immunity from prosecution and limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court. The demonstration in Tel Aviv was attended by nearly all opposition parties, a rare show of unity for Israel’s splintered political system. Police did not say how many people attended. Organizers put the figure at 80,000. In office for the past decade, Netanyahu won a fifth term in April despite an announcement by Israel’s attorney general in February that he intended to charge him with fraud and bribery. The prime minister is a suspect in three graft cases. Benjamin Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations a political witch-hunt. The right-wing leader has said that with a renewed public mandate to govern he has no plans to resign, even if charged. Although the prime minister is under no legal obligation to step down if charged, Netanyahu loyalists in his Likud party have pledged to seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for him while he is in office. Expecting legal challenges, they also have been advocating legislation that would annul any Supreme Court ruling rescinding immunity. Since the election, Netanyahu has not said whether he would seek immunity. On May 13, Netanyahu said on Twitter that his policy had always been to preserve a strong and independent Supreme Court, but that changes were needed in order to restore balance between Israel’s executive, legislative and judiciary branches. The opposition has described any attempt to shieldHere's the full story.

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