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Afghan president narrowly avoids Taliban bomb in worst violence since collapse of US negotiations

Afghan president narrowly avoids Taliban bomb in worst violence since collapse of US negotiationsTaliban suicide bombers killed at least 48 people and wounded dozens more in two blasts Tuesday - one at a campaign rally for the president and the other in Kabul - with the insurgents warning of more violence ahead of elections. The first attack saw a motorcyclist detonate a suicide bomb at a checkpoint leading to a rally where Ashraf Ghani, the president, was addressing supporters in central Parwan province, just north of the capital, killing 26 and wounding 42. Just over an hour later another blast also claimed by the Taliban rocked central Kabul near the US embassy. Authorities initially did not give casualty figures, but later said 22 people had been killed and a further 38 wounded. The explosions came after Donald Trump, the US president, abruptly ended talks with the Taliban earlier this month over a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war. One of the bombs was detonated near the US Embassy in Kabul Credit: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi In a statement sent to media claiming responsibility for both blasts, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack near Mr Ghani's rally was deliberately aimed at disrupting the September 28 elections. "We already warned people not to attend election rallies, if they suffer any losses that is their own responsibility," the statement said. An image from the scene near Mr Ghani's rally, roughly an hour's drive north of Kabul, showed the remains of a burnt motorcycle, with a body on top, covered by a blanket and next to a badly damaged police car. Taliban control in Afghanistan Women and children were among the causalities, Parwan hospital director Abdul Qasim Sangin said. The president, who was speaking to his supporters at the time of the blast, was unhurt but later condemned the attack, saying the incident proved the Taliban had no real interest in reconciliation. "As the Taliban continue their crimes, they once again prove that they are not interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan," said Mr Ghani in a statement.


UPDATE 1-Russia detains two N.Korean vessels after one opens fire - reports

UPDATE 1-Russia detains two N.Korean vessels after one opens fire - reportsRussian border guards have detained two North Korean boats in Russian territorial waters in the Sea of Japan after one of them attacked a Russian patrol, local media cited the Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying on Tuesday. A Russian border patrol discovered two North Korean schooners and 11 motorboats fishing illegally off its far eastern coast and detained the first vessel, prompting the second one to open fire, the FSB was quoted as saying. Three Russian border guards were wounded in the incident.


California Bans State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa over Refusal to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Reassignment Surgeries

California Bans State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa over Refusal to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Reassignment SurgeriesCalifornia added an eleventh state to its travel blacklist on Friday, banning state-sponsored travel to Iowa over that state's refusal to cover gender-transition surgeries under its Medicaid program.California attorney general Xavier Becerra announced the decision to add Iowa to the travel-ban list, which takes effect October 4 and means public employees and college students will not be able to travel to Iowa on the taxpayer's dime.In May, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed a law blocking Medicaid from paying for gender-reassignment surgeries despite the state Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year in favor of charging taxpayers for the procedures. Gender identity is a protected characteristic under Iowa's Civil Rights Act."The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare," Becerra said in a statement. "California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it."California's travel blacklist stems from a 2016 law allowing the Golden State to ban state travel to other U.S. states that roll back protections for LGBT citizens. Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Kentucky are also on the list.


20 dead as truck falls off cliff in southern Philippines

20 dead as truck falls off cliff in southern PhilippinesTwenty villagers were killed and 14 others were injured when the truck they were riding in lost control and fell off a cliff Tuesday in a remote mountain village in the southern Philippines, police and the Red Cross said. Provincial police chief Joel Limson said the truck was negotiating a downhill road in Tboli town in South Cotabato province when its brakes apparently failed and plummeted down a ravine, pinning 15 people to death. Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine.


South Korea drops Japan from 'white list' in trade row

South Korea drops Japan from 'white list' in trade rowSouth Korea Wednesday officially dropped Japan from its "white list" of trusted trade partners, the latest move in a bitter row stemming from Tokyo's use of forced labour during World War II. Seoul had already warned Tokyo it would reciprocate following a similar move by Japan in late August to downgrade South Korea's trade status. Local companies shipping strategic goods to Japan would now have to submit more documents and approval would take around 15 days instead of five, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting the South Korean trade ministry.


What Were the Mach 10 UFOs That Iran's Jets Encountered?

What Were the Mach 10 UFOs That Iran's Jets Encountered?Does the U.S. have a super-secret spy plane?


A flight in India was delayed when a swarm of angry bees covered the cockpit window and attacked staff who tried to remove them

A flight in India was delayed when a swarm of angry bees covered the cockpit window and attacked staff who tried to remove themFirefighters were eventually brought in to get the plane, with 135 passengers and Bangladesh's information minister on board, to take off.


'A war zone': Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 8 others, levels building in Maine

'A war zone': Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 8 others, levels building in MaineA firefighter was killed and eight others were injured when a powerful propane explosion destroyed a new building Monday in Farmington, Maine.


Poll: Biden and Warren on the rise, while Harris plummets among 2020 field

Poll: Biden and Warren on the rise, while Harris plummets among 2020 fieldOnly eight candidates garnered more than 1 percent in the poll.


Hong Kong Protesters Battle Police, Set Fire to Key Subway Station

Hong Kong Protesters Battle Police, Set Fire to Key Subway Station(Bloomberg) -- It was just a typical weekend in Hong Kong: tear gas, water cannons, petrol bombs and few signs that protests now in their fourth month would fizzle out anytime soon.Both demonstrators and police on Sunday appeared to get more aggressive earlier on than during the previous 14 weekends of protests. Demonstrators set fire to entrances to Wan Chai subway station, while others threw petrol bombs at the central government headquarters in Admiralty. Stations including Tin Hau and Causeway Bay were also damaged.Riot police used tear gas, water cannons, blue dye and pepper spray to clear the crowds. The violent scenes disrupted traffic and prompted major shops to close, including the Sogo department store in the Causeway Bay shopping district. Separately, police broke up fights between demonstrators and white-shirted residents who used chairs and umbrellas as weapons. An opposition lawmaker was arrested. The city had largely returned to normal by Monday’s morning commute, with Wan Chai and Admiralty stations reopened.The tens of thousands of people on the streets chanting “Five Demands, Not One Less” showed that leader Carrie Lam’s move to withdraw a bill allowing extraditions to China hasn’t been enough to end the now-ubiquitous scenes of violence in Hong Kong. And they may only get more intense in the run-up to Oct. 1, when China celebrates 70 years of Communist Party rule.Police said in an early Monday statement that at about 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, some 20 “radical” protesters attacked two officers and threw various petrol bombs at them near the junction of Gloucester Road and Marsh Road in Wan Chai, seriously threatening the safety of the police officers. It said the police officers “withdrew pistols as a warning to disperse them.” Police officials said at a daily afternoon briefing Monday that the officers had shown restraint by drawing their weapons and not firing. They said they made 89 arrests between Friday and Sunday, bringing the total number of protesters arrested to 1,453 since the movement began on June 9. “The momentum for this protest activity is still going,” said Peter, a 30-year-old who joined the protests and declined to give his surname. “We are asking for five demands, not one less.”How Hong Kong’s Sky-High Home Prices Feed the Unrest: QuickTakeMore DemandsRemaining demands include an independent investigation into police’s use of force; an end to using the term “riot” to describe the protesters; an amnesty for those charged during previous demonstrations; and the ability to pick and vote on their leaders. Ted Hui, an opposition lawmaker, was arrested, NOW TV reported.The protracted political chaos is taking a toll on Hong Kong’s economy. The international airport handled 6 million passengers in August, down 12.4% from a year earlier, according to figures published by the Airport Authority on Sunday. It noted the decline was mainly due to lower visitor numbers, particularly a “significant” fall in passenger traffic to and from mainland China, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.Authorities plan to boost annual spending on public construction to more than HK$100 billion ($12.8 billion) over the next few years, up from HK$80 billion, the city’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan wrote in a blog post Sunday. Projects will include developing public housing, hospitals and new towns, he said.The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized some of the city’s biggest mass rallies earlier this summer, had canceled a plan to march through the city center after authorities upheld their ban on the gathering. Police cited violence around previous protests, saying the route was too close to “high-risk buildings,” including government offices and subway stations.Hong Kong Leaders Grow More Frustrated by Leaderless ProtestersTens of thousands of protesters came out anyway, including hundreds who gathered outside the British Consulate earlier in the day chanting “God Save the Queen” and urging the U.K. government to ensure China honors its commitments to its former colony.Police on Sunday warned those who came out in spite of the ban to stop immediately, with a series of tweets saying the gathering was illegal and saying “radical protesters” were committing “destructive acts.” The government said law enforcement officers took steps to disperse the crowds and made arrests “in a resolute manner.”It was difficult to compare total crowd sizes with previous protests, as the police don’t issue estimates for unauthorized gatherings. In one piece of good news for the government, a planned “stress test” of the airport transport network on Saturday struggled to gain traction.“It’s quite risky for us to go to the airport because it’s a separate island and the police could stop us at the bridge and not allow us to go through, or they can arrest all of us,” said Aidon, 18, who declined to give his last name. “It’s not because we lose momentum -- it’s more about tactics.”(Updates with police briefing in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Alfred Liu, Linus Chua, Deena Shanker, Adrian Kennedy and Natalie Lung.To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.net;Chloe Whiteaker in Hong Kong at cwhiteaker@bloomberg.net;Justin Chin in Hong Kong at hchin15@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Couple reveal they are raising child 'gender neutral' and haven't even told close family their baby's sex

Couple reveal they are raising child 'gender neutral' and haven't even told close family their baby's sexA couple have decided to keep their baby’s sex a secret from close relatives in a bid to avoid gender bias.  Hobbit Humphrey, 38, and Jake England-Johns, 35, refer to their 17-month-old child, Anoush, with the pronoun, "they", and dress them in both girls' and boys' clothing. The married couple, who are members of the climate action group, Extinction Rebellion, have been accused of “virtue signalling”. However, they are keen to let their child, Anoush, choose their own gender identity when they are old enough, because they wish for them to “grow into their own person”.  Close family members have not been told the child’s sex and grandmother, Camille, only found out when she changed a nappy.   The couple, who live on a houseboat in  Keynsham, Somerset, discussed the ways in which they could challenge gender bias after discovering Ms Humphrey was pregnant.  Mr England-Johns told the BBC’s Inside Out: “The neutral in gender neutral refers to us trying to behave neutrally towards our child rather than trying to make them neutral.”  “Eventually, we decided that we wouldn’t tell people whether they were a boy or a girl … in order to create this little bubble for our baby to be who they are,” Ms Humphrey said.  However their decision has sparked some controversy. Rosa Freedman, Professor of law conflict and global development at the University of Reading, said: “While this is an individual case the worry would be that in the unlikely event many parents took up this way of parenting, that the NHS,  government, and service providers would not know what to plan for in the future as they would not know how many boys or girls exist.” “Parents concerned about gendered social construct would do better to fight patriarchy, homophobia and transphobia rather and try to virtue signal to their friends and communities so they can get praise.” The couple have said that the reaction to their decision has been mixed. However Mr England-Johns said: “But over a year in, it’s clear that we are serious and gradually people have got used to it.  “Although, that still doesn’t stop some pretty confused looks from old ladies in the park when they come up to us and ask if they’re a boy or a girl. It can take a bit of explaining. “We are quite good now at holding space for people’s discomfort in us going, ‘Oh well, actually we don’t tell anyone, we’re not telling anyone for now.”


NYC to Allow 1.1 Million Students to Skip Class for Climate Protests

NYC to Allow 1.1 Million Students to Skip Class for Climate ProtestsNew York City public schools will allow 1.1 million students  to skip classes Friday in order to attend the planned "climate strike" ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit.The protests aim to press the Summit for immediate action to stop climate change, and are geared specifically for the participation of young people.Reactions to the decision have been ecstatic in some cases, as protest organizers contemplate what they hope will be the largest climate change protest in the history of the U.S.“This completely changes things, and it’s our doing,” Xiye Bastida, 17, a senior at Beacon High School in Manhattan, told the New York Times. Some teachers at her school were planning to accompany students to the protests even before the school district granted permission to do so.“We’re not against the school system,” she said. “We need the schools to work with us because our larger goal is to stop the fossil fuel industry.”


Wisconsin man accused of making THC cartridges charged

Wisconsin man accused of making THC cartridges chargedA Wisconsin man suspected of running an illegal operation to manufacture vaping cartridges flew to California last month to get THC oil in bulk to fill thousands of cartridges to sell, prosecutors said Monday in charging documents. Authorities in Kenosha, Wisconsin, arrested 20-year-old Tyler Huffhines on Sept. 5 after parents tipped off police when they saw their teenage son with one of the cartridges. Prosecutors say Huffhines employed 10 people to fill the cartridges with THC oil at a condo he rented with a stolen identity.


Best Bar Tools for Your Home Bar

Best Bar Tools for Your Home Bar


The U.S. Army's Next Generation of Super Weapons Are Coming

The U.S. Army's Next Generation of Super Weapons Are ComingAnd Iran, North Korea, Russia and China should be very afraid.


A flight from Vietnam to South Korea was delayed for 11 hours after the pilot arrived at the airport and realized he had lost his passport

A flight from Vietnam to South Korea was delayed for 11 hours after the pilot arrived at the airport and realized he had lost his passportT'Way Air said it was investigating the incident and how the pilot lost his passport, and that it put passengers in a hotel and fed them breakfast.


Video shows burglars kick in California family's front door, before being scared away

Video shows burglars kick in California family's front door, before being scared awayTwo masked-man kicked in the front door of a Pleasanton home in an attempted home-invasion -- and it was all caught on surveillance video.


French boy, 10, dies 8 years after supermarket burger poisoning

French boy, 10, dies 8 years after supermarket burger poisoningA French boy aged 10, who fell gravely ill in 2011 after consuming a beef burger from supermarket discounter Lidl that was infected with E.coli bacteria, has died of complications stemming from his poisoning, the family's lawyer said. The boy, Nolan, died on Saturday "as a consequence of his poisoning", the family's lawyer Florence Rault told AFP on Sunday. Rault said that Nolan had not "ceased to suffer" after consuming the burger in June 2011.


Exclusive: Russia carried out a 'stunning' breach of FBI communications system, escalating the spy game on U.S. soil

Exclusive: Russia carried out a 'stunning' breach of FBI communications system, escalating the spy game on U.S. soilRussian compounds and diplomats in the U.S. played key roles in a counterintelligence operation that stretched from the Bay Area to the nation’s capital, according to former U.S. officials.


Israel election: early exit polls suggest Netanyahu is in trouble

Israel election: early exit polls suggest Netanyahu is in troubleIsrael was holding its breath on Tuesday after early election exit polls suggested Benjamin Netanyahu’s centrist rivals had won more seats in parliament, potentially endangering the prime minister’s 13 years in power.  While no final results were available, two out of three early exit polls indicated that Mr Netanyahu’s Likud had fallen slightly behind Blue & White, the centrist coalition led by former army general Benny Gantz. A third poll showed the parties tied. The exit polls, which have been wrong in the the past, suggested that neither Mr Gantz nor Mr Netanyahu had a clear path to forming a majority coalition government, which likely means weeks of post-election negotiations before a final result is clear.  There was no immediate reaction from either Likud or Blue & White and both sides appeared to be waiting for more complete results before making statements on victory or defeat.  But if the results held, it would be a remarkable set back for Mr Netanyahu, who is Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and has held power continuously for more than a decade through a string of clear election victories. Letters from Jerusalem RHS One figure who may play a kingmaker role in coalition negotiations is Avigdor Lieberman, Mr Netanyahu’s former defence minister who turned against angrily against his former boss after the last election in April. Despite hailing the political Right, Mr Lieberman refused to join Mr Netanyahu’s coalition and denied the prime minister a majority. Mr Netanyahu then called an unprecedented second election.  The exit polls suggested Mr Lieberman's small secular nationalist party, Yisrael Beiteinu, had improved its standing and could now hold the balance of power in coalition negotiations.   Mr Lieberman has been coy about his intentions but has hinted that he might back Mr Gantz, a secular liberal. Both men have spoken about the need to counter the influence of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties and of forcing Mr Netanyahu from office.  Avigdor Lieberman could be a major player in post-election negotiations Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File The first stage of the post-election negotiations will be for Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, to survey party leaders in the divided parliament and assess whether Mr Gantz or Mr Netanyahu has more support. Mr Lieberman’s backing is likely to be crucial as both men try to convince the president they have the best chance of forming a majority government.  The process of trying to cobble together a coalition could take weeks and analysts could not rule out the possibility of a third election if neither side is able to get a majority.  Both Blue and White and Likud won 35 seats in the last election in April. When Mr Netanyahu was unable to form a majority government he called an unprecedented second election to try win an overall majority.  If Mr Netanyahu is unable to cobble together a coalition this time, he faces the possible risk of a mutiny within his own Likud party. Senior Likud figures have so far insisted they will not rise up against their leader. “It will never happen. We are totally against anybody telling the Likud who to vote for,” Nir Barkat, a senior Likud MP, told The Telegraph.  But Blue & White believes Likud officials could eventually overthrow Mr Netanyahu if they believe he has become a drag on the party’s prospects of holding onto power.   The election followed a similar script to the one that preceded it in April, focusing less on policy differences and more on the central question of whether or not Mr Netanyahu should stay in office after 13 years in power.  The prime minister presented himself as an indispensable leader and the only man with the stature and experience on the world stage to guide Israel through the dangerous currents of the Middle East.  His campaign put up massive posters showing him shaking hands with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. “Netanyahu: a different league,” the posters read.  “I don’t like Bibi but he’s the best person for the job,” said Shula Feldman, 39-year-old British-Israeli originally from London. “For me, the issue of security overrides everything.”  Like many Likud voters, Mrs Feldman, said she believed the criminal prosecution against Mr Netanyahu was at least partly motivated by politics. “I don’t think there would be charges if he didn’t have so many enemies,” she said.   Mr Netanyahu also repeated campaign tactics that have worked for him in the past including making increasingly extreme pledges to his Right-wing voter base, inciting against Israel’s Arab minority, and issuing panicked warnings that he was going to lose.  Less than a week before the election, Mr Netanyahu pledged to annex the Jordan Valley into Israel, an unprecedented step that would destroy any lingering hopes of a Two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was widely seen as an effort to energise his voter base.   Facebook suspended a chatbot belonging to Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party after it sent visitors a message warning of  “Arabs who want to destroy us all – women, children and men”.  For his part, Mr Gantz offered himself as a unifying figure who would bring Israel together after years of Mr Netanyahu’s divisive rule. He charged the prime minister with seeking to cling to power only to protect himself from the criminal corruption charges swirling around him.  “The time has come when the majority takes care of everybody and not the minority takes care of one person,” Mr Gantz said, alleging that Mr Netanyahu would rely on the votes of extremists to pass an immunity law that would shield him from prosecution.  Mr Gantz, a liberal, staked out a more aggressively secular position than he did in the last election and promised to challenge the power of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties which Mr Netanyahu has relied on. Mr Gantz said his hope was to form “a secular unity government” led by Blue & White but which also included Likud and the secular nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party.   However, Mr Gantz said that Likud could only join such a unity government if it first ditched Mr Netanyahu as its leader. Senior Likud figures have said so far said they will remain loyal to Mr Netanyahu.  Moshe Mordechai, a 67-year-old driving instructor, said he normally voted Likud but now intended to back Mr Gantz. “It’s time for a change. Gantz impresses me and I have had enough of Bibi,” he said.


Fall-Flavored Cocktails, From Pecan Pie Martinis to Pumpkin Pie Sangria

Fall-Flavored Cocktails, From Pecan Pie Martinis to Pumpkin Pie Sangria


Georgia homeowner kills three teens wearing masks in possible 'stand your ground' case

Georgia homeowner kills three teens wearing masks in possible 'stand your ground' caseThe fatal shooting of three teens by a Georgia homeowner this week could be a 'stand your ground' case, the Rockdale County Sheriff says.


Putin Loses Legendary Approval-Rating Crown to His New Neighbor

Putin Loses Legendary Approval-Rating Crown to His New Neighbor(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Vladimir Putin takes great pride in his sky-high approval rating. But with Muscovites rising up and a new government instilling hope in Ukraine, he’s being outshone by the president next door, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.It’s still early days for the administration in Kyiv. While pushing a raft of popular reforms, Zelenskiy, 41, remains in his honeymoon period, while cries he’s too close to a local billionaire grow louder.The 66-year-old Putin, meanwhile, is approaching two decades as Russia’s leader. Economic expansion has fizzled out, and along with it the spending largess that kept the masses happy.The last time his popularity sagged meaningfully, Putin famously got a boost after annexing Crimea from Ukraine and fomenting a war between the two former allies.Zelenskiy has a long way to go to match the 89% rating Putin reached back then.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Langley in London at alangley1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Gregory L. WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


See This A-10 Warthog? It Could Wipe Out Iran's Swarm Boats in a War

See This A-10 Warthog? It Could Wipe Out Iran's Swarm Boats in a WarAt least that is the plan.


If you have an iPhone 6 or older, it's finally time to upgrade — but not necessarily to the new iPhone 11

If you have an iPhone 6 or older, it's finally time to upgrade — but not necessarily to the new iPhone 11The iPhone 6 and older iPhones aren't getting iOS 13, so if you care about the latest and greatest iOS features from Apple, it's time to upgrade.


House of Ukraine's former top central banker set on fire

House of Ukraine's former top central banker set on fireThe home of Ukraine's former central bank chief has been burned to the ground, the third chilling incident involving the banker over the past few weeks. Police said in a statement Tuesday that they are investigating a suspected arson attack late Monday on the house of Valeria Gontareva outside the capital, Kyiv. Gontareva has said she has received threats from Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, who lost his PrivatBank to a government nationalization that was carried out while Gontareva was at the helm of the central bank in 2016.


Earth warming more quickly than thought, new climate models show

Earth warming more quickly than thought, new climate models showGreenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere mainly by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday. The new calculations also suggest that the Paris Agreement goals of capping global warming at "well below" two degrees, and 1.5C if possible, will be challenging at best, the scientists said. "With our two models, we see that the scenario known as SSP1 2.6 -- which normally allows us to stay under 2C -- doesn't quite get us there," Olivier Boucher, head of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, told AFP.


UPDATE 1-U.N. Security Council overcomes Chinese veto threat to renew Afghanistan mission

UPDATE 1-U.N. Security Council overcomes Chinese veto threat to renew Afghanistan missionThe United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday to extend a U.N. political mission in Afghanistan after last-minute talks overcame a Chinese threat to veto if there was no reference to Beijing's global Belt and Road infrastructure project. "To our regret a few countries refused to keep the text of consensus previously agreed," said China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun, describing the adopted resolution as a technical rollover. The resolutions mandating the mission in 2016, 2017 and 2018 all included a reference welcoming and urging efforts like China's Belt and Road initiative to facilitate trade and transit, but in March the United States and some other council members said they could no longer accept that language.


Andrew Yang gets why Donald Trump won. He won't be president but he deserves attention.

Andrew Yang gets why Donald Trump won. He won't be president but he deserves attention.He may have the best explanation for how the Trump presidency happened: We 'automated away' 4 million manufacturing jobs in presidential swing states.


Boy Scout leader sang naked in front of kids, and organization failed to investigate: Lawsuit

Boy Scout leader sang naked in front of kids, and organization failed to investigate: LawsuitA Boy Scout leader who was accused of singing naked in front of several young boys was not investigated by his troop despite multiple complaints.


Sheriff indicted for plotting to kill deputy who had tape of his 'racially offensive' remarks

Sheriff indicted for plotting to kill deputy who had tape of his 'racially offensive' remarksA North Carolina sheriff was indicted for obstruction of justice for allegedly plotting to kill one of his deputies.


Investigation into alleged surveillance abuse and targeting of the Trump campaign is in its final stages

Investigation into alleged surveillance abuse and targeting of the Trump campaign is in its final stagesInspector general Michael E. Horowitz outlined a multi-step review process with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General William Barr; chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington.


Houthis Have an Arsenal of Ballistic and Cruise Missiles (Some from North Korea)

Houthis Have an Arsenal of Ballistic and Cruise Missiles (Some from North Korea)Know this: The Houthis inherited from the defunct Yemeni military a large number of Soviet-exported Scuds as well as North Korean-made Scuds called “Hwasong-6s.


Belgian F-16s scrambled to intercept 2 Russian nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over the Baltic Sea

Belgian F-16s scrambled to intercept 2 Russian nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over the Baltic SeaThe Belgian Air Force intercepted two Russian Tu-160 supersonic, nuclear-capable bombers at close range in Baltic airspace.


IS leader calls on fighters to free detained comrades

IS leader calls on fighters to free detained comradesThe leader of the Islamic State group released a new alleged audio recording Monday calling on members of the extremist group to do all they can to free IS detainees and women held in jails and camps. The purported audio by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he also said that his group is carrying out attacks in different countries, was his first public statement since April, when the shadowy leader appeared in a video for the first time in five years. With a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi is the world's most wanted man, responsible for steering his chillingly violent organization into mass slaughter of opponents and directing and inspiring terror attacks across continents and in the heart of Europe.


Earth to warm more quickly, new climate models show

Earth to warm more quickly, new climate models showGreenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday. The new calculations also suggest the Paris Agreement goals of capping global warming at "well below" two degrees, and 1.5C if possible, will be harder to reach, the scientists said. "With our two models, we see that the scenario known as SSP1 2.6 -- which normally allows us to stay under 2C -- doesn't quite get us there," Olivier Boucher, head of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, told AFP.


U.S. seeks U.N. action on Saudi attacks despite likely Russian opposition

U.S. seeks U.N. action on Saudi attacks despite likely Russian oppositionWASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official on Tuesday called for a U.N. Security Council response to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities that the United States blames on Iran, but it was unclear what action he sought or whether Washington might secure Russian cooperation. "We do see a role for the U.N. Security Council to play. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not explain what he meant by "releasable information." The United States has, at times, released previously classified information to buttress its case at the Security Council.


The Electoral College Flips Elections More Than We Thought

The Electoral College Flips Elections More Than We Thought(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Advocates for reforming the Electoral College will doubtless get a boost by a new and important paper by University of Texas economists Michael Geruso, Dean Spears and Ishaana Talesara. They find that in close presidential elections, the probability of an “inversion” — the popular vote going one way and the electoral vote another — is far higher than most of us suppose.By now, most people who follow debate on the issue know that in 54 of the nation’s 58 presidential elections — better than 9 times out of 10 — the popular vote and the electoral vote have gone to the same person. Thus we tend to think of an inversion as an anomaly.Geruso, Spears and Talesara insist that we’re wrong. Once we subtract the landslides and focus only on the close elections, matters are different:In elections decided by a percentage point or less (equal to 1.3 million votes by 2016 turnout), the probability of inversion is about 40%. For races decided by two percentage points or less, the probability of inversion is about 30%. Significant likelihood of inversion persists at larger vote margins.This likelihood, the authors insist, isn’t simply a matter of today’s political conditions. Independent of era, independent of particular personalities, independent even of the number of states, the probability seems to be baked into the system. “Asymmetry,” the authors tell us, “is a general property of the Electoral College system.”Their approach easily accommodates the 2016 result. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.1 percentage points but lost by 74 electoral votes. In the paper’s model, even a 3-percentage-point popular-vote win by a Democrat would lead to about a 1 in 6 chance of a Republican electoral victory.To reach their results, Geruso, Spears and Talesara don’t simply count the electoral results over time. In fact, the actual results don’t matter to the model, which takes into account such factors as the distribution of electoral votes across states and the concentration of political affiliation in particular regions — not just now, but through history. The authors ran multiple Monte Carlo simulations to calculate the likelihood of an inversion in a particular election without regard to whether an inversion actually occurred. And the results seem accurate:Our models predict that the 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016 inversions were likely events.  For example, our models — armed only with the information that the two-party popular vote outcome in the 2000 election was 49.7%R / 50.3% D, and estimated from a sample that excludes 2000 – predict that an inversion was more likely than not for a generic Republican and Democrat candidate pair.The authors concede that at our present political moment, matters are just as everyone thinks: The chance of an asymmetric electoral result favors Republicans. The authors calculate that this has been true for at least 30 years. For many younger left-leaning voters, this means their entire lives. Still, according to the authors, there have been historical eras when the odds of an inversion favored the Democrats. This was particularly true during Reconstruction. And while it’s true that no Democratic candidate has ever won the presidency without winning the popular vote, the authors insist that this historical artifact doesn’t mean no Democrat could. In fact, their models estimate that under current conditions, a Democrat who loses the popular vote by less than a single percentage point would have a 35 percent chance of winning the Electoral College. Not shabby.But here’s the statistic that is bound to make the heads of true-blue commentators spin: The authors estimate that under current conditions, a Republican who narrowly loses the popular vote has a 65 percent chance of winning the election. For those whose affection or disaffection for the Electoral College is essentially a matter of partisan outcome, this will surely be the single most important calculation in the paper.As for myself, I don’t consider an electoral inversion to be a disaster that we must undo the constitutional system to remedy. One needn’t like the outcome of a particular election to see the virtue of a process that keeps the states with large populations from swamping their smaller cousins. My advice to those who wish that the candidate who wins the popular vote would always win the election is simple: Turn out enough of your side’s voters to earn a landslide victory. As Caruso, Spears and Talesara would be the first to note, in that case an inversion is all but impossible.To contact the author of this story: Stephen L. Carter at scarter01@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His novels include “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” and his latest nonfiction book is “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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Book Review: Justice Neil Gorsuch’s A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Book Review: Justice Neil Gorsuch’s A Republic, If You Can Keep ItJust over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan nominated a former Yale law professor, then serving as a D.C. Circuit judge, to the Supreme Court. His views on the meaning of the Constitution were considered by some of the political class to be iniquitous. The nominee’s constructive criticism of the mainstream of legal analysis was its failure to show allegiance to the actual language of the Constitution. “I don’t think the Constitution is studied almost anywhere, including law schools. In law schools, what they study is what the court said about the Constitution. They study the opinions. They don’t study the Constitution itself.”Of course, the nominee was Robert Bork. His view that the Constitution had an ageless meaning was cruelly savaged by Senator Ted Kennedy. “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids,” and other shameful regressions would exist. Critics condemned Bork’s view that the words in the Constitution mean now what they meant when written in 1787. No living, breathing, mutating Constitution for Bork. At his death in 2012, some labeled him the “original originalist.”The Senate rejected Bork’s nomination, but his approach to constitutional interpretation has thrived — though by no means has it conquered. Justice Neil Gorsuch in his new book explains and vigorously promotes originalism. The significance of that form of analysis is indicated by the title he chose for his book: A Republic, If You Can Keep It. Those were the words of Benjamin Franklin in explaining what the Constitutional Convention had created. The centrality of originalism to the survival of the Republic, Gorsuch writes, arises from separation of powers. If judges abandon their constitutional role of simply interpreting (though often it is not so simple) what the political branches have done, they are assuming the roles that the other branches are to perform.Gorsuch says the book is for the general citizenry, not academics. He wants to revive and encourage “interest in the Constitution of the framers’ design and the judge’s role in it.” Even with that goal, the author gives those who are knowledgeable, imperfectly so like this subordinate federal judge, a lot to ponder. A significant part of Gorsuch’s book reprints speeches, court opinions, and other prior writings. Much new is interspersed, though.This is not a memoir. Readers who want the details of his selection and confirmation for the Supreme Court will not be sated. One’s appetite is whetted at the beginning of the book, when Gorsuch discusses receiving the White House call, being interviewed, and being announced. Then the book’s final chapter, as the author previews it, “collects some of the statements I made during and shortly after the nomination and confirmation process.” That’s it. Justice Gorsuch may have decided that persuasively presenting his principles about the judicial role was both more appropriate and more important than recounting a recent political battle. Clarence Thomas is the one current justice who has written extensively about his confirmation controversies, but he waited 17 years to publish. As a personal aside, I too wrote about the pains and sufferings of a difficult confirmation, mine merely for a circuit court.  I waited six years until the wounds had (mainly) healed.There is just a little about his personal background. What is recounted can be charming. Gorsuch quickly describes several ancestors, including a grandfather in Denver who was a trolley-car driver, then a lawyer. This is the ancestor who had an awful voice but enjoyed using it to sing — loudly. A grandmother’s family built a small hotel near a railroad depot in Wyoming, which still stands and is used by the current generation during visits to the area.Mom and Dad were both lawyers, though the father little enjoyed being one. What he passed on to his son was a love of the outdoors, of camping, hunting, and skiing, but of fishing most of all. Gorsuch’s mother graduated from college at age 19 and from law school at 22. She became the first female assistant district attorney in Denver, and later was a state legislator. Gorsuch’s wife is a native of England. He gives a brief description of her background and their meeting while he was studying for a doctorate in England.  She agreed to marry him and move to Colorado, then fell in love with the West.Introduced to fishing by his father, Gorsuch has considerable knowledge of its mysteries. He recounts an amusing episode with a possibly novice fly-fisherman, Justice Antonin Scalia. There was no calm casting of lures for Scalia during a visit to Colorado — “he would storm over in his waders” to a spot Gorsuch thought was promising, surely scaring any fish. An affecting photo of the two, a Supreme Court justice and his not-yet-successor, is included, neither man in waders but a lake and a boat behind them.In Justice Scalia’s defense, he was an able hunter. The head of an elk he named Leroy which once adorned his chambers is now on the wall in Justice Gorsuch’s.The book is divided into only seven chapters. Within most of them are previous writings by the author, including lengthy excerpts from judicial opinions. He analyzes the importance of separation of powers in one chapter and of originalism and textualism in another. A chapter on the “Art of Judging” focuses on the need for courage to strive for the correct result and not the comfortable, easy one. He argues that good intentions have led to the worst Supreme Court decisions, such as Dred Scott, which found constitutional protection for slavery in 1857, and Korematsu, which in 1944 found no constitutional barrier to imprisoning American citizens during wartime if their country of origin, Japan, had started a war with the United States. He argues convincingly that the two decisions resulted from the Supreme Court’s seeking what appeared to be the best policy results at the time, as opposed to applying the plain language of the Constitution.It is an optimistic book, urging the avoidance of cynicism and promoting reasonable discourse on the issues that divide us. One way he has literally taught such perspectives is in a class on ethics at the University of Colorado. He asks, over at least the silent groans of many students, that they write their own obituary. Their written responses often show they are receiving what he is trying to give them, which is an understanding that what most of us, on reflection, will want to be remembered for are such things as kindness, love of family, a contribution to the world around us.Gorsuch’s writing style is conversational, as are many of his court opinions. He leavens his descriptions of legal debates with asides such as, after admitting that letting courts update the Constitution to reach the best results was not “completely insane,” saying that many things might not be insane but are still ill-advised — a point he often makes to his teenage daughters.In addition to using originalism to interpret the Constitution, Gorsuch promotes adoption of its close relative, textualism, to interpret statutes. Both approaches rely on the words of the relevant text as they would have been understood at the time of their creation. He acknowledges that these tools do not always provide a clear answer. Revising a Churchill quote about democracy as a form of government, he says that at the very least, originalism “is the worst form of constitutional interpretation, except for all the others.” It provides considerable determinacy; as much as humanly possible, it leaves out of judicial analysis the policy desires of judges; it allows the compromises inherent in our form of government to be upheld — Congress decides what statutes are to do, and the difficult method to amend the Constitution remains the only way revisions are made. The fact that judges are largely expected to wander free of such texts was recently, and startlingly, made apparent to me when an attorney in his oral argument stated dismissively that the only thing the other side had to support its position was the statute, while his side had the case law.Those whom the justice most admires are identified along the way. Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch clerked, are among them. A long-ago Tenth Circuit judge, Alfred Murrah, is another, highlighted for his tireless work ethic and as a representative of the people who toil quietly in the service of country. Also receiving considerable praise are such historic figures as George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, and Theodore Roosevelt. Gorsuch quotes the segment of TR’s speech about credit belonging not to the critic but to the person in the arena, with “face marred by dust and sweat and blood,” who, through defeat or victory, is not to be found among the “cold and timid souls.” By praising both the tireless Judge Murrah and this part of TR’s legacy, Gorsuch is urging his citizen audience to strive mightily, and as he emphasizes, also calmly and respectfully, to preserve this Republic.Three years after his confirmation defeat, Robert Bork wrote a book detailing his disagreements with the direction of the Supreme Court and explaining the benefits of originalism, closing with a lengthy narrative of his blocked path to the Court. Fortunately for Gorsuch and for the nomination process more generally, his selection was not met with the hyperbolic condemnation that Bork’s invoked. His book about originalism comes two years after his confirmation victory. Justice Gorsuch has written a temperate book, with civility shown to all. Such fairness, though, does not reduce the fervor with which he urges that we keep this country a republic.


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India Is Dangerously Close to Becoming an Also-Ran

India Is Dangerously Close to Becoming an Also-Ran(Bloomberg Opinion) -- India’s government will shortly find itself at a fork in the road. Will it choose globalization and export-oriented growth? Or will the isolationists in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party win, and keep India out of a giant Indo-Pacific trading bloc?This weekend, New Delhi hosted negotiators for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – from the 10 members of ASEAN as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and China – in the hope that it could swing last-minute safeguards for some of its producers. Indian officials have stalled RCEP’s progress as much as they could, and the others are now losing patience. One way or another, the deal will have to be concluded by November, when the leaders of the 16 RCEP countries will meet in Bangkok. Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohammed, not a man known for patience, said in June that the other countries could go on without India, if necessary.Many in New Delhi, even within the commerce ministry, would be relieved to see that happen. The belief that India has “lost” in most of its trade agreements is pervasive here. Influential lobbies tied to the country’s laggard producers are happy to remind officials how trade deficits soared with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations after a free-trade agreement was signed some years ago, for example. And there has always been a strong isolationist wing within the Hindu nationalist BJP – right-wing ideologues don’t just want India out of RCEP; they would prefer existing agreements with Japan, Korea and ASEAN be renegotiated, if not abandoned.Of course, India can only be said to have “lost” if you ignore the considerable gains to consumers from cheaper imports. Once upon a time, Indian households had to worry constantly about high and variable prices of cooking oil. That’s no longer a concern, thanks to imports of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, in spite of the steep duties permitted by the Indo-ASEAN free-trade agreement. And when producers’ lobbies complain about losing market share to Southeast Asia, they merely underline how uncompetitive Indian industry has become.There is, in fact, a far better reason than any of these for India to feel doubtful about RCEP, and it’s geopolitical more than economic. For Beijing, the trading bloc is just another method to ensure that the People’s Republic embeds itself as the hub of Asia’s economic geography. That’s not something anyone in India is comfortable with. India runs a massive trade deficit with China, of course; but, even more than that, officials here are conscious that concluding RCEP in the middle of the Sino-U.S. trade war would be a boost to Beijing. The problem is that all options for New Delhi are unappetizing. If only there was a large and comprehensive alternative to the RCEP that excluded China — but, of course, President Donald Trump has killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving Beijing in control of the future of Asian trade.In the end, though, it’s hard to see how India would be best served by turning its back on RCEP. In spite of his pro-trade rhetoric at places like Davos, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has started putting up tariff walls in recent years, as early attempts to boost Indian competitiveness failed to show quick enough results. This turn to protectionism needs to be reversed, if India has any hope of employing the millions of young people graduating its schools every year.It’s true that signing a sweeping free-trade agreement would be a significant change in direction for a government that is most comfortable speaking a 1970s-vintage language of import substitution, industrial policy and protective tariffs. But Indian negotiators have already moderated their demands considerably. New Delhi has made it clear that it would be satisfied with a two-track agreement that keeps some walls up against Chinese imports while opening up to the other RCEP countries.I’m still hopeful that, come November, Modi’s signature will be on this agreement. If nothing else, it would be a massive humiliation on the international stage for him to stand aside as all the other leaders of the Indo-Pacific come together to declare a new era is dawning. So much of Modi’s domestic popularity is wrapped around the carefully constructed myth of his international importance, that this might be seen as an unacceptable political hit. At least that’s what we should hope the calculations within New Delhi’s corridors of power are – because, if not, then India is condemned to long decades of being an also-ran on trade and growth.To contact the author of this story: Mihir Sharma at msharma131@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mihir Sharma is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was a columnist for the Indian Express and the Business Standard, and he is the author of “Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


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