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  • AP: Trooper's mic records talk of beating, choking Black man

    Golocal247.com news

    In graphic, matter-of-fact chatter picked up on his body-camera mic, a Louisiana State trooper implicated in the death of a Black man can be heard talking of beating and choking him before “all of a sudden he just went limp.” It is the most direct evidence to emerge yet in the death last year of Ronald Greene, which troopers initially blamed on injuries from a car crash at the end of a chase. Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth, who died last week in a single-car crash, is heard recounting the May 2019 arrest of Greene in rural north Louisiana on audio provided to the AP through an intermediary who asked not to be identified because the case remains under investigation.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:44:08 -0400
  • Potty training: NASA tests new $23M titanium space toilet

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    NASA’s first new space potty in decades — a $23 million titanium toilet better suited for women — is getting a not-so-dry run at the International Space Station before eventually flying to the moon. It's more camper-size to fit into the NASA Orion capsules that will carry astronauts to the moon in a few years. If the shakedown goes well, the toilet will be open for regular business.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 14:11:37 -0400
  • Inside the church at the heart of the Louisville protests

    Golocal247.com news

    The story of how the First Unitarian Church of Louisville flung open its doors to protesters who marched for justice for Breonna Taylor began years before the helicopters swirled overhead, before police in riot gear began marching up the alley. It began with much quieter moments, in the hearts of congregants like Pam Middleton. In the 1960s, she’d fought for women’s rights.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 13:57:44 -0400
  • Lebanon asks Interpol to detain 2 Russians over port blast

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    The lead investigator into the August blast at Beirut’s port that killed and wounded many people issued two arrest warrants Thursday for the captain and owner of a ship that carried thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate to Beirut seven years ago, the state-run National News Agency said. The news agency said judge Fadi Sawwan referred the case to the state prosecution that asked Interpol to detain the two Russian citizens. NNA did not give the names of the two men but Boris Prokoshev was the captain who sailed the MV Rhosus from Turkey to Beirut in 2013.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 13:48:58 -0400
  • US says 'can't tolerate' attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq

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    Washington warned Thursday that it would not tolerate attacks on US interests in Iraq by Iran-backed militias, as Baghdad worries about a possible US withdrawal.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 12:37:19 -0400
  • After pandemic delay, Biden launching in-person canvassing

    Golocal247.com news

    After months of avoiding direct contact with voters because of the pandemic, Joe Biden's campaign is about to launch door-to-door canvassing across several battleground states. The decision comes amid growing concern from Democratic officials on the ground in key states who fear that Biden has been giving a significant advantage to President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, who have been aggressively courting voters at their doorsteps for months. “Our voter contact operation is the most innovative and technologically advanced of any presidential campaign in history, and it has been thriving in this unprecedented environment," Biden campaign manager Jenn O'Malley Dillon said.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 12:33:21 -0400
  • Japan reveals record high budget request eyeing hypersonic tech, F-35s and more

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    Japan is set to continue its recent trend of setting new records for its annual defense budgets, with the country continuing to cast a wary eye on China’s military modernization and nuclear-armed North Korea’s missile program.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 12:29:11 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Is the rate of growth in Africa slowing down?

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    The overall rate of increase may be slowing, but there have still been sharp rises in some countries.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 12:06:55 -0400
  • Pakistan ex-PM Sharif accuses army of political interference

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 11:40:34 -0400
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    Hundreds of Honduran migrants set out for US amid pandemic

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 11:38:47 -0400
  • Alexei Navalny Accuses Russia's President Of Poisoning Him

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    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says President Vladimir Putin is to blame for his poisoning. Navalny was taken to a Berlin hospital after reportedly being poisoned by a nerve agent in August. Navalny is out of the hospital but is still recovering.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 11:26:00 -0400
  • Alexei Navalny Accuses Russia's President of Poisoning Him

    Golocal247.com news

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says President Vladimir Putin is to blame for his poisoning. Navalny was taken to a Berlin hospital after reportedly being poisoned by a nerve agent in August. Navalny is out of the hospital but is still recovering.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 11:26:00 -0400
  • Defiant Navalny accuses Putin over poisoning

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    Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of being behind his poisoning on Thursday, as he vowed to return to Russia to press on with his opposition campaign.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 10:51:17 -0400
  • Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny blames Putin for poisoning, threatens lawsuit against spokesman

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    Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny claims Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind the poisoning that left him hospitalized for weeks, but said he plans to return home anyway and resume campaigning. “I assert that Putin was behind the crime, and I have no other explanation for what happened,” the Russian opposition leader told German newspaper Der Spiegel Thursday. Navalny, 44, spent more than a month in a German hospital after falling ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow on Aug. 20.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 10:45:37 -0400
  • Kremlin says Navalny charges against Putin 'unacceptable'

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    The Kremlin on Thursday accused opposition leader Alexei Navalny of working with the CIA and making "groundless and unacceptable statements" after he claimed President Vladimir Putin had orchestrated his poisoning with Novichok.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 10:21:47 -0400
  • Democrats press ahead on partisan COVID bill as talks drag

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    With top Washington negotiators significantly apart on a huge COVID-19 relief bill, Democrats controlling the House are plunging ahead with a partisan debate on their next option — a $2.2 trillion measure that's anathema to the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans. Thursday's vote was chiefly sought by moderate Democrats who say the party needs to display greater flexibility. Voting on the $2.2 trillion plan came after a burst of negotiations this week between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The Trump administration delivered concessions Wednesday, including a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and a markedly higher overall price tag of $1.6 trillion, but that failed to win over Pelosi.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 10:20:54 -0400
  • Europeans, UK tell U.N. Navalny poisoning a 'threat to international peace, security'

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 10:01:50 -0400
  • Right-Wing Trumpist News Site Busted as Putin Troll Farm Operation

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    At first glance—with headlines such as “Sleepy Joe Set Politics Back 180 Years,” “BLM Body Count,” and “Trump Paid Zero Taxes? Good for Him”—it doesn’t look much different from hundreds of other Trumpist news sites that rage against Democrats and the elitist mainstream media.But the clunkily titled “Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens,” or NAEBC, was on Thursday exposed as a Russian front reportedly linked to the Internet Research Agency—the Kremlin-backed troll farm behind much of the interference in the 2016 U.S. election. There were some warning signs: NAEBC appears to be a pun on a Russian word meaning to “screw over,” and its slogan tells readers: “Don’t get yourself fooled.”The veil was lifted on NAEBC by the Reuters news agency, which reported the FBI has been investigating the pretend pro-Trump media outlet. It’s only been a month since the FBI exposed the fake left-wing news organization, Peacedata, as another project run by Putin’s internet troll army. The two sites are the latest evidence that the Kremlin isn’t just backing one horse in the U.S. election—it’s pushing for as much chaos as possible.Putin’s Troll Farm Busted Running Sprawling Network of Facebook PagesUnlike Peacedata, which mainly targeted overseas readers, NAEBC focuses almost entirely on U.S. politics and current events with a clear slant toward President Donald Trump and Republicans. According to Reuters, the fake outlet was set up in June and pays real U.S. freelancers to write about politically charged issues, and then a network of fake accounts pushes that content to online spaces used by right-wing Trump supporters.For example, take the site’s latest lead article on the Tuesday night’s presidential debate. While even Trump’s most starry-eyed supporters found themselves let down by his performance, NAEBC ran the audacious headline: “The Five Strategic Goals Trump Masterfully Achieved in the First Presidential Debate.” The badly written article, apparently reproduced from a separate blog, reads: “President Trump had a war strategy, and he achieved all of his strategic goals.”Another recent article praises the ingenuity of Trump for managing to pay pitiful amounts of income taxes over the past decade, as was reported last Sunday by The New York Times. Again, the NAEBC article seems to be lifted from a different blog, and it reads: “Even if the account is true, the only appropriate response is: good for him, on several counts.”Aside from deifying Trump, the site is fond of denigrating the Black Lives Matter movement, referring to civil-rights protesters as “rioters” and falsely claiming that demonstrations have led to a “record number of mass shootings” in America. An August headline from the site asks and answers the question: “Was the Cop’s Knee on George Floyd’s Neck ‘Racism’? No!”Leaked Documents Show Russian Trolls Tried to Infiltrate Left-Wing MediaReuters’ Jack Stubbs reports that, while the site had a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn—where fake accounts tried to whip up support and outrage for the articles—NAEBC failed to attract much attention on the most popular social media sites. However, on Gab and Parler—two platforms enjoyed by right-wing users—the site gained more traction.Following the Reuters report, the fake site has been locked out of the top social networks—LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook—but Parler said the company didn’t know what NAEBC was, and Gab hasn’t commented. The website itself is still accessible as of Thursday morning.An unnamed U.S. security official told Reuters that NAEBC is the latest example of “unwitting Americans” being recruited to help the Kremlin sow its chaos before Election Day. Ben Nimmo, head of investigations at social-media analytics firm Graphika, which reviewed the site for Reuters, said it’s the latest piece of evidence that Russian interference in U.S. elections has evolved to become even more insidious than it was in 2016.However, Nimmo explained: “The overall strategy looks unchanged: Energize Trump supporters, depress support for Biden, and target both sides with divisive and polarizing messages.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 09:27:24 -0400
  • Suburban NY diocese files for bankruptcy amid abuse lawsuits

    Golocal247.com news

    A Roman Catholic diocese in New York City's suburbs Thursday became the largest in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy, seeking relief from a torrent of lawsuits filed after the state suspended the statute of limitations for suing over sexual abuse by priests. The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which encompasses much of Long Island and 1.4 million Catholics, said in filing for Chapter 11 protection that it will ask a bankruptcy court to put all cases on hold so that they they can be settled together — a process it says is more equitable but that victims say limits their ability to get at the truth. “Our goal is to make sure that all clergy sexual abuse survivors and not just a few who were first to file lawsuits are afforded just and equitable compensation.”

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 09:23:25 -0400
  • Lebanon, Israel announce U.S.-mediated talks over sea border

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    Lebanon and Israel have reached an agreement on a framework of indirect, U.S.-mediated talks over a longstanding disputed maritime border between the two countries, the parties announced Thursday. The talks will be held at the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping force in the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura under the banner of the United Nations. The talks are expected to begin on Oct. 14, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 09:07:24 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: From memorial to protest, the power of prayer

    Golocal247.com news

    The unidentified man cast a solitary silhouette in the window of his home in Srinagar, the capital of disputed, Indian-controlled Kashmir, as he offered evening prayers. Half a world away, Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller knelt on the field and pressed a fist solemnly to his bowed forehead after a game against the Atlanta Falcons.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 09:07:09 -0400
  • EU launches legal action over UK Brexit bill

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    The European Union launched legal proceedings on Thursday in response to the British government's attempt to overturn parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 08:41:42 -0400
  • Will German Americans again put Donald Trump over the top in the presidential election?

    Golocal247.com news

    German Americans paved Donald Trump’s road into the White House in 2016 through Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This ethnic group barely receives attention in American media and politics.The Midwest, home to many German Americans, is a battleground for the 2020 presidential election. Will this inconspicuous group yet again cast the deciding votes in the upcoming election? The German American experienceForty-four million Americans claim German ancestry. They constitute a large white heritage group in the United States, and the largest by far in the Midwest. Between 1850 and 1890, Germans arrived in the millions to settle in the U.S. German American farmers and workers transformed the frontier wilderness into farmland and fueled the Midwestern region’s industrialization with manpower and entrepreneurial spirit. Politically, they were never a unified voting bloc. Many were freethinkers, fighting against slavery and for women’s suffrage. They founded newspapers and led labor movements. Others were leading Evangelicals, forming the Missouri Synod, one of the most conservative religious bodies of the country. For decades, political parties vied for the vote of this heterogeneous immigrant group.Things changed in the wake of two world wars. To avoid stigmatization, German Americans stopped speaking German, anglicized their German names and became outwardly more American than any other European immigrant group. As a result, most contemporary German Americans have lost an authentic connection to their cultural heritage. Unlike other ethnic groups, they do not collectively link their identity to political action. Yet, despite this low level of community organization and activism, German Americans show common voting patters. ‘Ghost pain of the past’Today’s German Americans are more conservative than their ancestors. Most counties of heavy German American heritage are rural and vote Republican.We conducted a post-election analysis of this group’s behavior in the 2016 election. After we looked at occupational distributions, we suggested in 2016 that the steady economic decline in agriculture and domestic manufacturing in the Midwest made German Americans receptive to populist messages with racist overtones, a view implied by other political scientists and sociologists.A new, empirical study suggests that German Americans’ support of Trump in 2016 was not a simple outcome of party affiliation and not primarily an articulation of racism.Rather, German Americans were enticed by Trump’s isolationist agenda, an ideological preference their communities had developed long before 2016. In fact, presidential candidates with policies of protectionism and anti-interventionism have consistently benefited from the German American vote. For example, in the 1992 race, third-party candidate Ross Perot opposed NAFTA and the first Gulf War. He shared many views on trade and foreign policy with Donald Trump and performed better among German Americans than among any other descendants of 19th-century immigrants.Interestingly, the tendency to support anti-interventionist presidential candidates even extended to Democrat Barack Obama. More successful than any Democrat in presidential elections in decades among German American voters, Obama put forth a prospective foreign policy agenda that contrasted sharply with that of John McCain, who stood for the continuation of George W. Bush’s unpopular wars in the Middle East. German American support for America’s first African American president reached close to 60% in many counties of America’s heartland, making it very unlikely that racism was the primary force behind the swing toward Trump in 2016 in these counties. Rather, this phenomenon shows a consistent attraction to isolationist candidates in these communities rooted in the first half of the 20th century. That’s when German Americans vehemently opposed U.S. military intervention in Europe while being forced to rapidly assimilate. But can past traumas influence voting behavior 80 years later? Research on the persistence of historical legacies such as the voting behavior in former slaveholding counties in the South shows that political attitudes indeed can be passed down over generations even while the experiential link to their origin is lost. It appears that German American attraction to isolationism is a ghost pain of the past. What will happen in November?Trump has been an isolationist president. He abolished NAFTA, withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, started trade wars, snubbed military leaders and announced troop withdrawals from NATO allies. These decisions will increase his popularity among many voters who favor isolationist candidates, including German Americans.Nevertheless, we believe that Trump’s campaign faces a problem in attracting a similarly large number of German Americans voters this November. Expectations that isolationist policies would lead to greater prosperity in the Midwest were disappointed. Moreover, throughout Trump’s presidency, his record as an isolationist was overshadowed by his image as a racist. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]We believe that many of those German American swing voters, who voted for a noninterventionist Obama in 2008 and then were attracted by Trump’s isolationist agenda in 2016, are alienated by his incendiary response to police killings and the Black Lives Matter protests. A central tenet of isolationism is a strong desire to stay out of trouble through noninvolvement. This applies all the more at home. A growing understanding that the president’s actions did not deescalate but instead amplified violence and chaos on American streets will likely keep many German Americans from voting for Trump a second time.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Trump’s foreign policy is still ‘America First’ – what does that mean, exactly? * Biden’s long foreign-policy record signals how he’ll reverse Trump, rebuild old alliances and lead the pandemic responseThe authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 08:25:21 -0400
  • Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict Is Russia’s Problem to Solve

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 08:00:12 -0400
  • Election 2020 Today: Voters cringe after debate, race issue

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    ‘IT WAS SAD': While President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden debated, Americans cringed. PROUD BOYS: Trump tried to walk back his refusal to outright condemn the far right fascist group during the debate, but the inflammatory moment was far from the first time the president has failed to denounce white supremacists or has advanced racist ideas. It was an echo of the way he had blamed “both sides” for the 2017 violence between white supremacists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 07:49:11 -0400
  • E.U. launches legal action against U.K. after plan to breach Brexit deal

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    The European Union on Thursday launched legal action against the United Kingdom over London's plan to unilaterally breach a Brexit withdrawal agreement both sides signed last year. In the latest setback to Britain's attempt to separate itself from the E.U., the European Commission said in a statement that the country had been put on "formal notice" for tabling its own law that by British ministers' admission breaches international law. The statement said the U.K.'s controversial Internal Market Bill would "flagrantly violate" the rules governing the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland — a key stumbling block in Brexit talks for the last four years.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 07:49:00 -0400
  • Fighting intensifies in Nagorno-Karabakh as Armenia and Azerbaijan ignore calls for ceasefire

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    Armenia and Azerbaijan rejected calls for a ceasefire and accused each other of targeting civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh on Thursday, as Russia and France repeated calls for peace talks amid the worst fighting in the breakaway region since the 1990s. Azerbaijani and Armenian forces intensified their artillery firing on Thursday in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists who declared independence from Azerbaijan in a war from 1991-94. That conflict, which killed 30,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands, has been largely frozen in recent years, despite intermittent clashes. But bellicose rhetoric from both sides suggested the fighting, in its fifth day on Thursday, could ignite a broader war in the Caucasus, a crossroads between Russia, Turkey and Iran. The frontline in Nagorno-Karabakh was a “clash of civilizations and battle of survival” in which Armenia was fighting for global security against international terrorosim, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a statement. Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said fighting would only end when Armenia withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. The Armenian people "should not send their children to Azerbaijani lands," he said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday. Both sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses on the other and accuse the other of targeting civilians. Azerbaijan has not acknowledged military casualties but its Prosecutor General's Office said 55 civilians had been hospitalised and 16 people killed following Armenian shelling of densely populated areas. Armenia has reported the deaths of 104 soldiers, alongside seven civilians killed and 31 wounded. In addition, two French journalists from Le Monde newspaper were seriously wounded by Azeri artillery fire on the town of Martuni, the Armenian government reported. Amid worries over the potential regionalisation of the conflict, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a call on Thursday for a complete halt to fighting. "President Macron and Putin agreed on the need for a joint effort to reach a ceasefire in the framework of Minsk," Mr Macron's office said in a statement after the two leaders spoke by telephone the night before. Russia and France co-chair the Minsk group with the United States. The group of 13 countries which aims to resolve the conflict has not met since the latest fighting began. The Kremlin said only "political and diplomatic methods" could resolve the crisis. Mr Macron’s office said they “both "share concern about the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh." Russia, which is in a security treaty with Armenia, said Wednesday it was concerned by reports of "militants from illegal armed groups, in particular from Syria, Libya" being sent to the conflict. Leyla Abdullayeva, the head of media at Azerbaijan’s foreign affairs ministry, denied the use of Syrian mercenaries, saying “Armenia is behind these allegations, which are not based on any facts”. Meanwhile, Israeli “kamikaze drones” were being used in strikes on Armenian forces, the foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan’s president reportedly told Axios website. Hikmet Hajiyev said the Harop drones had "proved themselves very effective". Aerial footage released by Azerbaijan’s defence ministry showed Armenian military vehicles exploding after being targeted by weaponised drones. Israel reportedly supplies the bulk of Azerbaijan’s military hardware, while receiving a large proportion of its oil supply from Azerbaijan.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 07:39:12 -0400
  • UN shipping agency says cyber attack disables website

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 07:18:03 -0400
  • Despite relaxing Covid rules, Putin has insisted on strict personal bubble since April

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    Four months after Russia relaxed most of its coronavirus restrictions, President Vladimir Putin effectively remains in lockdown, with his staff and the few people he meets placed under an obligatory two week-quarantine before getting anywhere near him, it was revealed this week. The 67-year-old Russian leader, who has always been health-conscious, initially downplayed the threat of Covid-19. However, when the city of Moscow imposed a strict lockdown at the end of March he retreated to his out-of-town residence and stopped receiving visitors. Mr Putin declared a tentative victory over coronavirus in June, anxious to hold a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments that allowed him to stay in power for at least two more terms. While most Russians resumed socialising and travelling over the summer, Mr Putin, who typically has a busy travel schedule, remains a recluse, holding all but a few of his meetings via conference calls. Journalists who cover the Russian president’s work as part of the Kremlin press pool told the Telegraph that print correspondents have not been invited to Kremlin events since March. They say that the few photographers and cameramen who got to see Mr Putin have been required to spend two weeks in quarantine.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 06:53:10 -0400
  • Alexei Navalny accuses Putin of poisoning him and vows to return to Russia

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    The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Thursday accused Vladimir Putin of personal responsibility for his attempted murder him with the chemical weapon Novichok and vowed to return to Russia to continue his political struggle. “I accuse Putin of being behind this crime, and I can see no other possible version of events,” Mr Navalny told Germany’s Spiegel magazine in his first full-length interview since his recovery from being poisoned with the nerve agent in August. The Kremlin denies any involvement. “Not going back to Russia would mean that Putin had won. My task now is to remain the guy who isn't afraid. And I am not afraid... I will not give Putin the gift of not returning to Russia.” Mr Navalny, who was discharged from a Berlin hospital last week and is currently staying in the city, gave a chilling description of the experience of being poisoned with Novichok. “It's hard to describe because you can't compare it to anything,” he said. “You don't feel pain, but you know you are dying. Right now.” The 44-year-old described watching a mobile phone recording of his collapse on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 06:13:22 -0400
  • EU takes legal action against Britain over U.K. bill that violates Brexit deal, international law

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    The executive branch of the European Union informed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday that it's taking legal action over legislation that would breach the legally binding EU-U.K. divorce deal passed last year and also, by the Johnson government's own admission, violate international law. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the legal action, saying Britain's Internal Market Bill "will be in full contradiction to the protocol of Ireland-Northern Ireland" agreed to in the Brexit accord. London has until Oct. 31 to respond.> EU launches legal action against UK for breaking Brexit treaty pic.twitter.com/HfzhCOwOzX> > — The Independent (@Independent) October 1, 2020The EU had set a Wednesday deadline for Britain to withdraw the bill, which gives London the power to ignore the Brexit deal's agreement on the 300-mile-long border between Ireland — which is part of the EU — and Northern Ireland, part of the U.K. The EU and U.S. lawmakers are concerned that Britain may reimpose a hard border between the two nations, reigniting the long conflict pacified by the 1998 Good Friday accord. Johnson's government insists it respects the Good Friday accord and Brexit agreement but wants a "safety net."The lower chamber of Parliament, the House of Commons, passed the Internal Market Bill on Tuesday night, 340-256, over strenuous objections from opposition lawmakers and some members of the ruling Conservative Party. It is expected to face a tougher fight in the House of Lords, where the violations of international law are being taken more seriously.This further breakdown in EU-U.K. ties will also complete ongoing trade negations. The talks are supposed to conclude Friday, but they are expected to continue for at least two more weeks. If no agreement is reached, Britain leaves the EU on Dec. 31 with no trade arrangement.More stories from theweek.com 7 savagely funny cartoons about the Trump tax revelations Biden campaign to launch in-person canvassing efforts in a 'huge reversal' Fox News' John Roberts angrily tells off the White House for its refusal to denounce white supremacy

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 06:12:45 -0400
  • Red tape for firms is price of leaving "anti-science" EU, Gove says

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:53:51 -0400
  • US House passes bill to force companies to disclose Xinjiang-sourced materials

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    Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives approved legislation on Wednesday that would require publicly listed companies in the US to disclose commercial links to China's Xinjiang Autonomous Uygur Region amid concerns about the use of forced labour there.In contrast to numerous recent China bills that have drawn near unanimous support, the bill passed through the Democratic-controlled chamber along largely party lines. Republicans who opposed the legislation said it would constitute overreach by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).After failed attempts by Republicans to drastically amend the bill, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act passed by a vote of 253 to 163, with two dozen Republicans breaking ranks to support it.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.If enacted, the bill would compel listed companies to declare in annual reports whether they, or their affiliated entities, imported goods originating in Xinjiang or containing materials sourced there. The companies would also have to declare whether the goods were sourced from "forced labour camps" and, if so, how much revenue those products generated.The legislation now must pass in the Senate if it is to be sent to the White House before January, when this congressional session ends and all outstanding bills are wiped off the docket.Beijing has denied the existence of forced labour in Xinjiang, where the United Nations believes more than 1 million Uygurs and other members of ethnic minority groups have been detained in a vast network of internment camps.Amid a growing body of scholarly research and media reporting alleging the existence of forced labour within or near those facilities, some Western companies have begun cutting their supply chains from the region, while the US government has blacklisted a number of suppliers.Lawmakers have continued to call for a stronger response from the Trump administration; last week the House of Representatives passed a bill that would effectively ban all imports from Xinjiang.Republicans gave near unanimous support to that bill, but said that the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act would overburden the SEC and hurt US investors and companies.Representative Bill Huizenga said that Republicans were in "robust agreement" with Democrats about the need to combat forced labour, but argued that the issue was the purview of the State and Treasury departments.Speaking on the House floor, Huizenga, a Republican from Michigan, accused Democrats of pushing through an "empty window dressing bill that hurts US investors and companies but unfortunately simply pays lip service to the Uygurs".This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:30:00 -0400
  • Huawei executive's extradition is no 'garden-variety' case because of Donald Trump, her lawyer says

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    The extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou could not be treated as a "garden-variety" case, because of interference by US President Donald Trump, her lawyer told a Canadian judge on Wednesday as he argued for the admission of new evidence in the case.The lawyer, Frank Addario, also used an analogy about Meng's hair colour to suggest that it did not matter whether she had been deceptive during a presentation to an HSBC banker - the basis of the US fraud charges against her.Addario told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the Supreme Court of British Columbia that she should not be swayed by what he called "boilerplate concerns" about the need for a speedy extradition process that had been raised a day earlier by Robert Frater, a lawyer for Canada's attorney general representing US interests.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China."You were told there was this long, eye-watering string of cases to dismiss these motions. But this is not a normal garden-variety extradition case," said Addario, citing alleged intervention in Meng's prosecution by Trump, who said after her arrest almost two years ago that he might step in to help the US in trade negotiations with China.Meng arriving at the British Columbia Supreme Court for the hearing on Tuesday. Photo: The Canadian Press via AP alt=Meng arriving at the British Columbia Supreme Court for the hearing on Tuesday. Photo: The Canadian Press via APExisting extradition case law "is not going to help you", Addario told Holmes.Meng returned to court this week to hear her lawyers argue that the case against her should be thrown out because the US had provided the court with a misleading record of the case (ROC). They also want Holmes to admit new evidence they say shows this.Holmes reserved judgment on the applications and remanded Meng to return to court on October 26. This week's hearings had been scheduled to last through Friday but wrapped up two days early.Frater argued on Tuesday that the applications should be "cut off at the knee". Meng's lawyers were trying to turn the extradition hearing into a trial, Frater said, telling the judge she should "refuse to waste precious court time on processes that have no hope of success".The US wants Meng, Huawei's chief financial officer, extradited to New York to face charges that she defrauded HSBC by lying about Huawei's business dealings in Iran, putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions on Iran.Central to the case is a PowerPoint presentation that Meng gave to a HSBC banker in a Hong Kong teahouse in 2013, which the US claims was intended to deceive the bank about Huawei's relationship with a partner operating in Iran called Skycom.Meng denies the allegations. Her lawyers argued this week that the ROC is "defective" because it omits parts of the presentation in which Meng described Huawei's business relationship with Skycom, calling it "normal and controllable business cooperation".Meng leaving the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver during a break in her hearing on Monday. Photo: AFP alt=Meng leaving the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver during a break in her hearing on Monday. Photo: AFPHSBC was not defrauded, Addario argued, because it must have known after the presentation that both Huawei and Skycom were working in Iran. That was all the bank needed to know to avoid any risk of sanctions, he said, either by vetoing Huawei and Skycom's transactions, or by processing them outside the US banking system."What the United States does include [in the ROC] is fundamentally inaccurate," and what it omitted was central to the case, Addario said on Wednesday.Addario contended that it did not matter whether Meng lied to the banker - referred to as "HSBC Witness B" - about the exact connections between Huawei and Skycom, as the US and Frater claim.He said: "A mere lie, if she's asked in that meeting, 'is your hair naturally blonde or naturally brunette' and she lies about it - it's not material to US sanctions risk. Even if the [HSBC] risk committee said 'we are only going to deal with brunettes' ... the only thing material is that they [Huawei and Skycom] are both doing business in Iran."In filings, Meng's team contends that "the evidence that the Requesting State relies on as essential to committal [the ROC] is so unreliable or defective that it should be disregarded". The remedy, they argue, is that the extradition case be thrown out.Meng, 48, is a daughter of the telecommunications company's founder Ren Zhengfei.She was arrested at Vancouver's airport on December 1, 2018, on a stopover from Hong Kong, throwing China's relations with the US and Canada into disarray. Days later, China arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and has charged them with espionage, but their treatment is widely seen in the West as hostage-taking and retaliation for Meng's arrest.Meng remains under partial house arrest, wearing a GPS tracker on her ankle and living in one of the two homes she owns in Vancouver. Her extradition proceedings are scheduled to last until next year, but appeals could drag out the process much longer.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:30:00 -0400
  • Police in Ukraine investigate death of US Embassy employee

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    Police in Ukraine are investigating the death of an American woman who worked for the United States Embassy in Kyiv. The woman was found unconscious with a head injury near the railway tracks in a park not far from the embassy on Wednesday, according to a police statement. The Embassy confirmed the woman was a U.S. citizen in a statement and said they were “heartbroken" to report her death.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:24:26 -0400
  • EU launches legal case against UK over Internal Market Bill

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:09:48 -0400
  • US makes fresh pitch to Latin America in bid to counter China's influence

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    Experts say Growth in the Americas programme is attempt to reassert US control – and seems likely to anatagonise Beijing Growing tensions between the US and China have prompted clashes at the United Nations, accusations of spying and rumblings of a global trade war.In Latin America, the rivalry has recently prompted a public relations battle over which superpower could provide ventilators and PPE during the pandemic, outcry over a Chinese deepwater fishing fleet and renewed pressure over the adoption of Huawei technology in 5G networks.Now, the US seems intent on countering China’s growing commercial influence in the region, with a program challenging Beijing’s involvement in infrastructure developments and energy mega-projects.On a recent visit to Suriname and Guyana – which have both recently made major offshore oil discoveries – Mike Pompeo made a direct sales pitch on behalf of US companies.“No state-owned operation can beat the quality of the products and services of American private companies,” said the US secretary of state. “We’ve watched the Chinese communist party invest in countries, and it all seems great at the front end and then it all comes falling down when the political costs connected to that becomes clear.”Pompeo – the first secretary of state to visit either country – also used the opportunity to sign up both nations to the Growth in the Americas programme, more frequently referred to as America Crece, its Spanish translation, which seeks to “catalyze private-sector investment in Latin America and the Caribbean”.The project is seen as a direct response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the $1.5tn foreign and economic policy to establish maritime trade and invest in infrastructure projects in dozens of countries.Nineteen countries in the region have signed up to the BRI, with Chinese firms – many of them partly state-owned – winning major mining, energy and transport projects. Since 2005, China-based firms have invested over $123bn in the region and Chinese banks have loaned $137bn.“It’s clear that America Crece is a US response to the BRI; Pompeo has consistently criticized what he considers onerous conditions attached to Chinese infrastructure loans,” said Rob Soutar, managing editor of Diálogo Chino, a website specialising in China-Latin America relations.“Inside China, a number of academics see America Crece as the US attempt to reassert control over Latin America as its unique area of influence – a new version of the Monroe doctrine,” he said.In September 2018 the US recalled its top diplomats in Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic after the countries each ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established ties with China.But since then, US pressure appears to have increased, the growth of BRI partnerships has slowed, and Chinese investments in strategic countries such as Panama appear to have hit a speed bump.The America Crece program offers no new budget for regional infrastructure projects, but it does give the US policy a name and a direction.“The BRI wants to create infrastructure that supports Chinese interests – built by Chinese companies and with Chinese banks making money on the loans. America Crece, by contrast, involves projects with business cases that make sense for the region and support good governance,” said Dr Evan Ellis, a professor of Latin American Studies at the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.But the view that Chinese investment relies solely on backroom deals with Beijing is no longer correct, said Soutar. “In recent years there’s been a major shift in the way Chinese firms invest in the region. Increasingly, they invest in equity or form international consortiums to win competitive tenders, such as the Bogota metro system.”> We advise Mr Pompeo to respect facts and truth and stop spreading rumors about China> > Chinese embassy in SurinameAnd while America Crece is theoretically open to investment from all countries, Colombian president Ivan Duque’s description of the programme as a “new phase of Plan Colombia” has given ammunition to those who view it as a way to secure lucrative contracts for US companies.Under the 2000-16 Plan Colombia – which focused on tackling the country’s twin guerrilla and narco-trafficking problems – much of the $10bn in aid went to US arms and security firms.Having fallen down the list of US foreign policy priorities under the Obama administration, US diplomatic efforts in Latin America have been revived in recent years. Donald Trump has sought to attract votes in Florida by taking a tough stance on socialist governments in Cuba and Venezuela, but the need resist China’s “predatory trade practices” is one of the few things that Republicans and Democrats agree on.The new, straight-talking strategy seems designed to antagonise China.“We advise Mr Pompeo to respect facts and truth, abandon arrogance and prejudice, stop smearing and spreading rumors about China,” the Chinese embassy in Suriname said.And while geopolitical rivals search to gain influence over natural resources, infrastructure and trade routes, the best interests of Latin America itself could be sidelined, said Soutar.“Both the BRI and America Crece invest overwhelmingly in fossil fuel infrastructure, locking Latin America into a high-carbon development pathway. The region desperately needs investment to rebuild after Covid, but this should be channelled towards low-carbon, climate-resilient development if it’s to generate sustained, long-term benefits.”

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:00:05 -0400
  • Brussels launches EU lawsuit against UK over Brexit treaty breaches

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    The European Commission today launched legal action against the United Kingdom, after MPs passed the Internal Market Bill, which overrides parts of the Brexit divorce treaty. Brussels had set Britain an end of month deadline to withdraw clauses in the Bill relating to Northern Ireland, which it said broke the Withdrawal Agreement and international law. On Monday, the Commission said it would “not be shy” in taking “legal remedies” unless the UK backed down over the provisions on state aid and export declarations on goods from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland. Downing Street refused the same day and the Bill was passed on Tuesday night by 340 votes to 256 and will now go to the House of Lords. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said, "We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft Internal Market Bill, by the end of September. "This draft bill is by its very nature, a breach of the obligation of good faith, laid down in the Withdrawal Agreement. Moreover, if adopted as is it will be in full contradiction to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. She added,"The deadline lapsed yesterday. The problematic provisions have not been removed. Therefore this morning, the Commission has decided to send a letter of formal notice to the UK Government. This is the first step in an infringement procedure." The lawsuit begins a lengthy process that could ultimately end in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The EU’s top court could then impose hefty, daily fines until the law was changed. The UK now has a month to respond to the formal letter of notice before the next stage of the process to punish breaches of EU law by member states. Infringement proceedings take on average 35 months to complete. In practice there is plenty of time for Britain to agree a trade deal with the EU before the UK is taken to the European Court of Justice. If there is a trade deal agreed by the end of October, many of the concerns the Bill seeks to solve will “fade away”, Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said on Monday. As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK agreed to be bound by decisions of the court on cases begun before the end of the transition period on December 31 for four years. A UK spokesperson said, "We will respond to the letter in due course. We have clearly set out our reasons for introducing the measures related to the Northern Ireland Protocol. "We need to create a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK’s internal market, ensure Ministers can always deliver on their obligations to Northern Ireland and protect the gains from the peace process.” Mrs von der Leyen said that work with the UK would continue to ensure that the Withdrawal Agreement was fully implemented, including the new customs arrangements in Northern Ireland, by the January 1 deadline of the end of the transition period. "We stand by our commitments," she said before meeting Micheál Martin, the Irish prime minister, for talks. Mr Martin is in Brussels for today’s European Council summit. The commission could also bring separate action through enforcement mechanisms in the Withdrawal Agreement. These could result in fines or parts of any future trade deal being suspended, if a panel’s rulings are ignored. In the immediate aftermath of the controversy over the Bill, Mrs von der Leyen had warned that trade negotiations with the UK, which continue in Brussels today, were at risk. Since then the EU has looked to decouple the trade talks from the row over the Brexit treaty and continue negotiations. A senior EU diplomat said that any final trade deal will be conditional on the UK withdrawing all of the offending provisions of the Internal Market Bill. "The Internal Market Bill would have to be withdrawn," the source said in Brussels before adding it was implausible to expect the EU to agree to any new deal, when it had undermined the Brexit treaty. The diplomat said that if the forthcoming Finance Bill was tabled and broke international law and the Withdrawal Agreement, it would be an "extremely serious situation".

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 04:56:48 -0400
  • Trump’s Jab on Hunter Biden’s Drug Addiction Horrifies Treatment Advocates

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    Even by the historically low standards of decorum and decency set by President Donald Trump’s pugilistic performance in his first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the president’s attack on his opponent’s son for his past struggles with substance use was singular in its ugliness.“Are you talking about Hunter?” Trump said late into the debate, interrupting Biden as he reflected on his late son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. “Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use—he didn’t have a job until you became vice president, and once you became vice president, he made a fortune.”Trump’s callous and incorrect comments—Hunter Biden was not dishonorably discharged— about his opponent’s lone surviving son’s past drug use were clearly wielded to leave a mark, but Biden responded with defiance.“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it, he’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”The moment horrified advocates for addiction treatment and recovery who told The Daily Beast that they fear Trump’s comments, and comments like them, could make it harder for the millions of Americans affected by substance use to get help.“Addiction is a medical condition that affects millions of Americans each year, irrespective of any demographic. It is a disease, not a moral or character failing,” Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, told The Daily Beast. “It is inappropriate, harmful, hurtful, and irresponsible when a public figure or person of influence disparages people suffering from addiction.”“Pointing out a father because his son may have struggled in the past with a substance use disorder is wholly unconstructive and serves to perpetuate misconceived perceptions of addiction,” said Dr. Paul H. Earley, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “Our nation must respond with compassion and evidence-based treatments if we want to treat addiction and save lives.”Trump’s comments, which characterized substance use as a character failure, also undercut the hard-fought understanding in the medical community that addiction is a disease, said Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical director of American Addiction Centers, which provides treatment for substance use disorders.Trump Planned to Go Feral on Biden. Now His Allies Want to Call Animal Control“The stigma surrounding mental health and addiction has been shown to be a significant barrier to treatment and prevents many people from seeking the help that they need,” said Weinstein, who called addiction “an indiscriminate, chronic, complex and relapsing brain disease.”“This disease is not the result of a moral failing, poor judgment, or weakness—it is a chronic condition that requires lifelong maintenance,” Weinstein said.Trump has a track record of making flippant comments about substance use and addiction, despite the death of his elder brother to complications related to alcoholism. In recent years he’s attempted to appear understanding with campaign promises to address the nation’s opioid crisis with humanity for those struggling with addiction—but has occasionally betrayed his ignorance on the issue, saying in 2017 that getting kids to avoid using illegal drugs was “really, really easy” with the right advertising.“It is tragedy enough that so many Americans are struggling with life-threatening addiction,” Trump said in a New Hampshire speech about drug policy in 2016. “We should not compound that tragedy with government policies and bureaucratic rules that make it even harder for them to get help.”During the coronavirus pandemic, which, combined with resultant social isolation and economic hardship, has caused a spike in substance use nationwide, Trump has cited rising rates of overdoses and drug-related suicides as a reason to reopen the country.“Don’t forget, people are dying the other route,” Trump said during a White House briefing in May. “You can go with the enclosed route: Everything is closed up, you’re in your house, you’re not allowed to move. People are dying with that, too. You look at drug addiction, you look at suicides, you look at some of the things that are taking place, people are dying that way, too. You could make the case it’s in even greater numbers.”But experts told The Daily Beast that Trump’s remarks during the presidential debate could exacerbate the very crisis he has used to push against coronavirus-related shutdowns.Addiction is “the number-two public health issue in our country behind coronavirus,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, chief government relations officer with the Partnership to End Addiction. “The pandemic is really fueling the addiction epidemic in our country, and I think especially at this moment we need to be really cautious not to further isolate people.”Taylor, who served as a senior adviser for drug policy on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs during Biden’s time on the committee, told The Daily Beast that stigmatizing language like that used during the debate “inhibits people from getting the help that they need.”“Words matter,” Taylor said. “We have 21 million Americans who are struggling with a substance use disorder and in this country right now. There are also 22 to 23 million Americans in recovery. This is not a fringe issue—this is an issue that affects virtually every family in the country.”The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment about whether the president was further stigmatizing addiction with his attacks on Hunter Biden’s past drug use, about which the younger Biden has spoken candidly in the past.But remarks on Wednesday by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, indicate that the campaign is open to speaking about Hunter Biden’s struggles with addiction in even more repugnant terms.“I mean, Hunter Biden, has now a tie, a direct tie to Vladimir Putin,” the younger Trump said during a radio interview with Glenn Beck, referencing one of a number of disproven conspiracy theories alleging that Hunter Biden co-founded a partnership that received $3.5 million from a Putin-allied billionaire. “And you don’t think they would use that over Crackhead Hunter?”The Biden campaign did not directly respond to a request for comment about the affect Trump’s remarks might have on those struggling with substance use, which Kate Bedingfield called an “unhinged meltdown,” but Taylor noted that in her experience as an adviser on drug policy, Biden showed a personal compassion for those affected by addiction.“He’s not new to the scene on this issue—he’s cared about it for years and years and really feels the pain of families who are going through this, not just because it's touched his family but because he has seen the effect it has on families across the country,” Taylor said. “He really cares about it.”Asked about the comments during a train tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania, Biden told reporters that “it was hard,” as both a father and an American, to watch Trump attack his son on such personal terms.“It was hard for me to believe a president of the United States could be so viciously classless,” Biden said. “What I kept thinking was, I wonder how many people had to take their kids away from the television set and say, ‘This is not who we are.’”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get 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.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 04:37:42 -0400
  • 5 new ways leaders can support women during COVID-19

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 04:00:51 -0400
  • Britain, EU split on state aid in crunch week of trade talks - sources

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    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 03:39:42 -0400
  • Belarus activist shares ‘Alternative Nobel’ with 3 others

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    A prominent Belarus opposition figure and an imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer on Thursday were awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the “Alternative Nobel,” together with activists from Nicaragua and the United States. The foundation cited 58-year-old human rights activist Ales Bialiatski and the non-governmental organization Human Rights Center Viasna which he heads, “for their resolute struggle for the realization of democracy and human rights in Belarus.”

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 03:26:27 -0400
  • Russia's Navalny accuses Putin of being behind his poisoning

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    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is recovering in Germany after being poisoned in Russia by a nerve agent, said in comments published Thursday that only Russian President Vladimir Putin could have been behind the attack against him. Navalny's supporters have frequently maintained that the poisoning could have only been ordered at the top level, although the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed the notion. Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is Putin’s fiercest critic, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 03:08:42 -0400
  • Nigeria turns 60: Can Africa's most populous nation remain united?

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    Nigeria's greatest challenge on its 60th anniversary remains its diversity, writes Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 02:58:10 -0400
  • In NYC and LA, returning pupils face battery of virus tests

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    The two largest school districts in the U.S. are rolling out ambitious and costly plans to test students and staff for the coronavirus, bidding to help keep school buildings open amid a rise in infections among the nation's school-age children. “This is going to allow us to keep a constant eye on what is happening in each school, and make sure we can keep everyone safe,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, imploring parents to fill out consent forms so their children can participate. With an estimated 100,000 to 120,000 tests expected each month, each costing between $78 and $90, New York City’s school-based testing plan goes well beyond safety protocols seen in most other districts.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 01:04:47 -0400
  • Police departments seeing modest cuts, but not 'defunding'

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    The racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd earlier this year prompted calls to “defund the police” in cities across the country, a priority for activists that has now become a central point in the presidential contest. A review by The Associated Press finds that while local governments have trimmed police budgets over the past four months, the cuts have been mostly modest. Advocates want to overhaul a policing system that has repeatedly been linked to brutality against Black people, including the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 01:03:35 -0400
  • Europe Can Have Stimulus or Rule of Law, Not Both

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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- More by carelessness than design, the European Union has conflated two of its biggest problems into what this week became one hot mess. To get out of it, the bloc may have to make the Brussels equivalent of Sophie’s choice: It could sacrifice the principle that all member states must respect the rule of law. Or it could ditch its plans for economic recovery and fiscal cohesion.This trap was laid in July. Under the moderation of Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, the 27 national leaders tentatively agreed to a groundbreaking budget-plus-stimulus deal to address the pandemic. Worth 1.8 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) in total, the package includes 750 billion euros to be financed by the first “European” bonds ever issued, which is why it’s considered the germ of a future fiscal union. But it still has to be accepted by the European Parliament and ratified by all member states.To get that initial agreement, its drafters added some vague wording about conditionality. The aim was to link any receipts of EU money to upholding the rule of law. Broadly defined, this term includes everything from an independent judiciary and a free press to other basics of liberal democracy, as enshrined in the EU’s treaties. Uncontroversial, you might think.Those phrases entered the text to give the naysayer countries a reason to support the overall package. Its critics, dubbed the “frugals,” are the Dutch, Austrians and Scandinavians, who aren’t crazy about joint borrowing and spending. So the language to tie funds to rule of law was a motivation for them to nod the deal through. The conditionality clause’s obvious targets are Hungary, which has been dismantling democratic norms for a decade, and Poland, which has been at it for five years. The EU has no mechanism for expelling member states. But it has initiated so-called Article 7 probes into both countries, which could in theory deprive them of their voting rights in Brussels. In reality, there are so many hurdles before such an outcome that the populist regimes in Budapest and Warsaw simply ignore the proceedings.That’s why the “frugals” and several other member states, cheered on by the European Parliament and Commission, wanted to add a new mechanism to discipline Hungary and Poland. They meant to revive a proposal from 2018, whereby the Commission could impose punishments against errant countries unless a qualified majority — usually 55% of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population — rejects the sanctions. Budapest and Warsaw could never have mustered that much support to veto their own censure.A proposal this week from Germany dilutes this idea beyond recognition, however. Sanctions must now be accepted, instead of rejected, by a qualified majority. Hungary, Poland and a few eastern European allies could easily get a blocking minority.Moreover, any proposed punishment must relate directly to transgressions that compromise the use of EU funds — if corruption sends the money to the wrong accounts, for example. A wider deterioration from democracy to autocracy, which is how the U.S. think tank Freedom House describes Hungary’s development, would no longer qualify.It’s easy to see, if still unfortunate, why Germany would go wobbly like this. Chancellor Angela Merkel sees the next few months as her last chance to leave a positive European legacy. She needs this pandemic fund done and dusted, and can’t risk a veto by Hungary or Poland.The Commission, too, is between a rock and a hard place. It must point out that Budapest and Warsaw violate the letter and spirit of the EU’s treaties, and yet it can’t be seen to single them out. So this week it published a report on the rule of law in all 27 states. It has concerns about various places, from Bulgaria and Romania to Spain and Malta. But those are as nothing next to worries about Poland and Hungary, which Vera Jourova, a Commissioner, last week called a “sick democracy.”Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has theatrically demanded Jourova’s resignation and claimed that she was insulting all Hungarians. His goal, as ever, is to whip up support at home by demonizing Brussels.Meanwhile, the “frugals,” who didn’t like the stimulus and borrowing plan to begin with, are horrified that rule of law is no longer a priority. Many members of the European Parliament are even more irate and threatening the deal’s rejection. Suddenly, the EU has reverted to stereotype, with everybody bickering, lots of people prepared to cast sulky vetoes, and paralysis looking distinctly possible.My prediction is that Merkel, as is her wont, will still pull off the deal in the end. But it will come at a cost that will become clear only later. The EU, which claims to draw strength from its humanitarian and democratic values, has forfeited enforcing those standards internally, and appears ready to surrender them when they’re inconvenient. Earlier this year, I worried that the EU could gradually become irrelevant in world history. This week hasn’t exactly cheered me up.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andreas Kluth is a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He was previously editor in chief of Handelsblatt Global and a writer for the Economist. He's the author of "Hannibal and Me." For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 01:00:08 -0400
  • 'I was sad. It was sad': Voters bemoan nasty debate

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    Donald Trump and Joe Biden debated. After the presidential candidates put on one of the noisiest, most chaotic debates in recent memory, voters across the country struggled for words – printable words – to describe the display.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:37:52 -0400
  • In Appalachia, people watch COVID-19, race issues from afar

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    The water, so cold that it nearly hurts, spills relentlessly into a concrete trough from three pipes driven into a hillside near the edge of town. For years, Tarah Nogrady has filled plastic jugs here and lugged them back to a town so small it rarely appears on maps. It’s a common view in the little towns that speckle the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio, where the pandemic has barely been felt.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:34:53 -0400
  • Check's in the mail? Trump doling out aid before election

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    In recent days, President Donald Trump has promised millions of Medicare recipients that — thanks to him — they'll soon be getting an “incredible” $200 card in the mail to help them pay for prescriptions. Trump has also taken to showcasing the $28 billion he “gave” to farmers hard hit by the trade war with China. “What I’ve done for them, with the $28 billion for the farmers, and that includes you,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Newport News, Virginia, last week — without mentioning that the aid was needed to offset the hit farmers took from his trade standoff with China.

    Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:12:27 -0400
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